Tim Kaine: Catholic Church Will Evolve on Same-sex Marriage

Democratic vice presidential hopeful Sen. Tim Kaine said on Saturday night that his support for same-sex marriage is driven in part by his Catholic faith, and that he expects the church could change its views like he did.

Delivering the keynote address at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign in front of about 3,600 people, Kaine called himself “a devout Catholic” and said that even as he supported non-discrimination laws for gays and lesbians as lieutenant governor and then governor of Virginia, he nonetheless still “believed that marriage was something different.”

Part of that reasoning came from his lifelong Catholic faith, which teaches that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. But Kaine’s opposition to same-sex marriage was challenged by relationships with friends and pressure from his children.

“I knew gay couples as friends,” he said. “I knew them to be great neighbors, I knew them to be great parents to beautiful kids.”

“But I had a difficult time reconciling that reality with what I knew to be true from the evidence of my own life, with the teachings of the faith that I had been raised in my whole life,” he said.

RELATED: VP Pick Sen. Tim Kaine Seeks to Balance Catholic Faith with Democratic Politics

Kaine said his family also helped convince him to back same-sex marriage, and he became one of the first U.S. senators to lend his support to the cause.

“My three children helped me see the issue of marriage equality as what it was really about, treating every family equally under the law,” he said.

Kaine, who attends a primarily African-American Catholic parish in Richmond, Virginia, acknowledged that his “unconditional support for marriage equality is at odds with the current doctrine of the church I still attend.”

“But I think that’s going to change, too,” he said to applause, invoking both the Bible and Pope Francis as reasons why he thinks the church could alter its doctrine on marriage.

“I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator in the first chapter of Genesis who surveys the entire world including mankind and said it is very good, it is very good,” he said.

“Pope Francis famously said, ‘Who am I to judge?’” Kaine continued, referencing the pope’s 2013 comment when asked about gay priests in the church.

“To that I want to add, who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family?” Kaine asked. “I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.”

While the church teaches same-sex marriage is morally wrong, a recent Pew Research Center study found that nearly seven in 10 U.S. Catholics support the practice.

RELATED: A Trump win depends on white Catholics

Polls show a tightening race between Kaine’s running mate Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Recent numbers have Catholic voters picking Clinton over Trump by a wide margin, though white Catholics appear more evenly split between the two candidates.

Michael O’Loughlin is the national correspondent for America. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

William Rydberg
8 months 2 weeks ago
America in my opinion has a tendency to rely on loosely sourced (though statistically consistent) surveys of opinion that rely heavily upon "self declared Catholics". A consistent flaw in this is that the surveys are not done at Parishes where the American Catholic attends weekly Masses and Days of Obligation. It's not telling tales out of school that a more accurate figure on these controversial opinions would in my opinion result. America in my opinion ought to push for better surveys in my opinion. As for Mr Vice President candidate Kaine, he is entitled to his opinion. But my supposition is that this is not the opinion of the vast majority of the American Jesuits.. in Christ,
Bruce Snowden
8 months 2 weeks ago
The Catholic Church cannot evolve into accepting Same Sex Marriage as equivalent to Authentic Marriage between one woman and one man, because Catholic Marriage is a Sacrament instituted by Christ to give grace. It is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, which happens in all Sacraments, not just a "nice feeling." Same Sex Marriage is not Sacramental, but simply a man/woman-made institution seeking to satisfy a social desire, its adherents now call a "human right." However, I can see the Catholic Church blessing individuals participating in a Civil Union, for that's what so-called "Same Sex Marriage" really is, individuals who do not accept their union as an Authentic Marriage instituted by Christ to give grace, encountering the Lord. I can envision as possible too, the Church Blessing with reservation even those who believe that a Civil Union is truly an Authentic Marriage. This because God willingly, offers His Blessing to all, an outpouring of His Unconditional Love in pursuit of wisdom, the daughter of truth. this as best I understand it. Vice President hopeful Tim Kaine is entirely mistaken .
Deshawn Washington
8 months 2 weeks ago
You can see the church "blessing" same sex unions? You mean sodomy? That the church understands and teaches is a sin that cuts you off from the grace of god? Sorry. You are right. God does offer his blessing to all. But only if you accept his offer. Sodomy is an emphatic no to what God created: man and woman. Sodomy is a selfish, dangerous twisting of sexuality which only treats persons like objects that give or receive pleasure.
Bruce Snowden
8 months 2 weeks ago
Deshawn, I mean God never refuses to bless the individual, made in the Divine Image, offering a share in God's unconditional love for all, while not condoning the wrongdoing of which she/he may be guilty, blessing unto conversion, which in NT revelation means a complete turning of self "inside out" that is, becoming as it were "a new creation." We tend to pick and choose who to love essentially based on how much that person agrees with us, because we mostly love "conditionally." Not so, God. I hope you understand my point. Thanks for commenting.
Crystal Watson
8 months 2 weeks ago
Most Catholics do support marriage equality. It's one of the many issues on which lay Catholics disagree with the church hierarchy, like contraception, abortion, IVF, married priests, women priests, divorce/remarriage, cohabitation before marriage, etc.
Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago
Crystal - your comment is a good demonstration of how impossible it will ever be for the Church to bow to political pressure on moral doctrine. If they caved in on one of these issues, they would have no moral stand to hold onto any of the others. It would be the end of the Church. That is exactly what the Episcopal Church has done - on every moral doctrine. I am sure there will be continued caving to come. You have listed a lot of things that a US self-identifying Catholic (SIC) might favor in an opinion poll. But, do you really think this is how the Church should get to the truth of any matter? Or, if any Christian trying to follow Christ should look to opinion polls as a source for doctrinal behavior. As we were reminded in the discussion on slaves at Georgetown University, it is no doubt that an opinion poll of American Catholics in the south in the early 1800s would have said slavery was a good and right thing, and in the early 1900s that segregation was a good and right thing. Would your method of arriving at the truth have worked then? Or, in Tudor England? Or, frankly, in any historical period.
Crystal Watson
8 months 2 weeks ago
There's the assumption that current church doctrine is correct, that it's just exactly what Jesus/God wants. But there's no comment by Jesus on much of the doctrine that the church now holds to - he never said anything about contraception or LGBT relationships or abortion or women being priests (or priests at all) and PS, probably all the apostles were married. What the church has to own up to is that present doctrine is based on the interpretations of fallible men, and that those interpretations can change without worrying that the church is "caving in" on what Jesus/God "really wants".
Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago
My question relates more to the source of true doctrine. You seem to think that true doctrine is validated by opinion polls and the evidence suggests otherwise, whether we look at majority positions in the Arian heresy in C4, the Iconoclasts in C6, the Protestant revolt in C16, Slavery position in C15-18 or the abortion in C20 (which was opposite of C19). The world is full of fallible humans (they come in no other kind), including you and others promoting the modern Zeitgeist. But, only the Church is protected from doctrinal error. St. Mother Teresa, pray for us.
Crystal Watson
8 months 2 weeks ago
Yes, the fact that a majority of people believe something doesn't make it true ... no one is protected from error, not the church, not the laity. All that pretending that the church can't make mistakes does is drive more people away and make the hierarchy more irrelevant.
Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago
So, you deny the Church can be certain about its doctrine? Agnostic Christianity is a very Protestant thing.
Crystal Watson
8 months 2 weeks ago
The church is made up of people and people make mistakes.
ed gleason
8 months 2 weeks ago
: "It is no doubt that an opinion poll of American Catholics in the south in the early 1800s would have said slavery was a good and right thing' I guess your poll of Catholics was not a poll of the pope and Hierarchy .They favored a lot of crap. too. The Church caved on interest, slavery,married priests, democracy, divine right. holding tight on no women deacons for a few years more.. etc. etc. .. one ought not take pride in not caving... caving is a virtue. more often than not.
Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago
This speech by Tim Kaine shows how hollow the description of "devout Catholic" means, at least for a Democratic politician. He believed something, then it became politically inconvenient, his career was blocked, so, he change his belief, and his political career took off. The same story for many self-identifying Catholic Democrats, from the Cuomos, the Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. It isn't as if it is just one doctrinal issue that their conscience struggles with. It is a whole panoply of moral positions, from being pro-abortion to being pro-gay sex. As to his anticipation that the Church will come around to his way of thinking (such hubris), it hasn't happened with abortion in over 40 years since Roe v. Wade, and it cannot happen with homosexual sex. For his supposed education in Catholic doctrine, he cannot seem to see how these apparently disparate doctrines are all interconnected. If one changes abortion or divorce or gay sex (not at the edges but in the center), it doesn't modify teaching on sex and marriage - It would end it, and the credibility of the Church with it (if it were a human thing, and not a divinely protected institution, which it is). But, Kaine is wrong even on human (non-divine) terms. Unlike the Episcopalians, the Catholic Church is not an American or a European Church. As the following article shows: "Catholicism’s incredible growth story" http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/september-9th-2016/catholicisms-incredible-growth-story, the Catholic Church has at least doubled in membership since 1970, mostly in Africa and Asia. "In 1900, there were three Europeans for every African. By 2050, there will be three Africans for every European. But this expansion is also, clearly, the result of mass conversions." This happened before, as the historian Anglican Thomas Macauley lamented in 1840, in response to those who predicted the impending decline of Catholicism and the dominance of Protestantism; "The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old." http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/macaulay/ranke1.html. Now it is the turn of Africa and Asia. These new Catholics have had their faith tested by persecution and martyrdom. They will not be seduced by unscientific sentimental comfort theories on sex and marriage.
Michael Malak
8 months 2 weeks ago
So much verbiage in this comments section but, face it, most people don't read theology, or count those pin-dancing angels. Religion is the people in the pews and not abstruse systemology. Tim Kane has described how he lives his faith. Who can judge him, or his sincerity? Jesus said it, without cites to the latest Roman rulebook, when he declared there are only two great commandments, each of which refers to love. Look at the marriage rite, or read Paul, for a fuller description of what Christian love should entail. “Love is kind, love is patient….” The litmus tests some writers, seemingly, would impose on Catholic politicians could quickly result in no politicians who are Catholic. That would be very sad and an abdication of our collective social responsibility, to ourselves, and to everyone else who inhabits the planet.
Tim O'Leary
8 months 2 weeks ago
Why Michael - how do you know what Jesus said, unless you are quoting the Church's canon? So much for the Anglican derision of systematic reasoning (the dimensions of immaterial spirits). But, you are right. Most people in the pew (even if only in the breach) do not read or know theology, or the bible for that matter. So, no point in seeking doctrinal truth by reading opinion polls, or relying on sincere pols.
Deshawn Washington
8 months 2 weeks ago
This man, Tim Kaine is simply an unfaithful catholic who is causing scandal on a massive scale. His disgusting protection of pro abortion laws (ask Mr Kaine WHY he is personally opposed to abortion, what is he going to say? Uh, my church says its bad? What a schmuck) and his typical cowardly democrat fad following on this gay nonsense. There is no such thing as marriage equality. Homosexuals cannot get married because they have made themselves unequal by refusing to participate in the marital act. Sodomy is not the marital act. It is a dead end. It is death. Homosexuals need to leech onto society by acquiring children. They are outside of society. There no society if there is an acceptance of sodomy. It is not a society becuse only marriage real marriage can be a society why. It unites the two halves of humanity in a union that produces the future: children. As pope francis says, homosexual unions are not even analogous to marriage. Shame on the church of america for letting things get so bad, that we cannot even see reality. No catholic can vote democrat and thing she is in the Church founded on the body of God.
Carlos Orozco
8 months 2 weeks ago
Once again, Little Timmie's comments would be completely irrelevant and not worth commenting if it were not for his master's rapidly declining health. Corporate media can no longer label critics of Clinton's health as conspiracy theorists after her collapse today during the 9/11 ceremony. At this rate, Timmie could well end up leading the Democrat ticket in November. Selling out Catholic principles may still pay off enormously good dividends for Kaine. After all, Satan told Jesus in the desert he anoints the powerful of the world as he wishes, did he not?
J Cosgrove
8 months 2 weeks ago
If Hillary drops out before the election, a committee will meet to choose a new candidate. Almost certainly it will be Biden. If she makes it to the election and wins and then drops out there are two scenarios. If it is before the Electoral College votes then it is a free for all as to who they want to vote for. If the Electoral College has voted and certifies her and she then drops out before the Inauguration, then the elected VP becomes president. If Biden replaces her before the election, he will be 74 in a couple months.
Tom Maher
8 months 2 weeks ago
Carlos, I once again as I have over the years greatly admire your comments below and your great insights into political affairs and your ability to critically figure out what really is going on with media accounts biased for or against a candidate such as in this post which tries to promote vice Presidential nominee Kaine as being so wonderfully Catholic. Very suspiciously Kaine has gotten a great deal of attention from both Democrat and Republican political establishments in the last three weeks and also a lot of attention from America magazine. Kaine is being given more political attention than a vice Presidential nominee would usually get. As you point out Hillary's limited stamina and frequent unusual health issues such as what happened on 9/11/2016 while very obviously very abnormal can no longer be denied. Something is obviously very wrong with Hillary's health. As the BBC described and showed videos showed Hillary's fresh health incident of 9/11/2016 "Hillary's legs buckled and she had to be held up and lifted into the van". Hillary is once again experiencing neurological symptoms including random seizures where she is temporarily not in control of her limbs and mental state. These neurological symptoms suggest significant medical problems and loss of stamina that will impede Hillary ability to do the very demanding job of being President. And once again Hillary on her own has not been transparent and accurately, truthfully and fully disclosed her actual medical condition. Only after the publication of clear videos of Hillary collapsing in public was a partial disclosure of her medical conditions made known hours after the fact. It took Hillary's campaign seven hours after she collapsed to disclose that she had as of Friday been diagnosed as having pneumonia as a partial explanation for why she collapsed in public. At this late stage in the election cycle the hope Democrats have is to elect Hillary as is even with a very large possibility that she may have to resign for health and or legal reasons once in office. Accordingly Kaine would become President if Hillary resigns once in office. So this post tries to sell both Hillary and Kaine to help elect a Democrat administration even given the possibility that Hillary may not be able to finish her term in office. Jesuits by the way are usually very well accessed of what is going on in the Democratic party and will act accordingly to promote a successful Democrat ticket as needed behind the scenes. The promotion of Kaine in this post suggests that an unusual need exists to promote the vice President nominee even more than the Presidential nominee due to the demonstrated risk of Hillary's health failing.
Carlos Orozco
8 months 2 weeks ago
Thanks for your kind words, Tom. I try not to bore people and get the discussion going. I think this Presidential cycle has and will be, at the same time, the worst and best of recent decades. The worst because of the two terrible choices the American people have before them to elect the next Commander in Chief; the best because The People have the opportunity the wake up from the disgusting two-party system charade, that has bankrupted the richest country in the world and has made it a menace to world peace with open and covert wars of aggression and destabilization. I don't think Catholics should cling to the remains of a crumbling system, but propose a far more human one inspired in justice, peace and the common good. All matters of human affairs need to "Aprite le porte a Cristo!", as Saint John Paul II called for.
William Rydberg
8 months 2 weeks ago
Very interesting article published on Mr VP Nominee Kaine of the Democratic Party worth reading because it sets straight some contemporaneous facts about Liberation Theology at the time of Mr Kaine's visit during the "Cold War". Ties right in to the motivations discussed in this article in my opinion. Well worth reading in its entirety.. http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/295229-tim-kaines-radical-roots
John Scaring
8 months 2 weeks ago
Ah, "who am I to judge?" One of the most misquoted statements in recent history. Pope Francis's comment was prefaced by comments that the person he was not judging had converted and was trying to live his life in accord with the Church's teachings. As far as Mr. Kaine's reliance on Scripture, I'm assuming he's relying only on Genesis 1, which, of course, is before the fall. Could it be that homosexual acts are not, what is "very good" about creation, but the result of the fall? Of course, disorders abound after the fall, including between man and woman. I recall that Jesus said he would not wipe away "one iota" of the Law, and the Law condemned homosexual acts. There's also the story of Lot, and St. Paul's statements in Romans and elsewhere. Or, how about, Jesus giving the Church the authority to bind on earth and, thus, in heaven? This prohibition has been the consistent teaching of the Church for 2,000 years, which it inherited from at least a 2,000 year old Jewish teaching. I would ask Mr. Kaine, does your lived experience trump such a historic teaching? Is Scripture divinely inspired or not? Did you try to persuade your children on the Church's teaching on marriage, including that marriage is ordered towards children, which same-sex marriage by its very nature can never be?
Vincent Gaglione
8 months 2 weeks ago
Kaine’s comments were foolish, stupid, ill-advised (if advised at all), and superfluous, that is meaningless to the current Presidential campaign. What the Catholic Church might teach and believe is not the prerogative of a USA candidate or the candidate’s personal hopes. For sure it is not relevant in any political campaign. Nor do I share his thinking. If an essential character of a Catholic marriage is procreation as well as mutual love, then no same sex marriage will ever be sacrament. So, he has done the Church harm by saying things that he well knows, at least I hope so, are never going to be realized. He creates as well, by dint of his position, among ill-informed Catholics and ignorant non-Catholics a set of opinions and beliefs that do not reflect Catholic teaching and realities. The Trump supporters among Catholics will rejoice that the Catholic candidate made such an egregious and foolish remark and will further adulate the Catholic-turned-Protestant Spence as the more “Catholic” choice! What an election! Of course, I can’t help but say that all those Trump Catholics vilifying Kaine seemingly have no problem with supporting Trump’s positions on banning Muslims, rejecting Syrian refugees, monitoring USA citizen Muslims (whatever happened to the religious liberty issue?), breaking up undocumented immigrant families including those with USA citizen children, punitively dealing with women who do abort, etc., etc., etc. The irony is that there are some Bishops who agree with them, God forgive us!
alan macdonald
8 months 2 weeks ago
Again and again, this magazine tangentially supports gay marriage, female ordination and abortion. I wonder when someone will force the American Jesuits to delete the word Catholic from the title "America The National Catholic Review" .

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