Chances are you probably know more DINKs now then you used to. So-called "dual income, no kids" households are on the rise in the United States while both men and women focus on their careers, putting off having children until they've reached a certain level of success in the workplace. Yet just a few generations ago, DINKs were unheard of, especially among American Catholics. It almost went without saying: Husbands were the breadwinners while wives stayed home, raising the children who inevitably came with their marriage.
Sixty years ago, a marriage like Dave Kolesar's -- gay, Catholic and DINK -- was unheard of. But today, Kolesar and his husband, Patrick Wojahn, have been able to carve out their own comfortable niche in the American Catholicism. Married for nine years (three of them legally after D.C. legalized same-sex marriage), they live just outside of Washington, where Kolesar is a radio transmitter engineer and Wojahn is a lawyer and lobbyist. They don't want children because their lives are too busy, but they attend Mass every Sunday evening.
Are Wojahn and Kolesar at odds with church teachings on homosexuality? Yes. But then again, so are many American Catholics, 52 percent of whom support the legalization of same-sex marriage. Actually, over the last decade, the Pew Research Center reports that Catholics have consistently outpaced almost every other Christian groups in their support of same-sex marriage, despite the church's unambiguous teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Furthermore, when asked if homosexual behavior was a sin, only 44 percent of U.S. Catholics agreed.
And that's one of the topics some 250 people -- most of them bishops -- will discuss when they gather Sunday at the Vatican for an extraordinary Synod of Bishops. Convened by Pope Francis, the group will spend two weeks exploring not just Catholic views on same-sex marriage, but how Catholics around the world do sex, marriage and family and what, to borrow the bishops' language, is causing the "breakdown" of the family. And while much of the pre-synod discussion has centered on whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion, the issues up for grabs this month are wide-ranging, including poverty, the need for family-friendly work hours, premarital sex, and a lack of concern about abortion.