Cardinal George: 5 Key Problems Caused by Gay Marriage

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If you want to know what’s really at stake in the gay marriage battle, read Cardinal George’s latest column.

With his typical candor, the Chicago archbishop cuts through the clutter and identifies at least five key concerns that the gay marriage issue raises for Catholics:

1.  On the prospect of legal gay marriage:

“[Gay marriage]  is not inevitable. Cultural change can be redirected so that the long road to obtain respect that has been traveled by many homosexually oriented persons can be maintained without destroying the institution of natural marriage. Since the difference between men and women is different from racial difference, same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. A newly invented civil right cannot be used to destroy a moral good, lest society itself go into decline.”

2.  On the decline of fatherhood and its tragic consequences:

“The upcoming celebration of Fathers’ Day might serve as the occasion to appreciate anew the distinctive role of men in family and society. We all know that parents are not interchangeable. Fatherless families contribute to the violence that plagues us. An honest discussion of violence would take us beyond laws on gun control, important though that discussion is, to the disappearance of men from the institutions that develop their sense of responsibility and their desire to protect rather than destroy women and children.”

3.  On the State overreaching its proper authority:

“We should be concerned as well about the State overreaching its proper authority, which is limited to the civil order. Neither the church nor the state “own” the institution of marriage. The state has a right to supervise but not to redefine an institution it did not create. This tendency for the government to claim for itself authority over all areas of human experience flows from the secularization of our culture. If God cannot be part of public life, then the state itself plays God. There are many paths to total state control of life — fascism, totalitarianism, communism. In the United States, the path is labeled ‘protection of individual rights.’ “

4.  On the role of Catholic politicians and the future plight of Catholics in society:

“Catholic politicians are complicit in secularizing our society when they reduce their religious beliefs to private opinions and promise that their religious faith will not influence their public life. This false dichotomy began when John Kennedy, fighting anti-Catholic prejudice in his campaign to be elected president, told Protestant ministers in Houston not to worry about his acting like a Catholic. Political figures who still claim to be Catholic but who systematically ignore Catholic moral and social teaching in public life cut themselves off from the communities that once nurtured them. How should faithful Catholics distinguish political pragmatism from betrayal?

“Are we to have a religious test for public office that excludes Catholics serious about their faith from appointment to federal judgeships? Are Catholics who will not perform abortions to be excluded from medical school? Are Catholics to be unwelcome in the editorial offices of major newspapers, in the entertainment world, or on university faculties unless they put their faith aside? In short, what began as a political device to get elected to office in a Protestant society can be used more broadly to exclude Catholics from any position of influence in public life. If Catholics are to be closeted and marginalized in a secularized society, Catholic parents should prepare their children to be farmers, carpenters and craftsmen, small business people and workers in service industries, honorable occupations that do not, however, immediately impact public opinion. Is this the future? That’s a concern.”

5.  On the lessons we can learn from history:

“We are now remembering Pope John XXIII 50 years after his death. Pope John was a good man who experienced a conversion of mind and heart because he talked to a rabbi from France. The rabbi explained to the pope the consequences of “the teaching of contempt” for the Jewish people. While official doctrine condemned overt persecution, Jews had suffered terribly from a contempt embedded for many generations in much of European culture. Its full consequence was the exclusion of Jews from public life in Germany and then their extermination in the Holocaust. The pope understood what the rabbi told him, and the relation between Catholics and Jews was given a new start. Today, listening to the public discussion on talk shows, watching television series and movies, overhearing influential conversations in offices and universities, which groups are most often discussed with open contempt? That, too, is a concern.”

Read the entire piece by Cardinal George here.



Categories:Marriage Politics Religious Liberty

  • Jeff

    I think the Cardinal is correctly pointing out that Catholics are being marginalized in secular society. As soon as you express any view that is opposed to the mainstream secular view of everything goes and “why not just try it?”, they jump you and start making arguments about how the Bible is crazy, catholics are hypocrites, and then they bring up whatever else they think makes sense. Now, if you actually treat them with the same level of (dis)respect they treat us, then we are bigoted evil crazy people, and who knows what else. I am ok with Gays/Lesbians getting the same secular rights from a tax point of view, pensions/inheritance and whatever else for legal matters. But what they really want is for us to change the Bible, and say that homosexuality is ok with God and that they can come and have a wedding at the church. And if you say no, you can’t get married in the house of the Lord, then they cry foul and say you are judging me, bigot, blah, blah… As far as I’m concerned, what they do in their bedroom is their business, and I don’t need to know about it and I don’t want to know about it. That is between them and God. But the institutions that exist like marriage in the church are not up for change given the Bible is very clear on this point. And why do they care? If the Bible is a crazy text, and Christianity is for crazy people, why do some homosexuals care that we don’t condone homosexuality? Why come up with insulting propaganda against christians, christian values and the Bible? Why respond with so much hate to people that for the most part(always some bad apples) are not acting hatefully towards you? We have a different view, and we have a right to participate of the process in civil society and we’ll let the justice or democratic system workout the final answer. Catholics also have a right to voice their view without being insulted and harassed.

  • Richard Wagener

    Scripture makes it abundantly clear what God’s law commands. You might look up the origin of the word sodomy also.



    As a geneticist, I will speak only to your first point.

    Race, in fact, has little basis in genetics. There is more genetic diversity within “racial groups” than there is between any two racial groups. “Race” is defined by outward appearances and land of origin, the genetic underpinnings of which are relatively minute. There are no alleles of genes that can only occur in “whites” or “blacks” or Asians or Hispanics that intrinsically define a person as a particular race.

    Meanwhile, sex is entirely genetic (though rare developmental abnormalities can occur). It is entirely linked to your sex chromosome karyotype (XX vs. XY; or, in rare cases of nondisjunction, XO and XXY). That’s why X and Y are called the sex chromosomes, after all. Males carry genes (on the Y chromosome) that females simply do not have. If you have those genes, you’re male.

    This can be seen in the fluidity of the definition of race over the millennia, as populations have migrated, intermingled, and gone through bottlenecks and geographic separation. Over those same thousands of years, male has meant male, and female has meant female. In fact, the definition of male and female predate the human species. The same can’t be said about race.

  • Captain America

    This is really great. Let’s send copies to state legislators and the guv.

  • Robb

    There are so many fundamental contradictions here I don’t know where to start.

    1. The difference between men and women is genetic. The difference between races is genetic. To not restrict marriage based on race because people can’t choose their race correlates very well to not restricting marriage based on sexual orientation when people can’t choose their sexual orientation.

    3. If the state doesn’t own marriage, and the church doesn’t own it either, what happens when two different religions have opposing views on gay marriage? If the state should stay out of marriage, we must let the Episcopalians, Unitarians and certain Jewish sects legally marry gay couples, as their religious beliefs entitle themselves to. Or does freedom of religion not extend to people who disagree with the Church?

    4. If political figures who still claim to be Catholic but who systematically ignore Catholic moral and social teaching in public life cut themselves off from the communities that once nurtured them, didn’t the Cardinal cut himself off from the Catholic community through his ridiculous actions shielding priest sex abusers? Does the Cardinal not hold himself to his own standards?

    Why did this site endorse Rick Santorum for President? Clearly, his support of the intrinsic evil of torture cuts himself off from the Catholic communities?

    5. There’s a lot of irony hearing the Cardinal’s lament about Catholics being held in contempt by society when he compared the gay rights movement to the KKK. The irony increases considering the Cardinal tried to limit the right of Chicago’s gay population to obtain a parade permit based on a parade route passing a Catholic church on a Sunday…while the Cardinal has said nothing for years about the Chicago Marathon obtaining the same type of permit and closing the SAME STREET passing the same Catholic church on Sunday mornings.

    • Chris

      To reply to Robb I think the following needs to be said to clarify his clarification:

      1. The difference between men and women is genetic, and sexual orientation has not been proven to be genetic in the sense of having a gay or straight gene. Sexual orientation as mentioned by Robb is independent of someone’s sexual organs. The whole thrust (pun intended) of the homosexual movement is to liberate sexual activity from the genetic make-up of ones sexuality. That is the incongruence referred to by the Cardinal. While race is also genetic no matter how I act or speak or define myself on paper I will always be a white man descended from European white men. My actions cannot separate me from my racial identity. How I choose to use my male reproductive organs is a different issue entirely.

      3. Robb is absolutely right to say that church does not “own” marriage either. The Church merely sanctions and protects a pre-existing natural institution. You can’t define something as one thing if it already exists in fact as another. If I call a tree a dog, it will remain a tree despite my best efforts. I can want trees to be fury creatures that fetch and roll over but alas trees will continue being trees because that’s just the way it is. The state is trying to say that from now on all dogs are also trees. Let’s just let trees be trees and dogs be dogs.

      4. Does the fact that one person doesn’t live up to a standard mean that no one should? Whether or not the cardinal is among the group of public officials who leaves behind their principles is irrelevant to the point the cardinal is making that public officials need to live up to the principles that are supposed to define them based on their freely accepted beliefs.

      While this site seems to act under the auspices of the Catholic Church the sites endorsement of a candidate does not absolve the candidate of all error or inconsistency with Catholic Moral teaching. Proclamations of this website are not the same as dogmae of the Church and shouldn’t be treated as such.

      5. There is irony here is actually on you, Robb. Isn’t it funny that when there are pro-traditional marriage demonstrations tactics of hate and intimidation are employed against them but that doesn’t happen with LGBT events on the same scale. And marathon runners do not fly in the face of Catholic beliefs so there is not problem in them running by a church. In addition, LGBT parades often include inappropriate behaviors and attires that any church leader would be justified in not wanting to pass in front of his church while mass was being said.

    • Teep

      your genetics argument is a texas sharpshooter fallacy. If you don’t know the difference between necessary differences amongst a species and accidental ones, don’t get into semantic arguments. Also, Your second comment is from the point of view of a pampered American mind. If there were no Catholic Church and no government to speak of, there would still be marriage. Weddings and marriage, along with ritual burial, are the key, founding organizational activities of civilization: they unite disparate people and different families into a social network. If we ever got to this condition again in this part of the world, I guarantee you nobody would give a care about ‘gay marriage’ because marriage’s true purpose–ritualized procreation– would again take precedence.
      The rest of your response is more cogent and would take much more space to refute. I leave it to Mr. Bowman.

      • Jon

        This is hilarious. “Accidental” genetical differences? I forgot the part of the bible where Jesus spoke of those. Regardless, the entire argument this guy makes is based on HIS misguided definition of civil rights. Genetics is irrelevant.

        This notion that marriage is “sacred” is absolutely laughable. The institution of marriage far predates recorded human history and thus religion itself, and as such, religion, and especially the catholic church, should have no say in how it is established or claim it to be intrinsically linked to it and thus “sacred.”

        To address the issue of keeping religious beliefs in politics, I point you to the first amendment of our Constitution. Well, that was easy.

        Fight an issue with objective criticism not bullshit from something you have “faith” in. It’s the difference between logical reasoning and irrational nonsense.

        • Teep

          Your comment is, I take it not aimed at me. If it is, you cannot read.

          • Jon

            Not likely this will make it through the bs filter, but I posted a reply a while back to Teep and others. It “mysteriously” has been deleted.

            Since someone has to do the job of deleting, at the very least you will be able to see this:

            If you’re going to argue for something, at least be willing TO DO THAT. Plugging your ears and yelling “lalala” over rationality doesn’t make it go away.



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