Posted May. 17, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason
Intention: As we approach the feast of Pentecost, we pray for the Church and that our faith might not be simply a private matter, but rather that the Holy Spirit will help us witness to Christ in all areas of our lives.
Reflection: As faithful Catholics, the beliefs that we profess in Church on Sunday carry over into our personal and professional lives. Christ invites us into loving relationship with Him, and His love infuses our actions, helping us to love Him in return by following His commandments in our daily lives. However, the proposed HHS “contraceptive mandate,” in effect, attempts to restrict the practice of our faith to the private sphere. As explained by the USCCB general counsel, the mandate’s current definition of “religious employer” (a definition used to determine which employers are exempted from the mandate) excludes “a wide array of employers that are undeniably religious,” including organizations that “contribute most visibly to the common good through the provision of health, educational, and social services,” such as Catholic schools and hospitals. Telling faith-based organizations that they are not “religious enough” to qualify for an exemption to the contraceptive mandate is a violation of religious freedom.
As we approach the feast of Pentecost, let us ardently pray to Christ to send forth His Spirit so that we will be filled with His peace and strength to live our faith at all times.
Did you know? “This year’s Fortnight [for Freedom] occurs just weeks before August 1, when the administration’s mandate coercing us to violate our deeply-held beliefs will be enforced against most religious non-profits. During the Fortnight the Supreme Court’s decisions on the definition of marriage will likely be handed down as well. Those decisions could have a profound impact on religious freedom for generations to come.” Archbishop William E. Lori, News Release (May 13, 2013)
Posted May. 15, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason
USCCB News Release (May 15, 2013)
- Men and women bring different gifts to parenting
- Redefining marriage in law serves no one’s good
- Truth of marriage not going away
“It is the height of irony that the Minnesota legislature decided, and the governor signed into law, the redefinition of marriage just after we celebrated the unique gifts of mothers and women on Mother’s Day,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco. Archbishop Cordileone chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. He said further, “It is all the more so given the fact that in the last election Minnesotans were led to believe that there was no need to define marriage in the constitution, that nothing would change if the marriage amendment didn’t pass.”
“It also renders senseless the very idea of President Obama’s National Fatherhood Initiative, in that a bill now becomes law in Minnesota that effectively claims that a mother and a father together are superfluous and can be replaced by two men or two women,” he added.
Archbishop Cordileone noted that Minnesota is the third state in just over a week to redefine marriage in the law.
“There are many of us Americans, including many Minnesotans, who stand for the natural and true meaning of marriage. They know that men and women are important; their complementary difference matters, their union matters, and it matters to kids. Mothers and fathers are simply irreplaceable,” he said. “Instead of strengthening, the Minnesota legislature’s decision to redefine marriage weakens motherhood and fatherhood, and so strikes a blow to all children who deserve both a mother and father.”
“Some wish to believe that sexual relationships outside of the marital context of husband and wife are innocuous, choosing to ignore the fact that they are actually harmful to individuals and to society as a whole,” he added.
“We know that now is the time to redouble our prayers, efforts and witness. The truth of marriage is not going away,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “We know what it takes to work toward a culture of life even in the midst of laws that work against us. The same is true for rebuilding a culture of marriage. No matter what the horizon may bring, we will continue in charity and truth to stand for justice and for the most vulnerable among us.”
The Minnesota law highlights further implications of marriage redefinition in the law. For example, the law states that terms such as “husband,” “wife,” “mother,” and “father” that denote spousal and familial relationships in Minnesota law are to apply equally to persons in an opposite-sex or same-sex relationship. The law also states that “parentage presumptions based on civil marriage” will also apply, thus allowing for children to have two mothers or two fathers.
From the Minnesota Catholic Conference:
An open letter from Minnesota faith leaders to the Minnesota legislature, urging lawmakers not to redefine marriage (April 18, 2013)
Read other recent USCCB news releases:
Posted May. 12, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason
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Posted May. 11, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason
In his latest column (The Shepherd’s Voice: May 9), Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska, wrote about marriage.
He spoke of marriage as “a holy vocation,” and said that “it is essential that the community of believers help our young people understand the vocation of marriage and support them in a generous and faithful response.”
He also noted that the Church is doing this work of promoting marriage “in an increasingly confusing cultural context.” Citing the current Supreme Court cases about marriage (the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8) and legislative attempts to redefine marriage, Archbishop Lucas writes, “There is a great deal of pressure being exerted on judges and legislators to redefine marriage under civil law,” and that “Catholics and others who recognize and support the age-old understanding of marriage are often being depicted as unjust and intolerant.”
Because the language of “rights” and “discrimination” can seem so convincing, even to Catholics, says the Archbishop, “it is important for Catholics to be able to think clearly and speak clearly about marriage…we have no reason to be defensive or feel awkward. The truth of the nature of marriage is a beautiful sign of God’s creative love, and this truth is an important gift we can share in this confusing time.” (emphasis added)
Noting that he will return to the topic of marriage in coming weeks. the Archbishop referred readers wanting to learn more about marriage to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (nos. 1601 and following), to chapter 21 of the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, and to the Marriage: Unique for a Reason website, particularly the FAQs.
The Archbishop writes, “When we read this teaching through the eyes of faith and take time to reflect on it in prayer, we begin to recognize the plan of God that transcends merely cultural arguments. We have always believed the origin of marriage is in God. It is not for civil society or even the church to try to define it as something that it cannot be.”
In conclusion, Archbishop Lucas encouraged his readers to pray the Defense of Marriage Prayer found on this website.
Read Archbishop Lucas’ entire column: “Truth about marriage is important gift Catholics can provide in confusing time” (May 9, 2013)
Posted May. 10, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason
Intention: For mothers: that they may discover the depths of love through their gift of themselves to their children, and in so doing, serve as a witness of the love to which we are all called.
Reflection: In his Letter to Families, Pope Blessed John Paul II reminds us that we can’t “fully find [ourselves] except through a sincere gift of self” (no. 11, quoting Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, no. 24). The self-sacrifice of a mother’s care for her child reveals the continuous gift of self that love entails and invites others to follow her example. There is no doubt that “love is demanding,” as Bl. John Paul II said. However, “this is precisely the source of its beauty: by the very fact that it is demanding, it builds up the true good of man and allows it to radiate to others.”
We must keep our eyes fixed on Christ, who helps us to see the people in our lives through his eyes and love them with his heart. As we celebrate this Mother’s Day, remembering our own mothers’ gift of life to us, let us take seriously our own call to self-sacrificial love, allowing that love to radiate to others.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!
Bl. John Paul II, pray for us!
Did you know? We’ve all heard it said that our hearts become bigger the more we love, but did you know that during pregnancy, a mother’s heart actually physically increases in size? (See: Health on the Net Foundation and British Journal of Radiology).
Also, read more about how we can follow the most perfect example of motherhood in the newest Life Issues Forum column, “Mary, Pro-Life Inspiration.”