More on marriage

George Weigel

Why support a Federal Marriage Amendment? Here are ten reasons why.

1. The FMA will prevent activist judges from redefining marriage to fit their squinty reading of the “signs of the times.” There isn’t the slightest shred of evidence to support the claim that the American people want this redefinition. Those who do should have the democratic courtesy to take their case to legislatures, not courts. Judicial usurpation of decision-making on grave issues of public policy is undermining democracy. It’s time to draw the line. This is the place.

2. “Marriage” is not something the state can legitimately redefine. Marriage is a human institution thousands of years older than the state; a just state recognizes that and structures its laws accordingly. The state is under moral judgment here, not the institution of marriage as it’s been understood for millennia.

3. Attempts to redefine marriage inevitably involve parallel attempts to drive religiously-informed moral norms from public life. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, for example, declared marriage a “wholly secular institution” in its recent decision mandating so-called “gay marriage.” The Massachusetts Supremes were wrong, but if their opinion prevails, it will be another step toward establishing secularism as the official ideology of the United States.

4. Government-sanctioned same-sex “marriage” will inevitably lead to demands that homosexual sex be discussed “neutrally” in public schools. Parents who fight this will be branded irrational bigots. This is already happening to supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

5. The same charge of bigotry will be laid against priests, ministers, and rabbis who decline to perform “gay marriages.” One young priest I know, an entirely sober soul, told me that he fully expects to see clergy of his generation jailed for refusing to perform same-sex “weddings.” He is not being alarmist. Unhappy precedents have already been set in Canada and Great Britain, where clergy have been subjected to the pressures of the criminal law for teaching classic Christian doctrine on homosexual behavior.

6. Some constitutionally fastidious conservatives and a few dissembling politicians argue that marriage has always been a matter for the states. This is historically inaccurate. Several federal laws against polygamy were passed in the nineteenth century, and absent federal intervention, polygamy might well have been legal in several states. Moreover, gay “marriage” activists will insist that any one state’s “gay marriage” provision be recognized in every other state under the Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause – and they’ll find a lot of the federal appellate bench supporting that claim. In the current political, cultural, and judicial climates, defining marriage is, inescapably, a national issue.

7. Then there’s the slippery slope, which in this instance is an empirical reality, not a logical fallacy. If states can redefine marriage as the union of two men or two women, on what principled ground will states deny the claims of one man and three women to be married? Or two women and three men? There is no such ground. If gay “marriage” becomes the law of the land, polygamy and polyandry are not far away.

8. Gay “marriage” advocates insist that family “structure” doesn’t matter. Haven’t we learned from years of a lengthy, failed experiment in social welfare policy that marriage “structure” does count? What’s just about ignoring the overwhelming social scientific evidence that kids flourish best in a stable family led by a father and a mother? To endorse same-sex “marriage” is to declare that motherless or fatherless families are social goods. The kids, as usual, will suffer most.

9. We’ve already seen the damage that’s been done to marriage and to children by a culture that increasingly divides “marriage” and “procreation.” Legally endorsing same-sex “marriage” will accelerate the separation of marriage and parenting.

10. What would we be saying about ourselves and our traditions if same-sex “marriage” wins the day? Among other things, we’d be saying that the biblical understanding of marriage and the family is wrong, even bigoted. We’d be saying that there’s nothing really important about our being created male and female. We’d be saying that “marriage” is something than can be redefined by anyone seeking to meet a personal “need.” Is that what we want to say to, and about, ourselves?

I don’t think so.

COMING UP: Archbishop: In this time of need, join me for a Rosary Crusade

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When God chose to enter the world to save us, he chose Mary, whose deep faith provided the way for Jesus to come among us. She believed in the words of the angel, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk 1: 37). As she expressed her deep confidence in the promises of God, the Word became flesh. In our current time of crisis, our Church, world and our country need faith in God and the protection and intercession of Mary. And so, beginning on August 15, I am launching a Rosary Crusade to ask Mary to urgently bring our needs to Jesus.

The last several months of the coronavirus epidemic, the civil unrest that has broken out in different parts of the archdiocese and our nation, and the challenges the Church is facing have made the need for Mary’s intercession abundantly clear. Mary is our Mother and desires only our good like the Father.

In her appearance to Juan Diego, Our Lady reminded him and reminds us today, “Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.  Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

Saint Padre Pio, who was known for his devotion to the Rosary offers us this advice: “In times of darkness, holding the Rosary is like holding our Blessed Mother’s hand.”

We turn to Mary in our difficulty because she is our spiritual mother, who with her “yes” to the Lord embraced the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. She is “the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that ‘nothing will be impossible with God,’ and was able to magnify the Lord: ‘For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #273).

We know, too, from history that Mary has answered prayers brought to her through the Rosary and that she has personally asked people to pray it for the most serious needs, especially for the conversion of souls.

Pope Pius V famously asked all Christians to pray the Rosary in 1571 to prevent Christianity from being overrun by the invading Ottoman Turks, and the Christian naval forces were subsequently victorious in the Battle of Lepanto. In the apparitions at Fatima, Mary identified herself as “The Lady of the Rosary” and asked the shepherd children to whom she appeared to pray a daily Rosary for world peace and the end of World War I.

During his pontificate, Saint John Paul II spoke of the Rosary as his favorite prayer. In his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, he added, “The Rosary has accompanied me in moments of joy and in moments of difficulty. To it I have entrusted any number of concerns; in it I have always found comfort” (RVM, 2).

This past May, Pope Francis encouraged praying the Rosary, saying, “Dear brothers and sisters, contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.”

During this time of trial, we need to hear the words of Jesus spoken often in the Gospel, words spoken to Mary by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation, “Be not afraid.” We need to pray especially for a deeper trust and hear the words of Elizabeth spoken to Mary in our own hearts. “…blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). The Lord is with us in this time as he has promised! Praying the rosary helps us, with the aid of our Mother, to relive in our own lives the mysteries of Christ’s life.

I personally invite all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Denver to pray the Rosary every day between the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, August 15, through the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15. I would be remiss if I did not thank Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita for inspiring this Rosary Crusade by launching one in his diocese at the beginning of August.

As we unite in asking Mary for her intercession and protection, please pray for the following intentions:

* For a growth in faith, hope and charity in the heart and soul of every human being, and most especially in our own that we may seek only the will of the Father

* For a recognition of the dignity of life from the moment of conception until natural death and that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God

* A quick end to the coronavirus pandemic

* For all who are suffering from COVID-19, for their caregivers, and for those who have died from the virus

* In reparation for the sins of abortion, euthanasia, and racism

* In reparation for the sins and failings of our spiritual leaders and for our personal sins

* For healing and justice for all those who have been discriminated against because of their race

* For the conversion of the world and the salvation of souls

* For all those who are persecuted throughout the world for the Faith

* For the conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues and religious symbols

* In reparation for these acts of desecration, especially against Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

* For our civic leaders and those who keep us safe to experience a deeper conversion, to govern justly, and to seek the common good

* That we may learn how to love and forgive from the example of Jesus

* For all marriages and families, neighborhoods, churches and cities to be strengthened

* For an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life

Thank you for joining me in this prayer on behalf of our world, country and our Church. I am confident that many of the faithful will respond in turning to the Blessed Mother who “shine[s] on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope” (Pope Francis’ Letter to the Faithful for the Month of May 2020). May you always know the protection of Mary as she leads you to her Son!