Sunday, July 5, 2015

It is time for the bishops to admit defeat and move on.| National Catholic Reporter

How the bishops should respond to the same-sex marriage decision | National Catholic Reporter
by Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J.
It is time for the bishops to admit defeat and move on. Gay marriage is here to stay, and it is not the end of civilization as we know it.
Now that gay marriage is the law of the land, many bishops fear that the next fight will be over the religious freedom of people objecting to gay marriage.
Let's be perfectly clear. In Catholic morality, there is nothing to prohibit a Catholic judge or clerk from performing a same-sex marriage. Nor is there any moral obligation for a Catholic businessperson to refuse to provide flowers, food, space and other services to a same-sex wedding. Because of all the controversy over these issues in the media, the bishops need to be clear that these are not moral problems for Catholic government officials or Catholic businesspeople.
Again, Catholic judges have performed weddings for all applicants, including Catholics who are getting married in violation of church teaching. Catholic businesspeople have provided services to any wedding party, including those of divorced Catholics marrying outside the church. Similarly, there is no moral problem for them to do the same for gay couples.
The church has sophisticated moral teaching that includes the distinction between formal and material cooperation and the elimination of moral culpability when a person is operating under compulsion.
For other believers, these may be moral issues, but not for Catholics. Because of all the rhetoric around these issues, the bishops need to make this clear for scrupulous Catholics.

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