The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality has inspired a wealth of reactions from Catholic leaders, organizations, and individuals. The sheer wealth of responses is phenomenal. Over the next few days, Bondings 2.0 will try to provide you with the ones we think are most significant. If you see a response that you like, please send the link to: info@NewWaysMinistry.org. We will try to include it. Please limit suggestions to responses from Catholics or that discuss Catholic issues. (Otherwise, there are so many more responses we could be sharing!)
MY OWN PERSONAL REACTION: New Ways Ministry’s public statement on the ruling was released two days ago. But, please allow me to add a personal note to our ministry’s official response before I list the of responses of others.
It’s now two days after the ruling, and I am still stunned by this news. It truly doesn’t seem real yet. I’m sure it is going to take a while to sink in. Many folks have told me the same has been true for them.
Yet, when I begin to get a glimmer of the enormity of the positive repercussions this ruling, I honestly get more than a little emotional. For example, I think of how this decision moves LGBT people from the margins to the mainstream, even if they do not decide to marry. I think of all the lesbian and gay young people who will now be growing up with the hope that one day they can marry, and I think of all the fear and self-hatred that will be avoided because of they can hope for that. I think of how this ruling which legally normalizes same-gender relationships will now encourage businesses and organizations that have not been welcoming (such as the Boy Scouts of America) to be open to lesbian and gay people. I think of all the lives that will not be lost to suicide, all the hopes that will be allowed to flower, all the contributions that people will be able to make to society because they are legally recognized–and I end up getting more than teary-eyed at the prospect of such a promising future.
When I think of all the good that will happen in people’s lives and in our society, I can’t help but truly see the hand of God in this ruling. Our God, who wants us to live fully and love fully, must be rejoicing, too.
The following are some of the responses we’ve been collecting over the past few days. For each excerpted response, we provide the link back to the full statement or article.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
“Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.” (From a statement)
Individual U.S. bishops and state Catholic conferences:
Many U.S. bishops and state Catholic conferences issued reaction statements to the Supreme Court decision. Since many of these statements are similar to one another, and to the one above by Archbishop Kurtz, I will not be excerpting them here. As I find some that have something unique to say, I will post excerpts in days to come.
If you are interested in what individual bishops have said, I recommend two blog posts I found which have the most exhaustive collections of excerpts from bishops’ statements, with links to original statements:
Whispers in the Loggia: ” ‘A Profound Turning Point’ – On Marriage, The Court Rules… and The Church Responds”
Perhaps the most comprehensive list links to bishops’ statements is the one on the USCCB’s webpage on marriage.
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director, Call To Action:
“For far too long committed LGBT partners and families have endured discrimination and marginalization. This has come from many places – but none more forceful than from some members within the Catholic hierarchy. This decision, however, reverberates God’s love of everyone and celebrates the dignity and holiness of all loving families.
“The sacredness of all loving couples, together with their welcome and inclusion in all facets of faith communities, is a reality that must now be given pastoral priority. We cannot act as if the Spirit hasn’t moved us to be more loving and just.” (From a statement)
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA:
“As Catholics, we celebrate the increase in justice that this ruling ushers in. We rejoice with all of the couples and families who will be able to access the legal protections that marriage will afford them. Mostly, we are thrilled that the Supreme Court has recognized that the love and commitment of same-sex couples is absolutely equal to that of other couples.
“DignityUSA prays for consideration and solidarity as this ruling is implemented. We understand that there are many in our country, and in our church, who will be disappointed by this ruling, and urge that the sincerity of their beliefs be respected. At the same time, we expect that all people, no matter what their beliefs, abide by what the Supreme Court has affirmed as the law of the land, and treat same-sex couples and their families respectfully and in full accordance with the law.” (From a statement)
Deb Word, President, Fortunate Families:
“Fortunate Families celebrates with our LGBT children the opportunity to share in the same rights as their straight siblings. The Supreme Court decision brings legal stability to our children’s lives and security to our grandchildren. We applaud this decision and continue our work in the Catholic tradition seeking social justice for all our children, and we look forward to the next hurdle, the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.” (From a statement)
Reverend Daniel Horan, OFM, Author and Lecturer:
” ‘The joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the women and men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.’
“With this now-famous line, the Second Vatican Council opened its ‘Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World’ (1965). This passage immediately came to mind this morning as I heard of theU. S. Supreme Court decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) that upheld the constitutional right to same-sex marriage. My personal response was emotional in the way that the reaction of so many others has been in the wake of this landmark case. My reaction has been solidarity for a population of people who have indeed been ‘afflicted’ and whose experience for so long, millennia perhaps, has been more ‘grief and anxiety’ than ‘joy and hope.’ But today, at least in the United States, things appear to be changing.
“As a Christian, the ‘joys and hopes’ of the LGBT women and men who have cried out for the recognition of their human dignity and value, these are the ‘joys and hopes’ of me today.” (From an America magazine blog post )
Arthur Fitzmaurice, Resource Director for the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministries:
“Now that [marriage equality] is the law of the land, it is going to continue to provide space for people in same-sex relationships to tell their stories. In the time ahead there is a chance for us to step away from the charged political debate to a pastoral dialogue on what it means to be LGBT and Catholic.” (From a National Catholic Reporter news story)
More reactions to follow in the coming days! Post your own reactions–personal, political, or otherwise– to the statements above or to the Supreme Court decision in the “Comments” section of this post.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry