Blithe Spirit

Given the shift in marriage’s civil legal definition to include same-sex couples, it is time that Catholic conversations about the issue recognize that we are talking about two different realities when we use the word “marriage”—a legal contract on the civil side, and a sacramental covenant between two baptized people on the other—and adjust our practice accordingly.

Doing so would allow Catholics to have a fruitful intramural conversation about our theological understanding of the sacrament of marriage without at the same time being entangled in the question of whether families and couples that don’t fit that vision should have access to the legal benefits and duties that go with its civil parallel.
It would also acknowledge what should be obvious to everyone: Even if civil and religious marriage were once a single entity, the ties uniting those two dimensions have now almost completely unraveled. [boldface added]

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