Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York is a guest tomorrow on NBC's "Meet the Press" with moderator David Gregory. In the interview, Cardinal Dolan states that the Roman Catholic Church has been "outmarketed" on the issue of gay marriage and has been "caricatured as being anti-gay."
With the 16 states having legalized so-called "homosexual marriage," Cardinal Dolan notes:
I think I'd be a Pollyanna to say that there doesn't seem to be kind of a
stampede to do this. I regret that.
Gregory noted that the Church is obviously on the losing side of the debate. Dolan responded:
Well, I think maybe we've been outmarketed sometimes. We've been
caricatured as being anti-gay.
As evidence, Cardinal Dolan, argued:
When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like
politicians, when you have forces like some opinion-molders that are
behind it, it's a tough battle.
The Motley Monk agrees with Cardinal Dolan that it is a tough battle, yes, one about truth. But, as Cardinal Dolan knows, Church teaching oftentimes doesn't cater to the desires of the masses. Instead, She must proclaim the truth, as revealed in Scripture and Tradition. Inevitably, there will be a confrontation and people must make choices.
Cardinal Dolan’s comments likening this type of confrontation to a "marketing" battle--"Tide vs. Gain" (detergents), "McDonald's vs. Wendy's (burgers), or "Morton's vs. Ruth's Cris" (steaks)—got The Motley Monk thinking. Would it now embolden those whose ultimate desire is for the Church to repackage (or, worse yet, change) Her teaching so that it is more consumer-friendly? In the mind of those who assert this position, the Church will gain market share as people come back to or enter the Church which welcomes rather than judges them.
The Motley Monk thinks not.
Those who are agitating for homosexual marriage will never be attracted to the Church by the truth of Her teaching. Simply repackaging the truth so that it’s more user friendly is a dangerous approach to evangelization, The Motley Monk thinks, one that very well lead advocates of homosexual marriage to accuse the Church of "deceptive marketing."
That said, many friends have taken The Motley Monk to the woodshed over the years for maintaining that position. His opponents argue that The Motley Monk’s proposition would inevitably relegate the Church to a minority position in society, leaving Her able to exert little if any substantive influence on the surrounding culture.
But, The Motley Monk has always opined, that position and two dollars will yield exactly two dollars.
When it comes to confronting sin--think of a drug addict--repackaging the message to make it more consumer friendly doesn't work. Until the addict is aware of the truth and what the addict's choices have meant for his or her life, conversion isn't likely in the cards. Repackaging the message may work for changing the minds of consumers, but not those of sinners.
In Splendor veritatis, Pope John Paul II discussed how the truth illuminates the mind, in effect drawing the mind to evaluate “what is” against the standard of “what ought to be.” This conversion of mind (metanoia) then causes the sinner to will to order one’s life according to the dictates of truth.
Market the truth in such a way as to draw sinners into the Church so they then will hear the truth in its fullness? How about proclaim the truth to the ends of the earth so that people come to the Church to be healed of sin?
Let the discussion begin...