New Ways Ministry heartily thanks Vice Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine for speaking with hope about the Catholic Church’s eventual acceptance of same-gender marriage. Kaine, a practicing Catholic, spoke the truth when he said that we should “celebrate” and not “challenge” God’s “beautiful diversity of the human family.”
According to Michael O’Loughlin of America magazine, Kaine, who describes himself as “a traditional Catholic,” addressed the Human Rights Campaign gala dinner, telling them “his support for same-sex marriage is driven in part by his Catholic faith, and that he expects the church could change its views like he did.” O’Loughlin quoted the relevant parts of Kaine’s speech, in which the politician recounted how he changed his view to come to accept marriage equality. Starting from a position of opposition, Kaine emerged as one of the Senate’s first supporters of same-gender marriage:
“Part of that reasoning came from his lifelong Catholic faith, which teaches that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. But Kaine’s opposition to same-sex marriage was challenged by relationships with friends and pressure from his children.
” ‘I knew gay couples as friends,’ he said. ‘I knew them to be great neighbors, I knew them to be great parents to beautiful kids.’
” ‘But I had a difficult time reconciling that reality with what I knew to be true from the evidence of my own life, with the teachings of the faith that I had been raised in my whole life,’ he said.
“Kaine said his family also helped convince him to back same-sex marriage, and he became one of the first U.S. senators to lend his support to the cause.
” ‘My three children helped me see the issue of marriage equality as what it was really about, treating every family equally under the law,’ he said.
But Kaine also had to wrestle with faith questions, but he noted that he believes that the Catholic Church will eventually come to embrace marriage for lesbian and gay couples:
“Kaine, who attends a primarily African-American Catholic parish in Richmond, Virginia, acknowledged that his “unconditional support for marriage equality is at odds with the current doctrine of the church I still attend.”
” ‘But I think that’s going to change, too,’ he said to applause, invoking both the Bible and Pope Francis as reasons why he thinks the church could alter its doctrine on marriage.
” ‘I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator in the first chapter of Genesis who surveys the entire world including mankind and said it is very good, it is very good,’ he said.
” ‘Pope Francis famously said, “Who am I to judge?” ‘ Kaine continued, referencing the pope’s 2013 comment when asked about gay priests in the church.
” ‘To that I want to add, who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family?’ Kaine asked. ‘I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.’ “
Kaine’s sentiments are shared by millions of Catholics across the U.S. who heartily support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples, as poll after poll continues to show, including a recent Pew Research Center poll showing 70% of U.S. Catholics support marriage equality. As Kaine’s statement illustrates, Catholics support marriage equality because they are Catholic, not in spite of being Catholic. Their training in the Catholic faith has taught them to respect difference and diversity, to value love and commitment, and to support and strengthen strong family ties.
Church history has shown time and again that important changes in the Church have always arisen from the bottom to the top, and not the other way around. So, it is only a matter of time before the church hierarchy begins to accept and affirm what Catholics like Tim Kaine already know: that love is love, and that all love is holy, for God is love.
Kaine’s candid admission that his own acceptance of marriage equality has been a journey for him was a courageous statement. His experience of knowing families headed by lesbian and gay couples helped him see that they deserved equal treatment. This pattern of acceptance has been true for many Catholics, as they come to be aware of their gay and lesbian family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends.
Catholic bishops and other church leaders need to follow Kaine’s example by opening their eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to the experiences of lesbian and gay couples and their families. Instead of being locked in an ivory tower, Catholic bishops need to do what the rest of the country and the world has been doing for decades: dialogue with lesbian and gay people so they can see they are not an enemy to be fought, but children of God, as are all human beings.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
WJBDRadio.com: “Tim Kaine: Donald Trump Is ‘No Friend’ of LGBT Community”