Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cardinal George: "The state has a right to supervise but not to redefine an institution it did not create"

Francis Cardinal George has a column up on Catholic New World with his reflections on the public debate over "same sex marriage." Some key thoughts from the Cardinal:

"The plausibility of the legislative proposal to create a marriage based on sexual relations between people of the same sex comes from a cultural shift regarding marriage. Many, unfortunately, now see marriage only as a private, two-person relationship based on love and sexual attraction rather than as a public social institution governing family life."

I think that Cardinal George hits the nail on the head. The profound cultural shift we have experienced in the understanding of marriage has created two completely divergent trains of thought. There is not simply a disagreement between these two camps in terms of how far the concept of marriage extends, but what the fundamental substance of the concept itself.

In such a situation, where people no longer agree even on the definitions of basic concepts, it is no wonder that the nation discussion on this issue has degenerated into name-calling.

The big question: How do we continue to maintain respect for homosexually oriented persons without destroying the natural law concept of marriage? The Cardinal is optimistic:
Cultural change can be redirected so that the long road to obtain respect that has been traveled by many homosexually oriented persons can be maintained without destroying the institution of natural marriage. Since the difference between men and women is different from racial difference, same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. A newly invented civil right cannot be used to destroy a moral good, lest society itself go into decline.
He also has a few things to say about Catholics in public life and 'Kennedy catholicism'. Read the rest over there.

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