Saturday, June 25, 2011


Like divorce, like abortion, same sex marriage is now legal in New York. Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill last night after the state Senate narrowly approved it.

Is this the end of civilization as we know it? Of course not, but it is the beginning of a new era and I suspect within the next ten years more and more states will recognize same sex marriage.

As with the legalization of divorce, the Catholic Church does not recognize the legitimacy of same sex marriage. She never will. If a marriage is a sacrament it is until death do they part. No civil law can change that. Does the Catholic Church recognize as marriage those who having lawfully entered a first marriage, then lawfully end that marriage and then lawfully enter a second marriage? No.

For a union to be considered the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church, the couple must:

1. be male and female

2. freely and without reservation commit to one another in a life long union

3. be open to children and forming a Christian home

4. be committed to marital fidelity

5. be emotionally mature and psychologically stable and not have hidden any important information about themselves such as alcoholism, drug addiction, criminal record or sexual deviancy

Even if a couple gets married in the Catholic Church, but any of the above criteria are provably lacking from either individual of the marriage, the marriage is not a Sacrament, although presumed to be until judged otherwise by a Church tribunal.

My suggestions for the Church as she lives in an increasingly secular, post Christian world:

1. Maintain separation of Church and State by requiring the legality of marriage to be the domain of the state and the Sacramentality of Marriage to be the domain of the Church.

2. Specifically, this would mean that in order for a valid sacramental marriage to take place in the Church, its legality must first be recognized by the state in a state civil ceremony. Once that has occurred, the couple "solemnizes" or "sacramentalizes" the marriage by having the Nuptial Liturgy in the Church. At this point a legal marriage becomes the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Church governed solely by the laws of the Catholic Church.

3. The Church's ministers would no longer sign any civil marriage license as this is taken care of in civil court at the time of the civil marriage, although the civil license would be necessary for the sacramentalization of the marriage.

Even with this arrangement, the Church would still insist that couples refrain from the "marital act" until they have had their civil marriage converted to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony through the Church's recognition.

This would be no different than the Catholic Church not recognizing as a Sacrament anyone who divorces after a their first marriage and marries again.

What about the reception of Holy Communion? Anyone who "mocks" the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and is Catholic, i.e. does not have or cannot have their civil marriage "sacramentalized" in the Church, may not receive Holy Communion.

This would apply to:

1. Heterosexuals who enter civil marriages but do not or cannot have that marriage sacramentalized in the Church.

2. Homosexual Catholics who enter same sex civil marriages


qwikness said...

Could a church ever be sued for not performing a gay marriage? I've heard of Knights of Columbus Halls being sued for not renting for gay receptions.

Nancy A. said...

I like your suggestion for separating sacramental marriage from civil unions, Father. It would be an elegant and appropriate solution to a confusing (and sad) problem.

Frajm said...

The issue of being sued is very real and the Catholic Church was able to get the legislation that was passed last night in New York to have a clause for religious freedom and protection. But that could be challenged. We need to fasten our seat belts because the ride is going to be bumpy, Christians who hold to our traditional morality are now being called bigots opposed to basic human rights and like the racists of the south who opposed civil rights and desegregation. It is Orwellian. That's why I think the Church in this country is really going to have to insist on the "separation of Church and state."

Ave Verum said...

Yes, Father, you are absolutely right! We've been at the entrance to that "bumpy ride" for many years, and it has been scary enough just being at the gate. The road ahead looks positively, intrinsically evil. Our children and grandchildren are going to pay a huge price for remaining authentic Catholics.
We hope and we pray and we try not to worry, as St. Padre Pio instructed...

Anonymous said...

Well get ready, it's coming about the same time as female ordination as a civil right. The politicians will sell us down the river for votes, that's what going on here. I expect membership in a Christian sect could be grounds for employment discrimination. Explaining the reason it is wrong is irrelevant. Check for the governor of New York to get a position in the Federal Government in the next couple of years. This is not going to reverse.


Bill Meyer said...

I agree we are long overdue to separate the notion of civil union from the sacrament of marriage. I see no problem with political entities creating support for any sort of contractual agreements, but that is not remotely similar to holy matrimony.

Anonymous said...

Bill said. "I agree we are long overdue to separate the notion of civil union from the sacrament of marriage. "

BINGO! That would go a long way in clarifiying and un-muddying the thoughts/confusion in these matters.

I heard a comment this very week from one of my employees about gay marriage. Speaking about the religious right, she said 'they want to deny everybody equal rights'. She like the others in favor of gay marriage, just totally misunderstand.

Anonymous said...

Civil Union is silly. This is simply a way for the state to pay supporters by legalising access to publicly funded or mandated services and funds. Separating marriage and civil unions also separates the need for the state to respect and support married people. I do agree that a person should be allowed to identify anyone they want to be their beneficiary. What should also happen is that the benefits are based on admission of the differing burdens that person would bear.

What is going to be difficult is that our children will be taught in our schools that what they are told in church is wrong. They will not be allowed to voice that belief without repercussions. They will not be able function socially if they don't accept this. They will have to hold their faith inside.

I think it was brilliant for the Archbishop to support the exception in the law. This inconsistency will make the law unconstitutional, almost certainly. Then the politicians and judges must either force us to have gay marriages in the church, or back away entirely.


pinanv525 said...

I will be called an extremist, but only because common sense is now considered extreme. People like Cuomo, the sociopath in the White House, Soros, and Leftists generally are enemies of the Church and America as founded. People like this should be marginalized or eliminated. It wasn't but a few decades ago that they would have been and no one would have thought anything of it. We are now to the point that the only way a semblance of America and the Catholic Church can be preserved is through extreme measures...yes, violence...or at least very strong political actions that repress this wave of political assault on the very values that make us human...and Christian. Churchill said during WWII, when first considering bombing German cities and, thus, civilians that, "we must be careful that we do not lose the very values we are fighting to preserve." Well, it is time to take that risk once more. I do not see anyone on the horizon with the political courage to take that risk and carry out the actions necessary, but they may arise. I would welcome it, but it ain't gonna' be pretty. So, Catholics...patriots...when will you reach the point at which you have had enough?
Even now I hear in my head your responses, "Eww, Hitler; Ew violence, Eww he wants to repress people...and, of course, a whole chorus of "turn the other cheek, etc, etc." which is why we are where we are. So, would Jesus have wanted us to defend the Church and Christian values, or allow it to perish in the name of peace and charity?

Anonymous said...

I think that the phrase "separation of church and state" should be avoided for three reasons: 1) it doesn't appear in the Constitution; 2) the phrase as such has never commanded unqualified support from the Supreme Court; and 3) when people use the phrase they tend to mean "Keep your church out of my state" when its history is deeply rooted in the opposite idea, viz., "Keep your state out of my church." (To illustrate, it's easy to imagine many folks trying, with no church/state qualms at all, to legally compel the Church to recognize/sacramentalize "marriages" of gay couples.

The actual clauses are the First Amendment clauses forbidding Congress (and now by incorporation the states) from making any law "respecting an establishment or religion" or (even more importantly for our purposes) "prohibiting the free exercise thereof." I imagine any attempt to legally force the Church to sacramentalize marriages in which one partner is divorced--and I've never heard of such a attempt--would very quickly run afoul of the Free Exercise Clause; so, too, would (or at least should) be an attempt to force Church recognition of gay marriage. (The interesting question is why gays would _want_ such recognition from the Church since they disapprove of it so much, but there probably will be some.)

Let's also not overlook the Religious Test Clause in Article 6: "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." This means that anyone from an atheist to a Catholic and anyone in between can hold office with no (religious) questions asked--literally. (Now, if only the "Catholics" elected to office were all actually _Catholic_, as opposed to "Catholic.")

pinanv525 said...

Anon, the Amendments and Articles in the Constitution are considered by the Left to be mere obstacles to be overcome through aggressive political action. They are simple inconveniences which can be circumvented. They will not stop until they have won...or are stopped. To cite the Constitution as some kind of barrier to "progressives" is simply naive. The document looks like a Swiss cheese now from the violations of that thing we call a President in the White House.

Anonymous said...

I agree with getting us out of the legal marriage business. A few of us NY priests were discussing that last night. What worries me is that the Church has just entered a new period of persecution, and although likely unbloody, there will be martyrs. It is very likely that the day this law take effect, gay couples will enter churches to set up the Church and the priest in order to bring a court challenge to any religious exemptions.

What people don't realize is that this does effect everyone. In Massachusets, within one year of this being legal, school kids were being taught that gay marriage is great and even elementary school kids taught how to perform gay sex! Several parents who complained were thrown in jail! Catholic Charities in several dioceses stopped adoptions, and in DC the Church no longer extends benefits to employee spouses because it was forced to give them to gay "couples."

We need bishops and priests to stand up like the Fathers of the Church, no matter what the consequences.

frater raphael said...

I think that in one point you are making a great mistake. You suggest that the Church should allow a sacramental marriage to someone whom the State has already legally married in a civil ceremony.
This is the system which we have in the German countries, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and it was first introduced by the anit-Catholic Chancellor Bismark, at the end of the 19th Century during the so-called "culture-wars".
It has been very succesful . There are now as good as no Catholic (sacramental) marriages anymore. People think that they are already married, so why do the whole thing twice? If they are going to marry then just do that which is absolutely necessary, ie: the civil union.
It has also removed from peoples minds the connection between Church, Faith and marriage. The atheistic State is the last authority on marriage, not the Church; which means that divorce, remarriage and now gay marriages are accepted as normal by the vast majority of Catholics too.
Please do not freely choose such a course, which we had forced on us; it leads to desaster.
Pater Raphael.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day for America.

Frajm said...

Frater Raphael, I do see your point and believe what you say to be true, especially in France. The current system we have is that the couple must present a civil marriage license in order to be married in the Church, which the priest then signs afterward. I think the Church was marriage to be seen as "legal" not just from the Church's point of view but from the larger society's point of view also since marriage is seen as a "right" that goes beyond the Christian understanding of it in the "sacramental" sense. What about in Muslim countries that allow polygamy? Should the Church not also seek "legal" equality for Christian marriage. I understand what you are saying about secularism which is now becoming almost fascist in trying to stamp out the Church's political or public influence, but we still need some legal recognition.

Anonymous said...

pinanv525: I think "naive" is a little harsh. I've often poisted here that collectivist liberals of the sort that have sprung up in America in the past generation--the same ones who pled for a tolerance and a place at the table when they had no political power--are among the most fascist people you'll find. I know form personal experience how they do business and what they're capable of. For that reason I agree with you they will go after what they want until they're stopped. It's my hope that the majority of judges who would hear a Free Exercise case brought by a church would, even now, fall back on the long-held and oft-litigated jurisprudential understanding of that clause and defend the Church's right to police its own sacraments. Do I guarantee that outcome? No. Do I expect it? Not completely. Do I hope for it? Yes I do, in the same way Socrates hoped to convince his students and hearers of the undeniable legitimacy of reason. But I'm also very aware of what happened to him in the end. I assure you that "naive" is something I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Anon and Pianv. Good posts. Let's have some honest discussion of who, over the last 50 years, have put the enemies of the Church in power?

A basic test question: Can one be a faithful Catholic and vote for the most pro-abortion candidate in any political race? 54% of "Catholic" vote went for Obama. Go figure! Explain that with honest logic.

pinanv525 said...

Anon, your point is well taken. I was not specifically referring to you as naive, but I suppose you did get caught in the net. Perhaps I should have said, "amazingly optimistic." I enjoy your posts whenever I can figure out which Anonymous you are.

pinanv525 said...

Anon of the basic test question, In a word, "no."
A lot of Yankee Catholics are blue collar union types. Their God is the AFLCIO and the SEIU. They will vote for any Democrat, it does not matter if he had sex with a dog in Times Square at Noon. They are ruled by greed and a self-interest.
I guess the rest are just stupid...

Anonymous said...

Pinan. Not Times Square, but rather DC and various state offices. In all cases we are the "pooch."

pinanv525 said...

Anon, indeed...perhaps on the Mall, right in front of the Washington Monument...great symbolism there.

Anonymous said...

Pinan: Thanks for your clarification. For "amazingly optimistic" I think I would substitute "grimly hopeful." In this, my reliance on the law is that of my patron saint, Thomas More--specifically, his statement about the need to observe the law in "A Man for All Seasons." But once again, look what happened to him in the end. I'm hopeful because the law is still there even though there are many who would destroy it. I'm grim because at some point--perhaps sooner rather than later--they may well succeed in destroying it.