Dear St. John Family,
It is a little over a week since that historic decision that redefines the legal definition of marriage in our country. Please read the response of our Michigan bishops printed in this bulletin. While many are celebrating this decision, it can leave many faithful Catholics very discouraged and even insecure about expressing what the timeless truth of marriage is since the dawn of time. Accusations of bigotry are hurled towards those who hold to something that just a decade ago was believed by the vast majority of the American people. Take courage because you are in good company. Our Lord Jesus reminds us that the world hated him first (Jn 15:18).
Our faith calls us to speak and live the truth in love, and we are called to uphold two truths in particular with regard to this issue:
“Men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies…must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2358).
The truth and sanctity of marriage as the exclusive union of self-giving love between a man and a woman by which new life is conceived and families are raised in a life of love.
Pope Francis has been a living example of how to hold fast to both of these truths. Frankly, we as God’s people haven’t always done well in either of these. We have not been the most welcoming community for those who experience same sex attraction. Not unrelated to that is the need for greater fidelity to the second truth; we have not always lived the vocation of marriage as the reflection of the undying love between Christ and his Church. Just as there have been unfaithful priests who have not lived up to their vocation of holy orders, so too with lay men and women in their vocation of marriage. This has led to a crisis of the family, which is why Pope Francis called for a Synod on the Family both last October and this upcoming October. You can be sure that this will be a central focus and theme of Pope Francis on his upcoming September visit to the United States.
As we celebrate Independence Day, I want to encourage you to lift your spirits and lay claim to the freedom that Christ offers us sinners called to be saints. Let us live the joy of the Gospel in our own families and in our community. That is the best response to this Supreme Court ruling and for the healing and renewal of our nation.
Yours in Christ,