Friday, June 26, 2015

Self-Made Man (or Woman, whatever) of the Supreme Court


An image of humanity
as a whole, part of the
meaning of marriage.
Today's majority opinion included this gem: “The Constitution...includes specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.” This takes us far beyond the “born this way” plea that has characterized much of the rhetoric surrounding same-sex marriage. Now it is a matter of an identity that can be self-defined. Man has become his own maker. It's going to be really challenging to maintain a society in which the laws must conform to individual autonomy.

The provision for religious freedom in the matter of the definition of marriage is especially troubling. It seems as weak as the supporting arguments in the majority opinion. And yet the issue is crucial for the unhampered functioning of the Catholic Church's structures as they now exist, since marriage is a pivotal sacrament (Pope John Paul called natural marriage the “primordial” sacrament), and a revelation (that's part of what a sacrament is) of the relationship of God and humanity.

It's going to be interesting to see where this takes us, but here is perhaps a preview, from Bonhoeffer:

The limits and claims of the secular calling are fixed by our membership of the visible Church of Christ, and these limits are reached when the space which the body of Christ claims and occupies in the world for its worship, its offices and the civic life of its members clashes with the world's claim for space for its own activities. 

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