dotCommonweal

A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors

.

The editors on same-sex marriage

Now on our website, Commonweal's editors on same-sex marriage after recent rulings from the Supreme Court.

Commonweal has expressed skepticism and urged caution regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage, while at the same time defending the rights and dignity of homosexual persons both in society and in the church. In the aftermath of the chaos and destruction, both personal and social, wrought by the so-called sexual revolution, the rush to change the fundamental heterosexual basis of marriage seemed imprudent. With the institution of marriage already in crisis, such an unprecedented social experiment appeared to pose risks—especially to the already precarious place of children within modern marriage—that were all but impossible to measure. ... Advocates cast same-sex marriage as the extension of basic rights to a once excluded group, but it is likely also a reflection of—and a further step toward—an essentially privatized and libertarian moral culture. ...

[I]t is no secret that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been among the most outspoken opponents of same-sex marriage. The conference’s advocacy, which has often cast the debate in hyperbolic terms, has persuaded few and offended many. With typical alarm, the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage issued a statement calling the Court’s decisions “a tragic day for marriage and our nation,” and a “profound injustice to the American people.” The statement went on to use variations on the phrase “the truth of marriage” seven times in two brief paragraphs, as though mere incantation were a substitute for persuasion. ... Surely, whatever its legitimate reservations about the legalization of same-sex marriage, it is time for the church to begin to come to terms with this challenging new cultural and pastoral reality, a reality that calls for far more than overwrought predictions of moral decline and social calamity.

Read the whole thing here. Read previous stories on the court and same-sex marriage here, here, and here.

Topics: 

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

What does it really mean to oppose gay marriage but then urge the Church to "come to terms with this challenging new cultural and pastoral reality, a reality that calls for far more than overwrought predictions of moral decline and social calamity"?

This seems like liberal Catholic double talk - that is, limiting the Commonweal position to within the limits of Catholic orthodoxy. Why not make a bold move and just come out for gay marriage if that is what you believe.  I am sure that is what a majority of your editors believe anyway.

Important link, Jim McCrea.  Thanks.

"Advocates cast same-sex marriage as the extension of basic rights to a once excluded group, but it is likely also a reflection of—and a further step toward—an essentially privatized and libertarian moral culture."

"As Commonweal has editorialized in the past (“Protecting Religious Freedom”), champions of equal rights should support the broadest possible protections for dissenting religious communities and their associated agencies."

 

Claims to religious freedom presuppose a privatized moral culture. To claim religious exemption from the law is to claim a right to self-legislation, which is the definition of that "enlightened hubris" also known as "autonomy." So, it seems strange to simultaneously decry the privatization of morality while also seeking shelter in the individual or group rights that it affords us.