Yes, The Church Must Get Out of the Marriage Business

I agree with Dena Hunt 1000% that the Church should get out of the marriage civil business. Let there be a clear separation of Church and State in this matter. What the State participates in, the State eventually controls. And let’s keep this in mind with respect to schools. Once the State financially assists a Catholic school, soon it will call the shots. We already have this situation with higher education. As I understand it, if a student at any college or university receives any money from the State, the State can then dictate what that institution does or does not do. I think about this with regard even to charter schools. Should they grow in number, eventually the State will take over. When I was married in 1959 while living in Germany, my to-be-wife and I had to first get a legal certificate from the State, any State, before we could have a Church wedding. Since the fee for civil ceremonies in Germany was a percent of the couple’s combined income, we decided to get married in Basel, Switzerland, where the fixed fee was less than we would have paid in Germany.  The civil ceremony was completely separate from the religious. Let the State administer “marriage” certificates to whoever qualifies.  Before our religious ceremony, we had to present to the Chaplain our State (i.e., Swiss) certificate. Fine. The date we observe is the religious rite by which we were married. Much of the history of the Catholic Church concerns its relation to the State. It has capitulated to the State, it has dominated the State; and both were really misguided. So again, I cheer Dena’s call for the end of the Church in the civil marriage business. Let Her do what she was created to do, and nothing less.

Robert Merchant

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