The Catholic bishops are remaining steadfast in their futile fight against same-sex marriage. During the month of August they published some tips to help educate the Catholic masses.
Tip #2 is to reframe the debate to restricting the talk about marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
We can make a case for the uniqueness of marriage between a man and a woman by pointing out that only a man and a woman can form a one-flesh communion and can give themselves fully to each other, including on a bodily level (see FAQ #8) [My Note: Funny, this is a broken link on that page.]. Only a man and a woman are capable of welcoming new life into the world, even though there are times, sadly, when this doesn’t happen for reasons beyond their control. And so forth.
Reframing means not accepting the terms of the debate as given, but digging deeper to get at the real issues, the real questions. So if someone asks you, “Are you for marriage equality?” an answer could be: “Well, what do you think marriage is?” or, less Socratically, “I’m for equality, sure – but I think marriage is unique and needs both a man and a woman; it’s not wrong to treat different things differently,” etc.
It's interesting that in the last tip we learn this is targeted for Catholic young adults. Good luck with that. Something like 65% of young people support same-sex marriage.
The audience that the bishops have in mind for the Marriage: Unique for a Reason project is Catholic young adults. The bishops reasoned that young adults are most bombarded and most susceptible to faulty messages about marriage, but the materials could certainly be used for older audiences too. The materials do not assume much in the way of prior catechesis, but they are written for a Catholic audience, not a generic or secular one.
The end-goal of the resources is inculcating a renewed understanding and appreciation of what the Church teaches in regards to marriage, and a sense of its reasonableness. The hope is that learning the Church’s timeless teaching can build confidence to promote and defend it.
Faulty messages about marriage? A state is free to define marriage one way and a religion is free to define it another and one can be married in the eyes of the state and not in the eyes of a religion. The definition of marriage within the Catholic church is obviously not being changed and the bishops are free to define marriage as they see fit. But they're trying to apply their definition to those outside their faith. And at the same time they are highlighting how their so-called sense of reasonableness is way out of touch with society and making themselves less relevant.
Ride The Night in Providence, R.I.
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