In view of the size of the majority in the House of Commons voting for same-sex marriage it would be prudent for the Bishops of England and Wales to put plans in place to protect the sacrament of marriage from legal actions by homosexual activists attempting to coerce the Church to conduct pseudo-’marriages’.
The first stage of planning this separation would be to examine the implications of separating the sacrament of marriage from registration of the marriage with the State. At present a number of priests, deacons and lay people are official registrars and state marriage registers are kept on church premises.
The second stage would be to discuss with the government the process of separating the Catholic church’s conduct of weddings from the registration of marriage with the State.
The third stage would be for all Catholic parishes to hand back the civil registers on the same day as a public demonstration that the Church is separating the sacrament of marriage from the UK State’s provision of civil marriage.
From this point onward couples marrying in the Catholic Church would, like some other countries in Europe, have to arrange a separate civil marriage and separate reception of the sacrament of marriage.
Of course other plans should also be put in place if the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Churches in the UK had to conduct pseudo-homosexual marriage.
The Bishops of England and Wales need to begin putting plans in place as a matter of urgency because it takes them years to sort anything out. It takes them years just to agree drafts of documents.