Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A young parish priest in Texas is making national headlines after writing an article for his local newspaper that defends Church teaching on same-sex marriage.
Father Michael Rodriquez of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church in El Paso has been making waves ever since he published an op-ed in The El Paso Times that clearly annunciated Church teaching on the subject of homosexual unions.
He prefaced his article by warning the faithful that “Any Catholic who supports homosexual acts is, by definition, committing a mortal sin, and placing himself/herself outside of communion with the Roman Catholic Church.”
“Furthermore, a Catholic would be guilty of a most grievous sin of omission if he/she neglected to actively oppose the homosexual agenda, which thrives on deception and conceals its wicked horns under the guises of ‘equal rights,’ ‘tolerance,’ ‘who am I to judge?’ etc.,” he wrote.
Fr. Rodriquez goes on to quote the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) November 2009 pastoral letter on marriage, taking care to note that it was endorsed by El Paso Bishop Armando X. Ochoa. In this document, the Church stated its belief that marriage is among one of the many blessings bestowed upon mankind by God Himself, “a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race.”
“The Church has taught throughout the ages that marriage is an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman,” he wrote, and said the Church believes the disturbing trend toward legalization of same-sex marriage is an attempt to redefine marriage and the family.
“This proposal attempts to redefine the nature of marriage and the family and, as a result, harms both the intrinsic dignity of every human person and the common good of society,” he wrote.
“It is not unjust to oppose legal recognition of same-sex unions, because marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities. The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it.”
After calling upon all Catholics to treat homosexuals with love and respect, he also reminds them that “genuine love demands that we seek, above all, the salvation of souls. Homosexual acts lead to the damnation of souls.”
He concludes his article by taking on the argument raised by some that in a democracy, it’s up to the majority to decide between right and wrong.
“This form of reasoning is not only false, it’s ludicrous!” Father counters.
“While it’s true that a majority of the citizens in a democracy have the political power to impose their ‘morality’ on society, this juridical reality has no bearing whatsoever on the intrinsic moral value of actions. That which makes something right or wrong is the objective moral order established by God, which can also be grasped and appreciated through the use of human reason. In philosophy, this is known as natural law. Even the ancient Greeks had a basic respect for the principles of natural law.”
He added: “There is such a thing as a corrupt democracy, you know! Frighteningly, if the majority chooses to deny the objective moral order, then we will all suffer the pestiferous consequences.”
Not surprisingly, his op-ed caused an outcry from the homosexual community. A rebuttal published in the Dallas Voice, a major LGBT newspaper, took the usual tack of calling anyone who opposes the homosexual agenda a bigot. “Bigots are a dime a dozen, so it’s hardly surprising that a Catholic priest in El Paso believes this stuff (insert pedophilia joke here). The surprising thing is that The El Paso Times would print such garbage. ”
This kind of fire has had little or no impact on Fr. Rodriquez whose courageous op-ed has landed him on secular news shows where he has continued to impress even his critics.
During a recent ABC News interview, he quietly but firmly stated his reasons for writing the piece, saying it was because he understands the importance of witnessing to Jesus, His truth, and His love, and of applying it to this issue.
The homosexual activist who opposed him in the interview insisted that religion should be kept out of the same-sex marriage debate, saying it was a matter of personal morality and “equal rights.”
When the interviewer asked about other priests in the diocese who have openly disagreed with him, Fr. Rodriquez skillfully stayed on-message, saying this was not about personal opinions – not his or those who oppose him – but was about the Truth and what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexual unions.
Throughout the televised interview, Fr. Rodriquez was noted for maintaining his “priestly dignity” and for refusing to apologize for his truth telling.
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