To the Journal editor:
As a member of St. Michael Church, I have been reflecting upon a challenge to church teaching by a member of our parish who is in a same sex commitment relationship.
I have also been following other efforts to change Church moral teaching to be in line with secular culture rather than faith based such as the U.N. commission calling the Catholic position against abortion a form of torture and the Affordable Care Act requirement that Catholic institutions provide contraceptive coverage. Catholics are being told by secular activists that by being for traditional marriage we are anti-gay.
In the case of same sex commitment ceremonies and marriage, governmental steps have been taken to change the legal definition of marriage from a conjugal relationship between a man and a woman open to the procreation of children to a much shorter definition: marriage is a commitment between two consenting adults.
An aspect of this issue for same sex couples is about respect and equality. Some feel less equal as long as the Church retains the Sacrament of marriage open only to a man and a woman. They are seeking opportunities to refute or diminish this Church teaching. Catholics are told by activists that we will find ourselves on the “wrong side of history.”
As to the timing of this pastoral correction, those of us in the pews who support the teaching of the Church would have been scandalized if we learned later our priest knew of this open public challenge to Catholic teaching and found he had not acted in a timely matter thereby seeming to be condoning an improper ministry situation. This would not be acceptable.
This local challenge to Catholic morality will serve to strengthen our faith including the faith of our members with same sex attraction. For Catholics this is an opportunity to point out the benefits to society of our moral teaching.
We are told approximately 58 percent of Catholics support gay marriage. Most do not realize they are also supporting a new definition of marriage that doesn’t mention a father, mother and the bearing of children – the foundation of humanity.
I encourage all Catholics who have questions or concerns about our moral teaching to become informed and become a stronger voice in society for a faith based response to social issues.
Dr. Patrick Kelly