Cardinal George: Could Jesus Be Accepted As A Chicagoan?

http://www.archchicago.org/cardinalsnetwork/archive.aspx?id=82

Cardinal Francis George

Cardinal Francis George

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.”

The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.” Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry; and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus. Are Americans so exceptional that we are free to define “marriage” (or other institutions we did not invent) at will? What are we re-defining?

It might be good to put aside any religious teaching and any state laws and start from scratch, from nature itself, when talking about marriage. Marriage existed before Christ called together his first disciples two thousand years ago and well before the United States of America was formed two hundred and thirty six years ago. Neither Church nor state invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Marriage exists because human nature comes in two complementary sexes: male and female. The sexual union of a man and woman is called the marital act because the two become physically one in a way that is impossible between two men or two women. Whatever a homosexual union might be or represent, it is not physically marital. Gender is inextricably bound up with physical sexual identity; and “gender-free marriage” is a contradiction in terms, like a square circle.

Both Church and state do, however, have an interest in regulating marriage. It is not that religious marriage is private and civil marriage public; rather, marriage is a public institution in both Church and state. The state regulates marriage to assure stability in society and for the proper protection and raising of the next generation of citizens. The state has a vested interest in knowing who is married and who is not and in fostering good marriages and strong families for the sake of society.

The Church, because Jesus raised the marital union to the level of symbolizing his own union with his Body the Church, has an interest in determining which marital unions are sacramental and which are not. The Church sees married life as a path to sanctity and as the means for raising children in the faith, as citizens of the universal kingdom of God. These are all legitimate interests of both Church and state, but they assume and do not create the nature of marriage.

People who are not Christian or religious at all take for granted that marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of family and, of its nature, for life. The laws of civilizations much older than ours assume this understanding of marriage. This is also what religious leaders of almost all faiths have taught throughout the ages. Jesus affirmed this understanding of marriage when he spoke of “two becoming one flesh” (Mt. 19: 4-6). Was Jesus a bigot? Could Jesus be accepted as a Chicagoan? Would Jesus be more “enlightened” if he had the privilege of living in our society? One is welcome to believe that, of course; but it should not become the official state religion, at least not in a land that still fancies itself free.

Surely there must be a way to properly respect people who are gay or lesbian without using civil law to undermine the nature of marriage. Surely we can find a way not to play off newly invented individual rights to “marriage” against constitutionally protected freedom of religious belief and religious practice. The State’s attempting to redefine marriage has become a defining moment not for marriage, which is what it is, but for our increasingly fragile “civil union” as citizens.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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6 comments to Cardinal George: Could Jesus Be Accepted As A Chicagoan?

  • Andy

    I ask this question. How is civil union different than marriage. It just is different words.

  • Savio Sequeira

    Absolutely right.

    Please send this to Barack Hussein Obama & all his cohorts in the Democratic Party as well as all the politicians in the USA.

    GOD Bless

  • Ann & Mark Ceman

    Dear Cardinal George:

    We thank you for expressing so well our rights and beliefs regarding Holy Marriage between a man and a woman. We have been married for almost 54 years. Please continue to speak the truth from the rooftops. We love you.

  • Bill

    “The Constitution was created to keep the government out of peoples personal lives, to protect the people and society from the government itself.” It doesn’t get much more personal than the government saying who can marry who.

  • Gary Ney

    Breathtaking is it not! The Constitution was created to keep lawmakers in limited confines so that power hungry people will not impose their personal views upon society. The Constitution was created to keep the government out of peoples personal lives, to protect the people and society from the government itself. So, today we live in a country where we have the government telling us all sorts of ways in which and how we are to live our lives, a gross and authortian overreach is an understatement.
    Principle and powers, that is our battle. Satan has dug in and has a firm grip on society and with it government powers at every level. Corruption, scandal, abuses, dignity of life, undermining of values and total and complete dishonesty, all marks of satan and of our governments. The Jewish authority hated Jesus for many thing and for many reasons, none less than he was a threat to thier way of being, controlling the people of Jerusalem in such a way, they would never be in God” grace. Jesus came and showed the people of Israel the Truth, and many followed him because of that. Yes, the Jews had the distinction of putting Jesus to death, but it was only because it was The Father’s will that His only Begotten Son shoud be sacrificed for the forgivness of sins and the promise of Eternal Life through the Crucified and then Resurrected Christ.
    We need a Christ right here and right now in America, who will walk in the Truth and tell the people exactly what we are up against, strongly, courageously and honestly. God vs Satan, Good vs Evil, Powers and Principalities.
    May God’s Peace be with you

  • Bill

    Cardinal George has been a huge disappointment. He replaced the greatest archbishop in the history of Chicago and has not measured up.

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