Pope Benedict's latest attack on gay marriage unwittingly contains an eloquent argument for it:
...The question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself—about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human. The challenges involved are manifold. First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment—which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering—means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity.
Why, then, the condemnation of lifelong commitments between men and between women? What would the Pope say to John Ziegler, the hundred-year-old South Carolina poet who published a book about his partner of forty-nine years? (Ziegler sent me a copy, which I will always treasure.) The intellectual and moral incoherence of this position cannot be sustained.
Previously: Love on the March.