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  #1  
Old Feb 21, '12, 8:13 am
bertkeel bertkeel is offline
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Default Civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

a catholic priest in ROME / Berlin/London/Bern-Switzerland/Paris etc blesses the couple receiving the Holy sacrament of matrimony.. he does not sign the CIVIL marriage document, he advises the couple to proceed to the cicil authorities to 'get married'....

a catholic priest in New York co-signs the civil marriage documents, no need to 'get married at a civil office' ... aclerk in Las Vegas then can divorce the couple the next day...without ever informi ng the priest.....

WHY does the catholic church in the US tolerate this 'dual action' that puts the church and the couple in the midst of many political 'hot button issues' (such as gay marriage) ?

Cardinal Ratzinger declared "Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies ďmust be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoidedĒ. ...

The Cardinal clearly advised us to avoid unjust discrimination such as 'unequal tax situation'.....et alia 'civil problems' ......
I hope and pray that pope Ratzinger will remember his writings and lead the catholic church in the US to focus on the SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY and stay away from 'civil marriage issues' .... our overburdened priests have plenty to do...no need to force them to act as 'civil marriage clerks'...


Bert Keel
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  #2  
Old Feb 21, '12, 8:33 am
1ke 1ke is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Quote:
Originally Posted by bertkeel View Post
a catholic priest in ROME / Berlin/London/Bern-Switzerland/Paris etc blesses the couple receiving the Holy sacrament of matrimony.. he does not sign the CIVIL marriage document, he advises the couple to proceed to the cicil authorities to 'get married'....
Actually, it is the other way around. The couple must marry civilly first, then they can take their marriage certificate to the priest and be married in the Church through the exchange of consent in the Catholic form.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bertkeel View Post
WHY does the catholic church in the US tolerate this 'dual action' that puts the church and the couple in the midst of many political 'hot button issues' (such as gay marriage) ?
What gives you the impression the Church has put itself in a "position". The Church would be speaking out against same-sex marriage even if the laws were the same as in Europe where the civil and religious ceremonies are separated.

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Originally Posted by bertkeel View Post
I hope and pray that pope Ratzinger will remember his writings and lead the catholic church in the US to focus on the SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY and stay away from 'civil marriage issues' .... our overburdened priests have plenty to do...no need to force them to act as 'civil marriage clerks'...
Um, no, he can do no such thing. It is not a matter of "discrimination" that same sex couples cannot marry. It is a matter of reality. They cannot marry, and we must oppose attempts to make such a thing legal, in the US, in Europe, and in all places on earth.
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ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
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  #3  
Old Feb 21, '12, 8:56 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

I would highly recommend reading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons. Civil marriage and sacramental marriage are not two completely separate and unrelated entities. A valid marriage is a valid marriage.
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
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  #4  
Old Feb 21, '12, 9:30 am
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ByzCathCantor ByzCathCantor is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Quote:
Originally Posted by bertkeel View Post
I hope and pray that pope Ratzinger will remember his writings and lead the catholic church in the US to focus on the SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY and stay away from 'civil marriage issues' .... our overburdened priests have plenty to do...no need to force them to act as 'civil marriage clerks'...
With due respect to and in general agreement with your sentiments, referring to Pope Benedict XVI as pope (lower case) Ratzinger is somewhat inappropriate, would you not agree? It does not add to the credibility of the argument ...

Also, there are well over 400 active and retired bishops in the United States. The active bishops, archbishops and Cardinal Archbishops are directly entrusted with the care of the Church in their respective jurisdictions, and together in brotherhood of the Catholic Church in the U.S. The Pontiff need not and cannot possibly involve himself directly in these matters as a national level. Rather, he provides the guidance and leadership necessary for all, bishops and faithful alike, to understand the position and teachings of the Church on important matters such as these.
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  #5  
Old Feb 21, '12, 9:43 am
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NHInsider NHInsider is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Despite the unfortunate tone of the original post, the underlying point is valid. In most countries, priests do not serve as agents of the State in certifying marriage contracts. I do think it would be prudent for the US bishops to reconsider allowing priests to serve that function; before it becomes a question of being told we must follow the State's rules. It would also help everyone recognize that the civil contract and the sacrament are not the same thing.
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  #6  
Old Feb 21, '12, 10:51 am
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Joe 5859 Joe 5859 is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Quote:
Originally Posted by NHInsider View Post
Despite the unfortunate tone of the original post, the underlying point is valid. In most countries, priests do not serve as agents of the State in certifying marriage contracts. I do think it would be prudent for the US bishops to reconsider allowing priests to serve that function; before it becomes a question of being told we must follow the State's rules. It would also help everyone recognize that the civil contract and the sacrament are not the same thing.
But that's precisely the distinction we need to fight vigorously against being adopted.

If two non-Catholics go before a Justice of the Peace or fly off to Vegas and get married, they are validly married in the eyes of the Church.

It all goes to what marriage is. When two people (who have no impediments) make a public commitment to each other, that is a marriage. To say that the Church needs to separate itself from the State and/or civil unions in this regard -- though born from a genuine desire to protect the Church -- is really misplaced and, in the end, counterproductive. To introduce such a division is to undermine the nature of marriage. A marriage isn't simply the Church's stamp of approval on a State-certified relationship. Marriage pre-existed the Church.

I firmly believe we need to fight against this mentality that civil union and marriage are separate things. I believe the CDF document I linked to above backs me up on this.
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.

- Fr. Gregory Jensen
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  #7  
Old Feb 21, '12, 11:08 am
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ByzCathCantor ByzCathCantor is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

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Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
I firmly believe we need to fight against this mentality that civil union and marriage are separate things. I believe the CDF document I linked to above backs me up on this.
The CDF document you referenced is indeed instructive on this and other related points. The U.S. Bishops thus have a clear basis of confirmed teaching and thought from which to pursue this matter, and I do believe they should do so with the same fervor and unity of purpose as they had in counter to the HHS mandate.

In the meantime, however, individual states continue to move in this direction, making it easier for the federal government (and presidential candidates) to side-step the controversy. It is inumbent on us as Catholic voters to vote down these mandates. In my former home state of NJ, Governor Christie is forcing this matter to a public referendum. Had this been done in my current home state of NY, the outcome may have been different. The narrow margin by which the measure passed the Senate was clearly indicative.

United we stand, divided we fall ...
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  #8  
Old Feb 21, '12, 11:57 am
GratefulFred GratefulFred is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Thanks, Joe 5859, for the reference in your #3 above. I had not seen it before. I would think that most Christians are committed to fair treatment of all. And hence, a desire to relax the law and redefine "marriage" to include same sex unions. However, there are limits beyond which we cannot go. I find the following statements in the CDF Document compelling. UNderlining is my emphasis.

natural moral law

No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman.

Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth.

Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

Civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.(12) Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason.

Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.

Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.

Respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.
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  #9  
Old Feb 21, '12, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

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Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
But that's precisely the distinction we need to fight vigorously against being adopted.
fighting or not fighting the political battle is a different question.

Quote:
If two non-Catholics go before a Justice of the Peace or fly off to Vegas and get married, they are validly married in the eyes of the Church.
The Church recognizes natural marriages, but if the parties were unbaptized, they would not require annulments to marry someone else within the Catholic Church. Baptized persons in civil marriages are considered Christians by the Church and therefore subject to her jurisdiction even if they do not recognize her authority.

Quote:
It all goes to what marriage is. When two people (who have no impediments) make a public commitment to each other, that is a marriage. To say that the Church needs to separate itself from the State and/or civil unions in this regard -- though born from a genuine desire to protect the Church -- is really misplaced and, in the end, counterproductive. To introduce such a division is to undermine the nature of marriage. A marriage isn't simply the Church's stamp of approval on a State-certified relationship. Marriage pre-existed the Church.
Marriage pre-existed the Church, but sacramental Christian marriage did not, and was, in fact, defined by the Church. This is why, for example, the Patriarchs and the Kings of Israel could have multiple wives. The Law of Moses did not define marriage, either in its implementation or in its impediments (except to rule that those who engaged in premarital sex gave up their right to divorce later). Like the rest of the sacraments, the sacrament of marriage transforms a human, natural experience into a source of supernatural grace.

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I firmly believe we need to fight against this mentality that civil union and marriage are separate things. I believe the CDF document I linked to above backs me up on this.
That the civil marriage contract and the sacramental covenant are two separate things is objective reality, not a "mentality." Observe that dissolving the civil contract (divorce) has no impact on the sacramental covenant.

But - Please recognize that my comment has nothing to do with whether or not the State should recognize/legalize marriages between/among anyone other than one man and one woman. My comment is entirely about priests being agents of the State. I think it's a Bad Idea.

I do believe that if our nation continues in its current direction, it will almost certainly lead to a situation somewhere in which some misguided agent of the state says "if you refuse to act as our agent in the way we say you should, we'll pull your tax-exempt status" or some other such threat. If we never act as their agents, we can't be required to carry out their policies. But if the country completely repudiates civil unions and marriage of divorced persons and whatever else is currently legal, I still think Catholic priests should not exercise State authority or stand in as witnesses for the State - any State - with the likely exception of the Vatican (hmm. I wonder - can you marry inside the Vatican, and if so, do you have a Vatican marriage license?)
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  #10  
Old Feb 21, '12, 8:32 pm
Deus_lo_vult Deus_lo_vult is offline
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Post Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe 5859 View Post
But that's precisely the distinction we need to fight vigorously against being adopted.

If two non-Catholics go before a Justice of the Peace or fly off to Vegas and get married, they are validly married in the eyes of the Church.

It all goes to what marriage is. When two people (who have no impediments) make a public commitment to each other, that is a marriage. To say that the Church needs to separate itself from the State and/or civil unions in this regard -- though born from a genuine desire to protect the Church -- is really misplaced and, in the end, counterproductive. To introduce such a division is to undermine the nature of marriage. A marriage isn't simply the Church's stamp of approval on a State-certified relationship. Marriage pre-existed the Church.

I firmly believe we need to fight against this mentality that civil union and marriage are separate things. I believe the CDF document I linked to above backs me up on this.
In the Catholic context, Marriage is a Sacrament which confers spiritual grace. I think that marriage ceremonies in a Church are a little more spiritually weighty than a wedding with a Justice of the Peace presiding. If they were coequal, Catholics wouldn't even bother holding their weddings in Churches.

Secondly, Justices of the Peace may soon be wedding homosexual couples all over this country, so, I think that's the concern that NHInsider was referring to. The law, whether correctly or incorrectly, often sees no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual couples. I think the Church needs to get out of this relationship with the State, before the State starts forcing Catholic priests to officiate over homosexual 'weddings' with another HHS stlye mandate.
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If it is a de fide teaching, and you realize that, and you persist in your dissent, then you place yourself outside the Church (excommunication). Therefore, you are no longer a Catholic.
I've made this point before.
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  #11  
Old Feb 24, '12, 10:27 am
Listener Listener is offline
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Separating civil marriage from Church marriage is an interesting thought. When you think about it, there is no such thing as State Baptism, so why should there be something called State Marriage?

Maybe they should rename the whole State thing to "domestic partnership" or "civil union," and have marriage be something you do in Church. After all, in Church marriages are "until death do us part." When I was growing up, you had to sue for divorce when you had grounds for divorce. Now, anyone can get out of a marriage by paying some money and signing some papers. So, even now, State "marriage" isn't what the Catholic Church would consider marriage at all.

I have another question that would perhaps be a subject for another thread. In European countries where gay marriage is already legal, how do the bishops of those countries handle it?
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Old Feb 24, '12, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

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Separating civil marriage from Church marriage is an interesting thought. When you think about it, there is no such thing as State Baptism, so why should there be something called State Marriage?
Unfortunately, there are those age old matters of property and inheritance rights that come with the union of marriage, unlike baptism or other sacraments.
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  #13  
Old Feb 24, '12, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

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Originally Posted by Listener View Post
Separating civil marriage from Church marriage is an interesting thought. When you think about it, there is no such thing as State Baptism, so why should there be something called State Marriage?

Maybe they should rename the whole State thing to "domestic partnership" or "civil union," and have marriage be something you do in Church. After all, in Church marriages are "until death do us part." When I was growing up, you had to sue for divorce when you had grounds for divorce. Now, anyone can get out of a marriage by paying some money and signing some papers. So, even now, State "marriage" isn't what the Catholic Church would consider marriage at all.

I have another question that would perhaps be a subject for another thread. In European countries where gay marriage is already legal, how do the bishops of those countries handle it?
As far as I know, the US is the only country where Catholic priests serve as agents of the state. The only European country I have direct knowledge of is England, there you go to the civil office to get your state marriage and then, if you choose to, go to the church. If you want to you can pay to have the civil agent come to the church and do the registration in the middle of the marriage (after the exchange of vows) although that may only be possible if you marry in the CofE, not sure.
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  #14  
Old Feb 25, '12, 7:05 pm
bertkeel bertkeel is offline
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Default Re: Civil marriage vs Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

my appologies for using 'lower case P' when refering to the Holy Father Pope Benedict... that may have been a 'Freudian slip', made by a Swiss who has a tendency to look down on his Bavarian neighbors !

Nevertheless I repeat: between Vatican I and Vatican II the Roman Catholic priest blessed the couple saying/praying "Ego conjugo vos in matrimonium, in nomine Patris, + et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen."
The above is what I heard in Saint Patrick Cathedral Dec. 26 th 1960, our wedding day.

Why after using the word/term MATRIMONIUM all these years do we insist on using the word MARRIAGE for this Holy sacrament ??

B.G.K.
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