Quick hits: Losing the argument on marriage; losing the unity of the European Union

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 06, 2016

  • When the arguments against same-sex marriage are so convincing-- the natural-law arguments, the arguments from tradition, the arguments from social science-- why do we keep losing the public debates? Writing in the Claremont Review, Robert Reilly offers a possible explanation, in reviewing a book by Ryan Anderson, who is arguably the most persuasive and certainly the most energetic of the American defenders of marriage. Reilly praises the irrepressible Anderson for what he does so well, but goes on to criticize him for what he fails to do:

    The rightness of marriage cannot be understood without a concomitant understanding of why homosexual relations are wrong. To omit consideration of the latter endangers the former—because it is precisely by excluding the wrong, the unnaturalness (and grave health risks) of sodomy from the marriage debate that proponents of homosexual “marriage” have managed to convince so many that it is harmless. Unless Anderson and the mainstream marriage movement are willing to say what, precisely, is inherently disordered about homosexual acts, they’d better get used to losing the argument—because they won’t even be in it.
  • Earlier today, in this same space, I commented on the failure of Cardinal Marx to address THE problem facing the European Union. You'll recall that St. John Paul II warned European leaders about this problem, telling them that shared economic interests alone would not be enough to hold the continent together--especially becase economic interests tend to shift over time. Sure enough, the people of Europe are losing confidence in the European Union. The Wall Street Journal reports that although public opinion in most European countries favors the monetary union, only in one country (Portugal) does a majority have a favorable opinion of the European Union in general; across the continent the "favorability rating" of the EU is an anemic 37%. Not coincidentally, the Wall Street Journal introduces these poll results in discussing the pressures that could produce a break-up of the EU. If it's not held together by a shared culture (which can only be based on a shared Christian heritage), the EU isn't really held together 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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: chady - May. 07, 2016 11:32 AM ET USA

    Archbishop Vincent Nichols says that the forthcoming EU Referendum in the UK is not solely about the issue of economics. Catholic politicians Adenauer, Gaspari, Schuman and Monnet were driving forces behind the establishment of the EU. However atheism in Europe is strong. Bill Cash Catholic MP in 1994 raised concerns about eugenics policies ie. abortion and euthanasia. EU development of stem cell research? EU's 'nudge' to Cameron to bring same sex unions to UK - for which he had no mandate?

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 06, 2016 8:45 PM ET USA

    My study group is halfway through Ryan Anderson's book, and I had begun to have those very misgivings you mention. It's like advancing on your enemy's right and left flanks, but telling the troops in your center to go home.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 06, 2016 5:54 PM ET USA

    Who is willing to risk their job by speaking publicly about the immorality of acts contrary to the 6th Commandment? A fire chief last year and a public health official this year both lost their jobs in Georgia due to public remarks contrary to the consensus position on the 6th Commandment, the consensus opinion being that positive civil law exists to protect a person's license to sin.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - May. 06, 2016 5:19 PM ET USA

    Considering Muslims, one day, Europeans will take a stand and say, "No! Europe and what it means is ours. Come no further". They will be forced to ask themselves, "What am I willing to fight for?" It wont be the effeminate EU or a Pope that talks about "dialogue" who answers. It will be a great Frenchman, a German, a Spaniard, an Italian, a Belgian, a Dutchman when he realizes they can't do it alone. They will fight as in Spain and at Lepanto and Vienna. Or maybe they wont.