Great Reading

From “Why do so many Catholics support marriage equality?  Blame the Catholic imagination.”  (Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter)

“I don’t think this phenomenon is evidence of increased secularization among Catholics. Cuomo, O’Malley and Gregoire, for example, all claim their faith is an important part of their identities. Nor do I think it is simply the result of Catholics having been raised in a justice-oriented tradition. The answer to why so many Catholics support marriage equality lies, I believe, in understanding the Catholic imagination.

In his book The Catholic Imagination, Fr. Andrew Greeley writes, “Catholics see the Holy lurking in creation. As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events and persons of daily life are revelations of grace.”

The Catholic imagination, or “Catholic sacramental view of the world,” as my mentor Margaret Farley calls it, has its roots in the Catholic understanding of the relationship between grace and nature.

In Catholic theology, grace perfects nature. Yes, human beings are a mess, and we’re born into a very messy world. But because we are created by God and because everything God creates is good, there is intrinsic goodness in us. God offers us countless opportunities of grace to help us transform ourselves and to redeem us.”

“Of course, the Roman Catholic Church bases its teaching on homosexuality on its interpretation of natural law, arguing that all sex acts must take place within the state of marriage and must have the potential to procreate.

But the Catholic imagination sees God everywhere, believes that God reveals Godself in all things and understands God can work through any human being or human relationship. By insisting that genital complementarity is an absolute requirement for marriage, the hierarchy places limits on God’s power to work within all of the relationships of all God’s beloved children.

Those who possess a sacramental view of the world often realize that any human person or relationship that brings love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, generosity or faithfulness into the world is a sign of God’s grace. Perhaps this is the reason so many Catholics defend marriage equality: They have recognized these graces can come forth as much through same-sex couples as heterosexual couples. Those who have a Catholic imagination recognize that a couple’s ability to enter into a marriage commitment is not contingent on their anatomies, but on the depth, strength and fruitfulness of their bond.

Given their sacramental view of the world, it is little wonder that so many Catholics dissent from the bishops’ disparaging characterization of LGBT persons and same-sex relationships. The hierarchy’s position simply does not do justice to the power of the Catholic imagination.”

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