Recently, after Sunday Mass at my Catholic Church in Minneapolis, I was visiting with a fellow usher, and the visiting Priest came by for a donut and coffee.
My friend, like me a retired long-married man with children, asked the visiting Priest about the biblical history of the apparent injunction against homosexual relationships. The Priest said that this law was basically based on the reprehensible practice in war, then, where the victor took license to rape the vanquished.
Of course, this rape was usually imposed victorious male warrior on vanquished male warrior.
It certainly had nothing to do with love.
In asking my friend to verify my recollection of the conversation, he mentioned this in addition: “You are totally correct. My Lutheran minister neighbor also told me the Bible orders women who are menstruating to sit on the roof until clean. Further, the Good Book says that if a woman’s husband dies, the man’s brother is to marry her.
Same sex marriage issues are also on the ballot in Washington state, Maryland and Maine. If same sex marriages win in these states Minnesota will be at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and keeping talented people who are gay or lesbian. These people will have a reason, a mighty big reason to settle in any of these other states.”
Of course, this small story will not convince the true believers, led by the hierarchy of my own Catholic Church, that their position is not authoritative. Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune had an excellent column about the abuse of the term “natural law” when talking about things authoritatively.
Personally, I have long been engaged in family history study, and back in the 1990s a genealogist in Montreal sent me a copy of the marriage contract for my first Bernard ancestors in Quebec, in the year 1730.
Of course, at that time, if you came to Quebec you were Catholic, and thus, if you entered into a civil marriage contract — which was apparently required by the state prior to the church nuptials — you were also required to be married in the Roman Catholic Church. The Civil Contract was necessary for Civil needs; the religious banns were separate and subsequent.
In the case of my ancestors, the Church matrimony came two weeks after their Civil Contract.
I have long been intrigued by this civil contract, and rather than interpreting it, here is the contract in its entirety (the first page is a sample of the handwriting of the notary – just scroll to the translation which begins on page two): Quebec Marriage Cont001
At the very least, it is an interesting commentary of the relationship between Church and State in a place where there was only one sanctioned Church, and thus a single sanctioned belief.
Of course, 2012 Minnesota is not 1730 Quebec (nor is 2012 Quebec anything like its predecessor 282 years ago.)
I urge a no vote on this and the other amendment on Tuesday.
I’ve expressed my opinion to my Church leadership, that regardless of how the vote goes on Tuesday, the Catholic Church has been irrevocably damaged by the actions of its mean-spirited authoritarian leaders.
I won’t drop out, but this issue has certainly changed my feeling about this Church of mine.