Brian Cahill makes a startling assertion in his latest opinion piece on the editorial pages of the San Francisco Chronicle—that the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality is outdated and equivalent to the discredited view of the earth as flat.
In just about every column or utterance opposing Archbishop Cordileone, Pope Francis is cited, and Mr. Cahill does so as well.
As pope, unsurprisingly, Pope Francis’ many comments on marriage and family are completely in line with 2,000 years of Catholic teaching on sexuality. In fact, Pope Francis has repeatedly said that the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is under attack by destructive forces in our world and that the consequences for families and for society are dire.
The day that the Chronicle published Mr. Cahill’s opinion piece, April 22, Pope Francis yet again spoke on the importance of marriage between one man and one woman during his Wednesday audience.
Here is what he said: “The social devaluation of the stable and generative alliance of man and woman is certainly a loss for all. … And the Bible says a beautiful thing: man finds woman, they find one another, and man must leave something to find her fully. And for this, man will leave his father and his mother to go with her. It is beautiful! This means to begin a journey. Man is all for woman and woman is all for man.”
This statement is just the latest by our pope on marriage.
In November, Pope Francis said the decline of marriage is associated with increased poverty and other social ills. In his Nov. 17, 2014, address to participants in the International Colloquium on the Complementarity between Man and Woman, sponsored by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Francis said:
“Marriage and the family are in crisis today. We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people reject marriage as a public obligation. This revolution of customs and morals has often waved ‘the flag of freedom’, but it has, in reality, brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. It is ever more evident that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.”
Pope Francis followed those statements up with this on Jan. 16 in Manila during his trip to the Philippines: “The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.”
Clearly, Pope Francis continues to assert the Catholic Church’s timeless teaching on marriage and on the absolute right to life from conception to natural death.
Archbishop Cordileone with Pope Francis believes that knowing and living our Gospel values, including Church teaching on sexuality, are important for all of us. In his talk in February during a three-hour meeting with Catholic high school teachers, Archbishop Cordileone said that the primary goal of a Catholic education is bringing all to holiness: “Our Catholic schools exist to serve the Church’s mission of sanctification and evangelization. This mission indicates that some widely esteemed achievements in secular society are inadequate goals – not in themselves contrary, but inadequate – for Catholic youth. They become goals contrary to the Catholic mission of a school if they become separated from the call to holiness and the mission to evangelize.”
As the ongoing uproar demonstrates, there is a great disconnect on this. But, finally, in the end, the high schools are Catholic high schools, originally founded with the primary goals of education and sanctification according to the values of the Catholic Church.
Mr. Cahill and many others may disagree with those goals and with some of those doctrines, as delineated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, supported by the Bible, and believed by the Catholic Church for 2,000 years.
But to try to enlist Pope Francis in support of an ongoing effort to discredit the Church’s teaching on sexuality is just wrong.