I probably would have taken a different approach in this homily.
But they did what they did, so I think it needs to be talked about.
First of all, this is a terrible outcome for our country,
in more ways than one.
The teaching of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord is crystal-clear.
People like to say that Jesus never mentioned this issue,
but that’s simply false.
Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce,
and in Matthew Chapter 19, he said the following:
“Have you not read that from the beginning
the Creator ‘made them male and female’
and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore, what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
Now, the Bible says quite a bit more.
The Apostles – who Jesus gave both authority
and his own power to teach in his name – have reiterated the point.
And the Catholic Church has always taught
the same things about sex and marriage, namely:
That it is one man and one woman, till death do us part—no remarriage after divorce;
That sex belongs in marriage—that is, man and woman;
And that marriage always includes the intention of bringing children into the world,
and therefore, marital life must remain open to the gift of life—
and thus, no artificial means of preventing conception.
Now, of course, no law says the U.S. government
has to listen to the Bible or the Catholic Church.
We were not founded on any religious creed.
So, to be very clear—I am not saying that the courts,
or the legislatures, are obliged to adopt any specific, Catholic teaching.
No, in making this point up front,
I want to lay down a very clear statement, without any ambiguity,
regarding what our Faith teaches us.
Lots of Catholics seem not to know these things.
This is what Jesus teaches, what the Apostles teach, we believe.
These are not options, like whether you get a sunroof on your car.
This is what it means to say
we are the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
We are not the Church of what’s popular in 2015.
Jesus is our teacher. He is the truth.
And nothing any court, or legislature, or politician, or opinion poll,
or marketing expert says, makes any difference.
I said a moment ago this is bad for our country.
How can standing against the King of Kings be anything else?
Now, of course, some people are saying—many Catholics are saying—
“who cares what the law allows?
You just said we don’t expect our government
to adopt our religious doctrines as law.
So why not allow same-sex marriage? Why not, live-and-let-live?”
Let’s talk about that.
First, to some degree, we do want a live-and-let-live approach.
That’s what almost everyone wants.
None of us wants to go into anyone’s home to see who lives there,
what their relationship is, and so forth.
If people want to say they are married to each other,
there’s nothing you or I can do, even if we cared to.
What was at issue here was what the society as a whole
is being asked to give validation, and approval, to --
a new and fundamentally different understanding of what marriage is.
And that is no longer, “live and let live.”
Until the Supreme Court gave its ruling,
each state was finding its own way.
But the majority of the court decided that wasn’t acceptable:
everyone had to be forced to accept a new understanding of marriage.
Second, while a society can have lots of diversity,
a society really isn’t a society unless it has some common foundations.
A room full of strangers is not a “society.”
They might become one, but only as they discover,
or create, values in common.
That is the foundation of any cohesive society.
Marriage isn’t just a detail. It is at the foundation,
because what marriage is, is really about what being human is.
Earlier I laid out the basics of what our Catholic Faith
holds about marriage.
But let’s be clear: what marriage is, isn’t simply a Catholic doctrine.
This is very important to grasp.
Does anyone seriously think that before the Church existed,
marriage wasn’t already man-plus-woman?
Do people think Moses invented this idea?
If you go to India, where most people are Hindu –
or to Saudi Arabia, where it’s almost 100% Muslim –
or to southeast Asia, where almost everyone is Buddhist –
will they say be surprised to hear of man-woman marriage?
Of course not. Every human society, ever,
before our earliest memories,
has understood marriage is man-plus-woman.
Because this isn’t a religious dogma; it’s biology. It’s human experience.
What Jesus was telling those people
was that this truth was written by God into human nature itself.
It’s not for us to rewrite it.
Yes, I think it’s very bad for our country
to think we can remake human nature.
And that’s not just bad for our country; it’s bad for all of us.
This decision sets up an inevitable conflict.
It’s already been happening
even before the High Court imposed a redefinition of marriage
on the entire country. It will get worse.
Within hours of the decision, a host of big companies
were publishing ads, or sending out twitter messages,
aligning themselves with this decision.
This will continue.
People who don’t agree—meaning faithful Christians, in particular,
and many of other faiths—will find that they are simply excluded
from jobs, from promotions, from professions.
Justice Kennedy’s decision equated our refusal to redefine marriage with being a racist.
I told you weeks ago this would happen.
Read his decision. He puts it in the same category.
This is a lie; but when a lie is told often enough, two things happen:
lots of people come to believe it;
and lots of other people, out of fear or self-protection,
stop fighting back.
(Now, I had wanted to say something
about Pope Francis’ recent encyclical.
I still haven’t read it. I will as soon as I can.
But there are a couple of points that have been widely quoted.
Obviously he had a lot to say about respecting and reverencing
the natural environment.
He’s been quoted as saying, if we slap nature,
don’t be surprised if nature slaps you back.
When it comes to destroying forests, or polluting the water,
or not being thoughtful about chemicals we create and use,
this is clearly true.
Some years ago, we found out that aerosol products
were damaging the atmosphere; and if we didn’t stop it,
it could have led to terrible consequences.
We did stop using those products, and the situation has improved.
We’re learning similar lessons about how the human body works.
In recent years, we’re discovering just how very complex, and delicate,
is the interaction between our own bodies,
and various life forms—including bacteria—that live inside us.
We didn’t know how delicate the balance was. We’re learning.
And we still have a lot more to learn.
Well, Pope Francis, in his encyclical, extended that point
to respecting the balance and design of the human family.
Man, woman, mother, father, children.)*
The Court’s decision about marriage didn’t happen in a vacuum.
Our society has been redefining marriage and family
for most of the last century.
We redefined marriage when we allowed no-fault divorce.
When we accepted promiscuity as normal.
When, as a society, we embraced contraceptives.
And when we decided it didn’t matter all that much
if a child had both parents in the home.
What the Supreme Court did is only the last nail in the coffin
to our society’s understanding of what marriage and family are.
Now, I want to say something to the question of what we say to people who have same-sex feelings. What do we say to them?
First, that everyone is God's child; no one is not welcome.
No one is better than anyone else. We are all sinners, begging for God's grace.
Second, it can be a very hard thing to realize you have feelings that others don't, and you can feel very apart. It doesn't help when there are people who bully, and you hear people say some ugly things. It's hard to know who to talk to. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were the seen as the sort of people someone in that situation would feel free to come and confide in?
Now, when you're feeling very alone with a difficult situation, it is easy to think no one else knows what it's like, and your situation, your trial, is worse than anyone else's. It can happen when you're unemployed; when you have cancer, or when your marriage is breaking up. But when we talk to each other, and support each other, we can find that, while our trial is great, we aren't alone.
I wish I could say there was some easy way to make it all better, but I can't; neither can I do that when someone is facing a terrible illness, or some other crisis. What we do is turn to the Lord, as in the psalm, and ask the Lord to draw close to us.**
The first reading from Wisdom assures us that God’s design for us
is about life. We don’t always know this, or believe it.
Sometimes we think God’s ways, God’s laws,
are just about taking away our choices.
Sort of like how you and I responded to our parents’ rules
when we were little.
And when we ignored their rules, we often found out
what it was they were protecting us from.
In the years to come, we’re going to find out
what God was trying to protect us from. We’re already finding out.
We’ve already made a mess of the family.
We have a flood of pornography.
We have young people growing up who don’t even know how to be adults,
often because the adults in their lives also don’t know how.
They don’t know how to give themselves sacrificially to each other.
All they’ve been given is lies about sex and what it means.
And it is going to get worse for awhile. Oh yes, we’re going to find out.
In the Gospel, we see a woman who suffered for twelve long years;
and we see a father whose child is dead.
Both of them had good reason to give up hope;
the mourners thought the father was crazy to hope.
So what? They didn’t reckon on what Jesus could do!
Jesus can do anything.
The woman and the man fell to their knees and begged him for help.
What will it take for us to fall to our knees, in repentance and humility,
and beg for him to save us?
* I omitted this part at some Masses, due to time.
** This part was not written down; so I handled it differently at each Mass.