(The recent opinion article by Father John Carville has created many and diverse reactions. The Catholic Commentator appreciates the responses which help bring about more clearly the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on this matter. The Diocese of Baton Rouge recognizes the complexity of the Supreme Court’s decision and is relying on the guidance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the consequences of this ruling. See page 16 for the recent statement from the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.)

After reading Father John Carville’s recent column in the July 24 Commentator, I was left disappointed. At best he seems content with the Supreme Court decision. At worst he comes off as approving. I think that he makes use of several common erroneous points with little critical thought. Please consider this as a respectful critique of the mentioned column.

1. He writes, “… it gives to people who were once marginalized in our society something they felt they would never have without legal recognition of their union: human dignity.” If this is the case, then as Catholics we cannot possibly make the argument that the church openly respects their dignity. By that very statement – homosexuals have never had their dignity respected and cannot until everyone approves the legal recognition of “same-sex marriage.”

It is unfortunate that he would suggest that our Lord would do anything other than condemn this decision. Christ did indeed recognize the dignity of sinners in Scripture. He does indeed offer his love to all of us in our sinfulness. But it is our sins that do damage to our dignity. It is his loving call to us to move out of sin that restores our dignity. There is nothing dignified about the active homosexual lifestyle. We do not have to wonder what Jesus would do about this court decision because from the time of the apostles until now we have the clear voice of Christ through his church.

2.  There is little attempt at anthropology on his part. When he finally makes a mention of procreation, he abandons the idea of sexual complementarity. He writes as if the only problem with “same-sex marriage” is that they can’t physically procreate. He assumes that a same-sex couple’s love can be expressed sexually. Not all loves can or should be expressed sexually (eg. friendships, family members, adolescent dating, etc.). Biologically speaking, sex refers to one very specific event which is exclusive to a man and woman. There is more missing from the relationship of two people of the same sex than just the capacity to procreate. Namely, the sex which points to and compliments the person of the other sex. Because of the incompatible nature, two people of the same sex are unable to make a total gift to one another sexually.

3. His understanding of sacraments seems incomplete. The sacraments are built on nature which precedes them. In the case of marriage, the natural marriage of a man and woman is assumed in the sacrament. To imply that making changes to our understanding of natural marriage wouldn’t affect the sacrament is false. Natural marriage is a good in and of itself, without the sacramental grace. That good should be protected and uplifted by the state and church regardless of the sacrament. If we as the church can approve of a state protected definition of natural marriage that includes two people of the same sex, then we would have to consider it also for the sacrament. But what is being proposed is unnatural, and therefore cannot be acceptable in any form.

4. Finally, to say that this Supreme Court decision does not force us to do anything against our conscience is naive. Does the Catholic working as a notary, clerk of court, justice of the peace, baker, florist, photographer, musician, etc. have nothing to be concerned about? If he is claiming that participation or promotion of the “same-sex marriage” is not objectionable, then he makes two mistakes: He is disregarding the primacy of conscience for anyone who feels differently; and the Congregation for the Doctrine Faith condemns it.

This is not acceptable for a Catholic publication. Complacency on this topic is not an option. The constant statement of love and respect cannot be segregated from the truth that this is evil. As Christians our public comments and prayers for those who advocate same-sex marriage must be balanced with recognition that what they do is wrong. Any Catholic commentary on this issue without making that explicit is doing more harm than good.

Father Todd Lloyd, Pastor

Immaculate Conception

Lakeland