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Bishop to graduates: ‘You have to be politically incorrect’

Clergy member tells students to stand up for Christian vision of sex, marriage

A Catholic bishop recently urged graduates of Thomas Aquinas College to be “politically incorrect,” instructing them to “make the voice of reason heard in our culture” amid “the darkness of our world.”

Bishop Robert C. Morlino, who oversees the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, told graduates of the Santa Paula, California college that “most college campuses these days are places of chaos and political correctness,” but that the students have been “sacramentally equipped by your baptism and confirmation and intellectually equipped by your education to be witnesses to the truth of Jesus Christ.”

Citing Humanae Vitae, the seminal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 that addressed the Catholic Church’s teachings on human sexuality and artificial contraception, Morlino told attendees that the document “absolutely condemns artificial methods of birth control: abortion, sterilization, and contraception,” because “there is an inseparable link between the procreative and unitive dimensions of human sexuality.”

Sex, he said, “is not just about biological re-production. It’s about pro-creation, which is a cooperation with God’s own act of creation, where He creates a new human being, a unique and unrepeatable human person with an immortal soul and an eternal destiny.”

Morlino bemoaned the current state of marriage in Western culture, criticizing the interpretation of sexuality that has made it not about procreation but about pleasure:

And of course if sexual union is about pleasure, then there can be no lasting marriage. Because what is there, in that goal of pleasure, that’s worth pledging one’s life for? As a matter of fact, most people find out that if one pledges one’s life for pleasure with a single other person, then one is denying oneself all sorts of other options. Our culture has made it all about pleasure, and so there is no marriage. And so it doesn’t matter what it means to be a male or what it means to be a female…

Now many of you will probably get married. It will be part of your mission to proclaim the truth and the beauty of marriage through your living witness as husbands and wives. That’s a beautiful thing. It will be your mission to lay down your lives for each other and for your children. That’s what marriage is about. It’s about sacrifice.

I have a suggestion for you young men thinking about getting married. When you propose, don’t say: “Will you marry me?” Say this instead: “Will you allow me to be the one who lays down his life for you?” That’s what you should ask her, because that’s what marriage is all about. It’s about children and it’s about sacrifice.

Marriage, Morlino said, is “rooted in human nature.” To argue this, he said, “we have to be able to build arguments, step by step, from very basic self-evident truths all the way to their remote and often complex conclusions.”

“To speak the truth requires courage. To preach the saving truth of Jesus Christ has always required courage. But now even to speak basic truths of human reason, of human nature, of human sanity — even that requires courage,” he said.

“Courage is a gift infused by God. And it is also acquired and perfected through practice. If you want to be courageous in speaking the truth, you have to practice doing it precisely in those situations where it is difficult.”

Read the commencement address here.

MORE: Christian colleges must embrace their Christian roots

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