June 19, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - We are in the midst of a cultural war between modern secular proponents and Catholics who believe and accept the magisterial teachings of the church.
Many contemporary men and women have been formed through public schools and universities, through movies and television, through newspapers and magazines to accept as normal a whole set of conduct choices: abortion, mercy killing, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, the homosexual lifestyle, same-sex “marriage,” use of contraceptives, premarital sex, and so on.
Each one of these actions is held as a part of the modern, contemporary world view, as a development and improvement of social mores.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, believes that each one of these forms of conduct is sinful, offensive to God, contrary to true development of the person and harmful both to the individual and to society.
The battle rages. The media generally support the secular views.
It was interesting to see how President Barack Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex “marriage” was viewed by The New York Times, which immediately produced editorials and op-ed pieces praising him for his stand.
Newsweek magazine carried a cover picture of the president with a rainbow halo over his head and the words: “The first gay president” (the title of an article by the Catholic writer Andrew Sullivan).
And so it was with innumerable other publications. A secular consensus was apparent. The voices of religious people — which were included in a few newspapers and magazines — were generally downplayed or ignored.
One of the great concerns for the church today is the number of Catholics who, for various reasons, accept the secular views in regard to at least some of the actions indicated. Numbers of Catholics resort to contraception and in vitro fertilization. Increasing numbers support “gay marriage.”
It seems Vice President Joe Biden, also a Catholic, precipitated President Obama’s announcement about “gay marriage” by declaring that he (Biden) had come to support it.
On May 10, Catholic Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House minority leader, announced that her faith compelled her to favor same-sex “marriage.” “My religion compels me,” she said, “to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider this (same-sex marriage) a form of discrimination.” She welcomed the president’s announcement.
The media carried reports of professors at Catholic universities who criticized the Church for opposing “gay marriage.” They argued that supporting traditional marriage is only one opinion among several found in Catholic circles.
According to LifeSiteNews, Daniel Maguire (a former priest) at Marquette University in Milwaukee, even opined that the bishops might be considered “in moral schism since most in the church have moved on to a more humane view on the rights of those whom God has made gay.” But the Catholic Church’s views are clear, definite and wise.
They are based upon the sacred Scriptures and constant theological teaching down through the centuries. “He who hears you, hears Me,” Our Lord said to his disciples: and these words apply to the official teachers of the Church. Change in manners or mores is not necessarily a step forward. What is the latest trend is not necessarily the wisest action.
Common sense itself is often a helpful judge as to the value of changes in conduct.
Recent scientific research has been cautioning people about the difficulties that occur with in vitro fertilization — the health problems of children born through the process, the immense challenge of what to do with the more than 400,000 frozen embryos (babies a few days old) in fertility clinics who will not be used by the parents/gamete providers.
In China, abortion and one-child per family law has now resulted in a situation in which millions of men will not be able to find brides, since so many girl babies have been aborted.
Acceptance of pre-marital sex — which Hollywood and TV programs have promoted for a long time in their productions — has brought about an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in our country.
And acceptance of same-sex “marriage” changes the very meaning of an institution upon which civilization has been built throughout the ages.
The cultural wars will continue. It would be a tragedy if Catholics in the United States sided with the wrong army.
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Father John A. Leies, SM, STD, is a Contributing Writer of HLI America. He is president emeritus of St. Mary’s University and formerly served as head of the Theology Department there. His recent writings may be found at HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum. A version of this article originally appeared in Today’s Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.