FIRST THINGS: The Elite Project of Gay Marriage

At First Things there is a good article by R.R. Reno.  Here’s the first part.

The Elite Project of Gay Marriage
August 26, 2013
R.R. Reno

Same sex marriage has become the issue of our time. Michael Kinsley summed the situation nicely: “You may be in favor of raising taxes on the rich, increasing support for the poor, nurturing the planet, and repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, but if you don’t support gay marriage, you’re out of the club.” [Blech.]

How did this come to pass? There’s no easy answer, which is not surprising. Same sex marriage is the issue because lots of different interests, concerns, and trends converge on it.

The first thing to say is that the gay rights movement has been largely an upper middle class project. Thurgood Marshall attended Lincoln University, an all-black college in southeastern Pennsylvania, and then Howard University Law School. Gay activist Larry Kramer went to Yale. Judge Vaughn Walker went to Stanford Law School. I have little doubt that the first gay Supreme Court Justice will be a graduate of either Yale or Harvard Law Schools.

There are many reasons why the gay rights movement is so upscale. When I was active in the national politics of the Episcopal Church, I came to see that homosexuality in general plays an important symbolic role in upper middle class culture. It’s an image of transgression, and to affirm it relieves moral pressure, giving room for our own transgressive desires. If two men can have sex, then surely there are no traditional limits on what men and women can do.

Against this background of transgression same-sex marriage reassures. It provides a bourgeois context, domesticating homosexuality and folding it back into ordinary patterns of bourgeois discipline. [More like "forcing" or even "jamming".] As so, for the typical bourgeois Episcopalian, supporting gay rights was a way of reinforcing his conviction that expanded sexual freedom can be made entirely consistent with the modes of social control that predominate among successful Americans.

[...]

The next step in the strategy of social re-engineering will be polygamy and then, the brass ring on the carousel, will be the elimination of the age of consent.

Read the rest of the article over there.

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44 Responses to FIRST THINGS: The Elite Project of Gay Marriage

  1. DisturbedMary says:

    Good point. Boys are the brass ring.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I disagree. I think they do hope to eliminate the age of consent, but limiting the privilege of consent itself is a very real goal beyond even that.

  3. Priam1184 says:

    If they can’t already then in a couple of years two adult men in a homosexual relationship will, with all the legal protections of a married couple, be able to adopt a twelve year old boy…

  4. Priam1184 says:

    If the generation to come doesn’t rise up and murder us for what we have done to them then surely it will be the one that follows.

  5. Thomas S says:

    Much better writing and clearer thinking than was on display in that hot mess of an article former editor of First Things Jody Bottum put out the other day in support of Sodomarriage.

  6. MarkG says:

    Can I ask some sincere questions:

    1) Why does the Catholic Church care about civil marriage anyway? The Catholic Church doesn’t even recognize civil marriages. Shouldn’t the Catholic Church just concern itself with Sacramental Marriages? Most states only recently had civil marriages (Texas was after World War II), so how did the Catholic Church marry people in Texas before WWII if civil marriage is necessary? I think Spain was the last country in Europe to have civil marriage, and India still doesn’t have it. So how does the Catholic Church marry people in India if civil marriage is part of a sacramental marriage?

    2) The Catholic Church doesn’t recognize civil divorce as dissolving a Sacramental Marriage, so I truly don’t understand the logic here. The Catholic Church is concerned with civil marriage but not civil divorce, and actually forces a penalty against Catholics who get a civil divorce. (or at least it used to)

    3) Instead of alienating gay Catholics, wouldn’t it be better for the Catholic Church to reach out to them? The Church can still teach it’s same position, but from a more pastoral way rather than an alienating way.

    4) Not a question but a comment: Not all gays are the ones you see on the news – Politically Charged, Parades, showing flesh, outrageous behavior, tattoos, piercings, etc. This is a very small minority, and it’s unfair to assume all gays are like that. Actually only 60% of gay men voted Democratic in the last Presidential election, which comes as a big surprise to a lot of conservatives. Lesbians are over 95% Democratic. Other than sexual orientation, a lot of gay Catholics share the same values and beliefs as other Catholics.

  7. marylise says:

    The homosexualist movement seems to be an assault not only on the teaching authority of the Catholic Church but also on the very right of the Catholic Church to exist. In other words, the goal is to make the Catholic Church illegal.

  8. gretta says:

    MarkG, to answer your question, it is because even though the civil marriage issue by itself is a purely a civil matter, the ramifications will have a profound impact on the Church. If homosexual marriage becomes a right, then will Catholic universities, or Catholic nursing homes have to include gay couples when the institution provides housing for married couples? We’ve already seen Catholic Family Services having to close their adoption services because of rulings where they cannot exclude gay couples from adoption placements. Will parishes be sued for not allowing gay couples to rent their halls for receptions or other events? What might Catholic schools be forced to teach about “gay marriage” or possibly lose their state funding? It is one thing to say “just let it be because you won’t be performing them” if it was solely a state matter. But once this becomes a protected civil status, then the Church is going to be forced into having to shut down vital services because it would otherwise be forced into accomodating “married” couples in ways that are not consistent with Catholic teaching.

  9. Sissy says:

    MarkG, the Catholic Church cares about all people, not just faithful, orthodox Catholics. The Church cares about civil marriage for the same reason states do. There are sound, rational ends that states have a legitimate interest in promoting. The children of married parents do better in every single measure of well-being: physical and mental health, educational achievement, and low levels of involvement with the criminal justice system, just to name a few. The more healthy, stable families there are, the better for any society. The Church is interested in a just, stable society, as well, regardless of how many members of that society are members of the Catholic Church.

  10. Cathy says:

    Both civil marriage and civil divorce have a singular concept in mind, the good of children. In civil marriage, the recognition that the child is the natural result of the union between a man and a woman. In civil divorce, prior to no-fault divorce, to defend the bond for precisely the good of the child(ren) and to assure that the child was supported after the divorce. Prior to joining the Union, Utah had to constitutionally accept the marriage requirements of the Union which prohibited polygamy. The child had a right to both his/her paternity and maternity. This identity is important, lest laws against incest become unimportant. With the rise of paternal and maternal donation, the child loses the necessary identity which makes incest identifiable and improbable. A child also holds the right to inheritance within marriage. I remember a story some years ago where couples were using artificial insemination, supposedly with the husband’s sperm in order to have children. Instead, the “doctor” used his own sperm. In such a manner, we have increased the probability of incest. It is a strange and uncivil world when a child loses the right to paternity/maternity, and, as a substitute, simply locates siblings via a “donor” number.

  11. Priam1184 says:

    @MarkG Civil marriage (and the Church preached against it from the outset in the 19th century though the hierarchy has slackened in proclaiming this teaching in recent generations) gives shape to the moral structure of a society. The Church’s duty is to gain salvation for all souls and anything that makes this more difficult must be opposed. ‘Reaching out’ and ‘being pastoral’ has been our modus operandi for the last half century and the horrible results of this policy now stare us in the face every day of the year. The only way of showing love and compassion for the human race is to proclaim the Truth. The Catholic Church and Catholic morality are that Truth. And time we diminish this in exchange for whatever ephemeral emotional satisfaction one gains from being politically correct then we fail.

  12. Sonshine135 says:

    Very good points. It is all about desensitizing people to the sin, so they themselves don’t feel so bad when they sin.

    MarkG- Let me answer item 1 with another question. Why should the Catholic Church care about healthcare providers providing birth control and abortion pills? Oops…because civil law is now forcing Churches, who self insure, to provide the same.

  13. anilwang says:

    I think the article mistakes the effects for the underlying cause.

    The key reason for the moral decline of the West is not the “elite club” or “membership markers”. It’s a much deeper and older issue, namely the philosophy that makes humans “only animals”. Actually, it’s worse than that, we’re less than animals, we’re “machines” since even the sexual practices of the most “depraved” animals does not ever separate sex from procreation or experiment/kill the young for the sake of self-pleasure.

    In this philosophy, at most we’re New Age “Souls that have a body that cannot corrupt the soul through its actions and we’ll all be saved anyway”. In the worse case, we’re viruses that should undergo voluntary self extinction ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_Human_Extinction_Movement ) to “save” other animals.

    All modern evils come from this heresy, since if we’re machines, all bodily actions are just mechanical body parts interacting with other mechanical parts. While it might not be wise to place an antenna in a power socket, there it is not immoral. Since we’re just machines, there should be no moral issue with scavenging parts, creating hybrids, or outright dis-assembly. And since we’re “just machines”, we have no choice anyway since we’re just “following our programming”.

    Name a modern moral issue, and you will find its root in the B. F. Skinner/Francis Crick/Alice Bailey heresy.

  14. Ben Kenobi says:

    “1) Why does the Catholic Church care about civil marriage anyway?”

    Better question, “why does Western society have laws restricting marriage to one man and one woman”. Answer that question and you’ll understand why the Catholic church cares. Marriage is as much the provenance of the State as the Common Law – trial by jury, Habeaus Corpus, etc. Part of the legitmate function of government is to protect this definition of marriage. Dividing this state-wise instead of the US as a whole will lead to 50 different marriage standards across the nation and will prove decisive in the promulgation of sodomarriage (I am stealing that!) across the US. Most Catholic countries do not and did not have a division between the state and the Church as in America, where the RCC is the established and official church.

    3. “Instead of alienating gay Catholics, wouldn’t it be better for the Catholic Church to reach out to them?”

    Better question – “Instead of alienating sinners, wouldn’t it be better for the Catholic church to reach out to them?” We do. We reach out to them by preaching the Gospel – the Good News that Jesus Christ died and offered himself as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. That – if we repent from our sins, Christ will redeem us. THIS is how we reach out to sinners of all stripes. Not by telling them to ‘Sin away, and God will make it right in the end”.

    4, ” Other than sexual orientation, a lot of gay Catholics share the same values and beliefs as other Catholics.” Better question, “Do most ‘gay Catholics share the same values and beliefs as the magisterium of the Catholic church?”

  15. Sonshine135 says:

    MarkG: also piece together Fr. Z’s previous blog on the legal issues facing businesses to cater to homosexuals, and you have a powder keg sitting in the hot California sun waiting for a wildfire.

    In response to your other questions: Why do people constantly ask the Church to conform to their desires, instead of people struggling with the teachings and then conforming themselves to God’s likeness and image? If Jesus was in human form here preaching the Gospels to us, would you try correcting him from the audience?

  16. anilwang says:

    Sonshine135 says: “Why do people constantly ask the Church to conform to their desires, instead of people struggling with the teachings and then conforming themselves to God’s likeness and image? ”

    Genesis 3 — a surprising amount can be explained by Genesis 1-4. If Adam and Eve had just trusted God or at minimum talk with God about their struggles, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    As a side note, could someone please write a book on the Catholic Theology of Genesis 1-4. The only book that exists (to my knowledge) is a Protestant book.

  17. Johnno says:

    anilwang -

    Many of our establishment theologians are too busy trying to create their own unholy civil marriage between the Catholic Faith and the philosophies of atheistic evolution. Many would sooner come to the aid of protecting the evolutionary establishment than they would the inerrancy of Scripture and the dogmatic teachings of the Church that are incompatible with the fantasies of evolution. The elite undermining of marriage is rooted in evolution and the denial of Genesis & Christ’s words that “from the BEGINNING of CREATION, God MADE them man and woman.” Every problem experienced today can be traced back to the rejection of the plain words of Genesis.

    Do not worry, there is a new generation of Catholics who know their stuff and are exposing it and fighting for the faith. Everything that needs be said has already been avaiable from the Scriptures, the Apostles, the Church Fathers and Church Councils. It’s all just been hiding in plain sight and under the sophistry of theistic evolutionists.

    With regards to this story, at the end of the day it all comes to the fact that sinners love company. By propping up homosexuality, the immorality that heterosexuals practice becomes mroe psychologically comfortable. They are really just doing this to protect themselves. As we near the end when God finally appears all these same people will like Adam and Eve, point their fingers at their homosexual bretheren and betrayingly declare, “Why punish me so harshly God? At least I’m not as bad as them! I’m heterosexual!”

  18. benedetta says:

    Certainly the work to disarm the Church’s ability to resist or oppose this was done decades ago, from the inside. Priests who were ordained out of the gay and party all the time seminaries were at the forefront of urging women to go on the pill, and they are the same ones who back pedal on abortion, rationalize or justify it, and forbid any mention of prolife on their watch in parishes. Out of their own disorder, they urged disorder on others (and put women’s health at risk as well). Lay people who have been given the wink and the second guessing homilies from the pulpit to justify their disagreeing in “conscience” with basic teaching on sexual morality, for decades, are primed to just shrug this one off and go back to watching their Miley or gaga as a “nun” (to the delight of her fan base) on the tube. But yes, just as divorce is proven to be really unhealthy for kids, gay marriage is not a healthy environment for raising children either.

  19. Elizium23 says:

    I would be interested to hear how polygamy figures into a Population Control agenda. Because it’s a queer addition to the slate of targets for future legalization if it doesn’t hold down the population somehow.

  20. benedetta says:

    Elizium23, the sort of polygamy aimed for is not religiously motivated. Think ‘lifestyle’ and ‘consenting adults’ and, well, for the public face anyway the occasional adopt 2.3 kids. It’s already out there as a matter of fact and it ain’t mormon.

  21. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z, two years ago, leaders in Europe met as a group and discussed the ssm agenda, agreeing to push it though the entire EU. And, there has been legislation introduced in the Hague to lower the age of consent to 12. The Communist parties are wanting this. The Muslims support that move as well. Another thing which is hardly discussed it the presence of homosexuality among Muslim men.

    FYI some age of consent laws in some countries already in effect. This is for both heterosexual and homosexual acts.

    Spain 13; Austria 14; Bosnia 1; Bulgaria, 14; Estonia, 14; France, 15; Germany and Hungary, 14; Italy, 14; Liechtenstein, 14; Poland, 15; SAn Marino and Serbia, 14; Iceland, 14; most of the rest are 16.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    oops Bosnia 14…

  23. MarkG says:

    Thanks for your responses.

    I’m not sure I know the answers to questions that people asked me, but here is what I think.

    Please feel free to correct me if I got something wrong:

    >>> If homosexual marriage becomes a right, then will Catholic universities, or Catholic nursing homes have to include gay couples when the institution provides housing for married couples?

    I think as long as they don’t receive government funding they can do what they want. Once you take government money, you have to sign away some rights.

    >>> We’ve already seen Catholic Family Services having to close their adoption services because of rulings where they cannot exclude gay couples from adoption placements. Will parishes be sued for not allowing gay couples to rent their halls for receptions or other events?

    I think Catholic Family Services was taking government money so had to sign away rights in exchange for government funding.
    For parishing renting halls for receptions, I think they can choose to whom they rent as they are private and not taking government money.

    >>> What might Catholic schools be forced to teach about “gay marriage” or possibly lose their state funding?

    I don’t think Catholic schools receive any state funding. The only thing I can think of is the school lunch / breakfast program, but most family that can afford private school wouldn’t qualify anyway.

    >>> Why should the Catholic Church care about healthcare providers providing birth control and abortion pills?

    Not sure I understand what you are asking. I suppose they would care because they are against it, but not sure they can control it other than asking faithful not to buy insurance from them.

    If the faithful didn’t get birth control or abortion pills, there wouldn’t be an issue with the Church paying for them.

    >>> Better question, “Do most ‘gay Catholics share the same values and beliefs as the magisterium of the Catholic church?”

    I’m not sure about most, but a lot do. Some even agree 100% with the Magisterium and remain celibate. Some agree with the Magisterium on most things except same sex relationships.

    Polls place high rates of use of birth control and civil divorce among non-gay Catholics, so it’s not just gays that don’t agree with the Magisterium on all issues.

    >>> Why do people constantly ask the Church to conform to their desires, instead of people struggling with the teachings and then conforming themselves to God’s likeness and image?

    Few are perfect. I think it’s better to let imperfect people in and actually welcome them, while pastorally teaching them about their imperfections.

    >>> If Jesus was in human form here preaching the Gospels to us, would you try correcting him from the audience?

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard heckling at a Catholic Church from the audience. If it ever happened, it would be extremely rude and disrepectful to the priest, and they should warn to person to shut up, and if they don’t shut up ask them to leave.
    If you are asking if I personally would do it: no, I wouldn’t even consider doing it.

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    Polygamy will be a non-starter. My sad guess it most people won’t even blink. Some christians will gasp a bit, but that’s it.
    Agreed. The goal is the total breakdown of morality and children are the prize, specifically, little boys. Why stop at 12? Infants are sexually molested now. It is revolting to even type those words.
    Yes, the age of consent. But who will rise up and defend children? At what point do we all get in our cars and drive to, where, to protest? We are part of the problem, although we of course sincerely want to be protectors of children. We are already too jaded and corrupt, we all, myself included, tolerate the dismembering and murder of innocent children, right in our own neighborhoods. We don’t stampede to defend them, as we ought. If we don’t do that, what should we do to protect them from being sexually molested by homosexual predators? I’m saying this because this is all overwhelming really. We need God to help us. It is not to be borne.
    These are very evil times.
    MarkG. Oy.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Polygamy is already legal in many countries as civil unions with certain rights, including Brazil, South Africa, Namibia, Pakistan, Malawi, Uganda, Palestine of the West Bank and Gaza, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, others… and for welfare recipients in New Zealand and in England with multiple wives, such unions made outside those countries are recognized.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    marylise that is the whole point-Gramsci win mark five

  27. TomD says:

    @MarkG: ” Once you take government money, you have to sign away some rights.” Said so casually, and with such certainty, that I had to read it twice to make sure I had read it correctly.

    Our Founding Fathers had it right about the notion of limited, de-centralized government and the dangers of a large, centralized government. We’ve gone so far astray.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    Mark G, it is illegal in EU countries to get married only in a Church. The governments do not recognize religious marriages and this has been true for over 200 years in most countries, since the 18th century civil marriage laws undermined the church marriages. You say Spain is the last, but any EU country abides by this type of law.

    So, for example, if someone in England only had a church wedding, that couple would have no married tax breaks. They would be taxed as not married. Same for other countries. The wife would not have the husband’s name and so on.

    Also, this would affect custody of children. Those married only in churches would not have parental custody in the same manner. Custody among cohabitating couples has to be worked out still in agreements. In Ireland, for example, in a cohabitation situation, by law, the mother only has custody automatically.

    As to gay civil unions, the Church sees homosexual activities AND the desire as serious disordered. The act is seriously sinful. Therefore, there could never be acceptance of immorality. Something disordered and unnatural cannot be enshrined in any law. Sin has no rights. You can find all of this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    As to Indian weddings, as in Hindu, this is already a problem in England as of the passage of the ssm law, as most Hindus do not recognize ssm and already there is concern among their religious leaders that they may be forced to do Hindu gay marriages. The gays are pushing all of this.

    Two wealthy gay men are taking the Anglican Church to court as we speak, as a clergyman refused them a church wedding. So, this is the beginning of persecution for Christians who disagree with ssm, as it will go to the human rights court of the EU which will support them.

  29. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Mark G:
    (6:52 pm):

    You are not entirely correct about the limited scope of government interaction with parochial schools. In an era when government has taken over most social services formerly provided by families or civic associations (there goes subsidiarity), there are quite a few instances of state or federal funding in parochial schools. For example, in suburban districts, some parochial students are bused by public school districts’ fleets. In some states, such as Ohio, teacher’s aides for mentally and handicapped students are provided by state funds; some “axuiliary services” (such as speech pathology, etc.) are provided by the State, etc.

    And why shouldn’t they be? Their families are tax paying citizens as well.

    One can make an argument for or against acceptance of any government funds (there are intelligent arguments on both sides) but the point is that the states will attempt to use even the minutest amount of state funding as a club to force Catholic schools to kowtow to their agenda.

    It is easy to say, cavalierly, that Catholic schools should simply stop taking state funds, but since Catholic school parents are in essence being double taxed (paying to support public school education they don’t use for their own children, quite possibly because of moral objections to what the government schools teach, such as “it’s OK for Heather to have 2 mommies), they have to provide tuition dollars *and* taxes. Tuition can only be raised so high, since they are also paying taxes for services they don’t use, and it is very difficult *not* to take any state funding for Catholic schools that want to survive financially.

  30. benedetta says:

    The fact is that the homosexualist agenda includes the promotion of as much contraception and abortion for heterosexuals as possible. This is so both inside and outside of the Church. Very weird politics that.

    Further, the homosexualist agenda, contrasted with the legitimate civil rights movement, is incredibly moneyed and elitist. The homosexualist agenda has never been a grassroots movement. It has been carefully engineered to show the most humane face through media representations whereas the realities, sorrow, and emptiness of the lifestyle are never acknowledged. Quite apart from the horror spectacle that is not safe for children to be exposed to that is the annual gay pride parade.

    I really don’t have any issue with extending welcome to same sex attracted Catholics to parishes. But I do have a huge problem with the importing of the homosexualist agenda into parishes which includes, promotion of contraception, encouragement to scoff at Popes, Bishops, the priesthood, camp substituted for worthy liturgy, the silent treatment when it comes to prolife. I just think that all of that is totally worthless, and, unnecessary to the end of making a same sex attracted Catholic welcome in a parish. All of us are broken and sinful equally and we all need Popes, confession, the magisterium, worthy liturgy, and yes, to actively resist the culture of death in all of its forms. A Catholic same sex attracted person is welcome to work together with us on prolife but shouldn’t expect the parish to march in the gay pride parade.

    MarkG, parochial schools share textbooks and transportation with public schools. And, many parochial school students qualify for and receive publicly funded breakfast and lunch, as well as other services. In some areas children receive vouchers to attend Catholic school. Are you saying that these children ought to forfeit their rights to attend Catholic school?

  31. Supertradmum says:

    I disagree with the writers who think Catholic schools should take government money.

    There is no such thing as money without strings attached. All curricula needs to be completely independent of the State. NAPCIS schools are completely independent and you can find the locations on the website. As soon as a school accepts government money, true Catholic teaching goes out the window. Catholicism is not a subject. It is a complete philosophy and way of life. It is a way of thinking.

    Only completely independent Catholic schools are truly Catholic. All the others have compromised somewhere. And, all teachers in Catholic schools should be practising Catholics, which cannot be the case if government money is involved, in most school districts and dioceses which take money sometimes do not have the choice of who can send their children to the school.

  32. Cincinnati Priest says:

    One more: Mark G. (11:25 am) thanks for your interesting post and sincere questions. I am very curious as to the source of the statistics that 60% of homosexual men and 95% of homosexual women voted Democratic.

  33. Tamquam says:

    When I look at Leftism as a religion, just as I learned to look at Communism as a religion, things become clearer. It has de facto become the official religion of the burgeoning totalitarian State, here in the land of the (formerly) free. I see it as an idolatrous religion with a numerous pantheon, among which is the ‘god’ Gay. Right now among the adherents of the Left Gay is a very popular god, and per the worshipers of Gay, a jealous god to boot.

    So when the Albuquerque photographer wouldn’t take snaps at a ceremony for two lesbians, the lesbians sued. Now when someone tells me that they don’t want to have anything to do with me or my faith, I just pray for them and peddle my fish elsewhere. Not the devotees of Gay! No, sir, all must honor Gay, or else.

    It reminds me of the ancient pagans requiring Christians to pour out libations to their idols, under threat of punishment of varying degrees of severity. Once Gay was pleading for simple acceptance, just don’t mock my votaries, was the line. I just want to be tolerated, accepted.

    Well, we did tolerate Gay. But evil always pleads for tolerance when it is weak. Once it has the upper hand it’s arrogance demands that its opponents be destroyed or silenced. [That's not my formulation, I got it elsewhere, don't remember where.] Gay has gotten strong of late, Gay demands worship of all, no exceptions.

    I don’t think it will be long now before it becomes dangerous to proclaim the Gospel of Our LORD Jesus Christ. How many will be willing to suffer the consequences, given the state of Holy Mother Church today? Here’s my bet: fewer than we hope, more than we feared.

  34. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Supertradmum notes, ” it is illegal in EU countries to get married only in a Church.” This centuries-long successful ‘state absolutist’ presumption is a grave matter. I suppose who would face what criminal penalties (priest/minister, couple, witnesses, those in attendance) varies in practice, but the principle – and so the possibilities for new practice – is the same.

    Supertradmum also says, “Only completely independent Catholic schools are truly Catholic.” But in the context of such long successful ‘state absolutist’ presumption in one area, anything like ‘complete independence’ in another is at the ‘mercy’ of formal majoritarian legislatures and executives and their ‘independent’ judiciaries.

    A disquieting prospect for lovers of natural and supernatural justice and right.

  35. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:

    Mark G, it is illegal in EU countries to get married only in a Church.

    Is “illegal” the word you want? Not being recognized by law is not the same as being illegal.

  36. jaykay says:

    “it is illegal in EU countries to get married only in a Church.”

    Supertradmum: I’m confused. Do you mean “getting married” in the sense of having to have two ceremonies i.e. one – the proper one :) – in the church and the other before a civil registrar? As you likely know, in Ireland you can get married i.e. have the ceremony, in the Church alone, without having to have a civil ceremony. The requirement is that you must have registered with the civil authorities beforehand. But that doesn’t mean that couples have to undergo a civil ceremony as well. All they have to do is fulfill the registration details.

  37. robtbrown says:

    MarkG says:

    1) Why does the Catholic Church care about civil marriage anyway? The Catholic Church doesn’t even recognize civil marriage.

    Marriage is a natural institution which has been supernaturalized. The Church claims jurisdiction over all marriage and recognizes civil marriage as a natural (but not supernatural) institution, thus the children are not considered illegitimate.

    2) The Catholic Church doesn’t recognize civil divorce as dissolving a Sacramental Marriage, so I truly don’t understand the logic here. The Catholic Church is concerned with civil marriage but not civil divorce, and actually forces a penalty against Catholics who get a civil divorce. (or at least it used to)

    Civil divorce dissolves civil marriage. The Church claims the same power (usually not recognized by the state). And so a divorced non Catholic who later converts can have the first marriage dissolved.

    In some nations Catholic annulments are handled by lawyers with the utriusque (degrees in both civil and Church law), the civil divorce and annulment being done at the same time.

    I’m unaware of any penalty the Church forced on non Catholics.

    3) Instead of alienating gay Catholics, wouldn’t it be better for the Catholic Church to reach out to them? The Church can still teach it’s same position, but from a more pastoral way rather than an alienating way.

    I’m not sure what you mean by reaching out to homosexuals, but I wonder whether you think the Church should reach out to adulterers, and how they should do it.

    Also: There is a post modern tendency to separate the spiritual life from morality–that they are two distinct things. This was opposed by Veritatis Splendor.

  38. VexillaRegis says:

    Supertradmum said: “Mark G, it is illegal in EU countries to get married only in a Church. The governments do not recognize religious marriages and this has been true for over 200 years in most countries, since the 18th century civil marriage laws undermined the church marriages. You say Spain is the last, but any EU country abides by this type of law.”

    Sorry, but that’s not entirely correct. In Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland you can enter a legally binding marriage in (nearly) any church, synagogue or mosque, or you can have a civil wedding anywhere. :-) If you are not catholic you may marry civilly and then have your marriage blessed in a lutheran church.

  39. Imrahil says:

    As for the thing with Europe and the civil marriage (dear @Supertradmum, @robtbrown, @jaykay, and others), we are facing once again that interesting fact that Europe is not one country but a couple of them.

    In Italy, Catholic marriage is automatically recognized civilly (to the point that an annulment really annuls it, even cancelling the obligations normally due to divorced partners).

    In Germany, civil marriage was imposed during the Kulturkampf. Not only was religious marriage without civil effects, but it used to be a felony (for bride, groom and minister) to wed religiously without previous civil marriageit; later a misdemeanor; later an infraction; and now (very recently, namely since 2009) it’s an unsolved (though unimportant) dispute not clear whether it is or is not allowed in theory, but it is at any rate not punished. The Church treats it as allowed, yet by her own legislation allows it only on previous acceptance by the chancellery.

    In France, it remains a criminal offence for the minister to habitually conduct religious marriages of civilly-unmarried people.

    In Ireland, I guess from the comments, religious marriage is treated with indifference by the State.

    In Austria situation used to similar to Italy up to Hitler’s annexation (and is in this form a legal right of the Church in the 1934 Concordate), yet equal to Germany ever since.

    We could go on.

  40. Imrahil says:

    Sorry for some language mistakes.

  41. jaykay says:

    “In Ireland, I guess from the comments, religious marriage is treated with indifference by the State.”

    Not really, a Catholic marriage is recognised civilly but since 2007 it must be registered in the civil register, and there is a formal register of “solemnisers” (horrible word) which includes priests, ministers etc and also civil registrars. The priests and ministers are by far the largest component of that register, because civil marriage ceremonies are still in the minority, albeit increasing. Before 2007 there was no need to go through the registration at all: a marriage in a church was a recognised marriage in the eyes of the law and that was it.

  42. robtbrown says:

    Imrahil says,

    In France, it remains a criminal offence for the minister to habitually conduct religious marriages of civilly-unmarried people.

    Don’t know about the penalty for habitual weddings, but American friends were married at Fontgombault and had to be civilly married in the States.

    On the other hand, when I was in the Army, I knew a young Catholic lawyer who had been drafted. He was engaged, but they had decided not to marry until he was once again a civilian. They went through a civil ceremony in order for her to get military spouse’s benefits.

    Unless there has been a change, religious life is of course not legal in France. Fontgombault is taxed, considered a Pottery Factory by the govt.

  43. MarkG says:

    For the questions on Catholic schools and funding, I was unaware they got money from the government. I don’t think they do around here. I think with money will always come some strings – I’m not sure you could avoid that. Like shared textbooks might be free, but might have some content you don’t like.

    The responses on civil marriages and the variation in laws sounds very complicated to me. If some of the restrictions mentioned here are enforced, I would think the Catholic Church wouldn’t like some of those restrictions.

    >>>One more: Mark G. (11:25 am) thanks for your interesting post and sincere questions. I am very curious as to the source of the statistics that 60% of homosexual men and 95% of homosexual women voted Democratic

    Those are the figures that are thrown around in the fund raising materials by both sides (Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans). I assume based on exit polls. Both sides (opposite sides) twist the figures into emergency situations where they need money immediately or the world will come to an end.

  44. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Is it the case that in most European countries (EU or not), the main distinction is between whether a civil registration must take place (first) with (if the description be permissible) ‘a religious solemnization’ as an optional second ‘ceremony’, or whether the ‘religious solemnizer’ can at one and the same time also be the ‘civil registrar’?

    Is the underlying, decisive feature that a marriage be “recognized civilly”, and that the State has unlimited freedom and authority to decide on what terms that occurs?

    (Does anyone have a ‘favourite’ reliable comparative overview of European marriage law(s), to recommend?)