Hence, pro-life people always think that Roe V Wade was not based on the constitution, whereas pro-choicers can't imagine reading the constitution any other way. The LGBTQ(etc.) community thinks that the right of a man to marry a man is all but spelled out in the constitution, whereas anyone who opposes gay marriage can't imagine finding any legitimate grounds for the legalization of the practice in the same source. Similarly, LBTQ+ can't fathom the notion that anyone could read the constitution after desegregation and find any grounds for allowing a baker to refuse service to a gay man for his wedding. The list goes on. Pick any decision, and you'll find this born out: people always see what they want to see.
Hey, I totally see why conservatives don't want gay marriage, contraception and abortion legal anywhere. But regardless of what position you take, you must be willing to admit that the arguments of the SCOTUS for these cases are based entirely on the constitution. Roe V Wade was argued mainly from the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Obergefell V Hodges (the big gay marriage decision) was argued mainly from the Equal Protection, (which happens to be the adjacent clause in the 14th). Griswold V Connecticut? Well, that was argued again, through the 14th.
Now your average pro-life and pro-marriage American would stop me right there saying, "Show me where the 14th Amendment uses the word 'abortion' or 'marriage', and then we'll talk about how it doesn't follow from the constitution." This is the sort of person that, when faced with a SCOTUS decision that he doesn't like, will accuse the court of legislating from the bench, or he will accuse the court of adding words to the constitution, of offering dictionary definitions instead of legal applications, et cetera. (Sound familiar?) For example, as the sometimes-rather-annoying-and-grossly-overrated-blogger Matt Walsh so aptly put it, "There isn’t even a pretense of constitutional interpretation anymore." (See this post.) Now I highly doubt that Matt Walsh read the majority opinion, and if he already did, he has serious comprehension issues, because the argument for the decision was all about the constitution. (The syllabus in question is available here, by the way.) Fact is, the 14th amendment makes every liberty whatever into a qualified constitutional right; the 9th guards against thinking that all of the enforceable rights are spelled out in the constitution. It doesn't matter that abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc. aren't explicitly contained in the constitution. They can be protected by the constitution anyways.
I'll go ahead and give you an oversimplified version of these arguments... The court sees, "[No State shall] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," they look at an instance and see any liberty (or any situation where they say someone has a "compelling interest") that a person is deprived of without a criminal investigation, and then voila! They've got a legal basis for telling a state that their law is unconstitutional. Let's say someone wants to have an abortion... The abortion is a compelling interest ergo it is also a liberty, but no liberty can be taken away without due process. Some man wants to marry another man? No problem! Personal autonomy requires that individuals get to marry whomsoever they choose, and personal autonomy is a compelling interest, ergo it also is a liberty and a constitutional right. See how this works?
I'm not going to get into whether the arguments actually follow right now; that's a topic for another day. It is also undeniably true that this amendment was passed in one of the most imprudent and un-American fashions imaginable. America is founded on the principle that everyone should get a say in government, and the notion that no laws should be forced on anyone unless they are represented in the process of making that law. Our ancestors fought for this with principle their lives, and their descendants went and forced their cousins AT GUNPOINT to sign several hurriedly-written and under-staffed amendments to the constitution. In hindsight we can see that, intentional or not, one of these rifle amendments brought the whole governmental structure apart from the country's founding principles. Now rights are decided neither by the people, nor the states. Rights are not individually enforced through amendments to the constitution but through supreme court decisions. Yes indeed, through the due process clause of the 14th amendment, the entirety of the Bill of Rights has become irrelevant.
You'd better believe it. We've got an entirely different sort of government nowadays than we had then. The states had a war between those who overemphasized the federal aspect of the government (The South) and those who overemphasized the national aspect of the government (The North). The North won, and when their governmental changes were enforced, we were left with a nine-fold national dictatorship. As of that day, the American experiment had failed.
EDIT: At the time of writing this article, I held very different beliefs as regards whether or not abortion, contraception and gay marriage should be legal. I have since "awoken from my dogmatic slumber" and now am am now very much on board with liberty and egalitarianism. The substance of my interpretation of these SCOTUS decisions, however, or as to their significance in regards to the factual change of government structure, has largely remained the same.
After a bit of research, it seems clear to me that - except in exceedingly rare, if not totally nonexistent circumstances - the laity ought not take communion at an SSPX chapel, or otherwise formally participate in the illicit liturgy. That the priests themselves ought not administer or say the illicit Masses is given in that they are illicit, this fact being confirmed by multiple sources, one binding, one traditionalist.
The argument itself is straightforward: The Church has spoken specifically to this matter in an interpretive fashion, and authoritative interpretation have the same force as the law itself, if not universally, at least in respect to particular cases. This is a particular case that has been spoken on, however, so the Church’s interpretation of the law is binding.
From STATUS OF SOCIETY OF ST PIUS X MASSES, Commission Ecclesia Dei:
"2. The Masses [SSPX] celebrate[s] are also valid, but it is considered morally illicit for the faithful to participate in these Masses unless they are physically or morally impeded from participating in a Mass celebrated by a Catholic priest in good standing (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 844.2). The fact of not being able to assist at the celebration of the so-called "Tridentine" Mass is not considered a sufficient motive for attending such Masses." (Emphasis added)
Why the interpretation is necessarily binding:
Can. 16 §1. The legislator authentically interprets laws as does the one to whom the same legislator has entrusted the power of authentically interpreting.
Nor is this solution repugnant to all notable traditionalist sources:
Fr. Z's take on it:
"My solution would be that you could attend even an illicit Mass, though I would hope with some restraint, but that you should not receive Communion."
The referenced canon:
"§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid."
Traditionalists will argue that a true spiritual advantage suggests it. Note, however, that it has been clarified with binding authority that "the fact of not being able to assist at the celebration of the so-called 'Tridentine' Mass is not considered a sufficient motive for attending such Masses."
In more general terms, for any action to be moral, the object, circumstances and intent must all be acceptable. (Moral Theology 101) From this arises the generally accepted fact that anyone can attend even a protestant service so long as he does not formally participate in it (the object of the action), so long as he does not cause scandal (the circumstances of the action), and so long as he does so for a genuinely good reason (the intention of the action), and the same can be said of attending an SSPX Mass. Protestantism is further removed, so it makes sense that what we can do in regards to their services, we can also do in regards to SSPX's Masses. That the intention can be good need not be visited.
For the object of the action to be morally acceptable, either he must be incapable of morally or physically participating in a licit Mass, or else he cannot formally participate in an SSPX Mass. In that taking communion does constitute formal participation (Lest there be any doubt, this is what the cited canon referred to specifically, for the sacrament itself is illicit), a person cannot licitly receive the sacrament unless it is morally or physically impossible to receive it licitly elsewhere.
In regards to the circumstances, scandal must be avoided, schismatic attitudes and indifferentism must not be allowed to take root. The latter especially seems that it would be difficult to satisfy. When something is done often enough out of preference, the distaste for what it lacks (in this case licitness) is numbed, leading almost necessarily to an attitude of indifferentism in regards to whether a sacrament or liturgy is licit.
Is it not fitting after all, that the Sacrament called "Communion" should be received in full union with Rome?
Can brevity lead to ambiguity? Yes. But given a colorful vocabulary, articulately employed, it need not. When brevity is lost, however, interest is lost, and only a select few will actually retain anything, or even read until the end of the post.
Brevity is the Soul of Wit - William Shakespeare
The other day it occurred to me that a blog post on matrimony would not be amiss... There are all too many people that encourage only looking into the priesthood and the consecrated life, without encouraging young men or women to pray about matrimony, and I have recently encountered "Catholics" who are absolutely convinced that marriage is harmful to the spiritual life, but, as it were, a necessary evil. This is erroneous, fallacious, and dangerous. This conclusion is reached because the fact is acknowledged that the consecrated life is a higher calling than matrimony. (This is what the Church has said all along, so I won't get into it in any depth now, maybe later.) If this is true, it must be better for attaining salvation, and so a married person has given up his best shot at getting to Heaven. However, a vocation is that state in life for which a person is made. Practically by definition, it is through a person's vocation that the best and surest rout to Heaven is for that person. If you are one of those persons for whom I am writing this blog post, you're thinking right now: "Clearly, there is a contradiction... he just said that the best vocation is the consecrated life, but that the best vocation for anyone is their own vocation and that many people are not called to the consecrated life." So please, if you see this apparent contradiction, bear with me.
The religious life may be a higher calling than the married life, but the married life has a wholly different kind of glory. Only the consecrated life requires perpetual virginity, but marriage is still a sacrament which includes literally the fulfillment of chastity. Whereas the consecrated life takes a human faculty that brings joy and offers it to God pure and unused, matrimony takes that same faculty and uses it unto the end for which God made it. The sanctification of this faculty involves chastity, ordered to the love of the spouse and the good of the children; because marriage is so good, the abuse of chastity is so wrong. The consecrated life is a way of rising above our fallen nature in order to be brought as close to God as is possible in this life; marriage raises our fallen nature up, and brings it closer to what it was supposed to be in the beginning, when God blessed man and woman, and said "Be fruitful and multiply". In the one you may spend your whole life living God and praying to God for your fellow man, but in the other you devote your life still to God in a different mode. In the cloister you pray to God that the right people may come into the lives of sinners that they might convert; in matrimony you are on the front lines, coming into the lives of people and being used by God for the sakes of the sinners. In the cloister a person prays that good parents may give birth to and raise children to be the next generation; when you are married, you receive the graces from these prayers, because you are those parents.
It is only in matrimony that procreation is permitted because matrimony was made to sanctify the only way that humans can procreate. In this sacrament, a couple becomes a mother and a father, through mirroring God's trinity in the best way humanly possible: In matrimony two become one, and from their loving oneness children spring forth. A wise man once said that lust is wrong not because a person takes too much but that he settles for too little. This is why. Marriage carries with it great responsibility, great graces, great love, great symbolism, great joy, and humanity in its fullest.
So why is it that the consecrated life can be both higher objectively and worse for a certain person? Because both are so good, because individuals are given talents ordered to their specific vocation, to make the most out of it that can be made out of it, and because goodness comes exclusively from fulfillment of a thing's purpose. Just as a good knife is the one that cuts well, a good man is he who fulfills his calling. When a man is called to marriage, he will be holiest when he is married.
The principle of non-contradiction is that a thing cannot both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. Because every change is the beginning or cessation of being in a certain respect, any change must be accompanied by a progression from one to another time.