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While it may be fine for individuals to have the opinions expressed above regarding the Church withdrawing itself from the realm of civil marriage, the Church must concern herself with the very last vestiges of defending what is true and beautiful, natural marriage wherever it may happen to occur in a civil setting, for the sacrament of matrimony does not exist in a celestial plane by itself unrelated to natural marriage but precisely is natural marriage raised to the dignity of the Sacramental order. This is not a matter of theology but philosophy, human nature, natural law, and justice. While no individual is required to go to such lengths, the Church must go to such lengths, for Christ went to such lengths, even to forgive the penitent thief in his last moments. Or as Abraham bartered with God, "I beseech thee, saith he, be not angry, Lord, if I speak yet once more: What if ten should be found there? And he said: I will not destroy it for the sake of ten" (Gen. 18:32). The presence of ten righteous people alone could hold God's wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah. That is the Church's standard, but everyone within the Church is free to have their own because the Church is large and generous enough for precisely that.

But if people want a serious intellectual argument, consult Dr. Peters's essay (you have to scroll down a little):

In summary, as he says elsewhere:

"To fail in the effort to defend marriage—natural marriage, marriage as entered into by all generations before us and indeed by most people around the world today—would not only be an unprecedented loss for Western civilization but it would inevitably be to fail in the effort to defend sacramental Matrimony. Sine matrimonio, nullum Matrimonium.

Don’t misunderstand me: of course the State cannot alter human nature and natural law so as to destroy marriage itself and it certainly cannot obliterate that sacrament called Matrimony which Christ built on marriage. But the State can distort, and with its allies in the global media seems committed to distorting,  marriage such that citizens lose an adequate understanding of it and try to live their lives in accord with a counterfeit instead of the truth.

In opposing, then, civil manipulation of the definition of marriage, one is defending a fundamental human institution first and, only secondarily, an ecclesiastical one."
Chicago priest protests same-sex marriage, won’t sign civil marriage licenses

It looks like if you are in his parrish and you want to get married you will have to go to the justice of hte peace also if you want your marriage to be recognized by the government.
(07-08-2015, 05:06 PM)iona_scribe Wrote: [ -> ]True, it's not wrong to recognize the morally licit ones as an agent of the state.  But why should clergy act as agents of the state?  I think separating the two makes it crystal clear that the Church and State have two totally different definitions of marriage. The two have been conflated in the minds of the average Catholic for too long (a sort of marriage indifferentism) with the result that most Catholics act like everyone else in the world (divorce, re-marriage, contraception).

Ideally, society should support marriage and the family, and the clergy should act as agents of the state to show that marriage not only is a matter for the couple and God but also that society has an interest in promoting it, as that's the best way to raise the next generation. But, in today's culture, maybe you're right. If clergy refuse to sign marriage licences for homosexual couples while acting as agents of the state, they're going to get sued for discrimination and will likely eventually lose. Hobby Lobby was an important decision, but it only lasts as long as five members of the Supreme Court will support it, and who knows how much longer that will be?
(07-08-2015, 07:26 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-08-2015, 04:59 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]As this priest says, he's trying to make a political point.  But I don't think it would be evil for priests to continue to act as an agent for the state for good, as a long as they abstain from doing so for evil.
And as soon as they do what you suggest, they will be sued big time! And, given the courts and society today, they will lose in court. Better to totally separate  Matrimony from 'marriage' as has been done in much of Europe for the past two centuries.

How did the law treat priests who refused to marry a couple where at least one party was divorced without a declaration of nullity (or for any other legitimate reasons a priest might refuse to marry a couple)? Obviously, these people would be eligible to marry in the eyes of the state, but the priest, as an agent of the state, was denying them.  It seems like that might be "an equal protection" issue itself, but some exception must be carved out somewhere in the law or else I'm confident someone would have sued over this at some point. But maybe no one ever thought to!

(I should add, I don't think it would necessarily be a bad idea to get out of the civil marriage business or to do so with the aim of making a point, I just don't think priests who choose not to are sinning.)
Any historians here know how clergy  (Catholic or otherwise) began to act as agents of the state (the U.S. or other) in performing marriage?  I thought I remembered some long time poster from a few years ago pointing out that civil marriage began with Revolutionary France as a usurpation of the Church's authority.
(07-09-2015, 09:25 PM)iona_scribe Wrote: [ -> ]Any historians here know how clergy  (Catholic or otherwise) began to act as agents of the state (the U.S. or other) in performing marriage?  I thought I remembered some long time poster from a few years ago pointing out that civil marriage began with Revolutionary France as a usurpation of the Church's authority.
It just happened! No, seriously, until fairly recently, the state didn't even keep track of marriages, births and deaths. Those were a matter of Church records and family Bibles. Of course, after atheism and other 'non-Church' beliefs were legalised, there had to be a way for those people to get married, hence JPs and marriage registrars.

In England, for example, you could get a 'marriage license' at considerable expense, but all that did was to allow you to get married in another parish than either the bride's or groom's home parish, without publication of the banns. (BTW, Shakespeare did that. The interesting thing was that the parish he got married in still had an undoubted Catholic priest, not a layman in clericals, which both his and Anne Hathaway's parishes did!)

As an example of how late some US States got into record keeping, when my uncle applied for Social Security in 1966, there was no birth certificate. Since he had been baptised in some fly by night prot sect that didn't bother keeping records and his certificate (if he ever had one) was lost, he couldn't prove how old he was. The clerk asked him, only half seriously, if there was anyone who remembered when he was born in 1901, and he replied 'Would my mother do?' LOL My Grandmother was 90 at the time!

After the French Revolution, many European countries, who used a form of the Napoleonic Code, refused to recognise Church marriages at all. Even now in many countries on the Continent a couple must be 'married' by a State official before they can have a Church wedding.

BTW, sorry if I rambled. I had a bad day, I'm very tired and I took a powerful muscle relaxant about an hour ago, so I'm a bit loopy! :LOL:
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