11 May 2012

Judgment and Compassion


The proponents of gay marriage have an odd habit of justifying their position by claiming that we should not judge others. Their position is one of intense moral relativism and selective theology. We as Christians are called to compassion for others, and we are also called to oppose sin. That means we hate the sin but love the sinner. Yes, we must admonish each other (Col. 3.16). Our religious leaders have an even greater duty to give godly admonitions to the people. If something is contrary to the doctrine of the faith, we must speak and we must act, or else we become complicit in the sin. Every single person supporting the administration of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to same-sex couples is as guilty of that sin as those who participate in it directly. 

To judge the actions of others is not to judge the person directly. The totality of the depths of a person's soul are ultimately known to that person and God alone, and it is God who will judge. Yet the actions of an individual are entirely different. To say we must sit back and say nothing as a person harms his soul through sin because what they are doing might be "right for them" is to adopt moral relativism. It is direct cooperation with sin. To say that a person's sin is their own personal matter is also a falsehood. We are all part of the corporate body of Christ. What is done by one harms the whole, just as a cancerous tumor in one's lungs may affect the entire body. And would a true friend, upon noticing that someone else has an illness, not admonish that person to seek medical attention and not ignore the problem? Why then do so many people insist on remaining silent or even vocally supporting sin in others? 

In all of this, though, compassion must be retained. Never should someone admonish someone else and think inside "Look at me, I am better," for we are all sinners. Rather, we must act in humility and with compassion for the human condition and the spiritual state of others. It is for this reason that our Communion's slogan is "The Church for Everyone." As our Lord embraced all people, even the social outcasts and the sinners, so do we in the Church embrace them. We must do so. Those who share in the priesthood of Christ have even more of an obligation to do so. This does not mean, however, that in showing compassion to others, we can modify the sacred doctrine of the Church. In showing love and support to sinners, never must we ignore the sin, deny it, or rationalize it. As Christians, we must be like the surgeon who feels compassion for his patient, but does not ignore or deny the tumor that he is bound to remove.

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson

The Unfortunate Campaign for Gay Marriage


The recent vote to ban gay marriage in North Carolina has certainly stirred up much controversy. On one hand we have the liberals who are in favor of gay marriage, and on the other we have Christians who oppose it. There are some in the middle. There are even some calling themselves Christians who believe it is not banned in the Bible and like to spout various Bible verses  about not judging others, taken completely out of context, to back up their position. That any of the several American States have allowed gay marriage is sheer and utter madness. It is an affront to the sanctity of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, a sacrament instituted by Christ. Its valid matter is one man and one woman. To be a valid marriage, the man and woman must be canonically free to marry. That is a valid marriage.

Now, some argue that there are other marriages, such as those done by the justice of the peace. Even atheists marry. This is true. At least, however, when those marriages are between one man and one woman who are free to marry, they possess the valid matter. To allow marriages between two persons of the same sex, however, makes a mockery of the sanctity of marriage just as much as the celebration of a so-called mass with Coke and cookies instead of wine and unleavened bread.

Some claim that this is really about legal rights. If so, then why not allow each person to designate one person, whether a spouse or someone else, to have those legal rights being discussed right now? If this is really about legal rights, then that would solve the problem nicely. Somehow, though, I doubt this would satisfy the gay marriage lobby. Such plans exist already in many localized instances, yet the gay marriage front marches forward. Their real intent appears to be to destroy the sanctity of marriage. 

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is the exclusive domain of the Holy Church. The government has no business interfering or determining who is free to marry. The government ought to stop usurping this authority of the Church. If it did, then votes like those in North Carolina would not be an issue because they would not be necessary. However, when the government undertakes to legislate morality and the sacraments of the Church, the Church has a right and a duty to oppose it, for the government is using its power to impose a certain societal morality on all of society. The government in this case is slapping the Church in the face. It is offending the very sacrament of marriage and all those people who are in sacramental marriages. 

If the government stayed out of it, and marriages were governed by the Church, the true sovereign in this matter, then there should be no argument over gay marriage. The Church has spoken. The theology is both clear and sound. The doctrine and canon law are set and beyond review by the government. If certain heretical sects wish to indulge in the obscene practice of simulating the sacrament of marriage through "marrying" two persons of the opposite sex, then they would still be free to do so under civil law. In that case, though, it would not be imposed as acceptable or normal on all of society. 

Gay marriage, just like co-habitation and other pseudo-marriages, is an affront to the sanctity and the dignity of the sacrament of marriage. Every time a gay couple "gets married," it is a slap in the face to all those who believe in the sanctity of marriage. There is righteous outrage by the faithful at gay marriage. For the government to normalize gay marriage is sheer madness. For the government to continue to impose its will on marriage, usurping the authority of the Church and individual freedom, is complete insanity.

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson