Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

An archbishop's unconvincing defense of marriage

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 06, 2015

A contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he had a friendly exchange with Archbishop Blaise Cupich on the topic of same-sex marriage, and reproduces large chunks of that exchange for his readers. Naturally the archbishop says that he does not support legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Yet columnist Neil Steinberg observes: “To me, everything the archbishop said, except for his conclusions, is an argument for gay marriage.”

That sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet if you read the entire column you may find yourself hard-pressed to cite evidence proving Steinberg wrong.

“Because marriage traditionally has been that union by which we continue the next generation…”
“My argument was, what are we doing in not giving those kind of special laws and protections to that group of people who do something to benefit society.”
“… I think there’s something unique about the marriage between a man and a woman.”
“I think families are so much in trouble, they’re under so much pressure, it does take a risk to bring children in the world, to educate them, to preserve the human race, I think society has a vested interest in specially helping those couples do that. That was my argument.”

The archbishop is saying that parents need help, and the laws that give special protection to marriage provide some of that help. Gay activists will immediately counter that same-sex couples should have the same sort of help so that they can raise children.

As Steinberg recognizes, Archbishop Cupich “isn’t slyly advocating for gay marriage.” But he isn’t making an effective argument against it, either. There’s a hint—just a hint—when the archbishop says that he thinks there’s “something unique about the marriage between a man and a woman.” But what is it? If you can't or won't address that question, it may be better not to address the issue at all.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: wtchurch5213 - May. 23, 2015 11:55 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Cupich was the bishop of the diocese of Rapid City in South Dakota when my family and I lived there. Ann, my wife opened an NFP only clinic. The only time we ever heard from the bishop was when we had to close it down due to lack of support. When he moved to Spokane he apparently wouldn't allow his seminarians to be involved in pro-life events. This doesn't surprise me at all. God bless.

  • Posted by: feedback - May. 11, 2015 1:54 AM ET USA

    "I think there’s something unique about the marriage between a man and a woman" - this could be the poorest argument for marriage.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - May. 08, 2015 6:04 PM ET USA

    It would be interesting and fairer to the Archbishop to hear the entire conversation/interview. I have had the experience of being interviewed by members of the media. The results were short of satisfactory. They cut and pasted my comments with their story line to the point that the meanings of my responses were unrecognizable.

  • Posted by: filioque - May. 08, 2015 5:39 PM ET USA

    If I recall correctly, Archbishop Cupich was equally vague and unconvincing several months ago when he was asked whether politicians who support abortion should be admitted to Holy Communion. Maybe it's just a personality trait.

  • Posted by: Jason C. - May. 07, 2015 5:14 PM ET USA

    His Excellency's doing a good job of ensuring Cardinal George's prophecy for his successors isn't fulfilled in him.