Here in Washington DC today Gay and Lesbian couples lined up to apply for “Marriage”  Licenses. It is a simple fact that word “marriage” as we have traditionally known it is being redefined in our times. To many in the secular world the word no longer means what it once did and when the Church uses the word marriage we clearly do not mean what the DC City Council means.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines Marriage in the following way:

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament (CCC # 1601)

The latest actions by the DC Council, along with Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Iowa have legally redefined the term marriage. Other states will likely join the list. The secular world’s definition of marriage no longer even remotely resembles what the Catechism describes.

To be fair, this is not the first redefinition of marriage that has occurred in America. The redefinition has actually come in three stages:

  1. In 1969 the first no-fault divorce law was signed in California. Within 15 years every state in this land had similar laws that made divorce easy. No longer did state laws uphold the principle which the Catechism describes as a partnership of the whole of life. Now marriage was redefined as a contract easily broken by the will of the spouses.
  2. The dramatic rise in contraceptive use and the steep drop in birthrates, though not a legal redefinition, amount to a kind of cultural redefinition of marriage as described in the Catechism which sees the procreation and education of offspring as integral to its very nature. Now the American culture saw this aspect as optional at the will of the spouses.
  3. This final blow completes the redefinition of marriage which the Catechism describes as being  a covenant, …which a man and a woman establish between themselves. Now secular American culture is removing even this, calling same-sex relationships “marriage”.

Proposal:  So the bottom line is that what the secular world means by the word “marriage” is not even close to what the Church means. Is it time for us to accept this and start using a different word? Perhaps it is and I would like to propose a new (really an old) term and hear what you think. I propose that we should exclusively refer to marriage in the Church as “Holy Matrimony.”  According to this  proposal the word marriage would be set aside and replaced by Holy Matrimony. It should be noticed that the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to this Sacrament formally as “The Sacrament of Matrimony.” 

The word matrimony also emphasizes two aspects of marriage: procreation and heterosexual complimentarity. The word comes from Latin and old French roots. Matri = “mother”  and mony, a suffix indicating “action, state, or condition.”  Hence Holy Matrimony refers to that that holy Sacrament wherein a woman enters the state that inaugurates an openness to motherhood. Hence the Biblical and Ecclesial definition of  Holy Matrimony as heterosexual and procreative is reaffirmed by the term itself. Calling it HOLY Matrimony distinguishes it from SECULAR marriage.

To return to this phrase “Holy Matrimony” is to return to an older tradition and may sound archaic to some but at least it isn’t as awkward sounding as “wedlock.” But clearly a new usage will be difficult to undertake. It is one thing to start officially referring to it as Holy Matrimony. But it is harder when, for example, a newly engaged couple approaches the priest and says, “We want to be married next summer.” It seems unlikely we could train couples to say,  ”We want to be wed next summer.” or to say, “We want to have a wedding next summer.”  Such dramatic changes seem unlikely to come easily. Perhaps we cannot wholly drop the terms “marry” and  “married.” So the more modest form of the proposal is that we at least officially discontinue the use of the word marriage and refer to it as the “Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.”

What do you think? Do we need to start using a new word for marriage? Has the word been so stripped of meaning that we have to use different terminology to convey what we really mean?

115 Responses

  1. Bender says:

    Sorry Monsignor, I don’t think that “matrimony” is going to do the trick. It is already used in divorce law, e.g. a “divorce a vinculo matrimonii,” which is an absolute divorce from the bonds of matrimony, as distinguished from a “divorce a mensa et thoro,” a divorce from bed and board (essentially a permanent separation).

    Besides, “marriage” is what it is, notwithstanding vain attempts to redefine truth. We should resist all attempts at dictatorship by such relativists. If that is “the law,” then as Dickens’ Mr. Bumble said, the law is an ass. And we should not give it dignity or respect by following along.

    No retreat. No surrender.

  2. Jan says:

    No. We. Don’t.

    Changing the name will not change the essence of a genuine marriage, as God meant it to be. That makes about as much sense as the people who want to officially change February to Feb-U-ary because so many just refuse to say it correctly.

    No one has the right to appropriate the word, or the sacrament, for their own selfish use. I don’t think we need to worry about what the secular world thinks.

      • Patrick says:

        But language is not static… especially English. It is constantly evolving. The word marriage has several concepts under its umbrella that are incompatible. This makes room for an evolutionary change in language to identify these distinct concepts. The new concepts should highlight the “natural” aspect of true marriage and the synthetic aspect of all of the other forms of marriage now creeping in. NATURAL VS. SYNTHETIC marriage.

        • James H. says:

          I see the point that we should not let the world take the term marriage and redefine it, but I do like the idea of being able to use a term that helps us to make the logical separation of the true meaning of marriage versus the ‘watered down’ version we now have today. Also, I like the idea of sticking to tradition. Tradition is something that has served us well in remaining ‘in’ the world, but not ‘of’ the world. We need to be able to pass through this period in time in some fashion and tradition has always been tried, tested, and true. I have faith that the term matrimony was well thought out, far beyond our current passing discussion here now in this thread, when it was selected a long time ago. We do well to hold fast to our traditions (including its language) then to try and construct a new term; it’s too much of a gamble and I do not believe it would become much more than a passing fad.

  3. Clint says:

    I like the idea of Christians switching to the use of “Holy Matrimony”. I believe that the word marriage is perfectly fine, but that Christian and Catholic groups have co-opted the word for their benefit and attempt to force it on everyone else.
    Marriage is not a Christian, Catholic, or Biblical (hereafter referred to as “Christian”) concept. I’m not aware of any culture on the planet that doesn’t have the concept of marriage, whether it originates from the bible or not. The concept of life-long partnerships even exists in the animal kingdom.

    The point is that taking a non-Chritian concept and expecting everyone to abide by Christian rules is a disservice to both Christians and non-Christians like. Its a disservice to non-Christians who don’t accept the Bible as supreme law. Its a disservice to Christians who get angry when they think a concept they don’t really own is being violated.

    Switching to the phrase “Holy Matrimony”, which i’m pretty sure IS a Christian concept (since it is specifically a sacrement) allows Christian laws to be enforced and leaves non-Chritians to get married in whichever non-Christian way they see fit.

    • Well you’ve sorta turned my point on its ear. But I guess the conclusion we reach is similar. I might suggest however that beyond faith, Natural Law has also been violated by the moderns who have insisted on on redefining marriage in the ways I have described. So it’s not just about faith.

      • Cody says:

        Yes, in many cultures and in the animal kingdom the concept of ‘life long heterosexual partners’ exist. However, I don’t seem to recall any cultures that have ‘life long homosexual partners’. I believe this reflects a certain natural law. Besides, how is it that the Church took the word of the secular world? Unless I am mistaken the language we are speaking developed after the western world conformed to the Church and the sacramental role of marriage not was explicitly declared until after the conversion, if not the fall, of the Roman Empire.

        • Not sure where we got the word marriage.

          • Wesley Brian Beshears says:

            IN MY HONEST OPINION HERE IN THE STATE OF Washington when the governor passed a bill legalizing same se same thing sex marriage, they crossed the line between the Constitutional guarantee I thought we had freedom to believe in religion as we saw fit . NOW WE ARE FORCED TO belive as the government sees fit I want an attorney…

  4. The Anchoress says:

    I suggest that in order to protect the churches from the inevitable lawsuits and charges of “discrimination” we will have to see a change in how marriages are made legal. Just as the church issues baptismal, but not birth, certificates and prays the funeral liturgy but does not certify the death, we may have have the church pull out of the signing of marriage licenses. As in France, a couple wishing a sacramental marriage will first have to go to the city hall and submit to a “civil” marriage.

    Sounds okay to me. I do suspect that this will result in fewer sacramental marriages being performed, as those Catholics who are largely indifferent to (or ignorant of) Catholicism may not feel a strong compulsion to seek out the sacrament, if they can have their beautiful wedding done in the catering hall. But then, Pope Benedict DID tell us that the church would become smaller and more fervent. So, it seems these things will have to play out as they will.

    • Yes. I’ve thought about this too and wonder if this might not also be in our future. It is already the case in some other countries. As for your second point, about there being fewer marriages I also agree that the Church may become smaller but perhaps the pruning is necesssary that we become more fervent and less compromised by the world. Painful but likely true.

    • Jan says:

      I don’t know of any place in the country where you don’t first have to obtain a civil marriage license anyway, do you?

      • No I am not aware of anything in this country. But in other coutries of the of the World there is a different way. The couples go to the civil magistrate and are married civilly and then come to the Church where they are married in Church. This causes some problems since couples go an get married civilly and then start liviing together and only weeks or months even years later get the Church wedding. Nevertheless the pious among them wait for the real wedding which is the Church wedding. I am not sure exactly which countries this takes palce but I have prepared a number of weddings for couple who were married abroad and this has been the case not infrequently.

      • Bender says:

        There are a few jurisdictions which recognize “common law marriages,” which do not require a license or even a wedding ceremony, including the District of Columbia (and Utah). The typical requirements for recognition of a common law marriage is that (a) the couple live together for a significant period of time, (b) they hold themselves out as a married couple — typically this means using the same last name, referring to the other as “my husband” or “my wife,” and filing a joint tax return, (c) they intend to be married, and (d) they otherwise meet the qualifications for a licensed marriage.

        (The common law is the non-statutory law that grew over hundreds of years by judicial decisions. For example, the body of law that governs contracts and torts (personal injury) arose out of the common law. It is the “common” law because it is grounded in right reason, as discerned by judges applying natural law concepts to real life disputes.)

      • Jan says:

        Bender – what you described is sanctioned shacking-up, whether or not ‘marriage’ is attached to it. So, that doesn’t really count here, I don’t think. No priest would marry a couple without a state license. (I don’t think!)

        And no fair citing Utah law against me!

      • Bender says:

        No, common law marriage has been recognized for hundreds of years. Indeed, what if there were no government — does that mean that no one could get married?

        Government did not invent marriage — marriage existed long before governments were ever established under that law which is common to all mankind.

      • Ryan Haber says:

        Msgr. Pope,

        The situation you describe, of couples required to obtain civil “marriage” then shacking up before they are married by the Church, is an enormous pastoral problem in Mexico, actually. I spent a summer there as a seminarian, and a local priest told me that there are a number of thorny situations that arise. Some people got into the situation because the marriage license is cheap, allows joint filing, tax savings, etc., and they are saving for a house and a nice wedding. Increasingly though, he said, it is being used as a trial marriage, with the Church wedding recognized as “the real thing.” Obviously, “trial marriages” hardly build the virtues that will make an actual marriage last – as our culture is witnessing. I saw churches packed everywhere in Mexico, lots of little kids, and a small number of adults going receiving communion – maybe 20% or so. The same priest told me that a significant portion of them were in unblessed civil marriages. While better than a sacrilegious communion, their decision is hardly to be called upholding the law of God in their life. It does at least show an awareness of sin which has been self-helped almost out of existence in English-speaking culture.

    • Quentin says:

      I think that the problems we are having in England at present may eventually force the Catholic Church here to adopt the solution of only ‘marrying’ people who have already had ‘civil’ marriages; although even that may not prove to be sufficient to protect the Sacrament in the face of our rampant secularism.

      However, Bender, the ‘Common Law Marriage’ is, originally, an entirely Canonical thing; because it stems from the fact that for about the first thouand years of Christianity, there was no obligation for a couple to marry in Church, or before a priest, so that the ‘mutual acceptance’ before God was what created the marriage – and such couples were considered to be married, even if there had never been a service of any sort.

      Theologically, in fact, that would still have been valid up till Vatican II (don’t know about now); it was only Canonical discipline which prevented it.

      • Thanks for the info on what is happening in England. It is true that Canon law on marriage has changed a lot over the centuries. As culture has gotten more out of step the Church laws have had to become stricter and clearer.

  5. Adam says:

    You raise a very good point, and I’ve thought the same myself. Symantics may or may not do the trick, but the difference between the sacrement of holy matrimony and secular marriage is night and day.

      • Henry Vanden Brook says:

        I don’t know what you are talking about. I thought I was married in the church, but when my wife wanted to screw around, she just talked to her priest and figured out what lies she had to tell to get our marriage annulled.

        Doesn’t anyone remember that guy who God has sticking out in history regarding his marriage(s?), you know King Henry VIII. He wanted an annulment. He didn’t get one from the pope. So he started his own church. Well that just didn’t go too well with the Catholic Church. So now, instead of standing for what’s right, we now have massive annulment for really any reason. We also have massive adultery and just like the murders who rename murder abortion, we rename adultery re-marriage.

        I tell you what. We should definitely use a different name for marriage in the Catholic Church. It should be something really special . . . different . . . well distinguished . . . but totally honest. We should call it a mirage . . . hallucination . . . illusion . . . vision . . . delusion . . . fantasy . . . but certainly not marriage and certainly not holy.

        I also think we should come up with another name for holy since we don’t keep anything aside, separate or pure for God like the word was originally defined to mean. I realize the church stands behind God, way behind, but since anything goes, let us be kind enough to leave God out of it since we are making him look bad; this is using his name in vain. Our vows are completely meaningless, because no one can depend on them. Our covenants are just another stretch. Since it’s just a matter of what you feel, while you feel like it, let’s call it the congenial relationship. Now, if you feel like it, and it happens to workout, we’ll say it was sacramental. But if you have enough brains to get top notch devious advice from some of the leaders on how to squirm out of it, well, it just wasn’t sacramental. We’re not saying it didn’t happen; it just didn’t happen sacramentally. And since the girl wasn’t really your wife, and since we know it happened, it just didn’t happen sacramentally, well you know what you shouldn’t have been doing since she really wasn’t your wife, though you both thought what you were doing was OK with God. HOW UTTERLY STUPID.

        The church really shouldn’t have anything to say about marriage. Even the homosexuals and secular don’t pretend it didn’t happen. I think they are being kind to the church to lower their standards to use such a flimsy, weak, meaningless word as marriage. Poor God. Poor suckers who thought they were married until “death do us part”. Catholics shouldn’t even be allowed to say the words in the context of God.

        If anyone doesn’t like this, just get it annulled, pay $800 a month child support for 18 years, go without a spouse for life because you want to keep your vow to God and you don’t want your sons to be Biblically defined as bastards or your daughter to be Biblically defined as a bitch, ask tons of priests for evidence from the Bible or early fathers of the church regarding the basis of annulment and never get one reasonable answer. You can just suffer for the rest of your life so life is more comfortable for the adultery gang and the Holy Roman Catholic Priesthood.

        To say the least, the article is ridiculously pious and ignores the churches history as a wimp on the subject. Don’t even bring it up. Just annul all the homosexual marriages. Let’s see how far you get. I think God is the one having the last laugh at all the idiots who didn’t realize the consistency of God, for He said “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. What you sow, you shall reap.” The so called “Church” is about to reap. If you can’t stand for your vow to God, what makes you think he will make a vow to you? He’ll probably ‘do un to you as you did un to others’, especially your other-half, and makeup a tradition to annul any perceived promises in scripture to you.

  6. Nick says:

    I like the word matrimony, it has a solemn tone to it.

    The Pope is making a handbook on marriage, or so I’ve heard.

    • I hope the handbook comes soon. I would also suggest a major worldwide synod on Marriage to address the crisis that marriage is and to restore some coherence to the annulment situation which seems out of control at the present moment at certain sectors of the Church.

  7. Oswaldo Castro says:

    We should support instead a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. We need to avoid giving fornication the same civil status as marriage, irrespective of terminology.

  8. anon says:

    I don’t know about marriage vs. matrimony, but a name change is surely appropriate for the bill, “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act.” Religious freedom? The crafting and enactment of this law hacked the constitutional right of religious liberty. They silenced religious opposition, saying its morality has no place in the public sphere. They basically said, “You can worship, but keep it in your Church.” Not much freedom there.

    I’ve a question for the lawyers here-
    If marriage between man and woman alone is, as the council asserts, a religious belief, then shouldn’t the right to exercise that belief be protected? The council’s declaration that marriage is a human right to be extended equally to all will require that those who hold a religious view of marriage to set it aside in certain circumstances. I used to be an event planner, and if I still worked, could be sued if I declined to organize a same sex wedding?

    • The DC Council’s abuse of power in the whole matter has been extreme. THey railroaded this thing through. in its first stage without even allowing hearings. They refused to allow for a referendum, they gave the Church trough Catholic Chairities only two months to comply and more than one Council Member called us bigots.

      Your question for the Lawyers is a good. one.

    • ejcmartin says:

      In Canada this sort of scenario has already happened through our Human “Rights” Tribunals. I believe the KofC was effectively sued for not wanting to rent their hall for a same-sex “wedding”. There are numerous other similar situations.

    • Bender says:

      I used to be an event planner, and if I still worked, could be sued if I declined to organize a same sex wedding?

      OF COURSE YOU WILL.

      This is NOT about respecting people’s rights. This is a war. They are enagaged in a war to ram this down your throat. They are not interested in reasonable compromises, in all sides trying to get along peaceably.

      There has been a plethora of cases where businesses of all stripes have been sued, harrassed, and prosecuted for not giving their seal of approval to same-sex unions, from landlords to wedding photographers. And, make no doubt, there will be some troublemaker who will purposely seek out and go after people who decline to get involved in same-sex “weddings.”

      • anon says:

        Bender,
        I believe you, but what is the legal basis for another’s “rights” taking precedence over mine? Why do “equal” rights not apply equally to religious rights under the law?

      • Bender says:

        Sorry to say, we are long past having to have a “legal basis” for things. Under the traditional common law theory of jurisprudence, what we call “law” is necessarily grounded in reason, but other theories of jurisprudence include — (a) the “law” is whatever the judges say it is and (b) “law” is grounded in raw political power. It is all very disillusioning to learn of the way the world really is, and these latter jurisprudential views have become predominent in law.

        What is their legal basis for their rights taking precedence over yours? Because they are bigger than you, that’s why. It is the bully basis.

        The other legal basis is that anyone who would deny them is an evil, hateful, bigoted, homophobic Christianist and, after so many long years of oppression, including oppression by a Church that tortured people and is run by child molesters, and oppression by a religion that was founded by a self-hating sexually-frustrated homosexual named Paul, as a matter of social justice they are entitled to put their needs over those who would deny them the fundamental right to love who they want to love. Justice is their legal basis!

      • Bender says:

        Just to clarify a bit –

        Under the common law, judges endeavored to discover the law by the application of right reason. In that jurisprudence, “law” is pre-existing and transcendent, the law is above the judges, and the law, being a species of truth, is what it is.

        Under the most prevelent modern-day view, judges and legislators create “law,” such that the law is not above them, rather, they are above the law. This, of course, is a much more arbitrary and relativistic jurisprudence. And if they are the creators of law, of course they can recreate it and redefine it at their whim.

  9. El Bolillo Tejano says:

    I think the idea is brilliant!

      • El Bolillo Tejano says:

        On my wedding invitation we actually invited our guests to our Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. I think Marriage is a modern term, and like much of the English language, has lost it’s “umph”.

        Ideas can be “married”. Concepts can be “married.” Materials can be “married”. Foods can be “married.” Wines can be “married.”

        No two men can EVER participate together in the “sacrament of Holy Matrimony.”

        No two women, can ever participate together in the “sacrament of Holy Matrimony.”

        Holy Matrimony can never be redefined by any human or government.

      • Ryan Haber says:

        El Bolillo Tejano!

        You’re right. It’s what I like to call the F-syndrome. We all know what F stands for in English, except it no longer stands for anything anymore – not even strong disapproval. “Marriage” has perhaps fallen pray to the same syndrome.

        Matrimony hasn’t, I think, and so it is perhaps a better term to use for that reason alone.

  10. Howard says:

    I’m with Jan and Bender on this one. To try to change the word would only confuse people and be seen as a full retreat.

    Did the Church abandon the words “priest”, “bishop”, or “Eucharist” when the Anglicans began “ordaining” men with defective rites so that they could no longer truly consecrate bread and wine? For that matter, surely you’ve heard of Voodoo “priests” and Buddhist “monks” and “rosaries”.

    When “remarriage” after divorce became legal, did the Church change the word?

    In ever case, the Church kept her language, but made it clear that there is a difference between the genuine article and the impostor. That is what must be done now, too.

    • Yes, clearly there is a judgment call involved here and you think it unwise. I understand your points entirely.

    • Ryan Haber says:

      Ah, there is something different-ish going on perhaps.

      The word “priest” at least is older and more general than the Catholic priesthood: it refers to sacrificial ministry and every culture around the world until the Reformation has had priests.

      Bishop is a bit different, I think, because it is a corruption of the Greek word for “overseer” and while in Catholic thought it has always contained the idea of apostolic succession and the fullness of priesthood, it can reasonably apply by analogy to other situations.

      The Eucharist is deeply sacrificial in its nature – sacrifice is perhaps its very essence – but the word means Thanksgiving. In fact, the first Protestant liturgical project, dating to Luther himself, was to drive the idea of sacrifice out of people’s minds, to disconnect sacrifice and thanksgiving. That’s unfortunately unscriptural because in the Scriptures, the two are always intimately linked.

      I am not arguing that Protestants or Anglicans have any of these things properly speaking, but by a certain analogy they have something like them.

      The only thing that sacramental marriage and “gay marriage” have in common is that each (for now) has two people involved in them. That’s a pretty thin analogy, since figure skating and tap dancing duos also involve pairings, as do airline piloting teams, paddle boats, matched sheets, and so on.

      There is a good case for the Church keeping her language, to be sure. Ultimately what is needed, of course, is the clarification of language. The clarification of Church language is part of what we mean by “catechesis,” no?

      Interestingly enough, when asked by the emperor in whose court he served what in China was most pressingly in need of reform, Confucius said, “The rectification of language.” Plato has Socrates quipping that the start of wisdom is to call a thing by its proper name. The Psalmist sings that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of all wisdom,” (Ps 111:10). These things all reconcile in that the very act of calling the LORD by His proper name is to recognize His lordship and our subjection and even contingency. It is to say, “We depend on Him.” It is to recognize the first and fundamental of created relationships, from which springs every other fact of human life.

      I guess the question we are really addressing then, is which way is the best to rectify our language: is it to dig in our heels and fight, or to scrap the old and start building afresh. Are we fighting a rear action, or sowing the seeds of a new culture? In the fourth through, say, eighth centuries, the Church busied itself fighting the barbarization of the Roman Empire, and all the while was planting the seeds of Europe and the West. We may be in an analogous situation today.

      And of course, the answer to the question is the same now as then. We do both: defend civilization and plant the seeds of a new one.

  11. Geisteswissenschaften says:

    I have an alternative solution as well. While I like the idea of reverting to an original vocabulary, it has great advantages, but it won’t solve the problem. Instead, we’re just shuffling around due to the pressures of the worlding world. But still, I am a huge fan of using original vocabulary and not letting anyone else re-define the words I use every day, according to ‘contemporary’ standards which are so mutable that a fly could change them.

    My plan, is similar to one of the suggestions posted in an earlier comment. We Catholics do not need permission to ‘marry’ in the Church. The only thing that you need a marriage license for is tax benefits. In a long enough engagement, we are civilly married anyway, so that if we want to visit someone in the hospital or engage in any other act of love which the state feels it must recognize a valid marriage, then they themselves can bear our burden. What they will have to do is prove that we are not married. But, their own laws will destroy them, for they have ‘common law’ marriages, which essentially define a marriage as any man and woman living in the same place with mutual concerns for an extended period of time.

    By their laws, we are still entitled to many great benefits.

    By our laws, we still receive our marriage. And in this way we can rightly proclaim our marriages as holy! For they were not merely ‘sanctified’ by the Church, but we establish our covenant within the Church. So, they are Holy from the beginning.

    I don’t think that the gays are wrong for using the words marriage. Saint Paul describes to us that anything we join ourselves to is a marriage. So, he endears us not to join ourselves to sin, to sodomy. He goes even further and proclaims that we should not even share the Holy Bread with anyone in sin.

    Yes, Christianity is an exclusive religion, and rightly so. “Do you not know that we will be judged by the saints?” “Do you not know that we will judge even the angels?” The old phrase “judge not, lest ye be judged” has a light not seen in recent years. It does not say – Don’t Judge. It says, “the measure with which you measure, will be measured against you.” Thus, you too, will be judged for sharing the bread of Angels in an unworthy manner.

    Do not enjoin yourselves to sin, preach to the sinner, heal the sick soul, bring them into Communion, and gratefully break bread with them. That is the task.

    By setting aside Christian, thereby Catholic, marriages from secular ones, we fortify our Communion, sanctifying the Bride of Christ! call it matrimony, call it marriage, call it whatever word you want to give it – but we should not marry with government.

    Likewise, the government itself has laws which prevent them from entering Church business as well. That is something we must define right quickly – now! Soon, they will be in our business as is happening in Europe. They will be forcing us to adopt their norms and customs. Already, if we look around, they have us ‘worshiping’ the State, just like the Communists demanded of their constituents.

    We are not their constituents. We are the Church that Jesus Christ built. he is the rock, the Cornerstone, the Apostles are the foundation, laid well by the blood of the martyrs, and built up by holiness and fidelity.

    We live among them, but we are not ‘of’ them.

    At the end of the day, it is said (by Jesus Christ himself) that you will know a tree by its fruit! Ours is holiness, their gods are their bellies, and so their fruit is rotten even to its core. It is dying daily while we die to ourselves, and produce the fruit of the Church, that is, Jesus Christ, daily anew!

    Marry not with the heathens. Marry not with their laws. Be Holy, as you are Sacred to God. This Holiness, this ‘otherness’ is not oriented to the World, rather it is oriented to God, even to our sexuality. While they turn inward on themselves and cannibalize themselves, we will bear the fruit of the martyrdom, that is, not that we will die, as they will, but that we will live, and live eternally!

    Pax Christi

    • Perhaps I read too quickly but what I think I hear you saying is that we should not bother to get civil marriage licenses at all. In other words we ought to completely disassociate ourselves from the concept. This may be a possibilitiy in our future if the state starts requiring all ministers to agree to perform gay weddings in order to be licensed to do any weddings.

      I would have to defer tot he lawyers to explain any possible ramifications of not getting a marraige license. In some countries the couple goes to the JP for a civil wedding prior to comeing to the Church for a Church wedding.

    • Henry Vanden Brook says:

      If it’s just for tax reasons, why not have everyone get a marriage license, kids & pals, and claim themselves as head of household on their taxes? If they are going to make fun of a true marriage, why not take it all the way, right away, and show how ridiculous it is?

  12. April says:

    Fr. Corapi does a program about the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    In the opening he states (paraphrases) “When the TRUTH is called a lie, the lights go out, darkness falls and if your light is darkness, how very deep will the darkness be.”

    The TRUTH is Marriage, it is between a male and a female…end of TRUTH!

    • So I interpret you to mean that we should not Change our lexicon

      • April says:

        In my opinion they need to come up with an alternate word for what they want (same-sex contract) not the other way around. Marriage is Holy. It is between a male and female. Marriage invites us into the Trinity…The very first marriage is in the Bible between Adam and Eve….NOT Adam and Steve…

      • Ryan Haber says:

        April,

        They are not going to come up with another word for their homosexual unions because they do not want another word, or any word in particular. They want the word we use because they want our approval. And the more they screech that they do not want our approval, the more they make my point. When we genuinely do not care for another person’s approval, we do not screech about it; we just walk away.

        The way they want approval to be bestowed is to be given what they have felt, since childhood, excluded from: mainstream society. If we called marriage “snuffalupagus” they would call their little unions “snuffalupagus” too.

  13. Geisteswissenschaften says:

    Corrections:

    “Do not enjoin yourselves to sin, preach to the sinner, heal the sick soul, bring them into Communion, and gratefully break bread with them. That is the task.” Change:

    Do not enjoin yourselves to sin, [pray first for yourselves, for right-mindedness and right spirit, then, pray for the sinner,] and preach to the sinner, heal the sick soul, bring them into Communion, and gratefully break bread with them. That is the task.

    “Marry not with the heathens. Marry not with their laws. Be Holy, as you are Sacred to God. This Holiness, this ‘otherness’ is not oriented to the World, rather it is oriented to God, even to our sexuality.” Change:

    Marry not with the heathens. Marry not with their laws. Be Holy, as you are Sacred to God. This Holiness, this ‘otherness’ is not oriented to the World, rather it is oriented to God, even [down to] our sexuality.

  14. Kurt says:

    I must be old school. Matrimony is not a strange or foriegn term to me. In my youth, it seemed the Church used it regularly to refer to the Sacrament. It seems quite appropriate to restore it to its tradtional use.

    I don’t think I am denying the Church’s teaching that the sacrament is between one man and one woman for life unless I qualify with quote marks references to gay “marriage” or Senator McCain’s “wife”, Cindy.

    Also, I think your timeline may be too tited towards recent times. It is not just no-fault divorce but legal divorce in itself that has separated Sacramental Matrimony from civil marriage.

    Same too for contraception. It is not just the postwar development and use of artificial contraception but the practice on a widespread basis at the start of the 19th century of the Withdrawal Method, a form of contraception while less effective than “the pill”, not morally different.

  15. Maman A Droit says:

    I like the idea. Rather than indicating retreat, I think it would show the secular world that despite their best efforts, they can’t force acceptance of their lifestyle on everyone. They can redefine a specific term, but they can’t change the sacrament. Part of what makes the LGBT movement so angry is that they want to use the same term as heterosexuals; that is why “civil unions” are unacceptable to them even when they come with benefits identical to marriage. It would ensure that whatever happens in the civil marriage debate, there would still be something special and different which homosexual unions cannot be a part of because they lack the God-given complementarity necessary to fit the definition.

  16. Brandy Miller says:

    It does not matter what verbiage you change to – the homosexual agenda will attempt to force people to include them in the definition. What actually needs to happen is that a Catholic dictionary be put together defining what words mean to us as Catholics. This dictionary would not only be a strong tool for teaching the faith but would provide a common ground for Catholics to stand upon. It would also make dialogue with non-believers more meaningful, since they could understand what we mean when we use certain terms as opposed to what they mean when they use those same words.

    • Good idea – lexicon of Catholic teaching!

      • Henry Vanden Brook says:

        I thought God already did this in the Old Testament. Since it’s supposed to be his program, why don’t we just follow his directions and use his definitions. I think a part of the problem might be we don’t quote the scripture enough. We just make up our own religion and use his name, in vain. Luther did some of this, and tried to throw out some of the books. How many Catholics even read the Bible one time from cover to cover? If you are going to develop a lexicon of Catholic teaching, how about doing it dictionary style; provide the word, the scriptural definition, Biblical examples, and early father examples in order of history.

      • Quentin says:

        Henry;

        try Danzinger’s ‘Enchiridion Symbolorum’ : it basically provides all the doctrine of the Church, defined across 2,000 years !

  17. Ross T. says:

    Would it be easier to force the term “marriage” out of legal terminology? To call marriage licenses “legal” or “civil union licenses” and reserve “marriage: (or “matrimony,” or both) for the Church?

  18. ejcmartin says:

    My parish priest came to the exact same conclusion when the definition of marriage was changed in Canada.

    In addition, with regard to your comment: “Now marriage was redefined as a contract easily broken by the will of the spouses”. I would argue that it should read “Now marriage was redefined as a contract easily broken by the will of a spouse.” It doesn’t take two to end it, just one.

    • Camilita says:

      In a true Christian congregation, Christians aren’t thguat to stick to their own race , however, they are encouraged not to become unequally yoked , meaning not to date someone who is not a Christian.There might be some legalistic morons who promote only dating within their race because in the old testament, God told the Israelites not to intermarry with the pagan cultures around them. This was solely (or at least mostly) to inhibit religious desertion by Israel.However, in modern, true Christianity, racial differences aren’t thguat.

  19. Casey Truelove says:

    Why don’t we call the union of homosexual couples “garriages?”

    It seems a bit crass, and perhaps it is, but it more accurately recognizes the distinction: those unions are not “marriages.”

    This begs the question: What kind of word would we use for Catholic couples who simulate marriage by going through a wedding ceremony outside the Church? Those unions, too, are not valid marriages. “Sarriages” (secular marriages) doesn’t quite have the right tone, because secular marriages could be valid for non-Catholics. What about “farriages” (faux marriages)?

  20. Bender says:

    we may have have the church pull out of the signing of marriage licenses. As in France, a couple wishing a sacramental marriage will first have to go to the city hall and submit to a “civil” marriage.

    Now, our dear Anchoress knows that I love her, and I can understand her sentiment, but she is a bit off here. Government permission should NEVER be a precondition to the reception of a sacrament. Better to get the government out of the licensing business altogether, or to simply go back to the government recognizing common law marriages.

    But all of this confuses what is really going on here. If the other side were really interested in a reasonable solution, then they would happily embrace the compromise that is the “civil union,” which carries with it exactly the same number and types of civil “rights” as does marriage, but without the word.

    But this really is not a fight about rights for same-sex couples, it is not a fight about equality, it is not a fight about fairness. This is a fight intentionally to appropriate the word “marriage” for the purpose of corrupting that word, all as part of the larger war on marriage itself, the war to destroy the institution of marriage.

    That war has had many battles, from no-fault divorce to contraception to cohabiting to condoms for kids, and they are all directed toward the same objective — the destruction of marriage and the family.

    The surrender of the word “marriage” by us to them advances that anti-marriage agenda. Words have meanings, words are reality (especially the Word who Is reality). To walk away from the word is to walk away from the reality, from the truth. No, we should not leave the battlefield, we should not surrender that hill to the enemy.

    • Jan says:

      i have no problem with the state’s requiring licensing for marriage – it’s iin their best interest – as well as the rest of ours – to promote and defend fruitful marriage and a 2 parent-of-opposite-gender household.

      The battle is to keep sacramental marriage intact and to keep the government out of the church.

      Too many people still want ‘the Church’ in their marriage ceremony – I have a couple of instances of this in my own family where my-brother-the-deacon was asked to officiate at the weddings of nieces and nephews who no longer practice. Makes it really hard on everyone when this happens and he has to say “no.” So, I think that for the most part, this is going to have to crumble as well, along with a lot of other things in the Church before it can be built up again to where it should be.

      • Quentin says:

        Bender;
        I’m not sure that the French couple HAVE to go to the Maison de Ville; but they certainly do if they want to be considered a married couple for the purposes of tax, benefits, etc . . . and possibly also to have their children recognized as legitimate.
        However, the idea of NOT going to the Civil Authority is still an option for them; as also in a lot of other European countries – and certain circumstances even in England.
        I doubt you can copyright the word ‘marriage’ – or any other word in the Dictionary, come to that : but if you can keep Catholic Marriage as what it is meant to be, that is at least a start, surely ?

  21. Terence Filmore says:

    I’m not quite getting the point, I think. Certainly, the word “marriage” has been legally altered by what our Council has done – but the legal and Catholic definitions of marriage have never been synonymous in this country and, indeed, most others. While I reject the concept of gay “marriage”, I see no need to re-define or re-state my Catholic marriage to differentiate. The legal battle has been lost – let’s not fight over the scraps.

    I’m wondering also how this seeming discontent about the word “marriage” squares with other sacrements. Is not the Catholic sacrement of baptism substantially different from other denominations’ baptisms? Similarly with confession? Do we have to have unique words to describe our sacrements? I don’t think so.

  22. Bill says:

    Wow. Reading your comments here, it is perfectly clear that many of you, especially those of you over 50, really have some deep, deep spiritual work to do.

    Isn’t it time for you to understand that you can not hold your gay children accountable to biblical law if you don’t HOLD YOURSELVES accountable to it as well?

    And wouldn’t doing so leave us ALL dead by stoning?

    Morality indeed, Catholics. Morality indeed.

    • Bender says:

      Judge Bill –

      Thank you for so freely sharing your poor opinion of us, but I think we would all freely admit that we are accountable to biblical law and, indeed, we are sinners ourselves. But sin really isn’t the issue (at least not in this post) and certainly no one else is calling for anyone to be stoned.

      The defense of marriage, and the word “marriage,” against attack is the issue.

    • Chill Bill. Disagreeing with an agenda doesn’t equal sin or hate or whatever you are suggesting.

  23. hippie says:

    Marriage means union. Two same sex people cannot unite. That is they cannot fuse their gametes, and no legal contract can force those gametes to fuse. Therefore there is no union or basis for legal marriage. Civil marriage laws are a response to the biological fusing of gametes for the express purpose of protecting the issue of the marriage, that is the children. If marriage didn’t bring forth children, we would have no marriage laws. Just as we have no laws governing other friendships.

    The whole thing is ridiculous. We are ourselves to blame for allowing it just as a parent allows a child to disobey.

    These people want society’s approval. It is our duty to withhold that approval. They really seek spousal benefits that genuinely married people get because society sought to protect children and by extension the wivess who cared for those children. The society that sought to protect children and their mothers did so with the understanding that children are the future of society. These gay couples want to take these protections for themselves even though the need no such protection.

    • Your point is rather more physical than I have heard but hey, our Bodies are revelation and it is clear that union between man and woman is meant to be. As for other combinations the body does not reflect gay union. The body does not lie.

  24. Gary says:

    Monsignor, normally I agree with what you write in your blog, but not this time. Why should we have to change the wording we use for marriage? We’re not the ones who have come up with some new-fangled meaning for that word. Gay “marriages” should be referred to as homosexual unions. Marriage is still a relationship between one man and one woman.

  25. Cody says:

    While I talk with protestant friends, I feel many times that I am living a religion translated. I end up just explaining the Latin terms themselves and even now we continue to use anglicised words very similar to the Latin roots: Mass, Transubstantiation, etc. By doing so, we refuse to deign the Holy Mass and other things too sanctified to be equated with ‘church services’. In this way, the term Holy Matrimony, something we hold dear, is fitting to replace marriage- it has strong ties to the Latin root, the native language of the Catholic Magisterium.

  26. Equus nom Veritas says:

    Referring to sacramental marriage as “holy matrimony” is a start, but it will do little more than buy us time. There already exist in many states civil unions which effectively grant all of the same benefits as marriage. The homosexualists (as opposed to homosexuals) are not fighting for equality, but for forced acceptance (as opposed to mere tolerance). Changing how we refer to the sacrament will not stop them or even necessarily slow them from demanding it for gays, even if it is utterly impossible for the Church to comply with this demand.

  27. Karl says:

    The battle for the franchise of “marriage” is lost. It will morph into where ever those with the most determination, money and power take it. You know where I come from on this issue having left the Church over my own experiences.

    The Church has gutted itself by not doing more to support those, like me, who have been abandoned, while at the same time welcoming my wife and her adulterous lover in all but a “Church marriage”. This leads to easy arguments that most people see the Church as “losing”.

    I am both sad and happy to see the Church in such disarray. The human part of me that has been so hurt is quite satisfied when I see the Church have dirt thrown at it and see it stick. But, if you remember, as I love the woman I married, I still love the Catholic Church deeply and it hurts me to see how things are. But it hurts mostly, for me personally, to know that I have, quite literally for twenty years been asking to be heard, I mean dealt with and not ignored because clerics THINK they know better, but have been only dismissed as a fool. The Church is paying for THAT attitude and it will continue to. There are many of “me’s” out there and we are ignored. As long as situations exist were there is unaddressed, fundamental injustices, where the Church plays both sides, it will continue to lose those who love it. This cannot continue.

    But, each case needs a specific answer. What I know, very well, about ours is that all the three bishops who could do something in our case, will not give me the time of day.

    That says all this former catholic needs to know. That being said; I do want the Church to heal but I also want it to be broken so badly that it intimately understands how wrong it has been behaving so that it acts to change, fundamentally. If this could occur without being almost destroyed, that is what I would prefer. But until priests such as yourself, do not openly from the pulpit, when you know of situations like mine, call your bishops the evil men that they really are(and risk losing your jobs and even vocations) then I pray the catholic Church is buffeted endlessly until the bishops are broken of their self-righteousness and grow up to see that they msut support the innocent and hold to account the guilty. Yes it is complicated but what is being done and has been done for my entire lifetime…..DOES NOT WORK.

    God help the Catholic Church and priests like yourself, for all your good intent(which I do think, you think, you mean) for not screaming at your superiors to help us and even refusing to obey them if they do not.

    That is EXACTLY what you MUST DO!

    I promise you, I mean this from a deep desire to do what is good.

    We have destroyed marriage. All of us. But I have asked for help and only adultery has been and continues to be supported. Our case is one of a legion.

    • Not sure of the specifics of your case. But as you can see I have indicated that marriage hasbeen redefined for years and will admit that the Church has not been as outspoken as we should be.

      • Mrs. Rene O'Riordan says:

        Karl I too was deeply upset to see a priest in my locality “bless” an adulterous situation!! Everyone else saw it as a kindness. In another situation I caused hurt by declining an invitation to attend a “wedding” of a close friend’s second marriage – her husband (a horrible man, and I saw his destructive behaviour for years) was still living and his wife was also living. I’v seen people change the name of spouse to “partner”. This messing has been going on for quite a time and hasn’t been confronted. According to Fr. Corapi it goes right back to Humanae Vitae – the disobedience started right there and has progressed to bring us to this awful state where we are living in such confusion! But that is the beauty of the Church, that is the beauty of what Jesus Christ founded – He will not let us away with disobedience to His expressed teaching and that comes to us from the Church. Come home Karl. We’re not perfect but we will be. It is the cowardice of some priests and Bishops that have hurt you and it is the ignorance of the laity that you weren’t supported. I’m in a very similar situation, but I may not trust people, but I trust Jesus – He wants us home and He wants to comfort us and heal us through His sacraments. The crowning of thorns icon is called “Jesus the Bridegroom”. The mental anguish you experience is His also. His bride has crucified Him. Come home and you will find He has been there done that, understands and is very close to you.
        Sorry Msgr. but this really does have all to do with marriage and what is happening on the ground to-day. And the betrayal of what marriage really means happened a long time ago. – Blessings – Rene

  28. Carlos says:

    Their comments (on the video) about the importance of getting a license, reminds of a scene in a movie, only in reverse. I don’t recall the name of the movie, but there’s a part where a guy is complaining about his father saying, “you need a license to drive, you even need a license to go fishing, but any [bleep] can be a father.” His implied argument was that a license holds value. This thing about marriage licenses for gay couples is diluting the value of the licenses, rendering them meaningless.

    There was a priest back when I was college who used to say that we live in a “light” society. Everyone is wanting light food, light this, light that, and he made the point that now we were going for a “light Catholicism.” Same thing with secular marriage now: it’s just “light” marriage, not the real thing.

  29. Maureen Tomaino from South Africa says:

    Yes Holy Matrimony is very good. Words do loose their meaning. Love is another word that has been made defunct in this day and age.

  30. Karl says:

    When I was born in 1954 up until 1997 a civil remarriage got you a latae sententiae excommunication. This would be a good place to start and should be universal. Accepting a person known to be in public and permanent adultery into the Catholic Church should get the priest and or bishop excommunicated and defrocked. A person who dated without nullity should be banned for ten years from even dating even if they are correct about nullity, eventually. If their is a civil remarriage without nullity the ban for remarriage should be permanent, even if nullity is found. Any Catholic who materially assisted another Catholic in public and permanent adultery should be excommunicated. Public support of such things should result in excommunication. If it is a cleric they should be defrocked.

    These are good places to start and should be effective immediately by decree from Rome.

    A new name is useless. Marriage must MEAN something and this must be enforced.

  31. Arturo Zárate Ruiz says:

    The Church is Catholic and not confined to the English use of language. For example, “marriage” in Spanish is “matrimonio”. What are we going to do if mad officials now speak of “matrimonio homosexual”? What word are we going to use?

  32. Don says:

    Just a quick reply to ejcmartin about the situation with the KofC inBritish Columbia regarding being sued for not renting their hall to a same sex couple for their “wedding” reception. The Human Rights Tribunal upheld the KofC’s right to not rent their hall, although they did levy some fine of some sorts for KofC pulling the plug late in time (this was a little bogus as the individual renting the hall did not make it clear that it was a reception for a same sex wedding initially) and for “hurt feelings”. However, it was generally regarded as a victory for the Knights.

  33. jj says:

    Catholic Ghetto here I come. All in favor say “I”. It’s coming to that, watch and see.

  34. Jim says:

    Monsignor, you hit on one of the most difficult problems in the whole discussion: “marriage” has become an equivocal term.

    Because sacramental marriage and civil marriage are very different relationships governed by very different sets of rules, the argument get muddy before it even starts, in large part because the two sides use the same term to mean quite different things. Thus, we tend to talk past each other, not hearing what the other is saying.

    There is a need in our world to provide means for relationships of mutual dependency (regardless of composition) to have standing for certain legal benefits; our faith is big on caring for those who are dependent. However, marriage is not the way non-traditional relationship compositions should be recognized.

    Prior to the advent of homosexual “marriage” or civil unions (and even now), most of these issues could be addressed through carefully crafted legal documents–powers of attorney, wills, and the like. The enduring difficulties, though, are government benefits (social security survivor benefits or dependents on income tax, for example) and group health insurance through one or the other’s employer. All of these could and should be handled, though, through legal means other than changing the legal nature of civil marriage.

  35. Equus nom Veritas says:

    As an aside, I have a hypothetical question for you (and anyone else who is interested). It seems to me that at this point in time, the Church effectively recognizes as sacramental marriages from the various Protestant denominations. To be sure, she may ask to convalidate the marriage if one or both spouses is or becomes Catholic. Do you think that this will continue to happen as it does right now?

    Here is some context for that question: annulments. My understanding of the Church’s teaching concerning annulment is that an annulment is an official statement that the marraige never really existed. This statement is made only after thorough investigation into the circumstances leading up to the wedding. One of those circumstances–correct me if I’m wrong–is that the couple needs to have reasonable knowledge of what marraige is in order to give consent, and willing (uncoerced) and informed consent is a necessary element of marriage.

    Some Protestant denominations have long sinnce accepted, admitted, and even embraced and encouraged gay “marriages.” But in order to do so, those denominations would have long since needed to reject some or all of the proper understanding of what marraige is. Members of such denominations would presumably thus be taught this false concept of what a marriage is, and thus would not be able to give willing and informed consent to marraige: thus, their marraiges are lacking in form.

    To be sure, the Church has long taken an “assume that the marraige is real until proven otherwise” approach to annulment. However, in cases where the denomination in question is effectively teaching falsely about marraige, it is difficult to envision many couples from that denomination entering into a properly understood marriage. Denominations which teach that homosexual marraiges are every bit as valid as (and in some cases, effectively indistinct from) heterosexual marraiges can’t be doing much to give true understanding to what a marriage is.

    On the other hand, the Church has continued to recognize as sacramental marriages which are performed in those denominations even after said denominations accepted and even lauded contraception. Similarly with those denominations which have admitted or even at times counseled divorce (mostly, the same denominations as accept contraception: nearly all Protestant denominations fall into both categories). Is homosexual “marriage” a break from the Church’s teaching of marriage in the same kind but of different degree or of a different kind entirely than contracepted marraige and divorce? What do you think?

    • One of Our Canon Lawyers from the Archdiocese was answers your comment in the following way:

      Marriages are assumed to be valid unless they are proved to be otherwise. We cannot conclude that because some Protestants have an imperfect understanding of what marriage is, no Protestants can validly marry. That an understanding of marriage different from that of the Church invalidated consent would have to be proved in individual cases. The Church assumes the validity of marriages of people whose religions or cultures recognize easy divorce, whether pagans, Moslems, or Jews, as well as some Christians.
      At the same time, it is quite possible for a Catholic to have an understanding of marriage that is different from that of the Church. That is one reason why we have thousands of annulments every year in this country.
      If we apply the writer’s standard to all Protestants, we might as well declare all Catholics to be incapable of marriage as well.

      • Equus nom Veritas says:

        I meant to thank you for your reply, Monsignor (and your canon lawyer too!). I kind of figured (and hoped) that this would be the answer, but still it lends some clarity to the issue to actually receive and answer. It also gives me something else to think about. So, thanks!

  36. Patrick says:

    Language is not static. It is constantly changing. It is unfortunate, but it is also reality, that the word “marriage” now encompasses several incompatible concepts necessarily forcing an evolution in our language. I am not in favour of the term “Holy Matrimony” as it seems only to speak of the sacrament of marriage in the Christian sense. True marriage is not reserved to Christians alone. It is a natural union of a man and a woman that Christ has elevated to the level of sacrament. Hindus, Muslims, Atheists and all others can participate in tre marriage as well. This process of verbal separation should focus on the NATURAL aspect of marriage vs the synthetic aberrations that are currently sheltered by the word “marriage”. They are synthetic because I believe that it can be easily argued that nature itself (by the grace of God’s creative work) proposes monogomous, heterosexual, committed relationships as the norm for the human race. This should be the focus. The term “Holy Matrimony” seems to me to be too devisive, and does not adequately acknowledge valid marriages outside of our religious tradition.

  37. Demosthenes Project says:

    Please extend the definition of “holy matrimony” to cover all Old Testament-based sacred unions as articulated in the proposal below.

    TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE RESTORATION INITIATIVE OF 2010

    Short Title

    “Traditional Marriage Restoration Initiative of 2010”

    Summary Statement

    The initiative, if passed, will provide that the civil rules relating to marriage in the District of Columbia (both its creation and termination), be based on traditional family values as documented in the King James Version of the Holy Bible as translated in the Seventeenth Century anno domini by divinely inspired representatives of the Church of England.

    Legislative Text

    Sec. 1. Enactment

    BE IT ENACTED BY THE ELECTORS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this act may be cited as the “Traditional Marriage Restoration Initiative of 2010.”

    Sec. 2. Eligibility

    Any person having reached the age of thirteen (13) years shall be eligible to enter into a binding, legally recognized marriage consistent with the laws, statutes, and regulations of the District of Columbia.

    Sec. 3. General Citizenry

    (a) Males

    Any male resident of the District of Columbia meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 may enter into a legally binding and recognized marriage with one (1) but not more than five (5) female residents of the District of Columbia meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2.

    (b) Females

    Any female resident of the District of Columbia meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 may enter into a legally binding and recognized marriage with one (1) male resident of the District of Columbia meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2.

    Sec. 4. Mayor and City Council Chairman

    (a) Males

    Any male meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 and serving or having served as the duly elected Mayor or Chair of the City Council may enter into a legally binding and recognized marriage with one (1) but not more than five hundred (500) female residents of the District of Columbia meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2.

    (b) Females

    Any female meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 and serving or having served as the duly elected Mayor or Chair of the City Council may enter into a legally binding and recognized marriage with one (1) male resident of the District of Columbia meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2.

    Sec. 5. Levirate Marriage

    (a) Eligibility

    In the event that a man having entered into one or more legally binding and recognized marriages under the this Act dies prior to the issuance of progeny and one or more of such man’s brothers survives, then the conditions for a levirate marriage shall exist.

    (b) Affirmative Duty

    When the conditions of Section 5(a) have been met and there is only one surviving brother who meets the eligibility criterion of Section 2, then the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall, as a matter of law and without need of a petition from either party, decree that such man and his brother’s widow be joined immediately in a levirate marriage and such marriage shall be legally binding and recognized in the District of Columbia.

    In the event that the deceased man is survived by more than one brother who meets the eligibility criterion of Section 2, then the levirate marriage shall be declared with the eldest brother assuming the role of husband to his brother’s widow.

    Sec. 6. Marriage by Violation

    (a) Eligibility

    In the event that a man meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 is found by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to have committed the criminal act of first degree sexual abuse, as defined in Section 22-4102 of the District of Columbia Official Code, on an unmarried woman meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 and having never engaged in vaginal intercourse prior to such rape, then the conditions for a marriage by violation shall exist.

    (b) Affirmative Duty

    Upon the rendering of a verdict or judgment of guilty for the criminal act of rape consistent with the eligibility criteria of Section 6(a), the Superior Court shall issue the following orders:

    (1) The man convicted of rape shall be required to provide compensation to the father of the woman in question in an amount equal to the then market value of 570 metric grams of silver;
    (2) In the event that the father of the woman in question is deceased at the time of the conviction, then such payment shall be made to such father’s closest male heir as provided for by Division III of the District of Columbia Official Code; and
    (3) The man and the woman in question shall be legally bound in marriage by violation.

    Continuation of Previous Posting:

    Sec. 7. Divorce

    (a) Adultery

    Any man, having entered into a legally-recognized marriage, shall have the right to divorce his wife for cause when the Superior Court of the District of Columbia issues a finding that such woman did commit adultery during the period of the marriage by a preponderance of the evidence.

    (b) Other Grounds

    Beyond the grounds described in subsection (a), there shall be no other grounds or justification for the termination or dissolution of a legally binding marriage within the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia.

    (c) Irrevocability

    In the event that a man and woman are parties to a marriage by violation as provided for by Section 6, then there shall be no legal grounds for termination or dissolution of such a marriage.

    Sec. 8. Termination for Cause

    (a) Eligibility

    In the event that a man meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 enters into a marriage with a woman meeting the eligibility criterion of Section 2 with the understanding that such woman had not engaged in vaginal intercourse with any man prior to the marriage, but it is later proven by a preponderance of the evidence before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that the woman had engaged in such an activity, with or without her consent, then the marriage qualifies for termination pursuant to the terms of Section 8(b).

    (b) Method of Termination

    In the event that a marriage meets the criteria of Section 8(a), the Superior Court shall order the woman to be brought to the home of her father, if he resides within the District of Columbia, or to the public area in front of the John A. Wilson Building located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue of the northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia.

    Having been brought to the appropriate location, the woman shall be physically restrained by duly sworn bailiffs of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and stoned until dead by a group of twelve (12) residents of the District of Columbia selected in the same manner as potential jurors are selected within the District of Columbia.

    Sec. 9. Severability

    If any provision of this Act, or any application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of the provisions of this Act and the application of the provision to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected.

    Sec. 10. Effective Date.

    This Act shall take effect in accordance with the provisions of Section 1-1001.16 and Section 1-206-02 of the District of Columbia Official Code.

    The Demosthenes Project
    Washington, District of Columbia
    United States of America
    demosthenes.wash.dc@gmail.com
    http://www.myspace.com/demosthenes_ project

    • Patrick says:

      No offense, but this is the silliest thing I have seen written in this whole commentary…Who in their right mind would consider this even remotely serious? This is a real crisis. lets get real!!!

      • Yes, Demo is trying to make us look silly by his attempt to reduce the call for biblical marraige to the absurd. He clearly has no sophistication whatsoever in handling the topic. Nor does he understand that the Lord Jesus set aside all the man-made acretions and went back to Genesis purity. But Demo has no idea of this probably because he’s never talked to one of us. He prefers to set up straw men and knock them down.

      • Demosthenes Project says:

        Msgr. Pope,

        The point of the prior posting listing an “updated” version of examples from the Old Testament is to demonstrate that there are many things in the Bible that are not countenanced by the Church – not “to make [you] look silly.” Instead, today’s Church has cherry picked what is to be permitted and what is not to be permitted, as all faiths have done throughout history. All of that is entirely appropriate – that is the point of freedom of religion. What is not appropriate is the imposition of that choice on civil society.

        Does the return to “Genesis purity” lead this world back to the rules applicable to the earliest families – namely the intermarriage of the immediate descendants of Adam and Eve (something that would qualify as incest in today’s society)?

        Some churches still maintain that miscegenation is against God’s law too (the races were made different and such differences should not be obliterated or otherwise marred by man), but the Supreme Court of our civil society, with the strong support of many churches rejected this abominable restraint on civil liberties. Has any church in the Washington area or any other place within the U.S. been forced or otherwise coerced to marry anyone by any governmental body? Civil divorce, legality of premarital sex, inter-faith relationships, mixed race couples all exist and have in no way infringed upon your freedom to practice your faith. This same distinction is what is called for today in our non-theist government.

        • We are not imposing. We are upholding what has always been the case in Western Civil Law. It is not just based on scripture it is based on natural Law. It is the Gay rights agenda that is being imposed. They insist on using the word Marriage in a way that it has not been used before. This is an imposition. Legal arrangements can be made to arrange for some or all the benefits to the married but they insist on the word marriage. Again this is imposed. We have done nothing but uphold what the word has always meant. The Catholic Church has never quoted Scripture to the civil governemnt. Our objections have all been based in natural law. When I write to the faithful however I do use scripture since it is our shared document. I do not like your word cherry pick. We use scripture in a sophisticated manner not some simplisitc way. Scripture builds. Some of it abrogates what has come before, some of it fulflls and thus ends certain practices such as killing lambs. Other scriptures are reiterated and reinforced. The Church understands these nunaces and hence quoting levitical norms is an attempt to make the Church look either arbitrary (which we are not) or silly. I am not interested in what other denomnation’s racist tendencies are. The idea that returning to Genesis would involve incest is ludicrous and uses a form of Biblical interpretation that the Church does not. Going back to Genesis is not like getting into a time machine and reproducing all the accidentals of that time. What is imposrtant is what God teaches there as he establishes Marriage. It is what is taught that is important not silly things and red herrings like incest. That Jesus reiterates Genesis is significant and that he says we are going back to “the beginning” in Matt 19 makes what is taught there normative for a Christian.

  38. Mrs. Rene O'Riordan says:

    What about the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? We can’t change that. Marriage so reflects the Trinity. What would we expect but that the father of lies; that old serpent, the one who hates God, would do everything to distort and destroy what most beautifully reflects Love? Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers. Prayer and fasting is in order now, as well as patiently and clearly explaining our beliefs. People are being deceived at a great rate and we must have compassion for those who do not understand what it is they are messing with. Mons. thanks for your great posts. Have posted up your blogs on marriage on a fb site trying to oppose the passing of a Bill on same-sex unions here in Ireland – very few people are talking about it!!! It’s alarming. Pray for us. – Blessings – Rene

  39. Mark says:

    In as far as the Church and Sacrament are concerned, the re-instituting the covenant as ‘The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony’ is probably for the best, though the common usage of marriage will always be around and on the lips of those wed within the Church, just not in the legal definition. The caveat to this is that if any group identifying themselves as a church started to use the same description, soon the word/phrase thieves would be at it again; what’s really called for is the recognition of the preeminence of religious belief and freedom to worship, above and beyond the everyday workings of the secular world. It is difficult enough for people of faith today, what with multiple breakaways from the Church continuing unabated, with fragments existing all over the place, and each in its turn accepting a lower order of worship or philosophy, some intertwined with earth/nature worship. I say lower order of worship, as the Catholic follower of the Son of God, accepts the Creator as the origin of all things, seen and unseen, making worship of just a part of creation or what comes of personal philosophy as being lesser than that of the Holy Trinity.

    • Ariya says:

      At the same time wlhsit the Priest should not condemn you outright as a person he should not be accommodating to any of your sins. He can understand the difficulties, but he mustn’t encourage an attitude of it’s too difficult, therefore don’t do anything about it .The sin in extra-marital relations is that we’re using our bodies in a way contrary to our nature. The sexual act is designed to be procreative and it is a good thing that it is pleasurable and unitive too. However, whenever we have sex and deliberately and artificially close it off to the possibility of reproduction we are in fact using our bodies as objects of pleasure solely and closing them to our fundamental nature. Same sex intercourse by its very nature is closed to pro-creation and as such objectifies each partner.Sam, it’s not for me to say, but read back through your post and see if you get the impression that what you’re saying is that without sex we could not be happy ; if that’s the case then think about the implications of that.We all have lots of urges and our passions often guide us towards the good, however, an essential part of our human nature is our reason, and the correct order of the passions and reason, is that the latter should rule the passions. Just because we desire something does not mean that it is fundamentally good for us. This is a hard thing to accept in modern society where the concept of freedom has been reduced to freedom to do whatever I want instead of freedom to do whatever I ought and the freedom not to be ruled by our desires. In the long run the latter freedom will lead to genuine fulfilment the former to a series of pleasurable experiences, but ones not ultimately grounded in the desire for truth, which is what will ultimately set us free.I have been celibate now for over 5 years where previously I was engaged in extra-marital sex; it’s not always easy, but it gets easier over time, and has proved to liberating in a way that I never could have expected. Modern society seeks to control us through our desires, most advertising seeks to work on us through our bodily desires, from the (admittedly enjoyable) food porn of the M&S ads(!) to simple buy this, get more sex of other ads, we are not being asked to think, we are being stimulated to react. The mentality seeks to reduce us to our desires and society often seeks to define us by our sexuality. You are not a gay person, I am not a straight person. We are both people, part of God’s creation and our sexuality is an aspect of us not the totality of us, in the same way as our humour, our aesthetic tastes do not comprise our totality.God Bless and be strong. Do not be afraid to read why the Church teaches what it does and to react accordingly.

  40. Demosthenes Project says:

    Maintaining that the Church is simply “upholding [...] western civil law” when it comes to marriage is an argument that I would respectfully submit is something that does not hold up to strict scrutiny in this case. For much of western history is it the Catholic Church that dictated many aspects of the law, including marriage. So, to state now that the Church is simply relying on historical precedent is in a very significant way saying that the Church is relying on its own historical domination of this area. Marriage has often been a point of contention between civil and clerical authorities with the civil authorities wresting control away from the Catholic Church with each major reform of this area since the Reformation.

    As for the dismissal of other denominations’ interpretation of the Bible, given the absence of an official interpretation, the Catholic Church should consider that legally the interpretations of others is just as valid as its own. The Church should consider the consequences of applying the same logic it is calling for in this matter in the context of another religion that is its legal equivalent. Beyond the racist interpretations of some churches, there are also an increasing number of main stream denominations who approve same sex unions. Why should their theology be any less valid before the law than that of Rome?

    I would like to ask what I hope is understood to be a serious question. In light of all of the changes that have occurred in the area of matrimonial law in the country, largely through the actions of our civil court system over the last 40-50 years, why is it that the abolition of gender qualifications for civil marriage is the straw to break the camel’s back? In terms of sheer numbers and proportion of the society, aren’t the changes in the heterosexual context far more relevant, yet they fail to stir the Church in the same way. From my perspective, the most likely explanation would have to be the treatment of the physical element of a same sex relationship as a “sin” under Church doctrine. Given that premarital sex and divorce are also sins and certainly impact the franchise of marriage, wouldn’t the Church be pursuing a more rampant scourge to deal with the “decline” of heterosexual marriage than with the statistically de minimus impact of same sex marriage?

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  42. Ken says:

    It makes no difference what you call it, soon as you change the word, the G&L will be crying that they want that word also so its equal rights to all.

    I’m only susprised that the G&L are not fighting for damages in court as they were short changed in not being able to have chrildren. But again who would they take to court, they don’t believe in the one that made us.

  43. Rich G says:

    If man can marry man and woman marry woman, whats to stop people from marrying domesticated animals. For that matter why only one partner. Why not as many as you wish? That must be morally wrong. Don t we get or morals from the Bible? I guess we just pick and choose what we wish to follow now a days.

  44. Bill E. says:

    First of all, G&L’s have the same rights as anyone else. They have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, just like anyone else. No discrimination. What they want is more rights than they have now, not equal rights.

    Also, the word marriage is used in the physical world to describe the mixing together of things. Example: Brass is a marriage of two metals. So, the word marriage had already been hyjacked, before the G&L community got the idea.

    As such, I think it makes more sense to use the term Holy Matrimony, but use it when, and only when, we are actually united with our spouses by the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

    • Marriage is not an absolute right. It is a word with meaning and “G&L” unions don’t meet the criteria. Your example of metallurgy is silly and fails to distinguish between denotative meaning and analogical speech.

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