No right to tell others what marriage is, or isn't
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Back in the mid-60s when I was working on my undergraduate degree in Kingston, Ontario, I went out with a series of Catholic girls. The relationships tended to reach point where it was made clear that any marriage would be in the Church, and of course and any children would be brought up Catholic. Simple rules drilled into them from an early age - otherwise they would be living in sin.
I never reached the point where I was prepared to make any promises about commuting my hypothetical children to the mercies of the Catholic church.
I'm pretty sure most Catholic girls still get the same indoctrination, though thanks to societal changes in the late '60s and the '70s, they are a little more willing to ignore the Church and live in sin.
Now the very first Catholic Bishop of Kingston, Bishop James Vincent Cleary is on record with the Catholic Church's position on marriage conducted outside his faith. It's a simple and short statement:
Protestant marriage is legalized concubinage.
Now he was speaking in late 19th century Canada - a time and place in which the only two real options were Catholic marriage and Protestant marriage. Essentially, he was saying that any marriage outside the Catholic Church is not a marriage at all - it is just state-sponsored concubinage.
That's the real position of the Catholic Church on marriage. No marriages performed outside the Catholic Church - including all those marriages between one man and one woman - are real marriages.
Last week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a press release announcing a second video in a planned series of five supporting a Defense of Marriage Initiative.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage has released the second of five videos for the promotion and protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
That is quite disingenuous. The Catholic Church already denies the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman if that marriage is outside their Church. They have no respect for such marriage whether performed by non-Catholic clergy or by secular authorities. They regard legally married women as nothing more than concubines.
The Catholic Church is not interested in promoting and protecting marriage - they have no respect for it at all if it takes place outside their authority. All they are doing is setting up a smokescreen. Legalize gay marriage, and they will lose members who will see new options available if only they refuse to kiss the bishops' rings.
The Church can say whatever it wants to its own adherents but as far as the public debate over whether same-sex marriage should be legalized, the Church has nothing meaningful to say other than its clergy will not perform such marriages.
As they don't recognize marriages outside the church, it is not the Catholic Church's place to demand what forms those marriage should take. It's none of their business.
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