The following is taken from February 13 and 20 articles which ran in Catholic San Francisco and were taken from the archbishop’s January 17 talk in London.
The final document voted on at the Second Vatican Council was the pastoral constitution on “The Church in the Modern World.” That was in 1965. Then came 1968, a year of violent social unrest in many parts of the world. And so, in the 1970s, people began to speak of the “postmodern” world. And here we had just gotten used to the modern one! I would like to share some thoughts with you on living our Catholic faith in the postmodern world.
To gain an understanding of postmodernism, we must begin with the modernism of which it is “post.” I would describe “the modern world” as an approach to understanding, emerging from the Enlightenment, which rejects the ideas of revelation and divine authority, and maintains that only reason and science can provide reliable, objective information about the world…
Just as the advocates of modernism rejected a religious interpretation of reality, so, beginning in the 1970s, some began to question the absolute truth claims of the “modern world,” and postmodernism was born. What the modern world called progress or objective truth, postmodern thinkers began to describe as an explanation crafted by an elite to gain and keep power over others. They called this the “metanarrative” and urged that it be swept aside so that smaller, local narratives could have their day in the sun….
Now let us consider an example of the postmodern worldview: same-sex marriage. The argument here would be that the “dominant narrative” maintaining that marriage is a relationship which by its very nature can be entered into only by a man and woman does not take into account the experience of those with a same-sex attraction: Their experience says that they can form a deep, committed relationship with another person and that this, too, can rightly be called a marriage.
My point here is not to argue the question of same-sex marriage, but to note how in society today the process moves quickly through three stages: 1) challenging the traditional understanding of marriage on the basis of personal experience; 2) assuming that it is simply a fact that same-sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage; 3) oppressing anyone who dares to disagree. Advocates of same-sex marriage claim the equality of different points of view until they get control of power, and then enforce their view on everyone else, all the while continuing to claim that there is no such thing as objective truth. And so, even though the Catholic Church runs extremely effective adoption programs, she must be forbidden to do so because she challenges the now-dominant narrative of same-sex marriage….