Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Supreme Court's Decision - Now What? (part 2)

The Supreme Court’s Decision – 
Now What? (part 2)

350z33 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

          In my first post about the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision redefining marriage, I focused on our personal response, especially with individuals in our lives who see the court’s ruling as a cause for celebration.  In this post, I’d like to tackle some of the larger, societal questions I mentioned, such as: What does it mean?, and, What do we do next?
          First of all, the Supreme Court’s decision does not mean that now same-sex “marriage” is a reality.  It never can be a reality.  The Supreme Court did not create marriage, so it has no authority to recreate it.  However, the decision does mean that the marriage law of our land is now divorced from reality.
          Such an event is always a major problem.  When it comes to marriage, it is an even greater problem.  The state has always been concerned with marriage because it is an institution that provides stability for children, and a legal connection for them with their parents.  The stable family in which a child has a right to the presence of both its mother and father is the building block of any healthy society.  By disregarding this truth - the purpose of the family, and the legitimate needs of children – that building block has been pulled out from the foundation of our society.  If our nation lasts, with any of its former strength, for long after this, it will be the first in history to do so.
          That being said, the Roe v Wade decision 40 years ago was even more devastating than this one.  Our culture has been on life support ever since.  Is it any surprise that Sister Lucia reportedly said that the final confrontation between Our Lord and satan will be over the family?
          She also said that those who defend the sanctity of marriage and the family will be opposed.  This is what we have to look forward to now.  There will shortly be an attack on the tax-exempt status of churches over this issue, and faithful Catholic schools will be fighting for their lives.  Even we as individuals had better be ready for increased suffering.
          We wonder whether the United States could turn into Canada, where simply defending traditional marriage can have a person fined for hate speech and even thrown into jail.  At one level, we would think it could not.  I consider all the court cases involving the Ku Klux Klan, in which free speech rights were upheld by the courts.  Essentially, the mantra was: “We hate what you say, but we will fight for your right to say it.”
          Does that still apply, though?  Judges are no longer faithful defenders of the law.  They are simply politicians like the rest.  Time will tell which freedoms will be defended and which will be discarded.  In all this, we should also remember that Sister Lucia, in commenting on this great battle, echoed the words of Our Lord: “Do not be afraid.”  The head of the serpent has already been crushed.  We are on the winning team.  Our goal is to stay faithful.  Save our souls, and as many others as we can.  The victory is the Lord’s.  (Let us also remember, when persecution comes, that vengeance is also the Lord’s; our call is to forgive.)
          So the long battle for religious liberty continues.  A great example of what needs to be done on that front was given by the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who responded to the court’s ruling by issuing a directive protecting religious liberty.  Especially with a Presidential election coming, this must be a non-negotiable issue for us.
          One important thing to remember is that as much damage as the Obergefell decision will do, those five judges aren’t really as important as we all make them out to be.  The decision did not create a disaster for our culture, it only revealed where our culture already is.  A far more important meeting of far more important people will be happening this September in Philadelphia, when the Church holds its World Meeting of Families.
          This best answers the question: What do we do next?  Of course, the Church’s teaching on marriage will not (and can not) change.  But will this challenge be met head on?  I am not looking as much for condemnations (necessary as they often are) as for a clear positive vision.
          The problem is not that our country will have same-sex “marriage.”  The problem is that our culture (the entire Western world) has lost a true vision of what it is to be human; what it is to be a man or a woman; what marriage and the family is all about; and where our destiny lies.  We need to be reminded, and who, besides the Church of Jesus Christ, can do that?
          Now I do not presume to have even remotely the prudence or understanding of our shepherds, so I will simply pray, trusting them to their task.
          But I would love to see a massive educational campaign, that becomes a primary focus in each of our parishes, to restore in our hearts God’s vision of who we truly are. 
          And that vision is beautiful, far more beautiful than anything the secular culture has to offer.  It is not about “Thou shalt not,” but rather, “Thou can become…”  Everyone is welcome; everyone is invited to be the glorious saint God has destined us to be, if only we respond to the grace He offers.  This effort should not set us at odds with any group, rather it should give hope to all groups. 
Our culture demands that people be defined by their attractions, or even worse, their sexual habits.  We Catholics can see much deeper.  We can see every person as a precious child of God, beautiful but broken.  We are all beautiful but broken.  You struggle with same-sex attraction?  Fine, I have my own struggles, and I will not measure mine against yours to exalt myself.  I always stand in awe when I see someone shouldering a cross that I know I’d never be strong enough to carry.  And if I can help them carry their cross, whether it is same-sex attraction or whatever, and they can help me carry mine, perhaps we can both become saints together.  Whatever our bishops decide in September (and let us not forget to pray for them!), that can be a task for all of us.