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Created Male and Female: An Open Letter from Religious Leaders

Posted Dec. 15, 2017 by DOM No comments yet

Today, the USCCB and a number of ecumenical and interreligious leaders released an open letter entitled, “Created Male and Female.”

Here is the text of the letter and its signers:

December 15, 2017

Dear Friends:

As leaders of various communities of faith throughout the United States, many of us came together in the past to affirm our commitment to marriage as the union of one man and one woman and as the foundation of society. We reiterate that natural marriage continues to be invaluable to American society.

We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.

We acknowledge and affirm that all human beings are created by God and thereby have an inherent dignity. We also believe that God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw—it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good. “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth. Each person deserves to be heard and treated with respect; it is our responsibility to respond to their concerns with compassion, mercy and honesty. As religious leaders, we express our commitment to urge the members of our communities to also respond to those wrestling with this challenge with patience and love.

Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

The movement today to enforce the false idea—that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa—is deeply troubling. It compels people to either go against reason—that is, to agree with something that is not true—or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.

We desire the health and happiness of all men, women, and children. Therefore, we call for policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all. We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.

Sincerely Yours:

Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America

The Rev. John F. Bradosky
Bishop
North American Lutheran Church

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

Most Rev. James D. Conley
Bishop of Lincoln
Chairman, USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage

The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey
Bishop, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Anglican Church in North America

Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison
President
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

Imam Faizal Khan
Founder and Leader
Islamic Society of the Washington Area

Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
Chairman, USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty

Melchisedek
Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Orthodox Church in America

The Rt. Rev. Eric V. Menees
Bishop of San Joaquin
Anglican Church in North America

Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III
Founder and Director
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies
Church of God in Christ

Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz, PhD
Executive Director
The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty

The Rev. Paull Spring
Bishop Emeritus
The North American Lutheran Church

Rev. Tony Suarez
Executive Vice President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Very Rev. Nathanael Symeonides
Ecumenical Officer
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

The Rev. Dr. L. Roy Taylor
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America

Andrew Walker
Director of Policy Studies
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Rev. Dr. David Wendel
Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism
The North American Lutheran Church

Paul Winter Elder
Bruderhof

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Made for Love Podcast Coming Soon!

Posted Dec. 13, 2017 by DOM 4 comments

On January 8, 2018, MUR will launch the audio storytelling podcast “Made for Love,” a podcast about real people living out the call to love in their lives.

The podcast will explore the Church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality, and the four themes of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason project (sexual difference, children, religious liberty, and the common good) through audio storytelling. Basically, it will be a Catholic version of NPR’s “This American Life,” with a narrative structure. Each episode is between 25 and 30 minutes long.

“Made for Love” is a way to explain to the world what is great about being Catholic when it comes to these issues that are so close to people’s hearts. How does a Catholic approach infertility? How does a Catholic couple face one spouse’s mental illness? How do Catholic singles date? These are some of the topics we will explore, and frequently the episodes will feature bishops themselves talking about their own experiences.

The first three episodes will be out January 8 on iTunes. Please check it out and tell your friends and family!

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Masterpiece Oral Argument Today at SCOTUS

Posted Dec. 5, 2017 by DOM No comments yet

Today the USCCB gave this press release about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that was heard today at the U.S. Supreme Court:

USCCB Chairmen Comment on Supreme Court’s Oral Arguments on Religious Freedom of Creative Professionals

December 5, 2017

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involves a Christian baker named Jack Phillips who declined in 2012 to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. State officials seek to compel Phillips to create such cakes under Colorado’s public accommodations law.  Phillips argues that the state’s action against him and his bakery violates the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Commenting on the oral arguments before the Court, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following joint statement:

“Today’s oral arguments address whether our Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and freedom of religion will be protected by the Supreme Court. Americans of every creed depend on these guarantees of freedom from unnecessary government coercion.  America has the ability to serve every person while making room for valid conscientious objection. We pray that the Court will continue to preserve the ability of people to live out their faith in daily life, regardless of their occupation. Artists in particular deserve to have the freedom to express ideas—or to decline to create certain messages—in accordance with their deeply held beliefs. Justice Anthony Kennedy acknowledged in the Obergefell decision in 2015 that people who oppose same-sex marriage ‘reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises.’ Creative professionals should be allowed to use their artistic talents in line with these decent and honorable convictions.”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June.

The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Masterpiece Cakeshop, which can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/16-111-tsac-USCCB.pdf.