A Marriage Proposal


#1

***Proposal: ***The state is no longer competent to “marry” people or regulate the institution of “marriage.” In order to save the institution of “marriage” the Church should declare that henceforth no “marriage” is valid unless conducted sacramentally before a priest and the Church, i.e., there is no “marriage” outside the Church or recognized ecclesial communions. ******

Why?

(1) The state has failed to protect and preserve marriage. This is witnessed most recently by rulings in federal and state court in California, and other jurisdictions. This is NOT, as some believe, a recent development. A cursory familiarity with civil family law in this and other western nations will reveal that the meaning of “marriage” as understood by the Church (other ecclesial communions also) and as understood in civil and secular law have long diverged. This is evident in civil/secular law’s longstanding treatment of divorce, remarriage, child custody, etc. This divergence has been going on for decades at minimum, and most probably for about 200 years or so. Civil “marriage” and the sacrament of “marriage” share only one true similarity: the word ‘marriage,’ and that is all! It is simply time to recognize – whatever one’s view of marriage – that the underlying facts have changed. The state can not be trusted on this matter!

(2) Like other sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Holy Orders, etc.), the sacrament of marriage is a matter for the Church and the Church alone. Just as we no longer recognize the state’s right to regulate other sacraments – the “state” did, in fact, regulate sacraments (especially in Europe) in various ways for most of Church’s history – we should reject any involvement by the state in marriage. The state does not regulate who should and should not receive the Eucharist, Holy Orders, and the like. (Again, at one time, the state did regulate such things.) Likewise, we should reclaim marriage as the sacrament that it is, so that it can be protected from total perversion by the state.

(3) Under natural law the state may properly continue to regulate certain aspects of any relationship between persons, including, obviously, men and women. In this regard, the state should neither marry nor divorce. However, it can and should require parents to care for their children, prevent phyical and mental abuse, and where one person has has been cared for by another with the consent of both for a long period of time the state may prevent the dependent party from simply being abandoned “cold turkey” or promulgate reasonalbe regulations to protect dependent parties (which it does and has for a long time by the way).

(4) With regard to health benefits, pensions, retirement funds and the like, there is no reason that the state should make or allow this to be dependent on “marriage.” Unless the parties specifically so contract,then these matters would be subject solely to civil/secular court authorities. Simply put, parties should, can, and frequently do contract independently of “marriage” regarding these matters. Modern society has overburdened marriage by legally connecting it to benefits that were unknown just a generation or two ago, except in the most advanced western societies. The result is that now marriage is thought of primarily as a social benefits package, not as a sacramental covenant. “Marriage” proper has suffered because, not in spite of, of it’s attachment to various forms of insurance coverage and social welfare benefits and pivileges.

(5) Largely because of #4 above, the Church has basically ceded – slowly and unwittingly – to the state a kind of magisterium over marriage. The results have been disastrous. The false state magisterium can only be reversed if the Church takes steps to reclaim what is rightfully its own: the sacramental institution of marriage. The Church has no choice! Like a hopeless alcoholic or drug addict who will not change, the Church must intervene to protect marriage. The state has become so secular and so outright hostile to the Church and natural law, that it can not be trusted until, if, and when it is reformed. Marriage can not remain in the hands of the state until or while we attempt to “reform” the state (or its laws and policies). Marriage must be taken away from the state before it is damaged beyond repair, and the family and society suffer irreperable harm.

(6) Some will say that natural law mandates the state protect, maintain, and defend the institution of marriage. It should! It has a duty to do so. I agree! But, like an alcoholic or abusive father, who has a duty to care for his children, the father or children may and should be separated in such circumstances to protect the children. When a parent becomes abusive to the children in violation of natural law, the children may be separted from the parents for the betterment of both. The duty is then to heal the relationship, so both can be reunited. However, healing can not take place while the children are being abused. Marriage is being abused by the state. The state has lost its way. The primary duty of the Church in this situation is to the “Domestic Church,” which it must protect first.

(7) This proposal would not be contrary to any infallible dogma of the Church. It would, however, entail some changes in Church “discipline” and the Canon Law, and these can be changed.

The Domestic Church is already gravely injured. The state can no longer protect it. We must do what we have to do. I know some will see this proposal as extreme; it is! However, I situation as regards the “Domestic Church” is very grave.


#2

I completely agree!!! :):thumbsup:


#3

Problem is marriage is part of the natural law and pre-exists the Church.


#4

My only problem is that by declaring no marriage outside the Church, you condemn every other Protestant marriages.


#5

[quote="Redratfish, post:4, topic:208417"]
My only problem is that by declaring no marriage outside the Church, you condemn every other Protestant marriages.

[/quote]

I know it might look that way but I don't think that is what is being proposed here. They would still be valid as well as any other naturally contracted marriages. I think what it aims to do is get the state out of the marriage business entirely. I completely agree and I think that might be the solution. True, it is not the most desirable but considering how the state has treated marriage and when you look at the direction in which it is going, I think it is the only way to truly uphold the sanctity of Marriage.


#6

[quote="Redratfish, post:4, topic:208417"]
My only problem is that by declaring no marriage outside the Church, you condemn every other Protestant marriages.

[/quote]

No, I do not actually. Protestant marriages, like baptisms, would not be invalid. At least as long as done according to a basically correct form and not contrary to Church teaching. Most protestant marriages would be ok. As my proposal suggests, most Protestant churches would be approved "ecclesial communions." They already are. The only other "Churches" as far as the Catholic Church is concerned are the "Orthodox Churches." Everybody else -- other Christians -- is officially in an "ecclesial communion" of one sort or the other.


#7

I absolutely agree that the government should be out of the "marriage" business. It should provide equal and identical civil unions and protections for couples (or groups, if they can work out the legal logistics) of consenting adults of whatever gender. Anybody who feels that they need the title of "marriage" can go find a religious institution to give it to them, and every religious institution should have the right to deny that title for whatever reasons they like.


#8

[quote="Milesius, post:3, topic:208417"]
Problem is marriage is part of the natural law and pre-exists the Church.

[/quote]

Yes and no. "Sacramental marriage" is subject to the Church and that is the issue here. On this point, the Church can act. The USCCB says.....

*Just as individual states have certain requirements for civil marriage (e.g., a marriage license, blood tests), the Catholic Church also has requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the Church. A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they freely exchange their consent; (3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and be open to children; and (4) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized Church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority. *

Go to: nccbuscc.org/laity/marriage/marriagefaqs.shtml


#9

I understood the OP to be talking about all marriages not just sacramental marriages.

And I don;t think we should be letting the State of the hook here, the State has the obligation to promote that which is good for society, and discourage that which harms society.

Marriage according to the natural law is one of the greatest goods of society, in fact it is one of the foundation stones of society itself and the State has a grave obligation to protect it and promote it among its people.

And if the State is failing to do this then we must out of love for our state and the people who live there must work to rectify the situation, it is not enough to be neutral about such a great and essential thing for society.


#10

[quote="Milesius, post:9, topic:208417"]
I understood the OP to be talking about all marriages not just sacramental marriages.

And I don;t think we should be letting the State of the hook here, the State has the obligation to promote that which is good for society, and discourage that which harms society.

Marriage according to the natural law is one of the greatest goods of society, in fact it is one of the foundation stones of society itself and the State has a grave obligation to protect it and promote it among its people.

And if the State is failing to do this then we must out of love for our state and the people who live there must work to rectify the situation, it is not enough to be neutral about such a great and essential thing for society.

[/quote]

It's both really. There has to be a correct intent for either. The question is whether correct intent is likely in our society. The Church can take steps to be sure there is a valid marriage even under natural law. I think I address your points in my original post. The problem is that the state has abandoned -- TOTALLY -- it's duty. We should not stop requiring the state to do the right thing under natural law, but when it persistently refuses and even does the opposite, the Church must still act to protect marriage. It just doesn't make sense to me to keep insisting that the state do its duty. I recognize that in my original post. The fact is that the state -- just like an abusive parent -- is not only not doing its duty, it is affirmatively doing harm. Until the state is prepared to live up to its duties under natural law, it should be taken out of the marriage business. Otherwise, we are complicit in the harm being done.


#11

From the Catholic Encyclopedia......the Church and marriage.....

*The Church being the Divinely appointed custodian of all sacraments, it belongs to her jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Divine law of marriage. She cannot repeal or change that law. Marriage is, in its essential requirements, ever the same, monogamic and indissoluble. The contract validly made and consummated is dissolved by death alone. However, the Church must determine what is required for a valid and licit marriage contract. Doubt in so grave a matter, or uncertainty as to the form and duties of marriage, would be disastrous for the temporal and spiritual good of individuals and of society. The Church safeguards the sacramental contract by unremitting solicitude and directs the consciences and conduct of those who marry by moral teaching and canonical legislation. The procedure of her courts in cases where the validity or legality of a marriage is involved, is ordered by admirable insight. The Church derives her power to legislate in matrimonial affairs, not from the State, but from Christ; and acts, not on sufferance, but by Divine right. She recognizes the duty of the State to take cognizance of Christian marriage, in order to insure certain civic effects, but her jurisdiction is superior and of Divine origin. *

See, newadvent.org/cathen/09699a.htm


#12

[quote="Leo1, post:6, topic:208417"]
No, I do not actually. Protestant marriages, like baptisms, would not be invalid. At least as long as done according to a basically correct form and not contrary to Church teaching. Most protestant marriages would be ok. As my proposal suggests, most Protestant churches would be approved "ecclesial communions." They already are. The only other "Churches" as far as the Catholic Church is concerned are the "Orthodox Churches." Everybody else -- other Christians -- is officially in an "ecclesial communion" of one sort or the other.

[/quote]

Very true about the Baptism thing. I am still trying to figure out the Church's teaching on what a valid Protestant marriage and valid Catholic marriage is. I just wanted to make sure that we wouldn't change our doctrine in the sense of whether a valid Protestant Marriage is valid.


#13

[quote="Redratfish, post:12, topic:208417"]
Very true about the Baptism thing. I am still trying to figure out the Church's teaching on what a valid Protestant marriage and valid Catholic marriage is. I just wanted to make sure that we wouldn't change our doctrine in the sense of whether a valid Protestant Marriage is valid.

[/quote]

See post #8 above and click on the link to the USCCB website. I think you will find the answer to this. God Bless!


#14

[quote="Milesius, post:3, topic:208417"]
Problem is marriage is part of the natural law and pre-exists the Church.

[/quote]

Yes, I wonder about this point. Even without the church, valid marriage can be recognized through the natural order. But where the legal authority becomes confused (eg. abortion also), it is the duty of the church to recognize and point out the abomination of the natural law, and never give one inch.

In that sense, because of its authority in matters of truth, the Church will always be the final arbiter on what constitutes valid marriage, regardless of what civil authority says. As was in the days of Henry VIII, so it is now.


#15

I agree :thumbsup:


#16

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