Supreme Court Decision on Marriage

The United States Supreme Court in a decision 5-4 has interpreted the United States Constitution to require all states to issue a license and recognize same sex marriage. Bishops across the United States have made statements against this decision by the court and have called Catholics to stand against this decision also.  Immediately following the decision by the court you could find across social media outlets #lovewins.  Did love really win in this instance?  What is true love?

In 1 John 4:8 we read that "God is love."  God's love is one that is faithful, fruitful, free, and total.  He is faithful in that throughout human history He has never abandoned us, always providing for our needs giving us the grace we need to act in accord with goodness and truth.  He is fruitful in that love desires to bear fruit. Trinitarian love is a pouring of self in a gift to the other and God's pouring out of self desired to share that with creating beings, thus He created the universe, the earth, the sky, the seas, and ultimately humans.  He shares His love with us and creates us in His image and likeness so that we may also give ourselves away to bear fruit in love.  Love is free.  We cannot do anything to earn God's love.  It is a a free gift.  We put up barriers to God's love because His love challenges us to be more like Him. How are we to live up to that calling?  Jesus poured Himself out in love on the cross, this is the model for our love.  It is not a feeling, it is not an emotion, it is a gift of self in which the other party does not earn.  God's love is total.  He holds nothing back from us.  This is recognized ultimately in the gift of self that God gives on the cross. It is a complete and total pouring out of self on the cross.  There is a spiritual reality in which we recognize that the more we give ourselves away, the more we receive and learn about ourselves.  A selfless act is life giving, a selfish act is life taking.  God pours Himself out upon the cross so that we may have life and have it abundantly. 

Many of the arguments we will hear in favor of this ruling are not based on truth, but on emotion.  In John 14:6 we hear that Jesus says "I am the way the truth and the life."  God is love and truth. We cannot love without truth.  Love is not merely an emotion but a free choice of the will to give of oneself to the other.  This kind of love is the love that we experience in Jesus dying on the cross.  This type of love does not always come with the "feeling" of love.  It is often painful, but we know it to be the right and true response to someone we love.  Truth acknowledges the goodness and beauty in other human beings so that we may choose to give ourselves away.  This means that we must first possess our own self first.  If our emotions control us and we are motivated only by emotion then we often will not make a good choice because of the emotionally motivated decision.  Our emotions must be checked by our intellect so that they are ordered towards the truth and goodness of the person.  True love is when our emotions line up with the truth so that we "feel" love and also choose to love at the same time. A love that is purely emotional will pass and it will seem that we no longer love the person.  If we have a purely intellectual love of a person then it lacks feeling and comes off as cold lacking empathy and joy.  Both are necessary and important aspects of who we are as humans experiencing the world around us and building relationships with other people.  Love necessarily comes with truth, otherwise it is a faulty view of love and lacks depth in the relationship to which we are to love. 

This being said, what is our response to those with homosexual tendencies?  For 23 years, since 1992, - when the Catechism of the Catholic Church was published - for 2+ decades, we have had clear, black and white directions on what the Christian response to gays and lesbians is to be.  Paragraph 2358 says "[Men and women with deep-seated homosexual tendencies] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity." This is our response and will continue to be our response as Catholics.  This does not we approve of the lifestyle, it means that we love them, and we respect you, and desire their good, just like we desire the good of all people.  When hate spews forth from our mouths (I mean hate that attacks someone personally) it is not a compassionate, respectful, or sensitive response.  We all have different struggles in our life, this does not mean we stop seeking the path of Jesus.  This means we pick ourselves back up, hit the confessional, and get back on the road again.  This is how we learn to live in Christ and truly recognize that He is "the way the truth and the life."

For more information on this topic I encourage you to read Father Faulkner's homily.  He gives a clear Catholic response to this decision and how we can grow as Christians in this world.