Monday, July 15, 2013

Marriage is still Celebrated

25th renewal of vows at JP II

  In our missions, we have celebrated the gift of the sacrament of marriage on three occasions in the last several weeks.

We celebrated a 25th wedding anniversary, a 50th wedding anniversary and a first time marriage.

Newly married at JP II
Yet, in the larger society there seems to be a great deal of confusion over the institution of marriage.  It seems strange that surveys indicate that fewer young people are getting married.  It is not uncommon for people to live together first, then later "try" marriage.   What an irony that heterosexual couples are delaying marriage or see it as not important and homosexual couples are desiring to be married.   That makes an interesting reality for religious sociologists to study.

I believe most people understand that the Catholic Church upholds the dignity of marriage.  It is also important to remember that the church upholds the dignity of every person, including individuals with a homosexual orientations or tendencies.  To understand more deeply the compassion the church holds out towards homosexuals, one might wish to read #2357 - 2359 in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church."  It is possible to have compassion for homosexuals and to uphold the dignity of marriage. 

 Here is paragraph #2358 in detail:

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies in not negligible.  They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial.  They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.  These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

So as the nation seems confused, the teaching of the Catholic church holds out both the dignity of marriage between a man and woman and respect for people with homosexual tendencies or orientations.  As one of my friends stated, the institution of marriage is not threaten by homosexual couples as much as it is by heterosexual couples who are living together or not respecting their vows.  we need to do all we can to support families and marriages in a culture which highlights the individual over community and the person over the family.  As the body of Christ, every baptized person regardless of orientation, is a member of the family of God.  Their rights and dignity is always tied into the rights of dignity of those around them. 
On vacation in Union County, but came with their family to celebrate 50 years of marriage

As we struggle in finding our moral compass and walking the way of Jesus, we need to remember to hate the sin (all forms of sin) and love the sinner (all types of sinners).  This is what we hope to create as the Catholic Communities in Grainger and Union County.  We aim to treat all sinners the same--with love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.  Likewise, we aim to invite everyone to walk the narrow way of Christ as given to us in the Holy Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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