Sister Gramick is not the first to use Galatians as she does, of course. I find Galatians especially problematic for the Roman Catholic Church in its opposition to marriage quality because it gets to the heart of the matter: the genderlessness of the soul and the will.
As I realized as a mere youth, the sacramental theology of marriage and Canon Law makes it clear that the only essential element of marriage is consent of the parties to be married. Canon 1057 §1 says, “The consent of the parties, legitimately manifested between persons qualified by law, makes marriage; no human power is able to supply this consent. Canon 1057 §2 does indeed mention “man” and “woman”, “Matrimonial consent is an act of the will by which a man and a woman mutually give and accept each other through an irrevocable covenant in order to establish marriage,” and “man” and “woman” are mentioned elsewhere in the canons, but if the essential element of marriage, what makes the marriage, is the “consent of the parties, legitimately manifested between persons qualified by law” and if the law (and here I do mean civil law, which the Canon give explicit priority) makes no distinction of gender, it is impossible to imagine that the gender of the parties makes any difference at all.
Indeed, Canon 1058 says, “All persons who are not prohibited by law can contract marriage.” And, when one thinks even a bit more deeply about it, this makes perfect sense, as there is really no gender to the soul of the baptized nor, therefore, to consent, as in Galatians 3:27-28, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The gender references in Canon Law, therefore, must be considered accidents and not essentials.
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