Author Topic: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions  (Read 5554 times)

John_Hannah

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #45 on: October 22, 2020, 12:22:58 PM »

I believe Rome expresses the matter like this: it is a discipline of the Latin Rite. The Byzantine Catholics, using the Eastern rite, are permitted the Eastern discipline of marriage for the priests (I believe, only before ordination).
That is correct. Marriage must take place before ordination. That is true also for non Latin Orthodox. Allowance for marriage is not universal for Uniate Rite Catholics. For example the Ukranians may not.

Peace, JOHN
So marriage is allowed as a ‘pre existing condition’ ... allowed because it would be a violation of marital vows to terminate the marriage because a man became a priest.

Not quite.  It is allowed because the discipline is no marriage after ordination.  In the Orthodox Church, bishops may not marry (some of us feel that may change over time), but priests may remain married if they were married before ordination.  Essentially, it is a discipline, not a dogma, and so the Church is free to change it in either direction, either forbidding married priests (which I do not think will ever happen) or allowing married bishops (which might).

The reason for it, though, has to do with the development of the priesthood over time and, probably more pertinent to this board, the sacramental understanding of both marriage and the priesthood, as well as two practical concerns I'll touch on now -- ability to oversee the Church and concerns for lands held by bishops being transferred to heirs of bishops instead of the Church.  Because I know very little about the history of both concerns, I'll just leave them here and let you all look into it as you will.  I will also say celibacy carries with it another practical issue -- economics.  Put simply, it is hard to support a priest and his family on what most parishes can pay.  That, thus far, has not weighed against all the benefits to having married clergy in the Orthodox Church.  I doubt it will.

As to the sacramental understanding, however, the call to the priesthood is considered a "higher" calling.  Not that the priest himself is higher, but rather that the call to Holy Orders is beyond that of matrimony.  It carries with it higher spiritual responsibilities.  Some of these concerns led to the Latin rite practice of having only celibate priests.  Because we share the concerns, but not the discipline, we allow priests to remain married if they already are, but do not allow them to become married once they enter the priesthood.  For the same reason, a married priest who is widowed is not allowed to remarry, nor is his wife allowed to remarry if he predeceases her (because she by virtue of her marriage to him is a part of his priesthood, though she herself is not a priest).  Similarly, a priest who divorces his wife, whether through his fault or hers, is defrocked, since the sacrament of nuptials is then broken.  It would be like renouncing his baptism or disdaining communion.

Thank you; well stated.  Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Charles Austin

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2020, 12:24:55 PM »
And there is the good ol' "follow the money." In the 9th-12th Century the monasteries accumulated great wealth. The Abbots of the monasteries were like Lords of the Manor and they were passing the great wealth down to their sons. Celibacy was - among other things - a way for the larger Church to be the beneficiary of the monastery wealth rather than the offspring of abbots and priests.
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Randy Bosch

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2020, 12:46:38 PM »
And there is the good ol' "follow the money." In the 9th-12th Century the monasteries accumulated great wealth. The Abbots of the monasteries were like Lords of the Manor and they were passing the great wealth down to their sons. Celibacy was - among other things - a way for the larger Church to be the beneficiary of the monastery wealth rather than the offspring of abbots and priests.

Is that when the Vatican began to amass the incredible wealth still seen today in its physical and investment holdings?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2020, 12:47:03 PM »
If everyone has a right to be in a family, how come priests can't marry?


They are considered married to the church. That's to whom they have made their vows.


The few married priests who have come in from other traditions, being a married priest is seen as less of an issue than divorcing the wife in order to serve as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. However, should the wife die, they are not allowed to marry.


Lutheran and other missionaries made the same concessions in Africa when a man with multiple wives was converted, he was allowed to keep all his wives rather than divorce all but one.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2020, 12:54:16 PM »

I believe Rome expresses the matter like this: it is a discipline of the Latin Rite. The Byzantine Catholics, using the Eastern rite, are permitted the Eastern discipline of marriage for the priests (I believe, only before ordination).
That is correct. Marriage must take place before ordination. That is true also for non Latin Orthodox. Allowance for marriage is not universal for Uniate Rite Catholics. For example the Ukranians may not.

Peace, JOHN
So marriage is allowed as a ‘pre existing condition’ ... allowed because it would be a violation of marital vows to terminate the marriage because a man became a priest.


Generally, this rule applies to converts from another denomination, outside of Rome's rules, who were married and ordained and then wished to become a Roman Catholic priest. Those who grew up under Rome's rules are not allowed to marry and then be ordained.


Similarly, the Roman Catholic church will recognize the marriages of non-Catholics that did not take place in their Church, because those individuals are not under Roman regulations. They do not recognize the weddings of their own members that take place outside of their church.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #50 on: October 22, 2020, 01:08:58 PM »

If two gay people are married, you do not have to recognize their “marriage,” because you do not consider their relationship a marriage. However you do have to recognize that under the civil law they have a certain standing.
And civil society has the right to determine that those people have a certain legal relationship and to say how how those couples are treated.
I once knew an 88-year-old woman who, by any logical measurement, should not have been behind the wheel of the car. But the state gave her a driver’s license.
Exactly. Their marriage changes precisely nothing about their relationship. It changes how everyone else must treat their relationship. That is the only point of it.

Charles Austin

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2020, 01:30:59 PM »
It does change, Peter, how that relationship is dealt with in the civil realm. Why don’t you get that? And what is wrong with that? A marriage  license doesn’t change anything about the relationship between a man and a woman either. Does it?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2020, 01:38:38 PM »
It does change, Peter, how that relationship is dealt with in the civil realm. Why don’t you get that? And what is wrong with that? A marriage  license doesn’t change anything about the relationship between a man and a woman either. Does it?
We agree. There is no point in civil union apart from what it forces other people to recognize. That was what you originally objected to upstream.

There is a reason society needs to recognize marriage in the traditional sense, and that reason pertains the design of humanity and procreation. There is no reason society needs to care which two men live and sleep together.

Charles Austin

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2020, 01:51:10 PM »
Let me ask one more time. Peter, why do you care if two men living together under a civil union or a marriage (which you don’t have to consider a marriage) have the same standing in society as a heterosexual married couple? What does it matter to you? What is wrong with society recognizing that kind of relationship and giving that kind of relationship the same benefits, privileges and responsibilities it gives to a heterosexual married couple?
Are you totally unable for some reason to recognize a civilly licensed union of two people?
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2020, 01:53:34 PM »
It does change, Peter, how that relationship is dealt with in the civil realm. Why don’t you get that? And what is wrong with that? A marriage  license doesn’t change anything about the relationship between a man and a woman either. Does it?
We agree. There is no point in civil union apart from what it forces other people to recognize. That was what you originally objected to upstream.

There is a reason society needs to recognize marriage in the traditional sense, and that reason pertains the design of humanity and procreation. There is no reason society needs to care which two men live and sleep together.


It is also about inheritance, hospital visitation and decision-making, health insurance, joint tax returns, etc. There are also issues about adoption. When a lesbian couple I know adopted their first child, at the time, Arizona only allowed one of them to be named as the parent. Should that one die, the other one had no legal rights to the child she had helped raise all her life.


I believe that a friend said that there were about 3000 benefits that are given to married couples that unattached people don't have. At the time, she was in a "registered domestic partner" relationship in California which gave her and her partner the same state benefits as married couples; but not the federal benefits.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2020, 01:56:17 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #55 on: October 22, 2020, 02:00:57 PM »
The Pope naturally can and does speak for himself and as the head of a very large Christian denomination. Since it doesn't happen to me mine, I have less at stake in parsing what he says means.


There are a number of legal ramifications to recognizing same-sex partnerings. Having it formalized as a legally recognized union can, if the government wishes and establishes it to be so, can provide that the couple so designated can file income tax jointly which can provide some financial benefits depending on the situation. They can claim each other on insurance like married couples do now, also access during hospitalization and other situations where visitation may be restricted. It also provides some legal protections if the couple split or otherwise prove faithless. It can also affect legalities with children. Finally it has inheritance implications.


Whether or not I personally approve of same-sex couplings it makes a certain sense to make provision for couples that do not conform to the traditional married couple paradigm but nonetheless have formed a committed couple and extend to them as many of the same benefits and protections granted to traditional married couples. We live in a pluralistic society and we need to live alongside people who are different than we are and accord to them the respect and dignity that we expect them to grant to us.


Nothing in that demands that I call their arrangement "marriage" in the religious sense that I work with marriage as a God ordained estate.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2020, 02:13:10 PM »
Let me ask one more time. Peter, why do you care if two men living together under a civil union or a marriage (which you don’t have to consider a marriage) have the same standing in society as a heterosexual married couple? What does it matter to you? What is wrong with society recognizing that kind of relationship and giving that kind of relationship the same benefits, privileges and responsibilities it gives to a heterosexual married couple?
Are you totally unable for some reason to recognize a civilly licensed union of two people?
Because it something false being declared true, and everyone being forced to acknowledge it.

By the same token, why is it so important to you and many others that society recognize gay relationships as somehow official?

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #57 on: October 22, 2020, 02:14:51 PM »
Priests can marry. Under certain circumstances, Roman Catholic priests can be married. But you know that. And you know that certain things are matters of church discipline, where those wishing to be in the church vocation voluntarily give up some of their rights the sake of their vocation.

The only circumstance for married priests that I was aware of is when a married minister from another church body is ordained in the RCC. That is a tiny number of priests. Are there other exceptions?


Yes, there are. Uniate Rite Catholics (Eastern Orthodox groups which have pledged loyalty to the Bishop of Rome). 

Peace, JOHN

Thanks, John. I had forgotten about the Uniates.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2020, 02:22:02 PM »
Apparently the quote from the pope that is garnering all the attention reflects thoughts and convictions of the pontiff going back at least a decade, or more. However, in stark contrast, the previous pope, in his then position at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote:
The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions…. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The author of the article referenced below then notes: "That is indeed the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church. And the Pope is now on the record dissenting from that teaching, publicly and unambiguously."

Again the author also notes: "So, let’s be very clear: One of the first principles of Catholic social teaching is that immoral acts must not be given legal sanction. That’s why the Church plainly teaches that abortion (CCC, 2273) and pornography (CCC, 2354) should be prohibited by law. We as Catholics believe that civil authorities must not condone vice, even implicitly."

The entire article, a quick read, is worth it, in part, as evidence of the continued widening gap between the current pope and the more traditional and conservative members of his church.  This author believes, and I suspect a number of others within the ranks of the RC church, that Pope Francis "is dissenting from the Church."

Whether this will simply blow over and be forgotten, or will cause a growing crisis of confidence in the leader of this church among some followers, remains to be seen.  However, the author does note that it will embolden the more 'progressive' wing of the church that will now use the pope's words against them as a kind of moral bludgeon. 

Despite the fact that this author firmly believes he cannot follow where Francis leads in this instance, he appears yet to be a loyal son of the church.  His concluding words are a prayer:
Pray for our Holy Father, who needs our prayers now more than ever. If you love him, stand your ground. Please God, he’ll turn away from his error someday. Then we, the faithful remnant, may lead him back home.

https://www.crisismagazine.com/2020/where-francis-leads-we-cant-follow
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

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Re: Pope Backs Same-Sex Civil Unions
« Reply #59 on: October 22, 2020, 02:28:29 PM »
Peter:
By the same token, why is it so important to you and many others that society recognize gay relationships as somehow official?

Me:
For the legal, personal, and financial reasons mentioned by Brian just upstream. It can be considered a matter of justice and equality before the law.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.