Attending Same-Sex “Weddings" – Rev. Paul Check Former Courage Intl.
In response to some questions by EnCourage parents (EnCourage is a ministry within Courage dedicated to the spiritual needs of parents, siblings, children, and other relatives and friends of persons who have same-sex attraction)
A long interview, in which I made several careful distinctions, was—regrettably, but not surprisingly— reduced to a few quotes, removed from their larger context. I can and should be more attentive to the way the secular press portrays the teaching of the Church, in general, and my comments about it, in particular. "Innocent as doves and wise as serpents," as the Master says... such sage and necessary advice for me!
One question to which I responded was this: "Do parents who attend their son or daughter’s ‘wedding' (to a partner of the same sex) always commit a sin?” In order to answer that question, we need to consider a few things. First, I am not aware of a Church document that states that simply attending a same sex wedding is intrinsically evil, i.e, evil in itself, without further consideration of the intentions of those attending or of the morally relevant circumstances. The Catechism teaches us that we must evaluate the good or evil of a moral action according to three things: object, intention, and circumstances.
Clearly, if someone attends the occasion because he or she supports same-sex unions or “marriage,” that is a case of what the Church, following St Alphonsus Liguori, calls “formal (by intention) cooperation in evil.” That is sinful and can never be justified. But this is not what the interviewer’s question, as I understood it, was directed toward. I said that a wedding is typically understood to be an occasion of joy, and the people who attend are present to express their approval and share in the joy of the couple. However, there are cases where faithful Catholics cannot find joy in a union of two people, for example, of the divorced and civilly “remarried”, and at same-sex weddings.
I said that parents who oppose such unions will be in conflict with the nature of the event, and will feel that conflict internally and therefore; it does not make sense for them to attend. It would be illogical, but of course, there is another consideration: scandal. The parents would have to consider how their presence will be understood, by the son and daughter, and by others in attendance because, again, people normally attend weddings to support the couple.
So, the parents who oppose same-sex unions, but who are considering attending the ceremony that involves their child would have to make plain their disapproval (the “how” of this is a fair question, and may be an impossible challenge), to avoid giving scandal and to indicate that their presence is not to be understood as a show of support for something they believe is sinful, and therefore damaging to the child they love and to the partner, as well. They are there, if you like, merely as observers, and because something important—if unfortunate and certainly sinful—is taking place in the life of their child. They are witnessing something for themselves something they do not want, but is real, nonetheless.
The Church is very careful in her moral theology to make distinctions like these for many reasons, most of all for the preservation of charity and the promotion of truth. Do I think parents, or any Catholic for that matter, should attend same-sex weddings? No, of course not. Will such attendance always be sinful? Not necessarily, unless and until the Church clarifies that any attendance at such a ceremony is intrinsically evil.
Fr. Richard Samour Comments: [The Bible reminds us, "You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ." (Romans 8 : 9) "“Christian life requires a willingness to love. And I don’t mean “love,” the theory, or “love,” the warm feeling. I mean “love,” the act of will, the act of courage. Real love is always expensive. Real love is always based in the truth about ourselves and about others. And while the truth will make us free "nobody said it would make us comfortable. The human heart is created for the truth, and the truth is meant for the human heart." "Archbishop Charles Chaput.]
My opinion (Fr. Richard M. Samour - Chaplain of Courage - San Antonio Chapter) Understanding Marriage as a sacrament and Same Sex Unions: A marriage is a covenant between three people: a man, a woman and God. This covenant was established by God from the beginning of creation: According to some theologians, "A man and a woman are married in God’s eyes when they have completed some kind of formal wedding ceremony. Some interpreters understand God’s bringing Eve to Adam (Genesis 2:22) as God’s overseeing the first wedding “ceremony”—the modern practice of a father giving away his daughter at a wedding reflects God’s action in Eden." The Holy Scripture emphasizes the covenant, ""So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them and said to them: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and exercise dominion over it" Gn 1 27-28a " ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”Mt. 19: 6
So in this way, neither civil society nor the state have the authority to change and / or modify a law - a covenant in a Christian context - established by the Creator, for three reasons: First because it is not a law's state, second the Church-State separation is related to the extension of freedom of worship to all citizens;, third, a same-sex union contradicts the nature and purposes of marriage. It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female. It cannot achieve the natural purpose of sexual union, that is, to cooperate with God to create new life. (USCCB)
[A Pastoral Statement of the Arizona Catholic Conference Bishops ✴ March 1, 2006]: "Why Can Marriage Exist Only Between a Man and a Woman? First, let us define marriage, Marriage, as designed by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them. Man and woman are equal; they are also different. It is this difference that points marvelously toward their complementarity. Man and woman, in their sexual difference, are made for each other. This complementarity draws them together in a mutually loving union that should always be open to the procreation of children. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1602-1605)
In marriage, husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in their masculinity and femininity, and only such a sexual union can cooperate with God in the procreation of new human life. Only such a union fulfills God’s plan both for sexuality and for marriage itself. The permanent and exclusive commitment of marriage is the necessary context for the expression of sexual love intended by God both to serve the transmission of human life and to build the bond between husband and wife. So-called “same-sex unions”