March 31, 2013

The archbishop of the Washington diocese said Easter Sunday that he was concerned that Catholics would be shunned for opposing same sex marriage -- and that it was gay and lesbian Americans who need to "make room" for the very people discriminating against them.

During an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Cardinal Donald Wuerl how the church would react to gay and lesbian members who wanted to get married if the U.S. Supreme Court found that state and federal bans on same sex marriage were unconstitutional.

"The Catholic Church also reminds all of us there is a moral law, they are the commandments of God and we have to do our best to live by them," Wuerl insisted. "The church is probably -- with 20 centuries of experience -- the most understanding of the human condition of any institution. But at the same time, it does remind not only gay people but heterosexual people, straight people, you're not supposed to be following a moral law apart from what Christ has said to us."

"What would you say to that good, gay Catholic?" Wallace pressed. "You would allow him to continue in the church, but you would not recognize his marriage?"

"But we do that same thing with people who are married, divorced and remarried," Wuerl pointed out. "We say, you know, you're still part of the family, but we can't recognize that second marriage. It's never been a great problem. It's painful for all of us to have to realize that making our way through life is difficult and that we can't always be as perfect as we like to be."

The cardinal added that the definition of "marriage" was "when a man and woman commit to each other for the rest of their lives and generate and educate children."

"Once you change that arbitrarily, there's going to be downstream from that all kinds of questions," he warned. "We're going to have to deal with them one by one as we come to them. And that's why the church keeps saying, make room for everyone's faith."

"The only thing I worry about is someone saying to me, 'You, because you believe that sex is intended for marriage and because you believe that marriage is indissoluble and because you believe that marriage is between a man and a woman that somehow you don't belong here, that somehow this is bigotry or this is hate speech.' That's what I worry about. There has to be room enough in a society as large, as free as pluralistic as America to make space for all of us."

(h/t: Talking Points Memo)

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