Exorcising Your Gay Rights

Just as Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois signed a marriage equality bill on Wednesday, simultaneously Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki delivered a sermon titled “Homily for Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage.”

Think Progress has some highlights:

It is not hateful to say that an immoral action is sinful. On the contrary, the most compassionate thing we can do is help people to turn away from sin… It is not the Church that must change to conform its teachings to the views of the world, but it is each individual who is called to be configured to Christ.

We might quibble about the first part, but I’d accept it for the sake of the argument. But the problem is not calling out the sin, the problem is the focus on this particular sin.

America is rife with sin: the disparity between rich and poor, chronic divorce, unjust wars and the death penalty, to name a few. The question is why gay marriage gets so much more attention than these other sins, particularly from conservative Catholics. The impression is that there is a particular animus against homosexuality, and this is what is viewed as hateful.

Another major deception or distortion of marriage is the view that it is not ultimately about generating life, but rather is mainly about a romantic relationship designed for individual (not even mutual) fulfillment. That distorted understanding cuts across opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage proponents in our culture. We are all summoned to reflect more deeply on the truth of marriage.

This argument is hard to swallow as long as Catholics do not speak out against marriage for post-menopausal women, or marriage where one member is sterile, or injured or handicapped in some way as to make childbirth impossible, or simply couples who don’t plan to have children.

But to the deeper issue: why? Why is a marriage for partnership less legitimate than a marriage for procreation? This argument seems to actually cheapen the institution, since it renders a complex relationship down to a one dimensional caricature.

The answer is probably Catholic philosophy, dating back to Aquinas, and from him back to Aristotle. But this philosophy has been largely discarded by the wider world. The Bishop needs to make a deeper argument here.

The diversion of the Devil in same-sex marriage may be seen in the fact that so much of our time, energy and resources are being spent in addressing this issue, when there are more pressing needs facing our state and our Church.

And this is the problem I spoke about above. No one is forcing you to address this issue, your excellency. Why exactly is this issue more pressing that the plight of the poor?