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Marriage is between a man and a woman | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
In a May 13th letter, St. Cecilia's Catholic Church was criticized for allowing a petition about gay marriage on its premises.
I attended 8 a.m. Mass on that Sunday and to my recollection the only mention of the petition was at announcements before the service. There was no admonition from the pulpit to sign it. I did not attend the other three weekend services.
I did not sign the petition at St. Cecilia's, for after giving the issue much thought I had signed it in a non-religious setting a few days before.
In all humility and realizing that this is a complex subject for a short comment here is my thinking and please note that I do not speak for all or necessarily any of my fellow Catholics.
A family is the most basic form of social organization. The human family made up of a man, a woman and a child or children is prior to all forms of government and thus all forms of government have an obligation to respect that priority. Tribal and more complex forms of social organization are constructed upon this foundation. Marriage between a man and a woman became an early institution for reasons of rearing and educating children, paternity and maternity claims, inheritance claims, minimizing violence, etc.
Except for the fact that heterosexual marriage produces children and thus U.S. citizens there is really no reason for a well-ordered society to require and ratify a contract between a husband and wife. Absent the potential to have children, regulation of a marriage contract would be similar to regulating an emotional state between individuals which might be friendly, compassionate or loving, permanent or temporary.
To keep this short, because a gay marriage does not produce children it fails to meet the test for government redefinition, regardless of how committed or loving the gay couple may be or how compassionate the public may be toward our neighbors. A gay marriage would always be secondary to a heterosexual marriage, because of its dependency on the latter.
Though I present an incomplete argument concerning a controversial subject, suffice it to say, I am open to considering a state-sanctioned contract between gay couples, but under a name other than marriage. After all we use the words heterosexual, gay, lesbian, homosexual, bi-sexual to more precisely describe different sexual inclinations, so why is it we need to define marriage as the catch-all phrase for potentially five different contracts between these people?
The Western idea of marriage goes back to our creation story, Genesis. The Catholic teaching on marriage and homosexuality goes back over 2,000 years, predates the New Testament and is well-defined in the Catholic Catechism for those willing to investigate further (paragraphs 2201-2400).
For the former letter writers to claim that St. Cecilia's and by implication the Catholic Church has no right to weigh in on a moral subject is equivalent to saying that labor unions should not use their power to influence their members or others. The letter implies that the members of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church are not compassionate, thoughtful or courageous - please refrain.
Finally, lest you believe that those in traditional marriages have no need of compassion think of the women who bear the physical and mental burden of child birth(s) and the fathers that loyally support their wives through this life-changing process. They too deserve some say in any possible redefinition of marriage for it is by their courage and responsibility that we exist.