Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Catholic Case For Same Sex Marriage In Maryland ( An Odd Letter to A Paper)

This fight in the Maryland legislature has been going on for the past view weeks. A Catholic has written a letter that appeared at the Baltimore Sun. See A Catholic case for same-sex marriage.

The writer informs us that he is 81 years old and has "studied this question of same-gender marriage from every angle available to me".

So what is his Catholic case? Well it is not clear. There is not one piece of scripture cited pro or con. There is not one piece of Catholic Tradition engaged pro or con. There is not one piece of Church pronouncements by either Popes of Councils pro or con that are engaged. In fact the rich Catholic Social Justice doctrine of the Church pro or con is not engaged that touches on marriage in the society context.

So in this "Catholic" case for Same sex marriage the Catholic three legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and Authority is dealt with by just ignoring it. Further the rich Catholic treasure of Catholic philosophy is ignored and not mentioned. Last but not least the natural law arguments whether pro or con is ignored.

For a letter that makes a "Catholic" case it seems we have not only not got to first base but the batter has not even attempted a swing yet.

Now he does make some sort of public policy argument but there is nothing very Catholic about it.


Childrens Writer said...

In essence, the letter writer is saying that his support for gay marriage is based upon his own feelings, that his "informed" conscience has placed him in conflict with the Church and tradition. Not one proof text is mentioned in support of his position. Well, my feelings and conscience are informed by the Scripture and tradition of the Catholic Church, and gay marriage is clearly wrong.

James H said...

You hit it. The whole "Conscience" argument that has caused so much mischief in recent years.

Here is a typical example where one conscience is not even informed slightly

Mike SR said...

As a life-long Italian American Catholic (age 52, married and with a teenage son), I have to say that I agree with the author of the letter. We Catholics tend to base our daily moral decisions on our "informed" conscience. I don't see too many people living by the letter of the so-called law.

On the flip side, I do see a heck of a lot of word-smithing by our church to back up their arguments to bash gay people (e.g., "disordered" to describe relationships).

Let's get on with it and open up marriage to gay couples. And let's change our church rules, which are really just plain discriminatory.


James H said...


I guess my response this. First as a matter of Natural law even in areas where same sex relations had some degree of toleration we never saw Same Sex Marriage

The Church "rules" on marriage are based on scripture and tradition. If its going to change then you have to make an argument on that

Andy said...

I'm curious how this same sex marriage issue plays out. On one hand, ssm has increasing public support and a seemingly sizeable percentage of the judiciary on its side. However, unlike the Christian cases for chattel slavery and integration/interractial marriages which were based on poor biblical scholarship, the Christian case against homosexual behavior is solid. I find it very hard to believe the RCC will ever change her teaching on this issue. In that respect, I see ssm playing out like the abortion issue. It will probably eventually become legal on a national basis, but will always have a significant percent of the population opposed (eg 40%).

Mike SR said...

Based on my experience, I doubt there will be much opposition to ssm 10 years from now. In the 70s gay people didn't exist in the press. Now we're talking about full civil access to marriage.

James H: regarding the church rules being based on scripture and tradition - I feel no compunction to make a case based on any intellectual argument. I'm a Catholic Worker and believe that we should act based on our conscience. That's it.


James H said...


I guess my response is this. That conscience must be informed!! If one does not make arguemnts from scripture and tradition and engage that then how can one established that this is coming from an inofrmed counscience