A priest’s reflection on SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling
By Father Mark Gurtner
By now I’m sure that mostly all of you have heard about the Supreme Court ruling declaring same-sex marriage a civil right under the Constitution. Given that this is such a monumental ruling for our country, I feel that I would be pastorally remiss if I did not address it with you.
I think maybe the first question that we could ask is “Why should we care? What don’t we just let the government do whatever it is going to do? We will still believe the truth about marriage as God has shown us. So what difference does it really make?”
The answer to this question of why it really does make a difference comes from Pope Benedict who said, “There is also a need to promote the natural structure of marriage as a union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it (legally) equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society … this constitutes an offense against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.”
There is a lot in here in this little quote. The pope is telling us that as things like same-sex marriage are promoted, the true notion of what marriage is will steadily get lost in society. There is a lot we could say about this. There are a lot of dangers in store for society as we continue down this path, but I just want to witness to you for a moment about my own reaction to the ruling.
I’ll admit I was a little distraught yesterday about the ruling and finally I asked myself why I felt so distraught. In simple words, I realized that I was distraught because it’s not true. It’s simply not true. God has created, ordained and established marriage to be between a man and a woman. Anything else is simply not marriage.
Marriage by God’s design is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, which is ordered to the good of the spouses (unity) and the procreation and education of children. So called same-sex marriage cannot bring true matrimonial unity nor can it bring the procreation and true education of children.
The anatomical parts of man and woman alone show us this. Think about that for a minute — that true marriage is to be between a man and a woman is written into our very anatomy. Nothing could be more manifestly obvious. Anything else is a gross aberration.
And the physical is only the starting point. The psychological, emotional, spiritual and interpersonal complementarity which comes from the sexual difference between men and women also proclaims the truth of God’s design for marriage. This is a complementarity which comes from the hand of God and is essential for true marital unity and the procreation and education of children.
Turning for a moment to those who are seeking same-sex marriage, my pastoral experience has revealed to me that those who struggle with same-sex attraction carry a tremendous cross. But it is a cross that has the power to bring tremendous holiness and closeness to God when carried with chastity and fidelity.
The Lord is not stingy with His grace and for those who suffer with this cross, the Lord’s grace is always near at hand and is abundant to strengthen one in purity and fidelity.
This is the other part of the Supreme Court decision that distresses me — declaring something that is not marriage to be marriage will not help those who struggle with same-sex attraction. It will only legally lock them into living a lie. We as Christians should have great concern for this, because it goes against their true human dignity.
We heard in the first reading today: “God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of His own nature He made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.”
For those whose eyes of faith are open, it is hard not to see the envy of the devil behind this distortion of marriage, a distortion which serves to weaken the understanding of God’s true design and a distortion which causes those who enter it to be locked into the bondage of a lie.
Homily given by Father Mark A. Gurtner at Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Fort Wayne, June 28.