An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


The Good of the Child

Posted Nov. 26, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Archbishop Cordileone, Chairman for the Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, was recently interviewed on “EWTN News Nightly.” When asked to expound upon his emphasis of building up a healthy marriage culture, Archbishop Cordileone explained,

“Society should do what is necessary to favor the situation of the child having the best possible advantage of being connected to their mother and their father growing up. So we just need to teach people how to look at the issue from the standpoint of what is really best for the child, because it’s not about the adults…the government isn’t interested in people’s love lives…the reason marriage has the unique status it does in the law is because there’s a public interest. The public interest is the children that come from the union of men and women.”

Archbishop Cordileone’s full interview begins at 13:50.

++C interview 2

Photo and video courtesy of EWTN, Global Catholic Network.


Friday Fast: November 22

Posted Nov. 25, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Christ the KingIntention: Let us pray that the right to religious liberty may be honored and upheld so that all may be able to worship and follow God freely.

Reflection: On Sunday November 24, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, which reminds us that no earthly power can override man’s desire and freedom to worship the Creator. As Christians, we believe in this right and in every person’s intrinsic yearning to seek and worship God in all things and above all else.

In 1925, Pope Pius XI wrote in his encyclical Quas Primas, which instituted the Feast of Christ the King, that “Christ reign[s] ‘in the hearts of men,’ both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind.”

In the core document Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty, the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty “urge[d] that the Solemnity of Christ the King—a feast born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty—be a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.”

Did You Know? Last week, at the conclusion of their fall General Assembly, the U.S. bishops unanimously issued a “Special Message” on the HHS mandate.They stated, “As the government’s implementation of the mandate against us approaches, we bishops stand united in our resolve to resist this heavy burden and protect our religious freedom.” Go to the USCCB website to learn more about the bishops’ work to preserve religious freedom.


USCCB Subcommittee Chairman Decries Marriage Redefinition and Misuse of Pope Francis’ Words in Illinois

Posted Nov. 21, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Calls redefining marriage a serious injustice
Decries manipulation of Pope Francis’s words
Says every child deserves a mother and a father

WASHINGTON—“The decision by the Illinois legislature and the governor to redefine marriage in law does not alter the natural reality that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responding to the decision by the Illinois legislature and the governor to redefine marriage. “Furthermore, marriage redefinition is a serious injustice. The law exists to safeguard the common good and protect authentic rights, especially the right of children to have a married mother and father.”

Additionally, Archbishop Cordileone said, “When referring to the family, Pope Francis said very clearly in his first papal encyclical: ‘I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage.’ And very recently, the Pope offered these words: ‘Let us therefore propose to all people, with respect and courage, the beauty of marriage and the family illuminated by the Gospel!’ Pope Francis has forcefully reminded us that we are to show love and respect to all people and to seek their greatest good, and he therefore continues to clearly promote and defend marriage and family, recognizing that this is in everyone’s best interest as members of a common society. In fact, when confronting an effort to redefine marriage in his home country of Argentina, he said as Archbishop of Buenos Aires: ‘The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children.’ He even added: ‘At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.’ It is therefore disgraceful that some legislators would manipulate the words of Pope Francis to suggest that he would support marriage redefinition.”

Archbishop Cordileone added, “The courageous efforts of those, including religious leaders and legislators, who helped defend marriage in Illinois is to be commended. The defense of truth and goodness is never in vain.”

Keywords: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco, Illinois, marriage, USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sister Mary Ann Walsh


November 15: Friday Fast

Posted Nov. 15, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

FF Nov 15Intention: May birthparents placing their children with adoptive families receive abundant support.

Reflection: Under challenging circumstances, some parents expecting a baby may discern that choosing what’s best for their child means generously placing him or her with an adoptive mother and father. That selfless, courageous decision is far from easy, so it’s vital that we give birthparents our support.

As Cardinal O’Malley encouraged us, “Obviously, we must never abandon our commitment to the unborn child, a precious human being made in the image and likeness of God.  But we must learn to focus more on the woman in crisis.  We must listen with empathy to be able to communicate the Gospel of Life” (Homily, Opening Mass of the 2013 National Prayer Vigil for Life).

Remembering our own adoption as children of God through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5), let us support those who may be considering adoption – both those we know personally in our own lives and those whom we may not have even met.

Did You Know? November is National Adoption Month! In “The Blessing of ‘Unanswered Prayers’: An Adoption Story,” MaryPat St. Jean shares her family’s experience of welcoming four adopted children into their home.



Hawaii Marriage Redefinition

Posted Nov. 14, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

On Wednesday, Hawaii became the fifteenth state to redefine marriage. In his statement regarding the legislation, Most Reverend Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu responded,

“It is very sad that many of our State legislators and our Governor have confused a manufactured civil right with a true civil right based on the centuries-old respect for marriage as a stable union between one man and one woman established and publicly recognized primarily for the welfare of children. This manufactured world view is not what God, our Maker, has revealed to us, and it is symptomatic of a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of human sexuality.”

For Bishop Silva’s full statement, click here.


News Release: USCCB Chairman Responds to Marriage Redefinition in Hawaii

Posted Nov. 14, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Marriage redefinition in Hawaii ‘disappointing,’ says Archbishop Cordileone

Defending marriage promotes a culture of the family in service to most vulnerable

November 13, 2013

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded today to the bill passed by the Hawaii legislature and signed by the governor to redefine marriage.

“The decision in Hawaii is disappointing and shows the need for rebuilding a culture of the family in our country,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “Changing the meaning of marriage in the law does not promote the common good or protect authentic rights.”

“When referring to the family,” the Archbishop said, “Pope Francis put it this way: ‘I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage.’ The very point of marriage having the unique status in the law that it has is to promote the right of children to have a mother and a father. Only a married man and woman can provide that. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: How can we honestly justify a law that in principle denies children this right?”

Archbishop Cordileone added, “My prayers are with the many people who helped defend marriage in Hawaii in a spirit of charity and truth, and by so doing, helped defend a culture of the family. Their efforts were not in vain, and their witness will continue to bear fruit.”

Keywords: U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco, Hawaii


Don Clemmer

O: 202-541-3206

M: 260-580-1137


Sunday Pope Quote

Posted Nov. 14, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Pope John Paul I, known especially in Italy as “il Papa del sorriso,” or “the smiling Pope,” while greeting the various groups of pilgrims in attendance at his General Audience on Wednesday, September 13, 1978 (just eighteen days after his papal election, and just fifteen days before his death), told the following story at the conclusion of the Audience:

“On our right, on the other hand, there are the newlyweds. They have received a great sacrament. Let us wish that this sacrament which they have received will really bring not only goods of this world, but more spiritual graces. Last century there was in France a great professor, Frederick Ozanam. He taught at the Sorbonne, and was so eloquent, so capable! His friend was [Father] Lacordaire, who said: ‘He is so gifted, he is so good, he will become a priest, he will become a great bishop, this fellow!’ No! He met a nice girl and they got married. Lacordaire was disappointed and said: ‘Poor Ozanam! He too has fallen into the trap!’ But two years later, Lacordaire came to Rome, and was received by Pius IX. ‘Come, come, Father,’ he says. ‘I have always heard that Jesus established seven sacraments. Now you come along and change everything. You tell me that he established six sacraments, and a trap! No, Father, marriage is not a trap, it is a great sacrament!’ So let us express again our best wishes for these dear newlyweds: may the Lord bless them!”

Pius IX was right, of course: marriage is not a trap, marriage is a great sacrament. John Paul I didn’t recall the story simply because he thought it was funny (imagining this conversation between Pius IX and Lacordaire is somewhat humorous, though)—no, John Paul I recalled the story because it’s important! The sacraments do not trap us, because Christ does not lead us into traps, and he instituted the sacraments. The Catechism affirms this, quoting the Council of Trent: “‘Adhering to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consensus . . . of the Fathers,’ we profess that ‘the sacraments of the new law were . . . all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord” (CCC 1114). Christ instituted the sacraments.

Further, the Second Vatican Council taught that the “purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 59). The sacraments sanctify us: this is why Christ gave them to us—“For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3). By being incorporated into the body of Christ and by worshiping God, we are sanctified.

Marriage is not somehow exempt from this sanctifying power. It is true that married people do not always dispose themselves to be sanctified by their marriages, but nevertheless God can and does sanctify his people through the sacrament of marriage, and for that we give him thanks and praise.

Thank the Lord today for the gift of marriage, and if you are married, thank him for the gift of your marriage, by which he sanctifies you and your spouse. For “marriage is not a trap, it is a great sacrament!”

Read More
Tags: Tags:


Friday Fast: We pray for engaged couples

Posted Nov. 8, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Intention: That all engaged couples may recognize the high calling of their unique vocation to love one another as Christ loves the Church.

engaged couple FYMReflection: As Catholics, we believe that the marriage of one man and one woman is not a temporary contract or something that can be ended if a husband or wife “falls out of love.”

Instead, the bond of marriage is all-encompassing. It involves the husband and wife making a vow that is indissoluble, that is, unbreakable. On their wedding day, the bride and groom promise to be committed to one another not only in that moment, but in every moment for the rest of their lives. The nature of love implies totality. “It is impossible for two young people to reach the point of sincerely saying ‘I love you’ without adding, implicitly or explicitly, ‘forever.’”1

In this way, husband and wife are able to participate in Trinitarian love, which is eternal.

Did You Know? During his recent address to young people in Assisi, Pope Francis encouraged men and women to be open to the vocation of marriage. He explained that marriage is “the vocation to form one flesh and one life from two, male and female,” that it is rooted “in God himself,” and that “by this gift, and by the certainty of this call, you can continue on assured; you have nothing to fear; you can face everything together! ”

1 Angelo Cardinal Scola, The Nuptial Mystery, 267.



News Release: USCCB Chairmen Explain Opposition to ENDA

Posted Nov. 7, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Unjust discrimination in the workplace wrong, but ENDA not the answer

ENDA rejects biological basis of gender, equates sexual orientation with race

ENDA undermines marriage, threatens religious liberty

Three chairmen of U.S. bishops’ committees outlined their opposition to the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) in a letter to the U.S. Senate.

The bishops emphasized the dignity of all people, quoting Pope Francis’ statement that “Work is fundamental to that dignity.” They added that “the Catholic Church has consistently stood with workers in this country and continues to oppose unjust discrimination in the workplace. No one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including his or her sexual inclinations.”

The bishops’ letter said ENDA goes beyond prohibiting unjust discrimination and poses several problems. It notes, for example, that the bill: (1) lacks an exception for a “bona fide occupational qualification,” which exists for every other category of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, except for race; (2) lacks a distinction between homosexual inclination and conduct, thus affirming and protecting extramarital sexual conduct; (3) supports the redefinition of marriage, as state-level laws like ENDA have been invoked in state court decisions finding marriage discriminatory or irrational; (4) rejects the biological basis of gender by defining “gender identity” as something people may choose at variance with their biological sex; and (5) threatens religious liberty by punishing as discrimination the religious or moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, while protecting only some religious employers.

Further detail on these problems with ENDA may be found in a backgrounder, which is available here.

The bishops stressed a desire to advance legislation that protects the common good.

“We stand ready to work with leaders and all people of good will to end all forms of unjust discrimination,” they said.

A vote on ENDA is expected by the full Senate in a matter of days.


All Saints Day Reflection: St. Thomas Aquinas

Posted Nov. 7, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

O merciful God,
grant that I may desire ardently,
search prudently,
recognize truly,
and bring to perfect completion
whatever is pleasing to You
for the praise and glory of Your name.

St Thomas Aquinas, 13th-century Dominican friar and Doctor of the Church, is well-known for his prodigious work, the Summa Theologiae. He is not, however, well-known for his prayers, and perhaps he should be. Of course, some of the prayers he wrote may be more familiar than you think—a few are used today for Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: the O Salutaris Hostia and Tantum Ergo both came from his hand, as well as the collect for Benediction: “O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament . . . ”

But he wrote more prayers than these, and they, too, are beautiful! Above is the beginning of just one of these—it is said that he prayed this prayer before the image of Christ every single day, begging the Lord for grace and wisdom.

As we work for the promotion and defense of the truth about marriage, and as we teach others about the goodness of God in giving himself to us in the sacraments, and as we thank him for the gift of marriage, let us follow the Angelic Doctor in praying these beautiful words. Let us pray that God may transform our hearts, strengthen and encourage us in our trials, and bring us at last to that land where there is “the cheerfulness of spring, the brilliance of summer, the fruitfulness of autumn, and the gentle repose of winter,” that “life without death and that joy without sorrow where there is the greatest freedom, unconfined security, secure tranquility, delightful happiness, happy eternity, eternal blessedness, the vision of truth, and praise, O God” (from another of Aquinas’ prayers). St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

For Ordering a Life Wisely
O merciful God, grant that I may desire ardently, search prudently, recognize truly, and bring to perfect completion whatever is pleasing to You for the praise and glory of Your name. Put my life in good order, O my God. Grant that I may know what You require me to do. Bestow upon me the power to accomplish Your will, as is necessary and fitting for the salvation of my soul. Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may not falter in times of prosperity or adversity, so that I may not be exalted in the former, nor dejected in the latter. May I not rejoice in anything unless it leads me to You; may I not be saddened by anything unless it turns me from You. May I desire to please no one, nor fear to displease anyone, but You. May all transitory things, O Lord, be worthless to me and may all things eternal be ever cherished by me. May any joy without You be burdensome for me and may I not desire anything else besides You. May all work, O Lord, delight me when done for Your sake and may all repose not centered in You be ever wearisome for me. Grant unto me, my God, that I may direct my heart to You and that in my failures I may ever feel remorse for my sins and never lose the resolve to change. O Lord my God, make me submissive without protest, poor without discouragement, chaste without regret, patient without complaint, humble without posturing, cheerful without frivolity, mature without gloom, and quick-witted without flippancy. O Lord my God, let me fear You without losing hope, be truthful without guile, do good works without presumption, rebuke my neighbor without haughtiness, and—without hypocrisy—strengthen him by word and example. Give to me, O Lord God, a watchful heart, which no capricious thought can lure away from You. Give to me a noble heart, which no unworthy desire can debase. Give to me a resolute heart, which no evil intention can divert. Give to me a stalwart heart, which no tribulation can overcome. Give to me a temperate heart, which no violent passion can enslave. Give to me, O Lord my God, understanding of You, diligence in seeking You, wisdom in finding You, discourse ever pleasing to You, perseverance in waiting for You, and confidence in finally embracing You. Grant that with Your hardships I may be burdened in reparation here, that Your benefits I may use in gratitude upon the way, that in Your joys I may delight by glorifying You in the Kingdom of Heaven. You Who live and reign, God, world without end. Amen.

[These and other prayers by St Thomas Aquinas can be found in the volume entitled, The Aquinas Prayer Book: The Prayers and Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas, available from Sophia Institute Press (1-800-888-9344).]
Read More


Friday Prayer on the Feast of All Saints Day

Posted Nov. 7, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Intention: We remember the saints and martyrs who were servants of the Lord during their earthly lives and ask that they pray for us to one day join them in heaven.

Reflection: The Solemnity of All Saints is a feast in the Catholic Church that was originally instituted to honor the Christian martyrs of the late Roman Empire.

Although we often associate martyrdom with events of the past, violent persecution of Christians is still happening at an alarming rate in modern times in many countries. Therefore, in praying for the martyrs of ages past, let us also pray for suffering Christians around the world who continue to be persecuted in this day and age for following Christ.cemetery

Did You Know? Many families make it a tradition on All Saints’ Day to gather at a local cemetery and decorate the graves with flowers or wreaths in anticipation of All Souls’ Day, which occurs on November 2. Catholics in many countries honor and pray for the departed souls who may have no one to pray for them.

*Note on fasting: On the Solemnity of All Saints, we honor all of the saints and continue to join in prayer for the building up of a culture of life, marriage, and religious liberty.  Since this feast day is a solemnity, it is not appropriate to fast on All Saints’ Day.



Living the Joy of Faith Within Our Families

Posted Nov. 6, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 2 comments

An estimated 100,000 pilgrims traveled to Rome to celebrate the World Day of Families with Pope Francis this weekend. In his address to the participants, Pope Francis asked “how is it possible to live the joy which comes from faith, in the family, today? But I ask you also: is it possible to live this joy or is it not possible?” It is by coming to Jesus, the Pope said, that we are able to find joy. He explained that when a man and woman marry, “the couple does not know what will happen, nor what joys and pains await them.” Spouses are not naïve, Pope Francis explained. Marriage is a difficult vocation.

“That is why we need the grace, the grace that comes from the sacrament! The sacraments are not decorations in life – what a beautiful marriage, what a beautiful ceremony, what a beautiful banquet…But that is not the sacrament of marriage. That is a decoration! Grace is not given to decorate life but rather to make us strong in life, giving us courage to go forwards!…Christians celebrate the sacrament of marriage because they know they need it! They need it to stay together and to carry out their mission as parents. is a long journey, not for a brief spell but for an entire life! And they need Jesus’ help to walk beside one another in trust, to accept one another each day, and daily to forgive one another. And this is important!”

In his homily on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on some “basic features of the Christian family.” He explained that the family prays, the family keeps the faith, and the family experiences joy. “God alone knows how to create harmony from differences. But if God’s love is lacking, the family loses its harmony, self-centredness prevails and joy fades. But the family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society as a whole.”

-World Pilgrimage of Families, Rome (October 26-27, 2013), (bold added)


Sunday Pope Quote: Bl. John Paul II on “Loving the Family”

Posted Nov. 6, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet
On October 22nd, we celebrated Blessed John Paul II’s feast day. Throughout his life, Blessed John Paul II emphasized the essential importance of the family for society.


The future of humanity passes by way of the family.  It is therefore indispensable and urgent that every person of good will should endeavor to save and foster the values and requirements of the family. I feel that I must ask for a particular effort in this field from the sons and daughters of the Church. Faith gives them full knowledge of God’s wonderful plan: they therefore have an extra reason for caring for the reality that is the family in this time of trial and of grace. They must show the family special love. This is an injunction that calls for concrete action.

Loving the family means being able to appreciate its values and capabilities, fostering them always. Loving the family means identifying the dangers and the evils that menace it, in order to overcome them. Loving the family means endeavoring to create for it an environment favorable for its development. The modern Christian family is often tempted to be discouraged and is distressed at the growth of its difficulties; it is an eminent form of love to give it back its reasons for confidence in itself, in the riches that it possesses by nature and grace, and in the mission that God has entrusted to it. ‘Yes indeed, the families of today must be called back to their original position. They must follow Christ.’”

Familiaris Consortio, no 86 (italics original, bold added)


Mary, Queen of the Family

Posted Nov. 6, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

Regina familiae, ora pro nobis!
Queen of the Family, pray for us!

The Litany of Loreto is an almost-five-hundred-year-old prayer invoking Mary by a number of different titles, each one expressing a different aspect of her relationship to God or to us. Additional titles have rarely been added to the Litany, but in December 1995, Blessed John Paul II added the title Regina familiae, that is, “Queen of the Family.” Why did he do this? What was he trying to show?

It’s important to remember that Mary had a family—she wasn’t just Jesus’ mother, but she was Joseph’s wife! In fact, we can say that theirs was the holiest of all marriages. Why? Because Christ was at its very heart. God’s great regard for the family can be seen by the fact that the Son came into the world in a family, having a mother and a father to raise him (St Joseph, of course, was not Jesus’ biological father, but God gave him paternal authority over him, making sure that he had both a mother and a father). Our Lady, then, knows what it is to be a mother and a wife. God chose her to be the mother of his own Son, the Immaculate Mother of God, and she raised him with her husband St Joseph, the patron of the Universal Church—so it is that we call her the Queen of the Family.

Blessed John Paul II well understood that marriage and family cannot, in the end, be understood without each other: marriage leads to a family, and a family is founded on a marriage. In his 1994 Letter to Families he wrote: “Marriage is a unique communion of persons, and it is on the basis of this communion that the family is called to become a communion of persons.” The communion of persons in the Holy Family included the communion of persons in the marriage of Mary and Joseph (that their marriage was celibate does not subtract from its dignity as a marriage). May we look to this Holy Family as a model and guide for our own families and marriages that Christ may always remain at the heart of both.

(For the full text of Bl. JPII’s Letter to Families visit:

Read More