Cordileone’s “March for Marriage” Response a Gem

I shouldn’t say it because, well, this guy has good reasons why I oughtn’t (H/T) but recovery from pneumonia (and now bronchitis) has made me busier than I want to be, as I try to catch up with work that has fallen behind. I barely have time to read all the Patheos writers, much less off-site pieces.

Because I must read those, though, I was happily prompted, first by David Mills’s excerpt, and then by Deacon Greg, to read San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s outstandingly pastoral response (pdf) to critics of the upcoming “March for Marriage” who, in the name of human dignity, have asked him not to speak at or participate in the event.

I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life. That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death. It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th.

With regard to your request that I not attend the March, and the reasons you give for this request, allow me to explain the following points.

Really, the letter is gorgeous and a gift — respectful, forthright, abundant-in-faith, courageously open and even willing to be vulnerable for the sake of communio and Christ. He demonstrates a truth that is becoming increasingly untenable to too many people in our country: that “tolerance”, when it is true, is not just a one-way street, but a highway with many exits; we travel together when we can, depart where we must. And that’s not bigotry; in fact it’s quite the opposite.

. . .if we lose the ability to respect that people can only go as far as their consciences will allow, we risk becoming mired in a muck of illusion, imagining hate where none exists, equating compelled behavior with authentic love, and losing sight of the fact that traveling together sometimes means that we walk the extra mile on one challenging road, and they walk it on the next. Everyone spares a bit of shoe-leather for the sake of the other. This is how love travels.

I must study Cordileone more closely. His pitch-perfect response is, to my way of thinking, the constructive antidote to political attacks dressed up in religious clothing, and a better alternative than fretting and reacting. He managed to do this without even mentioning his most prominent critic, who, in her willingness to defame if it will inflame and fling venom in pursuit of victory, rightly should go unnamed. I am recalcitrant and resistant, but must learn that lesson.

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