The 2nd evening of Renew International’s Theology on Tap featured Father Dwight Longenecker speaking on the topic of same-sex marriage. Not only is the topic relevant as the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments about whether there’s a constitutional right to such unions nationwide (join the “pledge a rosary for family”), but it is one in which we get engaged with our peers in discussion. Father Longenecker presented four commonly used arguments against same-sex marriage working through each and explaining why there are holes with particular audiences. For example, arguing that same-sex marriage is wrong because the authority of the Church says so essentially requires buy-in on the Church’s authority just as biblical references could be countered with reference to biblical practices to which we no longer adhere (such as avoiding shellfish).
Father’s advice in a situation where the loudest or most powerful argument is the winner? Tolerant resistance. Father Longenecker encouraged LVG members to maintain their opinion (rooted in the Church’s teaching) while tolerating the opposing view. He went onto reference his own experience with running a blog and receiving comments on it. “Never argue with atheists, especially the ones who go to church,” he chuckled.
In a situation where one is engaged in civil debate, Father Longenecker encouraged sharing beliefs! The strongest and best argument against same-sex marriage is to focus on the beauty and positivity of marriage. He reminded us that marriage is a sacrament of self-sacrifice, not self-fulfillment. Within the sacramental marriage, a couple learns about God’s love and grace and this is necessary to getting into heaven. Father said that seeing vibrant Catholic marriages radiant in joy is an important witness to the sacrament that will leave observers wanting to know more. Further, Father reminded us that like any sacrament, no authority of any kind can change the matter of the sacrament (click here to learn about the matter of each sacrament). God reveals himself thru the mystery of the sacraments – a physical action/property that communicates God’s grace and love. For example, one cannot baptize with mud or substitute wine in the Eucharist with coconut water. Therefore, one cannot change the matter of marriage between a man and a woman.
Next week is our final week of this season of Theology on Tap. Join us at 7p at Liberty Tap Room on Monday, May 4 (insert May the fourth jokes here). We’ll conclude with speakers Paul & Katie Smith who will talk about how the body communicates truths through dating and marriage.