In today's society, human stories often get lost unless they're used for propaganda. This is a predominant reality of our current culture. We opine about decisions or activities without ever having facts. This is who we are as a tweeting, blogging, status-updating people.
And so during what has become an annual March for Marriage in our nation's capital, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone made a plea: "Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings."
He was responding to a group of politicians and activists protesting his involvement in the march.
At the event Cordileone also said: "Every child comes from a man and a woman, and has a right, a natural human right, to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their own mother and father. This is the great public good that marriage is oriented towards and protects. The question is then: does society need an institution that unites children to the mothers and fathers who bring them into the world, or doesn't it?"
That's not hate speech. That's taking a moment to consider why government should have anything to do with marriage in the first place.
Cordileone suggests there can be "no justice, no peace, no end to poverty, without a strong culture of marriage and the family." He points to our modern reality: "All we have to do is look around and see that our society is broken and hurting in so many ways ... We need to fix our economy; we especially need to pay a living wage to working-class families; we need to fix our broken immigration system; we need to improve our schools, especially those that are failing children from poorer families."
But to fix these things, Cordileone insists we must first "rebuild a marriage culture, a culture which recognizes and supports the good of intact families, built on the marriage between a man and a woman committed to loving faithfulness to each other and to their children."
The Catholic Church's teaching about the true nature of marriage is no condemnation of people who are gay. We simply believe two people of the same sex should be unable to marry. That is not to say gay people cannot experience deep friendships, commitment, loyalty, generosity and love, just like anyone else. It is to say men and women were made for each other in a unique and complementary way by God. Such a union is something we believe cannot occur between people of the same gender.
The capacity of a man and woman to procreate gives their union special and unique significance. This complementarity and the capacity that exists for the creation of a new person are essential to marriage, even when this potentiality is not fully realized.
We live in a fast-paced time. So if we can take a news event to draw people into something deeper, we might impart a bigger picture than our computer screens typically show. If we try to encounter people instead of bludgeon them, we might be surprised what good, beauty and truth we're drawn to.
Kathryn Lopez can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.