A Parish Priest Reacts to the SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Ruling

Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Permit me to share with you the statement released by my own bishop, Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre:

Today’s wrongly decided decision by the United States Supreme Court does nothing to alter the truth on the meaning of Holy Matrimony, a sacrament given to us by Jesus Christ. Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament, a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life. It is clear that the US Supreme Court has chosen to accept a culture-driven redefinition of marriage.  What is equally clear is that , no other union is, or can ever be its equal and we have the God-given and constitutional right to proclaim religious truths, in the public square, as well as our churches, just as we have been doing for almost 50 years in the ever vigilant battle against another wrongly decided decision, Roe V. Wade

We live in a pluralistic society and that reality has once again been made clear today.  I think that at this point, we must all be reminded of that reality, that not every one is going to agree with each others vision for a just society.  

My prayer is that at this point, as this has now become the law of the land, that there will be tolerance for those that disagree with this ruling.  That religious and moral objectors will be able to charitably voice their opposition.

The Roe vs. Wade decision was many years ago and is today none the less controversial and divisive.  I think the same will be true of this decision as well.  That many years from now there will continue to be disagreement and fighting over it.

How does the Church proceed from here, especially since the Church participates in the civil aspect of marriage by allowing priests and deacons to sign Government marriage licenses.  The reality is that now, there is a fundamental disagreement between the Government and the Church as to what marriage is.  Should priests be signing marriage licenses, or should there be a distinction between the civil and sacramental.  Thats a question for the bishops and the moral theologians.  As a parish priest, my role is to continue to guide my people to holiness.

As a Church we are faced with the reality that there are those members of the body of Christ that disagree with the church on her teachings of human sexuality and on the sanctity of marriage.  We need to find a way to minister and be in communion in the midst of disagreement.

It is still important that as a priest I remind people that they are loved by God.  That God already knows them intimately and desires for them to come to know himself in a more intimate way.  The Church proclaims her teachings on human sexuality and on marriage precisely because she loves her sons and daughters who struggle with Same Sex Attraction and desires for them holiness and wholeness.  I hope and pray that all who come into contact with the Catholic Church will come away being reminded of that reality.  That the Catholic Church clearly teaches that marriage is and can only be between one man and one woman.  And yet, in clearly teaching that, that she does not become an agent of bigotry or hatred.  But Love.  We are called to always proclaim the truth in love.  We would not be true to ourselves if we did anything other than that.

 

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