Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why does Prof Kmiec insist on dragging the Faith into everything?

Even if I could get beyond being bored with Doug Kmiec, I could probably only work up to being amused by Doug Kmiec. His latest romp through the poppy fields of nominalism has him essentially arguing that, although gay unions are "marriage" (because he and the far-left would have it so), that won't quite fly politically yet, so in the meantime, let's not recognize anything as a "marriage" and instead label everything a "civil union". Either way, it's nominalism, a school which holds, among other things, that some things exist because we name them so, and other things don't exist because we refuse to name them. And yes, the line between nominalism and delusion is at times a fine one.

But while others take apart the Pepperdine law prof's legal logic, I pause only to react to Kmiec's invocation, for the umpteenth time, of his Catholic faith as if it were some sort of inversely proportional credential as to why he must be right: the Catholic Church strongly opposes "same-sex marriage", so a Catholic layman must be very right to support it. He writes "As a Roman Catholic [my] faith stands against the recognition of same-sex marriage".

Beg pardon, but faith has nothing to do with it, counselor.

If she wanted to, the Catholic Church could mount an impressive doctrinal or theological case against "same sex marriage", though if she did, I frankly wonder whether Kmiec would be able to follow the argument. It's not his field.

Be that as it may, though, the Church is not making a religious argument against "same sex marriage", but rather, she offers a philosophical, specifically a natural law, assertion against it.
Canon 1055, the first norm on marriage, describes marriage as being by its nature a union of man and woman ordered to, among other things, the procreation of children. That's not a theological assertion, it's a philosophical and anthropological claim, one which admittedly the Church hopes that men and women of any religious affiliation would be able to grasp, but one for which, in any case, the Church simply does not use a creedal premise.

Argue with nature, if you want, Prof. Kmiec, argue logic, argue law both natural and civil, but don't argue Catholic faith when, in this regard anyway, it is not being invoked by your opponents. In opposing "same-sex marriage", the Church is talking about human nature; that's something even we lawyers should be able to understand.