“We have two tools at hand that the other side does not: truth and grace.”

From Crisis we have a piece called “Taking Back Marriage” by Scott Rickert with my emphases and comments:


For the Christian, of course, evangelization is the ultimate solution to cultural problems. And evangelization is not the calling simply of popes and bishops, priests and deacons, but of all Christians. Each of us needs to gain a better understanding of the Church’s teaching on both natural and sacramental marriage, so that we can explain it to others, within the context of natural law and the Gospel. [Once again, if we don’t know our Faith (quae et qua) we can’t give any reasons for the hope that is in us and we don’t have a clear identity.  If we are clear about that, why should anyone listen to us?] Given the abysmal state of catechesis[the entertainment industry out-catechizes the Church by orders of magnitude.  We can’t compete with “Modern Family”.] within the Church for several decades now, the hierarchy will need to lead the way, and that will require our bishops and priests to quit worrying so much about the possibility of causing “offense” (which in secular terms means simply “saying something that someone else doesn’t want to hear”) and start worrying more about philosophical and theological clarity. [Yo!  That means that lay people are going to have to support and encourage priests and bishops!  Send notes when they stand up and speak!  Support their projects!] But parents need to play their God-given role as well. The sheer number of practicing Catholics of my generation (I am 47) and younger who have embraced the attempted redefinition of marriage bears witness not only to the failure of our shepherds to teach their flocks well but of mothers and fathers both to teach the truth about marriage and to live it in their own lives. The embrace of contraception and pornography, the easy recourse to divorce, and the pursuit of wealth and “self-fulfillment” at the expense of spouse and children all speak louder than any platitudes parents may utter about the necessity and beauty of marriage.

Obergefell v. Hodges was not the end of the assault on marriage; it is much closer to the beginning. [Without question.  Keep you eye out for new projects, such as the lowering of the age of consent… which is “arbitrary” of course, and limits “rights”.  Right?  Surely Justice Kennedy and the other four can, through better informed understandings and new insights discern a new Right to Sex with Children.] Every argument that Justice Kennedy made for gay “marriage” applies equally to polygamous relationships and even to incestuous ones. (This is not hyperbole or paranoia; read his opinion, and try to find a single argument that does not apply.) [As I said.] In the wake of the decision, numerous proponents of gay “marriage” have simultaneously claimed that churches will never be required to perform gay “marriages” and argued that there’s no reason why they shouldn’t perform them; that in itself is evidence that those who, like the Catholic Church, refuse to do so will find themselves sooner rather than later tarred with the brush of hate, and perhaps only shortly after that actively persecuted for defending the truth.

While it seems on the surface that those who have fought for “marriage equality” have done so primarily at the ballot box and through the courts, the reality is that they triumphed on June 26 because for decades they have been reshaping the culture. We defenders of marriage have been the ones who have largely confined our efforts to the political arena, but it’s not too late to make up for our mistake. We have two tools at hand that the other side does not: truth and grace. It’s time to begin acting like we believe in both.

Well said.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Legisperitus says:

    “What is truth?” – Pontius Pilate, A. D. 33

    “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.” – U. S. Supreme Court, A. D. 1992

  2. WYMiriam says:

    Very well said, indeed! Thank you, Scott Rickert and Fr. Z!

  3. Crbtre says:

    I wish my parish would see the light on not worrying about offending. I was told by one of our priest we have discussions about the ruling but when I encouraged him and the parish to follow through he said that nothing is going to change pastorally at the parish. That’s part of the issue.

  4. Iprayiam says:

    From Humanae Vitae:
    “Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses men’s baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture”

    I think this is where we went wrong. For 50 years we have given media a pass as it has pushed its sexually depraved agenda forward in the name of entertainment, and we have give a pass to all those Christians who work in “entertainment”. Why is it that morally wholesome television only exists as in your face kids stuff? We let it get this way.

  5. Gratias says:

    We may have the truth but “Who am I to judge” was a cool assist to the prevailing culture of the modern world.

  6. Jenson71 says:

    It is my understanding that homosexuality is determined heavily, if not entirely, by biological factors. People actually feel inclined to someone of the same sex as they are. Polygamy is different in that regard, as it’s entirely a social or cultural “allowance” or prohibition. It’s been long prohibited in the United States due, in part, to the susceptibility of abuse and degradation that occurs in polygamous societies. In the landmark Supreme Court case against polygamy, Reynolds v. U.S. (1878), the Court noted that “polygamy leads to the patriarchal principle, and which, when applied to large communities, fetters the people in stationary despotism.”

    As for the concern that churches who teach that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, we should keep in mind that Massachusetts has had gay marriage for over a decade. It would be worth seeing how churches in Massachusetts have prevailed, if at all.

    In Iowa, a very different state demographically than MA, gay marriage has been a right since 2009. Are there any examples of churches being “tarred with the brush of hate” in Iowa? Not that I’m aware of, and I’ve been a resident since well before Varnum v. Brien.

  7. Lutgardis says:

    Jenson71, here is some information on the effects of the passing of ssm laws in Massachusetts, particularly covering changes in the education of school children, public health, instances of domestic violence, and harassment of churches.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    I used to think homosexuality was biological in basis, I no longer think that anything in-born is much of a factor, if at all. It’s been studied quite a bit (twin studies etc) without any compelling evidence of a genetic link, the evidence says there is little or no genetic connection. To my surprise I repeatedly was told by “gay” friends and acquaintances (I am talking about non Catholics) that they were molested as children or youths, some were perfectly clear that that affected the course of development of their sexual feelings. That is not the only cause, some people experienced in helping men with unwanted same-sex attraction say is a disorder of weak male confidence, often related to growing up without a positive relationship with his father. Encountering homosexual pornography which is easy for youth to find nowadays also affects people. And beliefs and understandings of the purpose of sexuality definitely figure in. Some traditional cultures have been identified where the goal of sex is reproduction and homosexuality is totally unknown. see: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/where-masturbation-and-homosexuality-do-not-exist/265849/

  9. Gratias says:

    LGBTQ stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual, transgender (good ole transvestites), an d Questioning. If they are Questioning, as many insecure adolescents are, then the best remedy is to take them fishing and hunting or sowing and knitting according to their sexes. It is not congenital; in the case of men what you need most is a male role model who will teach you how to be a Man in Full. This is why Boy Scout Leaders were so useful before they went Gay.

  10. Imrahil says:

    By the way… apart from physical maturity, the age of consent is arbitrary. (We used to have different ages of consent for natural and contranatural sex, though that, of course, can no wise be hoped for at present.)

    Still, being quite unpolitical and only ever thinking (if anything) about how things should be in themselves…

    I actually do not think that what is properly termed “fornication” and which a good priest will classify as (to quote Chesterton’s Fr Brown) “all people have their passions” (though insisting on the need to Confess it and quit it), should be prosecuted by law under as shaming terms as “molestation”, etc.

    That includes the irresponsibilies an 18-year-old man and a physically mature 14-year-old woman, or a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old woman, not related by blood, indulge in together.

  11. JosChild says:

    My fears are the more immediate threat to religious liberty – the ability to fire or decline to hire a person in the diocese or Catholic schools because they are in a same sex union. That right is already being eroded and the ruling will make it harder, despite the new definition of religious freedom that allows us only to teach what we find fulling (sheesh).
    Imrahil, you mention the physically mature 14 year old woman, but do not even comment on her mental, spiritual, or emotional maturity. Most 18 year olds in America are not mature enough to give consent, let alone a 14 year old, which is why we have laws. And the laws should be shaming since manipulating a child for your physical gratification is evil.

  12. Mike says:

    Much evidence exists to refute the “biological determinism” error into which Jenson71 and millions of others have bought, many unquestioningly. Here is some to ponder.

  13. slainewe says:


    Thank you for the link on the effect of legal sodomite “marriage” in Massachusetts. I had wondered what the consequences would be for public schools and it is more horrible than I imagined. I never thought about the prospect of students IDENTIFYING as sodomites solely because they admire a sodomite teacher. But it makes perfect sense. Was not the reason we had moral codes for teachers in the past BECAUSE of the vulnerability of young minds to imitate those with whom they form an emotional bond?

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