I have, of late, had occasion to discuss with a number of American Catholics the case of the Kentucky county clerk who has been imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licences to persons of the same sex. To my surprise, in a number of cases, quite orthodox Catholics have, while expressing their admiration for her convictions, expressed their view that she ought non-the-less to obey the law. So far as I know no Catholic bishop in the United States has publicly asserted the authentic teaching of the Church in this matter (although I would be happy to be corrected). We cannot insist upon the conformity of the laws of a non-Catholic polity to divine law when the sovereign (in this case the people) has not yet accepted the Gospel. We ourselves must refuse to violate divine law and if our contractual or public duties compel us to do so then we must renounce those offices that purport so to oblige us. However, sodomarriage is a violation of natural law. It is null and void and can be known to be null and void in all polities. No temporal power can command anyone to recognise or facilitate it in any circumstances. The clerk’s grounds for refusal ‘religious liberty’ are false and fideist, but she is right to refuse. We must insist that all the faithful in like positions make the same refusal and either to fail to do so, or to do so on the grounds of ‘religious liberty’ is to betray the Gospel because it is the natural knowability of the moral law that convicts man of sin. To make the moral law a matter of faith is to cut off the root of conversion. It is to abolish the good news. Because, if man does not know except by revelation that he sins, then he is not culpable unless revelation is preached to him. Rather than being the only way of salvation for fallen man convicted of sin by his own reason, the Gospel would become instead a pointless obligation that renders man unnecessarily guilty of infidelity when he might have attained blessedness through ignorance. The only logical response to such a garbled account of the Gospel is to do everything in our power to suppress the revelation of Jesus Christ and that is exactly how so many modernist clerics and theologians behave.
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