In the barrage of press and media statements on the Supreme Court Ruling on Same Sex Marriage, have you sought to refresh or deepen your understanding of the Church’s teachings on the subject? Perhaps this is a time for us to ponder some writings that seek to help us grasp the wisdom in these teachings. Some bishops have made statements that can be helpful in guiding our prayerful studying of the matter.
In the opening words of his statement on behalf of all of the US Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops writes:
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. . . . Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. . . .
Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. . . .
I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage. . . ; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society. . . ; and love for all our neighbors. . . . I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.
Click here to read Bishop Kurtz statement.
Chicago’s Archbishop Blase Cupich in a June 28 statement on the Court’s re-definition of civil marriage states, “The proposed reason for the ruling is the protection of equal rights for all citizens, including those who identify themselves as gay. The rapid social changes signaled by the Court ruling call us to mature and serene reflections as we move forward together. In that process, the Catholic Church will stand ready to offer a wisdom rooted in faith and a wide range of human experience.” Culpich continues:
It is also important to stress that the Supreme Court’s redefinition of civil marriage has no bearing on the Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony, in which the marriage of man and woman is a sign of the union of Christ and the Church. In upholding our traditional concept of marriage, we are called to support those who have entered into this sacred and loving bond with God and each other.
This will be especially important for the members of our own Church as we walk together, respectful not only of the political demands of equality, but above all else, guided by the higher claims of divine revelation. Our aim in all of this will be to hold fast to an authentic understanding of marriage which has been written in the human heart, consolidated in history, and confirmed by the Word of God.
Click here to read Archbishop Culpich’s full statement.
Fr. Robert Barron, who was in Rome at the time of the Supreme Court ruling, takes an insightful historical perspective. He notes that many times in the past the Church and the culture have clashed.
So what do we do? We continue to put forth our point of view winsomely, invitingly, and non-violently, loving our opponents and reaching out to those with whom we disagree. As St. John Paul II said, the Church always proposes, never imposes. And we take a deep breath, preparing for what could be some aggression from the secular society, but we take courage from a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. The Church has faced this sort of thing before—and we’re still standing.
Click here to read Fr. Barron’s article.
Here is a useful link to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Use the search feature to find references to such terms as "marriage" and "sexuality"
It may be helpful to read the Supreme Court ruling from the perspective of the Catholic Church’s teachings.
Click here to read the Supreme Court’s Ruling: Majority Opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy (pages 6-39) and Dissenting Opinion of Justice Roberts (pages 40-68), of Justice Scalia (page 69-77), of Justice Thomas, pages 79-95 and of Justice Alito, pages 96-103, click here.