Catholic leaders, including the newly announced archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, have issued predictable, negative, cliche-ridden responses to President Obama’s support of gay marriage. They ignore the reality that the evolving thinking of the president is reflective of a growing number of American citizens, and also ignore the undeniable fact that as the Catholic Church hierarchy increases the volume of its opposition to same-sex marriage, a growing number of American Catholics are heading in the opposite direction.
Cordileone is the U.S. bishops’ point man in their futile battle against same-sex marriage and the major Catholic cheerleader for Proposition 8. He will find some Catholic support for his position here, but he should be aware that a substantial number of faithful Catholics in his new flock strongly disagree with him.
In 2000, 61 percent of Californians opposed same-sex marriage. In 2008, that number dropped to 53 percent. When Prop. 8 passed, Cordileone insisted the will of the voters be respected. It is hoped he will respect the will of the voters when Californians, including a growing majority of Catholics, vote to approve same-sex marriage in the not-too-distant future.
Polling makes clear it is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage will be the law of the land. In every recent poll, Catholic support for same-sex marriage is between 52 and 58 percent. Many voters respond to the issue of equality, and they also see the weaknesses in the Catholic position, with its inaccurate reading of history, flawed application of natural law, and sometimes-blatant- sometimes-nuanced disrespect for gays and lesbians.
Scholars have helped revise our thinking.
Louis Crompton, in “Homosexuality and Civilization,” documents ancient civilizations where same-sex relations were accepted. Daniel Helminiak, in “What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality,” shows how biblical passages apparently condemning homosexuality have been mistranslated and misinterpreted.
Nicholas Cafardi, a civil and canon lawyer
This article originally appeared on: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Catholic-Church-wrong-on-gay-nuptials-3761397.php