In those situations where homosexual unions … have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws, and as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. — Saint John Paul II
The pope has spoken about what we should do if our government legalizes gay marriage. Saint Pope John Paul II published a document in 2003 titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons.
I am familiar with this document because I was a Catholic lawmaker, serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, at the time it was issued. To be honest, I found it troubling because of the onus it put on me as a lawmaker to do things that I knew would affront my gay friends.
I loved these people, love them still, and it was tough, going against them. It cost me dearly on a personal level.
But there is nothing unequivocal about Saint John Paul II’s teaching in this matter. I prayed and blew off steam to my pastor, but there really was never a question that I would obey. The pope was quoting Scripture and talking Jesus. I had no choice.
Today’s Catholics, me included, are hungry for a repeat from Pope Francis. We want something concrete like the document Saint John Paul issued. However, it’s entirely possible that Pope Francis thinks that Saint John Paul has already said all that needs to be said and that all he has to do is make it clear that the pope’s opposition to gay marriage continues.
If that’s true, then, my fellow Catholics, we already have our marching orders.
This document, which was signed by the Holy Father, said No ideology can erase … the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman … Marriage is instituted by the Creator … the image of God was created male and female … Men and women are equal as persons and complimentary as male and female.
Furthermore, the marital union has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament … marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church.
Then, Saint John Paul II gets to the issue of gay marriage when he says, There is absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.
The document is extensive. I urge you to read it for yourself. But I quoted the critical paragraph at the top of this post. I’ll repeat it here:
In those situations where homosexual unions … have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws, and as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
So far as I know, Pope Francis has said nothing that would abrogate this statement. In fact, his various comments and actions seem to support it.
We have 2,000 years of Christian teaching and we have the words of our Lord. We have indicators such as Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis, his answer to questions from reporters about the right to conscience and his many comments in support of traditional marriage. We also have this clear mandate for political and social action from Saint John Paul II.
I, for one, consider that enough to exercise prudential judgement in how I conduct my politics and advocacy in this matter. I consider it not only a warrant, but an obligation, to oppose gay marriage.
There is one other teaching concerning marriage that I haven’t mentioned so far. It’s the one that no one can gainsay. It is Truth spoken by The Truth.
He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together. — Jesus Christ