Bookmark and Share
My Photo


    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.


« Kathleen Sebelius = "Pro-Choice Pro-Lifer"? | Main | A little more whiplash from Kmiec »

Tuesday, March 03, 2009



"Marriage is of religious origin..."

I'd be interested to see how Mr. Kmiec would explain the marriages found in cultures before they were visited by "the west." Of course, we have an answer for it (natural law), but no matter how many times we say it the same old straw man keeps coming out.

I'm so sick of this guy.

T. Shaw

"First, we kill all the lawyers!" Shakespeare

There is a huge amount of truth in every lawyer joke.

" . . . make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, . . . "

What a maroon. Aztecs, Molechites, etc. sacrificed human beings. So, does it also follow that to "separate church and state" the state cannot outlaw human sacrifice? Or, bestiality, incest or polygamy???

Herein he's augments his main stream media-defined "prominent Catholic" credentials.

If ever he agreed with the faith and morals teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, he wouldn't be "prominent" and he wouldn't get published.

Dan Deeny

Prof. Kmiec has gone around the bend.


...undermining the principal one of equality.

Why should equality be a goal of the law at all? Justice is the goal of the law. And justice involves treating unequal things unequally. To treat unequal things - e.g. marriage and sodomy - as if they were equal is a violation of justice.

Direct the state to employ non-marriage terminology for all couples - be it civil union or some equivalent.

Kmiec is a nominalist, pure and simple. No natures, just names. They're all the same thing if we call 'em by the same name.

Contemptible. He's selling his birthright for a mess of pottage - or a pot of message.

Mary Ann Eiler

In all of the discussions I read about the true nature of marriage, I am confounded by the historical ignorance of so many pundits. In the West (Europe) at least, from the 7th or 6th century BC on, marriage was understood as something that needed to be/and was the concern of the state because it was through marriage that future citizens were to be procured. Thus, in something as pedestrian as a 4th century BC rhetorical handbook. one finds a definition of marriage given as follows: "Marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the sake of the procreation of legitimate children." (Notice: nothing about pleasure, self-fulfillment, etc---procreation of legitimate children is the purpose of marriage here because only legitimate children could be citizerns in ancient Greece and Rome.) There is an immense bibliography on marriage in Greece and Rome (and other early societies--down to modern times), so there is no excuse for at least some people not knowing the truth--that marriage is NOT a religious institution--but no one is interested in the facts.

Of course the Code of Canon Law recognizes that marriage is a natural institution! The Church always has! When we look to the early Church, we see that marriage was understood as a matter that primarily concerned the family and the State. Thus, St. Ignatius' of Antioch's insistence that the Church has a role in the marriage refers to confering a blessing on the couple, and not to the performing of the marriage ceremony per se. St. Ignatius was the first churchman to talk about the church's role in marriage (and he did so in a couple of passing comments). It does not seem as though his advice was taken seriously for some centuries--at least there is a gap of several centuries before we begin to see the Church actually getting involved in marriage. And it would be many more centuries before "church marriages", as the only form of marriage, came to be the accepted practice. What there would be is the traditional marriage ceremony (family-oriented and -run, with minimal state oversight)--what we now call a "civil ceremony"-- followed by the Church's blessing, given by a bishop or priest at another time.

In the case of someone like Kmiec, who ought to know his Christian history better, one suspects that the ignorance may be culpable--because knowledge of the facts would not dispose one to such liberal nonsense.


Thanks for the helpful post.

Kmiec has succumbed to the California Kool-Aid.


Thank you so much for pointing out and commenting on these ridiculous statements by people like Doug Kmiec. Your commentary is intelligent and dead on.


It sounds like Doug Kmiec is in love with his new reputation as a grudingly unfaithful, leftist Catholic with the media. I honestly have no idea why this guy keeps popping up as everyone's new favourite Catholicish commentator. Where's McBrien and Kung? Too wrinkly for teevee?

John Howard

Wow, I had hope for him. Prop 8 wasn't about terminology, it was about the legal status of marriage, which is called marriage. The May decision, on the other hand, WAS about terminology. They explicitly said that the only question in front of them was whether there can be two names for the same bundle of rights, and they said that no, that bundle of rights must be called marriage for everyone. Though Prop 8 said nothing about DP's, the court's decision still stands and therefore means that Prop 8 says that those DP's are not valid or recognized in California either. What is the bundle of rights? At the heart of it, at its most essential and basic, is the right to conceive children together, which is why the state doesn't allow couples that are prohibited from conceiving together to marry, such as siblings. Is Kmeic saying that the state should get out of the business of approving and protecting conception rights for couples, and just let siblings procreate if they are consenting adults, or let same-sex couples use new genetic-engineering techniques to allow them to procreate together? Or is he saying that it should separate that question from marriage and strip conception rights from marriage so that couples that are prohibited can marry anyway?

And I'm not religious, I don't care if a religion blesses my union, I want my civil authority, my country, my ceasar, to bestow approval and protections on the procreative potential of my union. I want to beam with pride that me and my spouse are now actually allowed to have sex and make babies, the same way my parents were and their parents and their parents, etc. I don't want the state to withhold that civil right from me and perhaps even deny us the right to conceive with our own genes if they don't like our genes. The state should protect my natural conception rights.

My Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise preserves marriage as a man and a woman without having to do an FMA and without relying on a gentleman's agreement not to contest DOMA: It does it by three laws centered around conception rights, which become the distinction between Civil unions and marriage. Congress would say that no state can allow a same-sex couple to attempt to conceive together using their own genes, and that no state can prohibit any marriage from conceiving together using their own genes, thereby making it impossible for a state to have same-sex marriages. In return, they'd agree to give federal recognition to state civil unions that were defined as "marriage minus conception rights", meaning all the rights and benefits and protections except for the right to conceive children with their own genes. This way the CU's wouldn't be stepping stones to marriage, they wouldn't be "marriage in all but name", and the way they are distinct would shine a light on what is special and unique about marriage and help restore marriage in people's minds as the rightful place for procreation.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight


Ignatius Press

Catholic World Report


Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad