Proposal: So the bottom line is that what the secular world means by the word “marriage” is not even close to what the Church means. Is it time for us to accept this and start using a different word? Perhaps it is and I would like to propose a new (really an old) term and hear what you think. I propose that we should exclusively refer to marriage in the Church as “Holy Matrimony.” According to this proposal the word marriage would be set aside and replaced by Holy Matrimony. It should be noticed that the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to this Sacrament formally as “The Sacrament of Matrimony.”
The word matrimony also emphasizes two aspects of marriage: procreation and heterosexual complimentarity. The word comes from Latin and old French roots. Matri = “mother” and mony, a suffix indicating “action, state, or condition.” Hence Holy Matrimony refers to that that holy Sacrament wherein a woman enters the state that inaugurates an openness to motherhood. Hence the Biblical and Ecclesial definition of Holy Matrimony as heterosexual and procreative is reaffirmed by the term itself. Calling it HOLY Matrimony distinguishes it from SECULAR marriage.
On the one hand, I agree with those commenters who find it a little to defeatist to abandon the word "marriage" altogether. Marriage, after all, predates the State, and the notion that we can deconstruct it to mean anything we like--which makes it mean nothing at all--is one that we ought to be prepared to fight as long as fighting is possible.
On the other hand, though, I started thinking that perhaps there could be some protection for religious people, in a post-gay "marriage" reality, in adopting and adhering to a new term. I'm not entirely sure how this would play out, but I'm thinking it would be something like this: Catholics would call marriage "Holy Matrimony," and Catholics who wished to serve only those Catholics entering into Holy Matrimony would thus not be forced to provide their services to anybody entering into any kind of "marriage," civil, religious, or otherwise.To look at how this works right now, consider that there are Bar and Bat Mitzvah planners/coordinators who exist to help their customers plan these events, and these events only; there are also quinceanera coordinators (some of whom work for parishes) who assist girls in the planning of their quinceaneras. So why couldn't there be businesses which existed strictly to serve Holy Matrimony candidates--who photographed Holy Matrimony ceremonies, catered Holy Matrimony receptions, sold Holy Matrimony attire, etc.? If necessary, such businesses could even specify that they served only Catholic Holy Matrimony candidates, ceremonies, and events--that they worked with Catholic parishes and dioceses to make sure that anything they were responsible for doing met parish guidelines.Since same-sex couples will never, ever be able to enter Catholic Holy Matrimony, they will have no ability to sue Catholic Holy Matrimony planners, photographers, caterers etc. for refusing to accommodate their "marriage" ceremonies. True, those wishing to remain in business as Catholic Holy Matrimony planners, etc., will have to serve only the Catholic market--but there are, after all, just under seventy million Catholics in America, so the market isn't insignificant.
And using the term "Holy Matrimony" could spread to other areas, too. Catholic men and women who presently work as marriage counselors could change their focus to "Holy Matrimony Counselors," who work exclusively with clients who have entered into Holy Matrimony with each other, for instance. I'm sure there could be other examples, too.
The point of doing this would be to do an end-run around the end-game of the gay marriage proponents, since what they want is to force people who have deeply-held beliefs about the intrinsic evil of homosexual sex acts to keep those beliefs isolated to Sunday-morning worship, and to be forced to accommodate and give social approval otherwise to same-sex couples, or to face lawsuits and charges of discrimination and bigotry otherwise. Simply stepping back and saying, in effect, "Oh, no, I'm not a marriage X or a wedding Y; I'm a Holy Matrimony X or Y," would be a preemptive act against lawsuits and harassment for refusing to call two men or two women "married" or to treat them as such.