Although my few personal dealings with Joseph Bottum have been friendly enough, I cannot say that I really know the man. So I will not join those who have questioned his motives for writing “The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage, which appeared recently in Commonweal magazine. I do not claim to know why Bottum-the former editor ofFirst Things, a longtime ally of people on the front lines in the battle to defend marriage-wrote this astonishing essay. But I do know how the publication of that Commonweal piece will change his life, in ways that he could and should have expected.
Jody Bottum is now one of the most talked-about figures on the American intellectual scene. The internet is buzzing with responses to his essay. The New York Times has announced, with ill-concealed delight, “A Conservative Catholic Now Backs Same-Sex Marriage”. He is in demand for interviews. Sales of his most recent book have increased; prospects for the next one are soaring. Whatever else one might say about it, the Commonweal piece was an undoubted commercial success.