Bishop Henry's Virtue
In a previous post I criticised Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary for what I said were his unpastoral and imprudent remarks in his pastoral letter on same-sex marriage. I still believe that his choice of words (i.e., coercive power of the state)was not pastorally prudent. Nor were the comments politically astute.
Having said that, and having observed the outpouring of condemnation directed at him, I should make it clear that I support the substance of his letter:
The committed union of two people of the same sex is not the same human reality as the committed union of one man and one woman. A same-sex union is not a physical union that transmits human life, producing children. A same-sex union is not the joining of two complementary natures that complete each other. Simply stated, a same sex union is not marriage. The idea that homosexuals can create same sex ?marriage? through their individual choice is false. All the packaging in the world doesn?t alter substance.
Perhaps the most silly charge leveled at Bishop Henry is the ridiculous and unfounded idea that his comments somehow breach a doctrine of separation of church and state. Those suggesting such a thing reveal themselves to possess a superficial understanding of political theory and an ignorance of Canadian political history. One has to wonder why this charge is only used on those church leaders who speak against same-sex marriage?
In his favour, Bishop Henry is a prelate who has demonstrated that he has the virtue of spiritual courage. He is doctrinally orthodox and forthright. This is something to be cherished, as Canadian Catholic prelates as a whole have not been particularly strong in this regard.