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Andrew Sullivan: If Catholics Can Live with Divorce, Then They Should Be Fine with Gay Marriage - VIDEO


Andrew Sullivan sat down with Fareed Zakaria to discuss Catholic fear about gay people, and how long it might take the Church to come around on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Said Sullivan:

“Jesus himself only said one thing about marriage, which was that you can’t divorce. And we live in a country where countless people are divorced, and that doesn’t seem to threaten the religious liberty of Catholics, and it’s as fundamental an issue. So if Catholics can live with religious liberty with divorced people, they should be perfectly able to live with gay people, as married–as a civil marriage.”


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  1. Interestingly catholics as a religious group are more supportive of marriage equality than protestants. This is despite the horrific bigotry of the hierarchy of the catholic cult.

    Posted by: MaryM | Jul 1, 2013 11:13:13 AM

  2. Yes, but its not as simple as that

    The Catholic church on divorce is pretty harsh

    can't receive the Eucharist etc unless able to show that marriage wasn't a "real" catholic marriage and resulting children are bastards (unless rich then its quick and easy)

    The catholic Church on divorce is very different than protestant views and dealings with divorce

    Posted by: Moz's | Jul 1, 2013 11:15:30 AM

  3. Im not catholic so men robbed in gold sitting on a mountain of money while people die daily from hunger hardly matters to me. The people who contribute and support the actual abomination of the Message and help hide pedophiles with their continued financial support like Sullivan can go fly a kite.
    Expecting the rot of Rome to come around to decency is beyond idiotic.

    Posted by: mickey | Jul 1, 2013 11:26:00 AM

  4. Moz's- I think his point is not that the Catholic Church itself will embrace same sex marriage, but that it will learn to live with it the way it lives with divorce. While, the Church itself does not allow divorce and forbids people from receiving sacraments, Catholic institutions don't discriminate against people who have been divorced. For example, a Catholic hospital or university would not deny health care coverage to an employee's second spouse the way the want to for a married gay couple. Sullivan is just asking that the Church treat same sex marriage in that manner.

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 1, 2013 11:26:32 AM

  5. I beg to differ with you MaryM. As an Episcopalian, our denomination is very supportive of gays. In fact the National Cathedral in DC is now performing s/s marriages. Bishop Gene Robinson (ret.) of NH was openly gay and countless gay men and women are being ordained in the church. The Lutherans have embraced gays also. The only ones who preach bigotry are the baptists, southern baptists being the most hateful. When was the last time you heard of an openly gay Catholic priest? When the DOMA was handed down last week my church friends on facebook congratulated me. They are all very supportive. One day we will rise against the "christians" who use the Bible as a crutch for their bigotry. It is a losing battle for the RWers to use religion and the "Jesus said" bs to fight us. We've won. It's over.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 1, 2013 11:26:40 AM

  6. I believe the upper leaders of the Catholic church, in Rome, (or any religious group for that matter) need to focus on what's gone wrong within their belief and keep those beliefs focused on their own group, maybe they could do some good. Stop being distracted by trying to be the watchdog of the world and focus on improving the lives of your own group.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Jul 1, 2013 11:29:45 AM

  7. Rob

    yeah, but if one can't receive the sacraments than might as well be an upstart protestant :-P

    Many divorced Catholics leave the church , though debatable on their not being Catholic since as it is said "born catholic always catholic". It is hard to shake that childhood programing which the Catholic church does so much better than protestants with the added force of visuals = iconography

    Posted by: Moz's | Jul 1, 2013 11:33:40 AM

  8. AS needs to go on a broader attack. The main issue is that all the arguments against gay marriage are non-sequiturs and the result of pride and animus. There's no rational debate at all.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 1, 2013 11:34:34 AM

  9. Religious people make me laugh and laugh. And cry.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Jul 1, 2013 11:42:02 AM

  10. I was a raised as Roman Catholic and became estranged from the church long before puberty and my self-realization as a gay man. The reason for this was a woman who lived in my neighborhood (Flushing Queens ) named Rosemary. Rosemary was a very attractive impeccably dressed young woman who, according to the housewives on my block, had "an important job downtown." Everyone respected and admired Rosemary. One of the reasons for this was the fact that she attended mass every day. Not just Sundays -- Every Single Day. What was remarkable about this attendance was that Rosemary never took Holy Communion. I asked one of the neighborhood women why and she said that it was because Rosemary had been divorced.

    Well that did it for me. Here was a woman more devoted to Catholicism than anyone I knew and because she divorced her husband (doubtless for good reason) she could never partake of one of the church's most important rites. She was never to be forgiven by them.

    And thus I was never to forgive the church.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 1, 2013 11:46:03 AM

  11. If Catholics can live with the preposterous claim that saying a few magic words over some bread and wine can turn them into meat and blood, they should be able to live with ANYTHING.

    Posted by: jomicur | Jul 1, 2013 11:56:23 AM

  12. Actually, Catholics don't "live" with divorce. If you get divorced, you can not get remmaried in the Catholic Church, among many other things they ban you from doing.

    Posted by: Paul | Jul 1, 2013 12:02:19 PM

  13. Being divorced doesn't bar a Catholic from receiving communion. Divorced and remarriage without obtaining a church annulment does. Church annulments aren't reserved for the rich :/ . It's likely that the rich are the ones who pursue it because they consider their standing in the church or society to be flawless. Where as the average joe doesn't care or educate himself to know what needs to be done. Jesus himself preached against divorce. He said remarriage following divorce was adultery. Hope these facts clear things up for some people.

    Posted by: | Jul 1, 2013 12:06:26 PM

  14. AS has been an apologist supporter of his suppressors all his life.

    Posted by: JONES | Jul 1, 2013 12:14:37 PM

  15. @ Michael - you are partially correct about Lutherans embracing gays. The ELCA has embraced gays. Some of the ELCA congregations have left the ELCA, and I hope they don't let the door hit them in the ass on the way out.

    The ELCA is the largest group of Lutherans in the United States, and the other groups, such as the Missouri synod, are not accepting. However, even they may be showing some signs of change. When my husband's father died, his funeral was in his Missouri synod church. During the funeral, I was treated like my husband's spouse. I followed the coffin in and out along with my husband. I sat beside him in the front row and at graveside. The pastor even offered me words of condolence. Of course, those things were the right thing to do, but we were surprised.

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Jul 1, 2013 12:15:04 PM

  16. Andrew Sullivan needs to stop pi$$ing around the periphery of the Catholic Church's attitude to gays and get down to the fundamental point of their Catechism of Catholic Doctrine which expressly states that gays are "intrinsically defective".

    Everything flows from that fundamental belief that we are some type of sub-human. personally I suspect the influence of a certain ex-Hitler Youth in the writing of that definition of does smack of the "untermenschen" of a previous regime.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 1, 2013 12:30:44 PM

  17. There's often a big difference between Catholics and the Catholic church. Many of us think the Church is stuck in medieval times and is basically irrelevant. The people are the Church; that's what they tell us, anyway.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 1, 2013 12:49:22 PM

  18. correction :
    I meant to write "intrinsically disordered".

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 1, 2013 1:01:19 PM

  19. Dear Michael,

    I'm an Episcopalian, too. ALL THREE of the diocese' I've been a part of : central Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, have bishops that have issued letters to the entire diocese, declarations stating that even though the Episcopate has approved liturgies for the blessings of same-sex unions, they won't allow them to be used.

    The denomination as a whole is not very accepting.

    Posted by: Raybob | Jul 1, 2013 1:53:35 PM

  20. When the Roman Catholic church, or Andrew Sullivan, says something the best response is a "who cares."

    Talk about intellectually irrelevant!

    Posted by: Pelosi admirer | Jul 1, 2013 4:11:47 PM

  21. @Raybob:

    It is less well-known that the Episcopal Church also split into Northern and Southern entities at the Civil War. The three dioceses you named were part of the "Southern Episcopal Church," or whatever it was called.

    Things haven't changed much. Look up "Blessed Jonathan Daniels, Martyr" in Lesser Feasts and Fasts; then Google his name and read then-Bishop of Alabama Carpenter's comments.

    I grew up in the Diocese of Central Florida when it was still part of the old Diocese of South Florida. Google Florida Legislature Johns Committee. 'Nuff said, except that to this day the only time Polk County makes the national news is some horrendous anti-crime or statement.

    North Carolina was still in living memory the summer resort for people from South Carolina who fled the heat, humidity, etc. And they had $$$ ... and friends in North Carolina politics. And "$$$" in most Southern states means "NASTY conservative low-church Episcopalians"

    I would say the pro and anti gay numbers in the Episcopal Church probably break down about like the red and blue states ... the blue states have the numbers; the red states just squawk the loudest.

    PS: +Central Florida is certifiable, and not just on this issue.

    Posted by: Bud Clark | Jul 1, 2013 5:38:10 PM

  22. Ehrenstein, that was awesome. you rock.

    can you imagine if the RCC followed the scriptural writings in Deuteronomy and executed all the women who weren't virgins when they married?

    or, at the very least, forbade them from marrying?

    the church would change overnight. alas, as long as they focus on "gays" then Catholic-Sinning Catholics can keep on pretending their not bastardizing their own religious beliefs.

    oh well. not my problem. this gurl was raised in the united church. mhmmm.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 1, 2013 6:43:54 PM

  23. Good. This is a start. A dialogue has been started, which is a good thing. One can only hope and pray the rest of the church will come around. Please don't let those who are hateful define the church. Jesus is about love and acceptance, of EVERYONE, ALL of God's children. Jesus DID say this, over and over. It's in the Bible.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Jul 2, 2013 5:35:28 AM

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