French Catholic Magazine Supports Marriage Equality

french magazineLike an unexpected Christmas gift, good news from France about Catholic support for marriage equality comes to us thanks to veteran Catholic blogger Terence Weldon, who blogs at  Weldon reports–and, thankfully, translates–an editorial in the French Catholic magazine, Témoignage chrétien (Christian Witness), which supports France’s bill to legalize marriage equality.  The Catholic hierarchy in France is vehemently opposing this proposal.

You can read the entire translation of the French article, entitled “Mariage pour tous, un progrès humain” (“Marriage for all, a mark of human progress”) at  I’ve excerpted some of the stronger points here:

“Homosexuality has been persecuted or oppressed for many centuries. However, it is a sexual orientation as legitimate and worthy as heterosexuality. . . .

“Denying homosexuals the [marriage] contract would add yet another discrimination to those they have been subjected to, too often. That is why we believe it is just to open it to those who want to give a legal framework reinforcing their unions. It is up to religious denominations to reflect on the meaning of religious marriage, but it would be a serious political mistake to pit one against the other. . . .

“We do not believe that marriage for all destroys society. Divorce did not lead to the disappearance of  marriage. A large number of divorcees remarry. If marriage for all is a way to greater integration in society, then there is no reason to hesitate.

“Humanity grows when citizens refuse to sanctify the ties of blood and give priority to the bonds of brotherhood that unite us. So what connects them, including within families, proceeds from adoption. Christ on the cross said to John, ‘John, behold your mother’ and to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ This is not the biological relationship, they are not blood ties that make us brothers and sisters. Our DNA is unique and common, it is a brotherly love that always pushes further the boundaries of our prejudices and our fears.”

The last paragraph quoted above contains an argument I have not seen in any of our American debates about marriage, and I think it is important to note it for two reasons.  First, because it highlights the fact that a major fear of marriage equality is the fear that blood ties will not be the basis of society.   Second, because it shows that basing societal structures on something other than blood ties has a firm foundation in the Gospel since Jesus explicitly, from the cross, blesses a non-traditional, non-genetic family structure.

While I don’t think we should succumb to the fears that people have of marriage equality, it is important for us to recognize them so that we can effectively respond to them.  I suspect that the fear of non-genetic family structures is a strong and probably unspoken fear that many have.  Responding, in faith, through the Christian imperative to treat all as family is a reasonable antidote, though one that may take a while for people to accept.  After all, we are still trying to learn how to treat family members as family, and struggling daily with loving our neighbors as ourselves.

This line or argument has shown me that the work of moving others to accept marriage equality is much more rooted in spirituality and faith than in politics, and it is work that will need to be done even after marriage equality becomes the law of the land everywhere.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

0 replies
  1. Patrick Nugent
    Patrick Nugent says:

    We have seven children. The youngest two are not genetic siblings with each other or with the others. But they are fully and totally and unquestionably family, just as any of the other children. And they are loved and cherished by their brothers and sisters. We took them to our family when they were infants. Today they are 33 and 29 years old, fully contribution members of society. Unfortunately, they are not in our church, because the “rules” have pushed them out. One is married to a Christian woman who is not Catholic, and so considered “living in sin”, as he was told by a parish priest. The other is gay and, accordingly, feared and hated by our pope and the hierarchy. Any argument against single-gender marriage on the basis that they cannot have genetic children is put to the lie by our family and so many, many others who include adopted children. In fact, it is laughable.

  2. Terri Hemker
    Terri Hemker says:

    Unless the laws have changed, that parish priest misinformed your son who is married to the Christian woman who is not Catholic. There are many such ‘mixed’ marriages in the Church and, as long as he promises to raise any children Catholic, he is not ‘living in sin.’ I also want to support you and your gay son. I have a son who is gay and trans and I refuse to believe that, because he is in love with another gay trans man that he is living in sin. I still consider myself Catholic, though I constantly have trolls on forums call me a heretic and ask me why I don’t become episcopalian. I tell them to leave me alone. I will be a part of change and justice inside the Church I was born into and the trolls can face Christ at the Last Judgement for their bigotry and judgement of others.

    • Patrick Nugent
      Patrick Nugent says:

      Thanks, Terri. Of course the priest was wrong, but he said it and our son left, period. So many priests are destroying the church by their stupid, hurtful statements to people who don’t know enough to say “bull….” and move on. Of course, they are getting their model and lead from equally ignorant bishops and pope.
      And, of course, now his wife would never agree to raise kids in the Faith. I wouldn’t either, if i were her. But that shouldn’t make any difference anyway. They are a loving, committed couple and should be accepted as such.

  3. Terence Weldon
    Terence Weldon says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Frank.

    I came across this story by way of reports on the L’0sservatore Romano attack on gay marriage, which was a direct response to it. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Vatican’s ratcheting up of the attacks on equal marriage, which we are now seeing simultaneously in so many countries (even Cameroon, where the political probability of anything happening soon is approximately nil).

    My firm conviction is is that the reason for this is simple – they know that the political battle against equality is effectively lost – just as it already is, on contraception, divorce, gay relationships/unions and on abortion (in certain circumstances).

    The real battle now emerging in other Christian denominations is over equality in church – and as Vatican authority over sexual ethics continues to fade, that will come to be equivalent to a comprehensive erosion of respect for the entire structure of church power and control

    So – if I’m right, then no wonder they are so terrified of the prospect of equal marriage.


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