May 18, 2012
President Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage underlines the urgent need for the Church to launch a massive new program to educate Catholics on the nature of sacramental marriage and on the vast difference between a marriage like that and civil marriage.
The Church should also continue to participate in the debate about same-sex marriage—a voice of reason patiently explaining why a union between two persons of the same sex shouldn’t be recognized as a civil marriage. But face it—the Church is only one voice in this discussion, and it can’t decide the outcome unilaterally.
It’s different with sacramental marriage. The Church is custodian and steward of the sacraments, including the sacrament of matrimony. As such, it has a right and duty to defend and explain them. Today, defense and explanation are both urgently needed in the case of matrimony.
Without realizing it, Obama showed why that’s so in declaring his switch on gay marriage. Apparently meaning to signal empathy with people who uphold a traditional view, he noted that the word marriage matters a great deal to those who resist its use for anything other than a relationship between a man and woman.