I’ve done some reading and research over this past week, trying to understand my own feelings regarding marriage equality and my Catholic faith. I am neither a theologian nor a lawyer, so in some ways, I simply cannot speak to the larger issues of these things.
The most important part of the Catholic message is the following (and I am quoting directly from Bishop David Zubik’s letter in this week’s Pittsburgh Catholic):
“The Church has taught and will continue to teach respect for the dignity of all women and men, regardless of sexual orientation. The Church is here for everyone, and Jesus extends his love and mercy to all of us.”
The most imporant thing to remember about America is that we have a firm basis of rights and liberties that are NOT built on religion. I don’t know when the idea of American being a Christian nation took root, but it is simply incorrect.
Are we a nation build on ethical and moral law? We sure are. One doesn’t need to be a religious person to be a good person. Treat others well, do not harm others, be kind, treat every person with respect and dignity. These aren’t necessarily precepts that need to be culled from a religious book in order to be codified into law.
The Catholic church is remarkably consistent in its teachings about sex and death. Sacramental marriage, that is marriage performed in a church by a priest, will remain between one man and one woman. Sex outside of that sacrament is viewed as a sin. Adultery, premarital sex, sex after divorce, and homosexual sex are all rated the same. Priests take a vow of celibacy, hence they cannot marry (hence they are not supposed to be sexually active). Nuns take a vow of chastity; they are viewed as married spiritually to Jesus.
The church is also anti-abortion, pro-gun control, anti-death penalty, and against suicide and euthanasia.
The church also teaches its adherents that we have a duty to care for our fellow humans. We should perform acts of mercy and charity, donate to those less fortunate, and work to see that people are protected from harm. As Catholics, as Christians, that is our part of our calling to love everyone.
Many people have written on this issue much more eloquently than I am able. This article from Dwight A. Moody is well articulated and there’s is this one by John Pavlovitz, about what Christians actually lost in the marriage equality ruling (hint: it’s not the freedom to practice our religion).
So. I’m feeling better. I can return to church in good conscience. I can continue to love and support all of my friends and family. I can pray and be heard. As my father said in a text to me (and I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him): “Church is important to you for the right reasons.”
I can love. And that’s the most important thing.
Happy 4th of July, everyone. Peace be with you.