The Sacrament of Marriage vs the Civil Contract of Marriage…


Original post on Facebook after the NY ruling on gay marriage. .

“In light of the NY ruling giving our gay and lesbian friends the right to marry, I share the following assessment.

It seems that there are two institutions of marriage, one civil and one sacramental. In many people’s minds, they are the same and conflict arises because marriage is one of those constructs that does not truly abide by the separation of church and state. On the surface, it does, with everyone getting a civil license to marry and then opting to either go to a church or the county for a ceremony of matrimony. But in most people’s minds, marriage is not separate at all. It is all marriage, and how we define marriage is the real issue.

My thought on NY is that they have done the exact correct thing. Separate the two, one from the other. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s. In the state of NY, now, everyone is allowed to gain a “civil” marriage license, but not everyone is free to have a “sacramental” marriage within a church. The churches are exempt from discrimination suits and will not be forced in any way to “marry” gay and lesbian couples.

From a purely “civil” standpoint, there is NO legal reason why two people, whether in a loving relationship or otherwise, should not be able to enter into a civil contract with one another, where property is shared and other aspects of life worth.

From a “sacramental” standpoint, however, such a “union” could never be called a sacrament. No, “extra-marital, extra-sacramental” union is valid in the eyes of the church.

The sacrament of marriage is about having a contract between man, woman, and God, and it is “open” to the possibility of life even if life is not the result of the union.

The church has a responsibility to uphold and protect the sanctity of the spiritual contract between God and a Couple (man and woman). Even so, the church should not have a significant role in defining governmental rulings on civil contractual agreements.

My thought is that marriage MUST be redefined by the churches. It must be separated from the civil marriage contract and treated as the “special” action that it is. It is a bond between man, woman, and God. That bond is sacred and not open to societal and civil interpretation.

As a devout Catholic, I can tell you that the Catholic Church does not “hate” gays. We follow the teachings of Christ, and Christ loves us all the same, regardless of our sexual orientations or state of sinfulness.

We are all “sinners,” and God loves us all. When the leaders of the Catholic Church condemn gay marriage, it is not because they do not love their brothers and sisters. It is because they must speak against the extra-marital, conjugal act, which is believed to be a special gift from God to the man and woman and should only be shared between people who share in a sacred bond as a couple with God (sacramental union). Any extra-marital, extra-sacramental union should never be defined as “marriage” in that context.

This is the problem, as I see it. The definition of marriage IS the problem, not the loving, wonderful people, gay and straight, who are trying to reconcile fairness and just treatment among people of good faith.

We are called to love one another. That is the greatest commandment given to us by Christ. Love means accepting each other as we are and telling the truth to one another in a way that protects the dignity of each person.

We all make choices of our own free will that separate us from God.

Choosing to HATE one another will also separate us from God.

With great love and respect for my gay and lesbian friends, the Holy Catholic Church, and its leaders, we must find a way to love and accept one another.

The sacramental perspective justifies the need to clarify and redefine marriage in our society.

This is what the sacrament means to me as a Catholic 🙂

“The gift of the sacrament of marriage is like a precious, rare jewel, surrounded with the most precious and delicate wrappings…. held lovingly, purposefully, protected in the hands of God. When a couple comes to the Lord, both choosing to share in this divine covenant, also viewing the sacramental gift as precious, rare, and specially crafted for their union….the Lord anoints their union and enters into a covenant relationship with the couple….blessing them with this precious gift. It is because of the sharing in the divine, life-giving presence of God himself that this sacramental union is reserved for man, woman, and God. Sacramental Unions are special, and the Sacrament of Marriage is ” till death.”

Civil marriages may be special too, but they are fundamentally contracts, which can be broken, severed by man.” C. Dianne Phillips, 2012

This is the perspective of the religious opposition.

One thought on “The Sacrament of Marriage vs the Civil Contract of Marriage…

  1. Pingback: Catholic Marriage – A mathematical derivation for a sacramental union | Sciencegranny

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