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Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Matter of Marriage

I wasn't necessarily floored by President Barack Obama's announcement of his "support" for "same-sex marriage" as I was mightily disappointed with Vice President Joe Biden for his endorsement of the issue.

While I do not expect the POTUS to be guided by the principles of the Catholic Church, Biden presents us with an altogether different matter.  That Biden, a Catholic, would knowingly and willingly take on a position that runs squarely against the teachings of the Catholic Church is certainly grave cause for concern. 

It is ironic that the POTUS cites Christ as an example for why support for "same-sex marriage" is warranted.  However, Obama's application of the Golden Rule does not exactly fit the equation.  If there was ever an issue were the Lord took such a strong stand, it was the matter of marriage.  In fact, the Lord made his most direct statements on the subject by both deed and word.

St. John records Jesus' first miracle at the wedding at Cana, wherein Christ turns water into wine at His Mother's request.  Christ's presence at the wedding sanctified it.  Later on, in St. Matthew's Gospel account, when the Pharisees try to trap Jesus on the matter of divorce, he gives them this direct and strong response:

[3] And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? [4] Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: [5] For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.
[6] Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

When Jesus makes His pronouncement, He goes back as far as Genesis, confirming not only the earthly permanence of marriage, but, the fact that this Sacrament is covenant between a man and a woman.  Thus, this is not some mere invention of the Church, but something that comes directly from the mouth of no less than God, Himself.

Furthermore, throughout the Gospels, Christ refers to Himself as the Bridgegroom.  St. Paul, in his Epistles, refers to the Church as Christ's Bride. He urges husbands to love their wives as Christ loves His Bride, the Church.  It is interesting that the Bible begins and ends with a marriage.  In Genesis, we read the account of the creation of Adam and Eve and how Eve is given to Adam as his wife.  In Revelation, one of the final acts of the book is the marriage between the Lamb and the New Jerusalem, Christ and His Church, the Bridegroom and the Bride.

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we prepare for that wedding banquet of the Lamb and His Bride, the New Jerusalem.  When the Sacrament of Marriage is celebrated within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the bridegroom and the bride are reminded of this important sacramental and sacrificial aspect of their marriage.  They are called to be closely united to each other in love, just as Christ is closely united in love with the Church. 

The Church cannot change that which Christ, Himself, has declared unchangeable.  She cannot go against that which her Divine Spouse has already made clear.  Marriage between one man and one woman is non-negotiable. 

As a Catholic, Biden is bound by Church teaching, as the are those of us who profess to be members of the Church.  Being in public office, I believe, does not excuse anyone from acting with a properly formed conscience.  As much as I admire the late President John F. Kennedy, his infamous 1960 speech really did not help matters any when it came to Faith and the Public Square.  A Roman Catholic should not have to check his or her Faith at the door when running for public office. 

In the final analysis, we are not going to be judged as to whether or not we followed the tenents of a particular political party.  Rather, we will be judged on whether or not we remained faithful to Christ and to His Church.

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