04 July 2015

Redefinition of Marriage & What the Church Can Learn

...you might be surprised but its a lot.

[Disclaimer right from the get go folks. I love Catholicism and its teachings, but what I'm trying to do is explore the gap between what the Church teaches and what it doesn't.]

I have been horrified by some of the mean sound-bytes and mud-throwing of comments I have seen on all types of social media since the Supreme Court decision a week ago. 

Careless words are being thrown around and profile pictures are changing left and right to show which side a person is on. It frustrates and saddens me that people can become so divisive and mean, instead of working to have a slow, rational conversation.

There have been a lot of takeaways, but one I find myself that I keep coming back to is what the Catholic Church can learn from all of this. 

For starters, we were out-evangelized by a growing cultural movement. 

The last 10 years or so there has been a growing sense of change in our culture to validate same sex relationships as a marriage between a man and woman. A group of people with a certain idea got loud and did a fantastic way of getting their point across on a wide cultural scale. 

Seeing how this movement has grown so and created such a stir can actually be something for the Church to learn and grow from. 

We were out evangelized by a growing social movement, one that has now created lasting change in our country. While I see and acknowledge that this decision can be such relief for many Americans, it does make me fearful of what the future holds for religious institutions such as the Catholic Church.

While I deeply love my Catholic faith, there for a time have been issues that the Church has not done an adequate job of teaching and explaining teaching to the people in the pews. We do a lot of talking on the evils and the problem of abortion, but in other area's almost seem silent (ex: pornography, sexual addiction, etc.). 

Unfortunately, our teaching on homosexuality/same sex attraction is one of them. There are those in the Church that have not had the conversation well or just avoided it all together. I get it. 

Talking about this stuff is difficult because it is SO personal. Only in the last years of my life, have I encountered people in the Church trying to have this difficult conversation in a loving, pastoral, and respectful way. 

For a long time now, our culture has been growing more toxic. In many ways, it can be increasingly difficult to live out Christian ideals in a culture that grows less tolerant of them. 

No matter what the culture or people say, I and the Church need to always respond with compassion. Compassion is love. And I can still love and dialogue with those who strongly disagree with me. Compassion doesn't mean I water down my beliefs, but I think we as a Church have to get MUCH better having this conversation and loving people through it, especially in disagreements. 

Disagreements will exist for sure, but it is how we treat each other in doing. 

Throwing around hateful words like "bigot", "intolerant prick", or hateful slang towards gay people is not compassion but just plain mean. May we remember that the way we treat each other says more about our faith than any issue we disagree on.

The times we live in are crazy, and are quickly becoming a new type mission field of striving to live out the Gospel message. I think there's a lot of the Church and I can learn from the SCOTUS decision, and that's a good thing. 

It's good to be challenged, and in that is how I grow.

I am not challenged to change my beliefs on marriage, but I am challenged to enter into the messy dialogue with a pastoral and loving heart.

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  1. Patty, thank you for sharing a loving, orthodox way to look at this. I've been struggling with a split heart recently and this helps a lot.

    1. Thanks a lot Brigid! Its such a fien line to have this conversation well...if we avoid it for fear, that doesn't help either. Happy Sunday:)


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