Slate Writer: ‘It Might Take Centuries,’ But the Catholic Church Will Accept Same-Sex Marriage

Media coverage of Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia typically noted that it reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage. Slate’s William Saletan acknowledges the literal truth of that reporting, but suggested in an April 8 article that the document contains seeds that will sprout into Vatican acceptance of same-sex unions, though he admits that process “might take centuries.”

Saletan argued that in time, the Church will extend Amoris Laetitia’s treatment of infertile heterosexual couples to same-sex couples: “This double standard, between homosexuality and other forms of infertility, is the cracked pillar at the foundation of the church’s policy against same-sex unions. It’s how Catholic teaching on homosexuality will eventually collapse.”

From Saletan’s piece (bolding added):

Amoris Laetitia”…says no same-sex union can be a marriage. That’s because, as the document explains, “No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.” But if you’re straight and infertile, the rule about transmitting life doesn’t apply. Your marriage is just as valid as anyone else’s, according to the document…

This double standard, between homosexuality and other forms of infertility, is the cracked pillar at the foundation of the church’s policy against same-sex unions. It’s how Catholic teaching on homosexuality will eventually collapse

The term “fruitfulness,” which the church wields as a fertility requirement against same-sex couples, miraculously becomes metaphoric in the case of infertile opposite-sex couples...

…And what if you’re raising kids together? “Amoris Laetitia” says that’s a great way for infertile straight couples to fulfill the purpose of marriage…

Same-sex couples…can sustain lifetime commitments, build virtuous communities, and give children loving homes. They can also provide what the church celebrates in straight marriages: erotic love.

“Amoris Laetitia” isn’t shy in its praise of carnal fulfillment…It exalts sexual expression as “an interpersonal language wherein the other is taken seriously, in his or her sacred and inviolable dignity”…

If you don’t think people can express that kind of love in a same-sex relationship, you’re underestimating God and the human heart. Gay love is real. That’s why opponents of same-sex marriage are retreating to an argument they see as purely biological: that penile-vaginal intercourse, while sometimes sterile in practice, is always procreative in principle

Once the church’s…analysis of infertile straight couples is applied to gay couples…its only remaining argument against same-sex households is their putative inferiority at raising kids. That’s an empirical claim, and it’s disintegrating

In the United States, gay marriage has gone from absurdity to law in about 20 years. It won’t be nearly that fast in Catholicism. It might take centuries. But when it happens, the church will quote passages from “Amoris Laetitia” and similar documents.

Culture/Society Religion Sexuality Homosexuality Same-sex marriage Catholic Church Slate William Saletan Pope Francis


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