What Happens In Church Stays in Church

A parish in Montana is terribly divided over the decision the pastor made to refuse Communion to two men who were recently civilly married.

This is one of the predominant issues of our time and I think we'll be hearing more stories like it in the near future. Bishop Michael Warfel of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings reportedly said after speaking with parishioners about the issue that "there obviously is polarization."

He said he wishes to bring healing to the parish but added, "At the same time, as a Catholic bishop, I uphold our Catholic teachings."

This is a sad situation but I'm more interested in what one of the men involved said to the media. Exhibiting incrdulity, he said, "We didn't think anything would happen, church is one thing, civil society is another."

That line of thinking is dangerous and I fear prevalent among many Catholics. In fact, I've read a number of theologians who seem to argue that the Church has no reason to oppose civil gay marriage because of the separation of Church and state. A few things about the separation of church and state: 1) It's not actually in the Constitution (not even in the made up part under the right to an abortion.) 2) It's in a  letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in which he was attempting to convince a supporter that he had no intention of making any laws that would restrict the freedom of religion.

It's always surprising to me in a not surprising way at all how the same people who are always screaming about the separation of Church and state when it comes to life, marriage, or praying at a high school football game don't seem to have a problem when the government infringes on religious liberty.

But secularists take that quote from Jefferson as the bedrock foundational statement for this republic and use it in the exact opposite manner of its intent.

The logical end of this thinking seems to be that it only matters what happens in Church and then once you step outside the Church (or maybe the parking lot) all bets are off until next Sunday. This is the exact opposite of truth. Christians are given a very specific task to live the gospel, not just for one hour a week on Sunday.

It's the same line of thinking which bring the loud proclamations that the Church doesn't tell me what to do in the bedroom. I've always wondered what other rooms of the house the Church is banished from? According to many, it would seem all of them. And high school football games, of course.

More than just the separation of Church and state they are arguing for a separation of life from the Gospel, and the Church from the soul.