Married in eyes of God even if not in eyes of Church

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I was greatly disturbed when I read in the June 19 issue of the Inquirer a statement of Archbishop Oscar Cruz, head of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church, on marriage between a lesbian and a gay man. This prelate rules out any chance of same-sex unions but says a lesbian and a gay man should be allowed to marry. Can they get married? Having asked himself this question, the archbishop says he has come to the conclusion “that they have the capacity to consummate the union. The anatomy is there.” Here speaks a doctor of law (please see Tim. 1: 7-8) and an anatomist.

I like to give my own opinion, which is by no means a dogma. In the first place I want to state here that it is not he or any other bishop or priest who gives the sacrament of matrimony to a couple; it is the couple themselves who give the sacrament to each other and then, if they are sincere, they are married in the eyes of God, even if they are not married in the eyes of the Church. They can express their marriage vows in front of a priest/pastor or a judge so that their children will be legitimate. A same-sex union can also get the Church’s blessing but that would not be marriage. A same-sex couple have the right to live together as a couple and they should enjoy the same benefits as those who are married or live in a civil union.

This is an opinion of someone who has been a priest before but decided to leave the priesthood and got married to a woman who had lost her husband in a political incident. We decided to get married because we loved each other, and I felt compassion for her children. I did not ask for dispensation from Rome but I asked permission from my superior general in Rome. We did not get married in the Church either, but we married before a judge and I sincerely believe that we were married in the eyes of God and I am thankful that I got that beautiful experience of being married; and therefore I can speak from experience, something Archbishop Cruz cannot do, unfortunately. We also had our own daughter and for me it was a sign that God had approved of our decision to get married.

In this respect I also believe that it is high time for the Church, and the State as well, to review its legislation on divorce and separation. A couple should be allowed to get a divorce for reasons of incompatibility or other impediments, and they should be allowed to marry again, especially for the sake of their children. To divorce or separate, they don’t have to go to Rome but they should get that from a judge and a therapist who are competent to declare their previous marriage null and void. That would greatly minimize their expenses and, more importantly, it would give their children a new father or mother.

—ARNOLD VAN VUGT,

O.Carm. associate,

Cagayan de Oro City, nolvanvugt@gmail.com

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