The word martyr conjures up images of Christians being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum and Nero burning Christians for torches at his garden parties.
But it is possible for us to give compelling witness to the faith without blood being actually shed.
In this sense, Catholic Charities
The press would have us believe that the Church is simply being her old mischievous, medieval self, and that there is no principled reason for her “discrimination” against homosexual couples. But Cardinal O’Malley left no doubt that there is a very important principle at stake: Children need mothers and fathers, married to each other.
Some reply that children are better off with same-sex couples than “languishing in foster care.” This retort tacitly admits that homosexual couples are not the first choice, but that the first choice, heterosexual, stable, married couples, are simply too few in number to meet the needs of all the children. But this claim, even if true, does not justify the policy being promoted.
The law of
Disregard for the moment the fact that the social science research so far has not been able to investigate the long-term impact of same-sex “married” couples raising children. We already know that children do better with married couples than with single parents or cohabiting couples. But the law requires adoption agencies to suppress even this well-established social knowledge.
This is the principle for which
the state of
Contrary to what the press would have us believe, the Church is behaving nobly. By being herself, by standing up for what she believes, the Church as an institution is being true to itself, just as the martyrs of old did. The Archdiocese of Boston shut down its adoption program rather than betray the Church’s core beliefs about marriage, gender and sexuality.
We can imagine the pragmatic minds
The Church sought a religious
exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination law, but the homosexual rights
lobby would not accept a compromise. An exception for Catholic Charities would
not have harmed either the children of
Same-sex couples seeking adoptions
would not have been harmed because
The tide is slowly beginning to turn. A person doesn’t have to agree with the Church that homosexual acts are sinful and homosexual orientation is disordered, to see that children benefit from having mothers and fathers.
People are realizing that the
recalcitrance of the homosexual rights lobby limited the options available for
children in need of homes. Nationally syndicated columnists such as John Leo,
Jeff Jacoby and Kathleen Parker emphasized this point. So did Deborah Saunders
writing about the comparable situation in
This recognition and respect for the Church could not have come about if Cardinal O’Malley had chosen to “go along to get along.” No one would have known what we think and why we think it.
Flailing around and eventually conforming is not the way to attract support. His calm, masculine clarity will ultimately prove more attractive than caving in to the enormous political pressure arrayed against him.
Political pressure is, in many ways, simply a grown-up version of playground peer pressure. The kid who buckles invites more bullying. The kid who doesn’t crumble is the kid everybody respects.
The only way to take ground in the culture war is to articulate your beliefs and offer reasons for them. By standing his ground, the cardinal made the Church’s position clear.
By suffering rather than surrendering, Cardinal O’Malley will nourish the Church, just like the martyrs of old.
Jennifer Roback Morse
is the founder of Your Coach for the Culture Wars.
- April 23-29, 2006