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Discussion 2 to Meditation 1055
They are not all insane

by: John Tyrrell

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In the interest of fairness, I should note that not all religious reaction to the DOMA decision has been unbelievably irrational.

A Monsignor Charles Pope* writing on the Archdiocese of Washington website suggested a name change by the Catholic Church:

I propose that we should exclusively refer to marriage in the Church as “Holy Matrimony.”

He went on to say:

When I proposed this two years ago this very time, many of you we rather unconvinced and some were even perturbed that we were handing on over our vocabulary to the libertines. That may be, but we already know that “gay” will never mean what it used to, and it would seem that “marriage” will never again mean what it did.

Libertines? Well now he's getting a little nasty. He does not seem to understand that those seeking to link themselves together in marriage can legitimately be considered to have rejected a libertine lifestyle for a committed one. But, more importantly, this Catholic cleric, unlike most of his brethren seems to recognize that the war is lost. The Catholic Church should move on.

He even makes a more radical proposal:

A secondary but related proposal is that we begin to consider getting out of the business of having our clergy act as civil magistrates.

What he's suggesting here is that no longer should catholic clergy sign off on wedding licenses. If Catholics who have undergone a Holy Matrimony ceremony want their relationship officially recognized by the state, they would have to undergo a civil ceremony also. This is what the French do, among several other countries that do not officially recognize religious weddings. I don't think he's got a winner on that point.

I think the important issue here is that this priest is looking for a way to accommodate reality rather than continuing to fight a war that's bound to be lost.

While not taking the same approach to changing terminology, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission suggested that this was a good time to re-examine how marriage works (or doesn't) in Baptist churches.

That means that we must repent of our pathetic marriage cultures within the church. For too long, we’ve refused to discipline a divorce culture that has ravaged our churches.

In essence, he is suggesting that it is not same-sex relationships that are negatively affecting so-called traditional marriage, but how Baptists themselves are ignoring the sanctity of their own marriages.

Both Pope and Moore are taking a far better approach than many of their fellow religious opponents to same-sex marriage.



* Don't you just want to see him get promoted to the rank of his surname like Major Major in Catch 22?


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