As I noted several days ago, the anti-gospel, bad-news response of the U.S. Catholic bishops' marriage guru Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco to the good news of the passage of marriage equality in Minnesota was to maintain that same-sex marriage undermines heterosexual marriage and violates the rights of children. Cordileone went so far as to claim that it was ironic that Minnesota chose marriage equality right after Mothers' Day, because, presumably, anything gay can't have anything to do with mothers.
At his Wild Reed blog, Michael Bayly, a valiant Minnesota Catholic who has worked hard for some years now as a Catholic to defend the human rights of gay citizens of that state, replies to Cordileone:
I'd like to take this opportunity to make a theological point of my own. And that is this: For many, if not the majority of the 7,000+ people who gathered last Tuesday at the Minnesota State Capitol to witness the signing into law of marriage equality, the occasion was a Spirit-filled event. This is not surprising given the significant role that people of faith – including Catholics – played in defeating last year's anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment and in advocating this year for marriage equality as a social justice and faith issue.
I don't find it ironic that Tuesday's bill signing took place so close to Mother's Day, I find it appropriate – appropriate for all mothers, including those partnered with another woman. I also find it fitting that Minnesota's marriage equality law was signed just five days before Pentecost – the feast of the great outpouring of God's Spirit of love, clarity, and courage.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the Marriage Bill which will, if passed, initiate marriage equality in the UK, easily passed in the House of Commons on Tuesday, as Terry Weldon reports at his Queering the Church blog. And it did so, as Terry adds, with strong support from many Catholic MPs, including some with gay family members. This despite the dire warnings of the Catholic bishops of the UK, about which Terry wrote several days ago, and about which Chris Morley left a valuable comment here a day or so ago, that permitting gay people to enjoy the same civil rights of marriage that heterosexual people enjoy poses a grave threat to the institution of marriage.
As Chris notes, though the bishops supported a number of desperate "poison-pill" amendments designed to weaken or impede the marriage equality bill, these were rejected by a large majority of House members. And he concludes,
So please take good comfort from the fact that in Minnesota, and today the UK, the majority of the laity, lawmakers and the population know what's right. It's the hierarchy that is out of step.
And Michael again:
If Archbishop Cordileone wants an example of irony (not to mention the wondrously mysterious ways of the Spirit!), he need look no further than to the role that his brother archbishop, the anti-marriage equality John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis, played in ensuring marriage equality in Minnesota. You see, Archbishop Nienstedt made the passage of the 'marriage amendment' something of a personal crusade. Yet it was a crusade that served to galvanize people in their commitment to stand up and speak their truth. What followed was a transforming outpouring of truth and love that first helped defeat last year's 'marriage amendment' and then preceded to help win marriage equality this year.
For many of us, such an outpouring was and continues to be experienced as the work of the Spirit.
He's right. And if the Catholic hierarchy doesn't begin to wake up and recognize that it's not only on the wrong side of history's moral arc in its continued attempt to dehumanize LGBT people, but also on the wrong side of the good news of the gospel itself, it's going to find itself increasingly thwarted in its attempt to convince many people that what the Catholic church is all about in any of its actions and teachings is good news.
The video: I posted this video featuring Minnesota Catholic parents Darlene and Tom White of Minnesota last October. It seems appropriate to post it again now, for readers who either didn't see it previously or might want to watch it again.