Skip to comments.Chaput: clergy might stop signing marriage licenses as “principled resistance”
Posted on 10/27/2014 8:36:30 PM PDT by Salvation
October 21, 2014 by Deacon Greg Kandra
Strong words from the Archbishop of Philadelphia:
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says he was “very disturbed” by the debate over church teachings on gays and remarried Catholics at this month’s Vatican summit, saying it sent a confusing message, and “confusion is of the devil.”
In a lecture delivered Monday evening in Manhattan, Chaput also suggested that in the wake of the rapid series of court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage in more than 30 states, Catholic priests might consider opting out of certifying civil marriages as a sign of “principled resistance.”
Chaput is expected to host Pope Francis in Philadelphia in September 2015 for a global World Meeting of Families, and his criticisms tracked complaints by other conservatives who were upset with Francis for encouraging a freewheeling discussion among the 190 cardinals and bishops at the Vatican’s two-week Synod of Bishops on the family.
The 70-year-old archbishop, who was not part of the Rome summit, made his remarks in response to a question after a lecture event sponsored by the conservative journal First Things.
“I was very disturbed by what happened” at the synod, Chaput said. “I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.
…Chaput also raised eyebrows when he urged the nation’s Catholic bishops to consider stopping the signing of civil marriage licenses for all couples in response to what he called the “new marriage regime” of same-sex civil marriage. Pennsylvania, along with more than 30 other states, now allows same-sex marriage.
By long-standing U.S. practice, a Catholic priest, like any licensed clergy, acts as an agent of the state when signing a couple’s marriage certificate.
“It’s hard to see how a priest or bishop could, in good conscience, sign a marriage certificate that merely identifies ‘Spouse A’ and ‘Spouse B,’ ” Chaput said in his prepared remarks.
“Refusing to conduct civil marriages now, as a matter of principled resistance, has vastly more witness value than being kicked out of the marriage business later by the government, which is a likely bet,” he said.
Chaput said he wasn’t necessarily endorsing that move yet, but “in the spirit of candor encouraged by Pope Francis,” he said the American bishops should “discuss and consider it as a real course of action.”
Am not clear what the Archbishop means. Is he saying the clergy conduct the marriage service but not sign the document or is he suggesting not conducting the service in the first place?
The priest at my parish has, for several months, been considering not conducting any marriage service, even for members (He has the canonical authority now to refuse to conduct weddings). Instead, members would be married by a JP and then a “blessing of the civil ceremony” could be done at a later time.
This is how things work in several countries. There is the legal ceremony or marriage registry and then the religious ceremony. Heck a friend of mine and her husband wanted to be married by a childhood friend who is a rabbi. He’s not licesensed to marry in our state, so they signed the paperwork with the JOP prior to the ceremony with family and friends. It wasn’t a big deal.
They would still conduct the religious ceremony, just not sign the civil document.
He also raised eyebrow’s at a Confirmation I attended and wandered in thought about if the adults got a Catholic education after their parent’s paid for it.He spoke so long that people complained about him after church.
OK. Thank you.
A priest who signs a state marriage license application, accepts the state's perversion of marriage.
The very eminent canon lawyer Edward Peters has a response to Archbishop Chaput’s proposal:
A well reasoned response. Although I note it does seem to make one big assumption: the continued existence of the State. Perhaps an assumption that can be reasonably held for now. I suppose it's all relative to one's time horizon: five years or 25?
However, If the accelerating downward trajectory of our moral decline is any indications these existential-type questions will require answers sooner rather than later.
That is, unless one is of the belief that we will survive as a state without a moral center.
Choosing to make your marriage legal, or instead just make it purely religious or personal, has always existed and does now.
Even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had to choose whether to comply with government law in regards to their personal marriages.
I think it is unseemly for Chaput to put forth such a melodramatic proposal, when he can’t do what he is OBLIGED to do with respect to pro-abortion/pro-gay-marriage politicians: Refuse them Communion.
I emphasize that I am not saying denying them Communion would be a good idea. I’m saying that giving them Communion is a MORTAL SIN. Which is exactly what Cardinal Burke PROVED to be the case in his famous article: http://tinyurl.com/canon915
Burke mailed a copy of this article to every bishop in the United States. Only about a dozen of them are NOT committing the mortal sin of giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
Good opinion at the link.
1. Chaput is right to be worried, but his suggestion is the wrong course of action at present
2. Refusing to sign civil marriage licenses, at present, would deny Catholic marriages the benefits of marriage
3. Refusing to sign civil marriage licenses would eliminate the pressure on the State to return to marriage as only between a man and a woman.
People b#$%h about anything and everything.
“They would still conduct the religious ceremony, just not sign the civil document”.
Exactly and I hope and pray that all Catholic priests start doing just that. Get government completely out of the marriage business.
“Refusing to sign civil marriage licenses, at present, would deny Catholic marriages the benefits of marriage”
I have never had to “prove” I was married by showing a state marriage license and there is no database on people showing whose married or not married. Chaput has a great idea.
If your spouse has to enter the hospital for medical treatment, and you do not have a civil marriage license, then you do not have legal rights to be consulted for your spouse’s care.
If your spouse dies without a will and you don’t have a civil marriage license, your spouse’s belongings will not automatically be transferred to you. Much of it goes to the State.
If you have to go to court, and you don’t have a civil license, you could potentially be compelled to testify agaist your spouse.
These, and others, are the benefits that come with a civil marriage license.
This works both ways. Kind of difficult to avoid interacting with "Caesar" unless you're completely off the grid. Jesus wasn't advocating living off the grid either...he was cleverly avoiding a trap that questioner was trying to set; establishing how one can live as a Godly person in a government ran by men.
See Post #19.
Without a civil marriage license you have to hope your spouse has a will for themselves, never has to be put on life support, or never commits a crime that you know about.