Sunday, September 27, 2015

In Philadelphia Sunday morning, Pope hints at dualism on same-sex marriage, accepting that government cannot always regulate what is best for people's relationships

Pope Francis gave a very challenging sermon at mass in Philadelphia this morning.

He did not specifically mention gay marriage, but he did say that the temper of western civilization has changed in the past few decades.  Marriage used to be viewed as a community institution joining faith and civil society, and now it is more privatized.  He said he is not against changes in secular law if best for democracy. 

But the Pope later talked about the resistance of people to accept the risk and challenge of traditional marriage, in a society that has grown so individually competitive.  People seem to want less real intimacy than people did in past generations, he implied.

Proponents of traditional marriage are used to insisting that physical complementarity and openness to the responsibility of procreation are part of the self-discipline that makes people able to continue to remain in intimate marital relationships as they age and face inevitable hardships.  But practice shows that this experience is sometimes reflected in same-sex couples too – the ability to remain intimate as the partner age and face physical challenges.  The relevant concept may be “polarity” rather than just gender complementarity.

And the self-discipline inherent in institutional marriage has not prevented tribalism, war, group conflicts, or vulnerability to autocratic politicians.

And marriage – and emphasis on procreation – has not stopped overuse of the “survival of the fittest” theory in social relations.  Look at what happened to Nazi Germany.

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