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Catholic Education Daily


Jesuit University Ethics Prof. Writes ‘Civil Same-Sex Marriage: A Catholic Affirmation’

Lisa Fullam, a professor of moral theology at Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, recently published an article titled “Civil Same-Sex Marriage: A Catholic Affirmation” on the blog of the dissident group New Ways Ministry.

In the piece, Fullam offers “reasons Catholics might advocate civil same-sex marriage.”

In this essay, I have offered a case for a Catholic affirmation of civil same-sex marriage. Magisterial opposition to same-sex marriage centers on the question of gay couples’ capacity for reproduction, which is read through the lens of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, according to which reproduction reveals a deeper truth about men and women. However, those insights lack scientific and experiential support, and are far from universally acknowledged. Reproductive capacity is not absolutely required even for marriage within the Church, nor has it been required of civil marriages by the Church…

As Christians, we are called by Jesus to one fundamental task in life—to love God and others as well as we can. For most of us, the call to love is answered principally, though not exclusively, in the context of our most intimate relationships, those uniting spouses and those of parents and children. As Catholic Christians, we embrace a moral tradition that addresses social policy in light of the common good, a reasoned assessment of the rights and duties incumbent upon us in order that we may participate in the flourishing of society. Marriage is a key institution, with an array of social goods that include, but are not limited to, procreation. We can all share in those wider, socially critical benefits of marriage, gay and straight, parents and the childless alike. Why would Christians deny to any of our brothers and sisters, at least in the realm of our civil life together, the opportunity for the blending and sharing of life toward, we hope, the “mutual perfection” that Pius XI said was the wider purpose of marriage? Love requires no less than our support of love.

Fullam, in a piece that appeared in Commonweal, suggested that Catholic teaching demands that Catholics recognize same-sex marriage, asking “Can we call it ‘marriage’ for straights and ‘unions’ for same-sex couples in the civil realm and not fall afoul of the Caetchism’s insistence that unjust discrimination against LGBT people is wrong?”

According to Santa Clara University’s website, Fullam offers courses including: Sexual Ethics, Fundamental Moral Theology, Ethics and Spirituality of Pastoral Ministry, Virtue Ethics, Virtue and Vice, Introduction to Biomedical Ethics, Western Social/Ethical Thought I, Catholic high School Teaching and Ministry, and Issues and Methods in Ethics.

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