Canon Lawyer Ed Peters on Supreme Court’s Decision to Legalize ” Same-Sex Marriage”

by Steve Ray on June 26, 2015

So, the US Supreme Court, relying on what Justice Scalia has called “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie”, has ruled that two persons of the same sex can marry. The only relationship on earth limited to two people of the opposite sex has been gutted of its core identity by our highest judicial body. Words fail. 

Of course, the Court has not yet reached the end of its marriage line, for yet to come are “marriages” between siblings, parents and children, groups of people, and so on, but come they will, for the corner was turned today, much like the corner was turned on abortion back in 1973—in another ruling never righted. 

The Court might, of course, from time to time, get some other cases correct, but it clearly cannot be relied upon as a repository of judicial, or even logical, good sense in tumultuous times. The loss is a grievous one for the American body politic.

Anyway, I make here two points especially for Catholics.
First, we need to recall that the State has long recognized as married some persons who are not married, namely, when the State allows divorced persons simply to remarry. We have lived with persons in pseudo-marriage for many decades; so now the pool of such people is larger. 

The pastoral challenges in consequence of this latest decision are greater as will be the sacrifices needed to meet them. But so far—and this is a key point—State power has not been applied to try to force Churches or their faithful to treat as married those who, by doctrine or discipline, are not married. This brings me to my next point.
Second, Catholic doctrine and discipline can never, ever, recognize as married two persons of the same sex, and any Catholic who regards “same-sex marriage” as marriage is, beyond question, “opposed to the doctrine for the Church” (Canon 750 § 2). 

I am sorry so many Catholics apparently think otherwise and I recognize that many who think that Church teaching on marriage can and should change, do so in good faith. But they are still wrong and their error leads them, among other things, to underestimate how non-negotiable is the Church’s opposition to the recognition of same-sex unions as marriage.
The Church (and for that matter our nation) will have great need of Catholics who understand and accept the teaching of Christ and his Church on marriage if the damage done by the Supreme Court today is ever to be repaired. Appreciating the infallible character of this teaching on marriage is the first step.
As for whether we succeed in righting this wrong, that’s not our concern. The question we will be asked at Judgment will be, Did we try?

https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/two-thoughts-re-the-supreme-court-decision-on-same-sex-marriage/

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John G. Boulet, M.D. June 26, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Like Dietrich von Hildebrand in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s, I feel like we are being ruled by out-and-out criminals. Herr von Hildebrand managed some hair-raising escapes from Germany, living to instruct so many others in God’s Truth, though many others were not so fortunate. His widow, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, is such a wonderful model in her carrying on her late husband’s legacy. May God grant us many others like her, and like him. The need is urgent, as there is no longer an overseas “America” in year 2015 equivalent to that of the 1930’s to which to flee. May God grant all of us courage like Our Blessed Lady’s courage at the Presentation when told that a sword would pierce her heart, and like her courage at the foot of the cross. I think we need it!

Brendan O'Brien (Australia) June 27, 2015 at 12:22 AM

This crisis is great, of that there is no doubt. But, taking great guard against spiritual and personal lethargy through my beliefs, I take great solace in knowing that Jesus promised us He would be with us til the end of time. While the interpretation of “how” can lead to great discussion (ecclesial? eucharistic?), and even though their are times when I have personal doubts, when all is said and done Jesus wasn’t ambiguous. He’ll be with us forever. And the gates of hell will not prevail against His church.
My fortitude is not always great, but when I think about it, God cannot lose. There is nothing with the power to overthrow Him. As Catholics we need to sincerely pray for our brothers and sisters, with or without connection to God, that they can be given grace to overcome whatever the evil one throws in their path.
Pray for my country too, please, as God becomes less and less important to the religion of narcissism every day.

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