Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why should the Church care?

In a comment on a recent post reporting Archbishop Piero Marini's personal opinion on the desirability of civil unions for homosexuals, my colleague Ellen Wertheimer asks the following question:  "Why should the Church care" if homosexuals marry?  Prof. Wertheimer answers her own question, probably inadvertently. The answer: because the Church *cares* -- the Church CARES about the salvation of souls.  The issue of civil encouragement of homosexual union "affect[s] the Church" (to quote Prof. Wertheimer) because such union endangers souls inasmuch as it encourages and ratifies behavior that violates the moral order. Believe me, I *understand* that Prof. Wertheimer (along with many others) rejects the proposition that such conduct violates the moral order.  That contingent rejection, however, should not obscure the fact that when the Church encourages some social forms and denies the legitimacy of others, the work is always the same: to teach the truth about the moral order so that all can be saved (I Tim. 2:4). If Prof. Wertheimer (and others) were to *approve* of terrorism or torture or unjust economic structures, for example, obviously that approval would not properly operate as a reason for the Church to cease to *care* to condemn such conduct or conditions. The Church seeks to correct and transform the culture for the sake of salvation; the Church is not on the side of the grand coalition in favor of the status quo and of a world that increasingly denies Gospel truths.  Like any good parent, the Church does indeed *care*.  The Church is not a libertarian parent.  The Church cares about all of humanity, not just those who have already heard the Gospel and believed and been forgiven (over and over and over).   The Church cares because Christ cares about all of humanity.     


Brennan, Patrick | Permalink