How might an Australian respond to #LOVEWINS?

Unless you have been on some type of mainstream and social media fast for the last few days, you would have seen that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment of their Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples who seek them and also to recognise the homosexual marriages to those legally married outside that state.

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it will have been a mix of people rainbow-filtering their profile pictures, Vatican-flag filtering their profile pictures, or changing them to an image of their own or somebody else’s (heterosexual) wedding. 

Your feed might also have featured endless links to commentaries on the ruling, many of them trying to tell us howwe should respond as Catholics.  I am reluctant to add to them, but because many of them are written for an American audience, I thought I would outline five quick things Australian Catholics might do in response to the US decision.

1              Be informed!

Having good information at hand is always important.  Now is a time to make sure we educate ourselves about marriage.  This includes having at least a bit of an understanding of the current Australian political landscape, and having good information about the Catholic position on marriage redefinition and sexuality more broadly. 

Many of you would have seen the Don’t Mess with Marriage booklet released by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in recent weeks, but might not have seen the Q&A Booklet released around the same time.  It is a comprehensive document which is definitely worth reading.

2              Be active

In recent days, we have seen Facebook profile pictures being changed to wedding pictures.  That’s lovely, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in a reactionary manner.  Our lives should always bear witness to our view of marriage as a good thing – whether it is through our postings on social media or our joy at the wedding of a friend. 

For those who haven’t done so yet, please contact your local member and let them know that we support marriage as it is currently defined.  They need to know that they have support within their electorate if they want to defend marriage.

A number of companies have publicly expressed their support for marriage redefinition.  If you are a customer or a shareholder of any of these companies, you could consider contacting them and expressing your disappointment as a customer. 

3              Don’t retreat

All of us might not feel comfortable in publicly advocating for the natural definition of marriage and that’s okay, because not all of us are called to do so.  Indeed, it is not always prudent.  But we can’t let prudence be an excuse for cowardice or compromise.  So many people feel too afraid to tell others that they support the idea of marriage as being between a man and a woman.  Our being open on this issue might give another the courage to speak up as well.  And it is also an act of solidarity with those who do have the difficult task of engaging publicly on this issue.

4              Read commentaries and consider reactions – good and not so good!

One of the things which struck me was the speed at which reactions to the US decision appeared on social media.  A timely response to an important news item is a good thing, but it is also good to provide a considered response, particularly on an issue which is so divisive.  It is not inconceivable that we may face the legalised redefinition of marriage in this country in the near future.  At this point, we might not know what the best response to that would be.  By reading commentaries by others who are currently going through this, we might discover someone’s response which seems to most aptly speak the truth in love, and mimic that if our time comes.  Similarly, we might also find comments from Catholics which, however well-intentioned, do not do this well, and we might avoid making the same mistakes.

5              Prayer, faith, witness

The best advice I have seen in recent days came from Pope Francis, and he wasn’t speaking about the US decision at all.  He was giving a homily on the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and it was particularly addressed to the Archbishops to whom he would be presenting the pallium.

The Holy Father said:

The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed, a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all, who is never alone.

...

Everything passes, only God remains.  Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.  

...

The Church has overcome evil thanks to the courageous, concrete and humble witness of her children. 

His words are a reminder that prayer, faith and witness are the tools given to us by Christ to overcome the trials we see around us.  His full homily is definitely worth reflecting upon.

Monica Doumit, Catholic Talk contributor

 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015 07:12 Written by 
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in CathTalk blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of all members of that of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

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