In a recent interview with Catholic News Agency, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, offered several reasons why the Church works tirelessly to preserve the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“Marriage is about fundamental justice for children,” said the bishop. “Children do best with a mother and a father.” He cited a recent research article published in Social Science Research, which affirmed, again, the benefits to children of being raised by their own biological mother and father. The article was based on a representative group of young adults raised in different familial arrangements. As the bishop says, “In no area were children better off in an alternative arrangement [than their own mother and father].”
Bishop Cordileone also drew attention to the fact that redefining marriage poses a serious threat to religious freedom, a topic we treated in the Fortnight for Freedom series. The bishop emphasized that the proposal to redefine marriage is not an isolated problem but is intimately connected with broader misunderstanding of sexuality. “This isn’t a new threat to marriage,” he explained. “It’s a huge problem, and it’s gone on for decades.” Contraception, divorce, and promiscuity all eroded the characteristic marks of marriage – fidelity, permanence, and openness to life. Now people have a hard time seeing marriage as a lifelong child-centered institution instead of an affirmation of adult relationships.
Finally, Bishop Cordileone encouraged society to defend marriage in civil law, noting the unique contribution that marriage makes to society, and especially to children.