Saturday, January 19, 2013

Inaugural Weekend II

So we owe gay marriage to Martin
Luther?  Well, in a certain sense, in
the world of unintended consequences,
This weekend the Liturgy of the Roman Rite presents us with the Gospel of the Wedding Feast at Cana.  And there will be many parishes, tragically, that will use the occasion to “defend Marriage” by attacking their fellow citizens whose understanding of what constitutes a marriage is different than our Catholic understanding.  And a fortuitous coincidence of Gospel and calendar will provide an opportunity, while they are at it, to knock the President as he begins a second term of service.  Incidentally, I don’t understand how attacking same-sex marriage, “defends” or upholds the commitment of those in traditional marriages.  I think we need to do everything we can to support those who have committed themselves to Christian marriage, but attacking others doesn’t seem to really add anything positive.   
What we probably should note, though not necessarily in the homily, is that we are at one of those rare historical moments where the tectonic plates of culture are shifting.  The era of Christendom—that period in which a large segment of culture (in this case, “Western” or Euro-American culture) was fashioned by Christian faith and doctrine—is over.   It has been imploding for some time; certainly from 1789 and the end of the ancien regime with its alliance of throne and altar.  The roots of this secularization go back further through the Enlightenment to the Protestant Reformations of the sixteenth century.  (Martin Luther would die to think that he is in some way responsible for gay marriage, but then as he is dead anyway—what difference would it make?)    
Instead of crying about the spilt milk of the Church’s loss of influence (or should we say power?) over society and its norms, we need to ask ourselves what we must do to live as Christians in a post-Christian world.   The game has changed; indeed I think it is becoming more interesting.  This isn’t about Barack Obama and it isn’t about gay marriage: it is about Christians making a choice to follow Jesus Christ in a world that, very much like the world of Jesus and his disciples, challenges rather than supports Gospel Values.   It is time to put on our big boy (or big girl) pants and take responsibility for making Christian choices in a world that demands discipleship be  a decision and not a default. 

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