Dominican priest, lawyer analyzes SCOTUS marriage ruling

Dominican priest, lawyer analyzes SCOTUS marriage ruling
By Brian Fraga, Rhode Island Catholic Correspondent

PROVIDENCE — Nobody should be surprised that the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right, Father Thomas More Garrett, O.P., told the St. Pius V Young Adult Group.

“We could see this coming,” Father Garrett, associate pastor of St. Pius V, told an audience of a little more than two-dozen adults in their 20s and 30s during a talk at the parish on Sept. 17.

Father Garrett, a former lawyer who worked briefly as a U.S. Congressional aide, analyzed the court’s June 26 landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, adding that the majority decision sought to affirm same-sex couples and bestow them with a dignity previously afforded only to heterosexual couples.

But what the Supreme Court did, Father Garrett said, was sever the connection between marriage and the natural world, which he said is marked by an objective reality that includes an obvious complementarity between men and women.

“Obergefell codifies a lie,” Father Garrett said.

For several years, Catholic leaders and other defenders of traditional marriage often presented arguments against legalizing same-sex marriage that focused on the potential threats to religious freedom and the fact that only heterosexual couples can procreate.

Both arguments have been “found wanting” and used “without much success,” said Father Garrett, who sought to present a new way to approach the issue, one that is rooted in nature and logic.

For example, Father Garrett noted that simply having a desire for something does not make it healthy or beneficial. A desire for smoking, heavy drinking or extramarital affairs does not suddenly render them to be beneficial.

But somehow, the sexual desire for someone of the same gender gets a “free pass” in society, Father Garrett said.

“In view of the shortcomings of human desire, its inability to consistently identify someone’s good, we ought to be cautious about embracing the proliferating of same-sex marriage,” Father Garrett said.

Human desire, Father Garrett added, cannot be separated from the natural world, which sets limits and boundaries on what is possible.

For example, the biological aspects of the sexual act between a man and wife demonstrates how nature intends men and women to be together, an objective reality that helps form the natural basis for marriage.

It’s something we don’t see between bodies of the same sex,” Father Garrett said. “If sexual differences are not real, then human life is not real.

But the Supreme Court ignored the biological and objective natural realities that underpin the complementarity of the sexes.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic who often serves as the swing vote in close decisions, said that to deny civil marriage to same-sex couples deprived them of their dignity and was rooted in malice toward homosexuals. Kennedy wrote that the history of marriage “is one of both continuity and change,” and that the institution has “evolved over time.”

“There is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices,” Kennedy wrote.

In 1992, Kennedy used similar emotionally-laden language in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutional right to abortion. In that decision, Kennedy said: “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.”

That line, Father Garrett said, is false since not everything about the concept of existence is a mystery, and also because human beings cannot simply create meaning for the universe.

“The world we see around us is a given,” Father Garrett said. “We don’t create it. It’s given to us.”

Instead of natural reality, now desire and sexual orientation determine what marriage is, Father Garrett said.

“The proponents of same-sex marriage have focused largely on same-sex couples’ desire for one another,” Father Garrett said. “We take it as acceptable when people declare for us that it’s good for them to be attracted to someone of the same sex. It seems questionable.”

Several people who heard Father Garrett’s talk were impressed with his arguments.

“It was a thoughtful discussion. It was interesting the way he put everything together. I had never thought about it quite like that before,” said Glenn Dupont, a Lincoln resident who attends St. Ambrose Church.

“He approached it from a very intellectual point of view. He articulated it well and came up with several rational explanations for why he thought the way he did,” said Peter Kapur, a Newport resident who attends St. Mary’s Church.

The St. Pius V Young Adult Group planned to follow Father Garrett’s talk by watching “Courage,” a documentary about same-sex attraction, on Sept. 24.

Thanks to Source: The Rhode Island Catholic

 

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