Roaring Silence

Not A Word

A few days ago, the most politically powerful Catholic in our country, vice president Joe Biden, stated that he is "absolutely comfortable" with gay marriage, even though his comments were couched in entitlement and rights language. What is distressing, however, is that there has not been one statement released by the Catholic Hierarchy addressing the remarks. This statement would have to be made in two parts: the first to address the errors in his remarks, errors that clearly separate him from the Church Teaching on the issue, and the second to address his status within the Catholic Church since he is not a private citizen holding a private opinion but a public policy maker. What needs to be made clear is that through these very public comments, he has espoused a position diametrically opposed to Church Teaching and that through his position he has distanced himself from the Catholic Church.

While his comfort with gay marriage has been the most quoted and is troubling in itself, in the interview he prefaced his remarks by first redefining the Catholic Teaching on marriage when he said, "Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that is what people are finding out is: what all marriages, at their root, are about, whether they are marriages of lesbians, gay men, or heterosexuals." To use the expression "at their root" with regard to what marriages are indicates he is talking about the meaning of marriage. Thus, this prominent Catholic has publicly demonstrated that he does not believe that the meaning of marriage includes the good of procreation, even though the good of procreation has been a central tenet of Catholic Teaching on marriage for millennia. With such a redefinition in mind, drawing the errant conclusion of being comfortable is made easy. But the fallacy is in the redefinition and it is time to be clear about his error.

What is more disturbing than the deafening silence toward these mistaken comments is that more Catholics are following his lead and accepting the error with regard to gay marriage. In just one year from 2010 to 2011, the number of Catholics supporting gay marriage went from 46% to 52%, with the increase coming strictly from White Catholics (who went from 49% to 57% supporting it). Thus we see that the influence of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Kathleen Sebelius has been swaying Catholics from Church Teaching. In this regard, we must admit the sad reality that most people are "taught" through the media in the form of vicarious learning. Apparently Catholics are no exception in this regard and, due to the vicious circle, do not have the catechetical foundation to understand the depth of the issue.

One final point needs to be made, we must recall that gay marriage is but one issue among many in which Catholic opinion is being shaped by errant politicos and the media rather than the bishops. In addition to the bishops, the silence from parish priests and religious also contributes to the growing number of Catholics who are unclear about Church Teaching on key issues such as homosexuality, contraception, abortion, and euthanasia to name a few. Yes, the circle is vicious and needs to be broken!