“Some, by rejecting conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith.” -- St. Paul’s First Letter to St. Timothy, 1:19
Most of us are not public figures. Our sins are private, known but to ourselves, perhaps a few others such as those we have offended, and our confessors. Occasionally our sins become public, as for example, when we are arrested and our stories become fodder for the news media.
A few of us are public figures – politicians, judges, sports or entertainment celebrities, CEOs of large companies, university presidents, etc. Some sins of public figures are mercifully private; some are unmercifully public.
All sins, whether private or public, are violations of God’s order, of God’s will. And in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we confess guilt and ask for His grace to amend our lives to conform to His order, His will. There are instances, however, when we sinners adamantly, persistently and consistently refuse to acknowledge His order, His will. We do not acknowledge our guilt and therefore we refuse to confess what we do not admit as wrong. We either do not go to Confession or we make a bad Confession. In some such instances, public figures make these refusals publicly known. Worse, these public figures declare to the public that not only have they not sinned, but the Church is wrong and they, not the Church, are good and compassionate and following God’s will, and, moreover, all Catholics should follow them. How should our bishops respond to such intransigence?
There have been (at least) three instances where public figures who hold themselves out as Catholic have officiated at the weddings of same-sex couples and they have done so outside the ordinary course of their job. Officiating at weddings is not why the taxpayers pay their salaries.
The entirety of this essay can be found in a pdf version here.
Spero columnist James Thunder is a Washington, D.C., attorney. In March of this year, he authored, with ecclesiastical approval, a Litany for Lawyers and Government Officials. The topic of his thesis for his master’s degree was Aquinas on Marriage.
Vice President Joseph Biden officiates homosexual marriage