I’m with Bishop Chaput. While there may have been a time when things were different, I can not think of a good reason why the state should still be in the marriage business or why the Church should not separate itself from the state in this matter.
I am in a position where after annulments, the church will still not recognize my marriage to my wife asnd will not bless it in any way simply because we did not pull a state license. Unfortuanately, through no fault of her own, my wife’s former spouse created a financial nightmare with lots of debt while they were still married. A state license would make my own income and assets vulnerble to seizure. I am running a household and raising 4 children and that is not an option. In spite of coming to the Church with a pure heart, my desire to have my mariage conducted by or recognized by the Church has been deemed impossible. I think I have made several compelling arguements that have been shot down without discussion.
I have been told that the state has interest in keepig track of the marriages in the state. This is not true and they have relinquished any interest by their tollerance of “simulated marriages”. If I was of a mind to do so, I could grab the first girl that would have me and fornicate all over town. The state would say nothing. We coud move in together and the state would say nothing. We could buy ha house together and the state would say nothing. We could have a dozen kids and the state would say nothing. It might even subsidize us depending on our income. It is only when I come to my priest and say, “Father I have seen the light and want to get back into the graces of the church”, everyone throws up their hands and says, 'wait a minute, you need permission from the government for that." That means that the religious aspect of this entire equasion is the only thing regulated by law. Why is this not blatantly unconstitutioal?
Which brings me to what I am told next, “we as Church are bound to obey the civil authorities.” Well, this is a nice bumper sticker but not really true. It is a statment that requires volumns of nuance and explanation. How would this policy play out in 1942 Germany, 1970 Cambodia or current China or North Korea. Even in the states bishops have threatened to disobey the abortion and contraception mandates of Obama Care.
If marriage is truely a “holy sacrament” how do we justify reliquishing control over it to the secular authorities? If they see fit to issue reconcilliation licenses, will we be checking permits at the confessional? How is it that we have not given to Ceasar that which is God’s?
Once such authority is recognized and the secular authorities come up with something like “same sex marriage”, don’t we own this in some small way?