Tuesday, April 24, 2012
See? This is what people think will happen if gays marry
The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will not be able to exempt the Churches from a duty to offer marriages to gay couples, a senior Catholic barrister has warned, according to a report in The Catholic Herald.
Neil Addison, the director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, said that the Prime Minister’s assurances to the Church that they would not be compelled to perform religious marriage for gay couples are worthless.
He said two judgments by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg combined with a Court of Appeal ruling in 2010 clearly showed that the Government would be acting illegally if it legalised civil gay marriages without permitting them on religious premises too.
It means that if the Coalition Government presses ahead with its plans to redefine marriage to include gay couples the Catholic Church could face prosecution under equality legislation for acting according with its teachings.
Scary. Harsh. And not going to happen.
It is also spoken of in America. If gay marriage is accepted as the law of the land, then Catholic Churches will have to marry gays. That's untrue.
A few things to remember:
1. Divorce is legal. A divorced person can marry another person civilly. However, the Catholic Church will not marry a "divorced" person until a Church annulment has been granted.
2. A Catholic priest/deacon can perform weddings only for Catholics. We cannot (or we're not supposed to) do weddings for anyone other than Catholics.
3. For a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic, certain conditions must be met. For example, the Catholic has to agree to baptize and raise the children in the Faith.
As you can see, we have been able to and will continue to hold on to our own Catholic marriage requirements. We aren't led by the culture nor inimical to it.
Our teachings on marriage are first and foremost to foster the growth of the faith. Would it be awesome if the WHOLE WORLD was Catholic? Maybe. Ok, yes. But it's not nor do we ever suppose to speak on behalf of the world or at the world. Officially anyway.
Gay marriage is perhaps a social threat. Perhaps not. But it is not going to be a real threat to the sacrament of marriage just as much as we hold that one must be a male to be a priest or one must be Catholic to receive Holy Communion. We have our own teachings for our own. And, from time to time, our own actually follow the teachings!
However, it is interesting that the UK is still able to express outrage over threats to Catholic morality. I almost thought it was just an American thing.