Friday, March 25, 2011

The Anabaptist Catholic Witness

Over the National Catholic Reporter Michael Sean Winters was musing about recent polling data that shows Catholics - even those who attend Mass at least weekly and who tend to be more conservative on social issues - warming to the idea of recognition for civil marriage for gays. What should be the response of the Church:
The Catholic Church should not bury its head in the sand as Donohue (Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Civil Rights) seems to want it to do. Our approach to this issue, like our approach to many issues in this increasingly secular culture, must be to foster what Pope Benedict has called “creative minorities” in which we live what we believe and hope the beauty our lives evidence will attract others. Allowing ourselves to be lumped with anti-gay bigots is not the answer. We must ask ourselves: Why do others not see the beauty of a lifelong marital commitment? Why do others not see Christ as a part of their marriage? And, why should we be in the business of trying to prevent gays and lesbians from achieving some level of legal stability and protection for their unions? These are not easy questions, even though the loudest voices on both sides of the issue treat them, if they treat them at all, as easily answered.
Benedict's "creative minorities" sounds very anabaptist. It is a recognition that our most telling witness is the witness of our lives. If our lives radiate the beauty of love, sacrifice and commitment then we may find that we will have something that is attractive to offer to the world. The power we have in this way of living is not the power of being able to legislate our way but the power of authenticity which is the only power that ultimately changes hearts and minds. This is, in my opinion, the very best of the anabaptist witness. So it is interesting to hear it being espoused by the Pope.

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