Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Discussion on immediate social ramifications of SSM

June 25th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

The recent legislation regarding same-sex marriage brings about many questions. The Church, and we as Catholics, are going to have to prepare for certain situations. One such situation that will probably come up right away for many of us is the engagement of our homosexual friends, family, and colleagues. I’m trying to figure out what the best way to respond would be.

Scenario: Homosexual friend enthusiastically says, “I just got engaged!” amongst a group of people at today’s bbq. Everyone pawns over them, “congratulations, I’m so happy for you”. What do you do? Frowny face? Silence? An insincere “congrats”? Smile and exit the discussion somehow? I’m seriously curious how best to handle this. So if anyone out there has some ideas, please share them.

NOTE: Pro-SSM supporters – this is not the thread to debate SSM. This is a thread to discuss amongst those who are in opposition to SSM how to handle it in social situations. If you try to hijack this discussion, I will delete your comments.

UPDATE: After a lengthy discussion (thanks to everyone for participating), I thought I’d wrap up some of the general thoughts here. The possible reactions I posted originally were just to get the ideas flowing and not what I would necessarily condone. I’d concur with those who say that the most important thing to do is to make sure you avoid giving the impression that you condone SSM or the homosexual agenda. Saying “congratulation” or “I’m happy for you” are out of the question. Given differing personalities and situations, I believe there are many different acceptable responses, but any form of acceptance should be avoided. My personal favorites are Hopefull’s idea of knocking over a glass of wine and Sassy’s idea to ask if they’re considering NFP 🙂

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35 Responses to “Discussion on immediate social ramifications of SSM”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Hmm, probably no good — or, perhaps, easy — answer. I have to deal with a coworker who has changed his legal status to female, is undergoing hormone therapy, and will be heading to Bangkok for the big operation. I greet him when passing (to be honest, I only see him a couple of times a week)but never have said anything approving his decision.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    How about: “May God bless you and keep you, and you’ll be in my/our prayers”

  3. avatar Bruce says:

    My response has always been, “that’s not a marriage,” and I usually leave it at that. The more matter-of-fact I am makes it clear that such a notion should be self-evident, and those that think otherwise are either being silly or are seriously delusional. I prefer to speak the truth, and this is how I handle it. The usual replay is “whatever” or “you’re just a filthy bigot” or something like that. No worries. 🙂

  4. avatar Hopefull says:

    I think each situation will probably be a bit different so there is no single reply, but I also think we need to draw the line at not doing ANYTHING that seems like approval. I would certainly never attend such a “wedding” or engagement party, or send a gift for example. One possibility, whether it is half the couple who says it, or his or her friends, or just passed on to me by a friend of mine “Did you hear…?” is that it would not be out of place for me to bless myself silently. It calls on God’s presence and help, and affirms my Catholic belief, and also says it is my faith that is the basis of no congratulations, not bigotry or hate, and it isn’t a statement to argue with. It is simply the practice of my religion (is that still a civil right? or is it considered an uncivil right?) If the group conversation continues oooohing and aaahing, then I could walk away, or start a side conversation with someone I know feels the same, or if I’m at the dinner table, accidentally knocking over a glass of wine will probably divert attention. 🙂

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anonymous-133210

    I am that to most people a “God Bless” comment would signify your blessing and approval of their actions.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anonymous-133210

    I am sure that to most people a “God Bless” comment would signify your blessing and approval of their actions.

  7. avatar JLo says:

    Never “congrats” (even with a frown accompanying the word)… what would we be congratulating them on? A ticket to hell?

    And offering a blessing on the event is a lie, perhaps a sacrilege, even with the caveat Anonymous-133210 proposes, “you’ll be in our prayers”. What’s THAT if not acceptance of another’s acceptance of evil. We can’t do that!

    And a confrontational “that’s not a marriage” proposed by Bruce isn’t something I want to do either… engage in a debate.

    But silence is also somehow not enough… Jesus charged us with standing up for him.

    I look forward to finding some guidance from the respondents to this post of your yours, Ben, because I am at a loss as to what is appropriate and demanded for those devoted to the Lord in his Church. +JMJ

  8. avatar Bruce says:

    JLo, I don’t always engage in debate, because usually saying “its not a marriage” is enough for them to disengage. However, as we are to always have a “reason for our hope” it is not enough for us to remain silent or change the subject. If we truly believe that God is who He says He is, and that marriage is what it is, then we have an obligation to learn it, live it, and talk about it constantly.

    We have to accept the FACT that we are missionaries in enemy territory. If we are too cowardly to engage those duped by the enemy, then we are failing as Christians. It is time to put up or shut up. This is the Church Militant, and it is high time we start acting like it.

  9. avatar snowshoes says:

    I forget the source, so please help, but it goes something like, “One’s Catholic Faith is never a subject of uninterest to non-Catholics.” So we’re deluding ourselves if we think our “group” isn’t interested in our reaction. As with the Roman martyrs’ accounts, in which low-level officials often begged the Catholics to “just sprinkle a bit of incense…”, martyrdom (witnessing to the Truth) is often not imposed from without.

    As JLo says, Jesus is counting on us. So, as we have always been taught, in the most serious and extreme situations of danger or need or in this case, the condition of another’s eternal soul, we must pray immediately to the Holy Spirit, “O Holy Spirit, what should I do, what should I say? Enlighten my mind and heart to say what You want this person to hear, and please Holy Spirit, help me to be kind.” God bless you.

  10. avatar Scott W, says:

    “Congrats” is out of the question as Jlo said because it’s formal approval. “God bless” is too easily construed as approval.

  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    ANd what if it were one of your children? Would you attend their wedding ceremony if they were gay and decided to get married?

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    May God bless you, not may God bless your marriage. I don’t see it as an approval of their sins. SSM couples generally don’t want to hear about God, and yes we should all keep them in our prayers. If one were to tell them “I’ll keep you in my prayers”, they would think “gee what for?” We must disagree with this horrendous passing of this bill; however, we must continue to love our neighbor as ourselves, but not to condone their behavior. I guess my comment may seem like an approval, but I guess you can see it either way.

  13. avatar Dr. K says:

    I couldn’t in good conscience congratulate a friend on potentially engaging in sinful activity. I think I would stick to silence. If invited, I would come up with an excuse not to go. Same goes with a co-worker or boss.

    This is really going to become problematic with parents who have a gay child who wants to “marry”. To these parents: don’t buy the Fortunate Families garbage. Stick to your guns and peacefully remove yourself from involvement in such illicit activity. Supporting your child’s decision to pursue homosexual marriage is doing nothing to help them in the long run (think eternity). That is not to say you should never speak to your child again! But definitely do not support or participate in a gay wedding.

  14. avatar Scott W, says:

    ANd what if it were one of your children? Would you attend their wedding ceremony if they were gay and decided to get married?

    No I would not. Just like I would not attend one of my children being inducted into a skinhead neo-nazi gang. That doesn’t mean I don’t love them, but I will do everything I can to bring them back to the the truth. Same-sex marriages are not marriages. They are lies.

  15. avatar JLo says:

    I don’t disagree, Bruce, that we are the Church Militant and we must stand courageously for the Truth. In looking for a phrase, a sentence, that would suffice in all circumstances, I guess I am deluding myself. You are right… we always in every circumstance must stand ready, armed with the truth and still displaying charity… and that’s the rub: how to say the truth and not be received as one spewing hate. Tough, but now it’s upon us, so we must all practice, I guess!

    Surely our bouncing off point is our homilists! I believe that this is an opening for all our priests and bishops and deacons in New York to actually TEACH in their homilies! The truth must be taught by them from the ambo. This is THEIR time to stand and be counted and lead us in this battle, because those dear men are mightily accountable before the Lord.

    And Anonymous-133122, no I would not attend any such thing whether my children or anyone else, anymore that I would attend their hanging. +JMJ

  16. avatar Louis E. says:

    As ever,I am not religious.I think I would respond to an “engagement” announcement,once it was clear that it was a same-sex situation,with “I’m sorry to hear that”.After all,it’s like an alcoholic’s announcement of his determination to drink more constantly than ever.As to an invitation to a same-sex wedding,I would respond with a letter saying I view such as occasions of sadness,and that my regard for the inviter precluded my being in any way complicit in treating the event as positive for him or her.

  17. I have been fortunate not to be put in that spot. I had two male friends from church who I had known separately for years, who had dated females in the past, become close friends and share living accomodations.They still showed up to our Roman Catholic Church, participated in church groups, and went on retreats. Our family has loved and admired both of them individually for their warmth of heart, thoughtfulness, generosity, and Christian charity.

    Sometime along the way, we began to suspect that they were more than just friends,especially after one of them in group discussion had voiced his objection against church teaching on homosexuality. Eventually they both left the Roman Catholic Church and joined another Christian denomination where they both felt welcome.

    I would estimate at least 11 years ago, a co-worker whose parents lived next to these two men at their new address informed me of their wedding. They commented in a questioning way, why I wasn’t invited to their wedding. (This co-worker and her parents were there).I pretty much knew the reason why none of my family was invited to their wedding despite the fact that we had been close friends for years. I believe that they did not want to put us in that spot of deciding whether to go to their wedding. I also thought they did not want to invite people who they knew had deep Roman Catholic values. I have seen them since them and have been amicable to both of them.

    I think the same reason is responsible why I was not invited to another co-worker’s birthday bash hosted by their homosexual partner. Other members of my workplace were invited to go, but I was not.(I actually think their homosexual partner thought I was a threat). But aside from that, usually co-workers who are having an event which is going t be over the top, do not invite me. I was glad that I was not invited and had not went when I heard the happenings of the evening including the discourse of a straight, heterosexual co-worker who was being harassed and chased by a drunken homosexual, terrified and trying to get away.

    I have kept company of that homosexual co-worker, and other homosexual co-workers, in regard to activities related to work or even outside of work, and they know I accept them as individuals, but they know my values and that’s probably why they do not invite me to their private celebrations. Actually the same goes for heterosexual co-workers who are throwing a private party which is going to be a bash. For years I have turned down invitations to strip clubs or stripping events by those who have not known me at first. Additionally, knowing that I pray, read scripture, and am involved in church activities has given them a clear message. However, many of the people who do not include me in their private events have asked me to pray for them over the years, particularly when posed with crises of various sorts.

  18. avatar Sassy says:

    Dr. K, sadly Fortunate Families has done a good job of presenting their garbage as truth.

    Anon122, no I would not attend my child’s SS wedding. For the sake of his soul, I couldn’t do that.

  19. avatar Anonymous says:

    The response to “I’m marrying my partner” does not have to be “congratulations”, “best wishes” or “God bless you”, especially if I think it is being made to force a positive comment from me. All I have to say is a very non-committal “Oh, are you?” or, if more conversation seems to be needed “Is the ceremony going to be in Rochester?” or a similar bland question, and then change the subject. If the person is hoping to get a more exciting response from me, he or she will be disappointed.

  20. I’m seriously curious how best to handle this. So if anyone out there has some ideas, please share them.

    I’ve faced this scenario. (My employer is based in New England.) I simply smile and say nothing. It’s hardly an occasion that requires false conviviality.

  21. avatar JLo says:

    Anonymous-89223, I believe making small talk about the “event” is giving a silent nod to it. I ask in all seriousness, Rich Leonardi and others… is silence all that is required of we members of the Church Militant? +JMJ

  22. avatar Sassy says:

    I have replied the following before after hearing about a SSM:

    “I sure hope they strongly consider NFP (natural family planning).”

  23. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks everyone! I put an update in the original post.

  24. avatar Margaret says:

    I think– something along the lines of “Wow.” Not in the tone of voice you’d use if someone won the lottery, more along the lines of someone announcing a loved on had an inoperable brain tumor and only weeks to live. Followed by, in that equally serious tone, “I’ll pray for you.”

  25. avatar Bruce says:

    How about this one: “What is marriage?”

    Given that it doesn’t have any meaning anymore, I would like to hear those who think they’re having one tell us what it is.

  26. avatar JLo says:

    I like Bruce at 10:30’s response… That’s what I will do! Marriage? What’s that?

    They’ve reduced my marriage to having been a choice of sex acts, so the legal name is bogus. Matrimony, a sacrament only obtained in our Church, is the way I now will describe my own vocational state, since “marriage” is now as bogus a word as rainbow and gay and choice and pride, all of which have been made squalid by our modern so-called “culture”. May God have mercy on all of us in our country and our state as our laws kill babies; and now New York has advance the Culture of Death another mighty leap down that slippery slope. Are we at the bottom yet, Lord? +JMJ

  27. avatar Anonymous says:

    Filth bound for hell”

    There’s the love the sinner not the sin attitude.

  28. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anonymous-13694 says:
    June 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Filth bound for hell”

    There’s the love the sinner not the sin attitude.”

    That’s a lovely virtue that has certainly not being expressed anywhere in this or related discussions on this blog site.

  29. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    Anonymous13694; Could you please clarify your statement. I don’t seem to understand it. I myself would not venture to refer to someone as being filth bound for hell but might characterize their acts as filthy acts.

  30. avatar Anonymous says:

    I read through these comments, as I have the same question (What do you answer in this situation?] that was posed by Ben. What is the right response?

    I also sometimes offer silence in the face of these things, too, thinking: “They haven’t asked my opinion; If they ask, I’ll tell them!” But, its true: “Silence means consent”. And, is my silence just taking the easy way out? Is that all Christ wants of me? I cannot confidently say yes.

    I agree, pray for the words from the Holy Spirit before you go to where you know such things will come up. But sometimes we don’t get notice when we are to be called to be witnesses to truth. So thinking ahead about proper responses can help us prepare.

    Bruce gave the only two suggestions here that I think are right. “That’s not a marriage!” stated confidently lets them know where you stand, and allows you to state the truth. The truth sets free! It can plant a seed [one we’ll likely never get to see grow!]. And its up to them if they want to talk it out further or not, so its not imposing. If they want to call you close-minded, narrow, bigoted or whatever, that’s their problem, and we need to be willing to be mislabeled. Its a small cross.

    Bruce’s other response, “What is a marriage?” is a clever way to invite conversation, and does not validate their choice, which is good. It is kind of polite, because its asking, “What does that mean to you?”.

  31. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon 1710 “They are filth bound for hell,” and I wanted to point out that they are sinners, human people, not “filth.”

  32. avatar annonymouse says:

    To the statement “I’m marrying my partner” I would have to say something along the lines of “The government of the State of New York notwithstanding, I don’t believe that’s possible. Implicit in marriage is openness to and the possibility of creating new life. Two men or two women simply aren’t made to do that.”

  33. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Good one.

  34. avatar snowshoes says:

    Scott W hit a nail on the head, whether he intended to or not. By this “law” NYS has become a gang. A gang enforces the obedience of its membership and its goals with violence. It treats its enemies (all outsiders) with violence. Whether or not the person giving the “happy news” knows it or not, he is laying down a gantlet. What I mean to refer to, as by way of getting to an answer to the main question of this thread, is the actual context: it is a confrontation with a violent gang (not the person necessarily but the legal situation). So, as with Jesus and St. John the Baptist, we must respond courageously and with love, that is why we must pray to the Holy Spirit in each situation. Some of us will be dragged in front of judges and then off to prison… God bless.

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