Thursday, October 23, 2014
IS IT TIME FOR BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS TO CEASE BEING LEGAL AGENTS FOR THE STATE WHEN IT COMES TO MARRIAGE?
I have written this before but now even Archbishop Charles Chaput is saying it, so I must be clairvoyant as I always knew I was.
He is suggesting that the day may come when the bishops will have to declare that no member of the clergy can act as an agent of the state for marriages.
What does this mean? It means that when a Catholic wants to solemnize their marriage in the Church they must (as always) procure a marriage license. But one step further must take place, they must have their legal or state marriage before the Judge Probate (Justice of the Peace) for the legal or state recognition of the marriage.
Once this takes place then the Church would solemnize the marriage with a Nuptial Liturgy. The priest would simply put the state's marriage license in the pre-nuptial file to indicate the legal or state aspects have been fulfilled prior to the Church's solemnization of the marriage.
The Church teaches that a member of the clergy cannot solemnize a marriage without it also being recognized by the state. Therefore the first step would be the state recognition of the marriage and then the Church's nuptial liturgy.
I believe this is already the norm in many European countries and quite common.