By Matt Keppel
Two weekends ago, I had the immense blessing to be in Philadelphia to witness the beautiful representative of the Catholic Church that is Pope Francis. The conference that he was attending, and closing, was on the family and the life of the family within the Church. Following the World Meeting of Families, he is going to follow up his historic visit to the United States with the Synod on the Family. So, it would seem that family is significant on Francis’s list. After listening to him multiple times this weekend, I can attest to what he believes about the life of the family: love.
Just as Francis has been clear about some issues regarding families, he has been interestingly vague on others. On nearly every street corner in Philadelphia the throngs of people were confronted by men, young and old, asking us (mostly men, really) to sign a petition intended for Pope Francis that he might make a definitive statement about marriage being between a man and a woman. And yet, at the World Meeting of Families what did he tell us about families? That they are called to love the members within them; children are valuable to us because they are our future; our grandparents are our familial memory; and the love of the family should be lived out to bring love and joy to our communities. Many of us standing there were shocked. Francis finished his Saturday evening address without addressing what so many people had hoped he would: same-sex unions. Continue reading Pope Francis on the Family… and Beyond
A fascinating take on the way Catholics speak about same-sex marriage from the Dominicana Blog, a collaborative effort of the Dominican Student who study at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.
Today, Br. Dominic Mary Verner, O.P. writes:
There is an alarming confusion cropping up in public discourse which has given me pause for reflection. It strikes me as the worst kind of confusion, and the most difficult to remedy, because it concerns the intention of hearts, confusing the noblest with the worst. You seek your neighbor’s spiritual well-being and you are accused of denying his very dignity.
It can certainly be seen elsewhere, but the national conversation about same-sex marriage provides a clear example. With good intentions, many Christians have sought to serve the good of their neighbor by objecting to the state solemnization of physically and spiritually harmful sex-acts. Increasingly, this fraternal solicitude is taken to be a damnable affront to gay dignity. It is a sin, explains Nathaniel Frank at Slate: “the sin of current opponents of gay marriage is an unwillingness to open their minds to change. There comes a time when there’s only one morally correct answer, and the space for having the wrong answer has dried up. I’d argue that time has come.” The Christian thinks he is engaged in a spiritual work of mercy, but Frank warns that he is in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This is all a bit frightening. The greatest love for our neighbor concerns itself with his spiritual good, and it is just this sort of love that is being confused for sin and even hatred. The confusion is not total, but any confusion of love for hate is disturbing. The lover’s smile taken for scorn, the friend’s gift received as poison, and the mother’s embrace greeted with terror all question the very possibility of lovers, friends, and mothers. There is real tragedy here: Your heart is opened and in that moment of vulnerability you become a monstrosity in the eyes of the one you love.
Read it all here.
Plenty of thoughts about this have I as I am sure you will have.