What some fear—and I understand their fear, however wrong it is—is that, in the wake of a civil redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, religious ministers will suddenly be required to certify same-sex couples as married (says who?) and therefore (as if there were a logical imperative here, which there is not) we should preemptively cease certifying religiously married couples as married. How on earth does one arrive at that conclusion? Certifying as married, couples that are married, is a good! The fact that others might certify as married, couples that are not married is a bad, but their bad action does not make our good action into a bad.
And if the State did suddenly require Catholic ministers to officiate at the weddings of simply divorced persons, or of same-sex couples, we would refuse. Flatly.... And if the State, in retaliation for such a Faith-demanded refusal, revoked their recognition of our religious weddings, that decision is on their heads, not ours.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Should priests stop certifying religious weddings for the state?
Canon lawyer Edward Peters, "Bad ideas know no borders" (In the Light of the Law, May 5, 2015), addresses a timely question I've heard raised in more than one quarter of late. It's a piece worth reading in full, but the nub of it is this: