Virginia’s Catholic Bishops Issue Statement on Attorney General’s Refusal to Defend State Constitution on Marriage
On Thursday, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced his decision not to defend Virginia’s constitutional amendment protecting marriage, but instead will join plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging it. Bishop Paul S. Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington and Diocese of Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo expressed extreme disappointment with the Attorney General’s decision.
“Virginia voters put this provision in the Constitution, and no politician should be able to reverse the people’s decision. We call on the Attorney General to do the job he was elected to perform, which is to defend the state laws he agrees with, as well as those state laws with which he personally disagrees. We will continue to defend marriage between a man and a woman, an institution whose original design predates all governments and religions.”
The Bishops’ full statement can be found here.
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.
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
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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.
9/20/13 USCCB News Release: USCCB Chairmen applaud introduction of the "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act"
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, gave their strong support for the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133) introduced yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Raúl Labrador.
“This non-discrimination bill is significant, indeed, very important,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “It would prevent the federal government from discriminating against religious believers who hold to the principle that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This is of fundamental importance, as increasingly such individuals and organizations are being targeted for discrimination by state governments – this must not spread to the federal government.”
In a letter addressed to all Catholics in Hawaii, dated August 22, 2013, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu writes, “The issue of same-sex marriage is in the limelight once again in our community, with a move for a special legislative session to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii.”
The bishop continues, “While the Catholic Church is clear in its insistence that true marriage can only be between one man and one woman, there are many people, even among Catholics, who perceive such insistence as unjust discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Therefore, it is urgent to clarify certain issues.”
In his letter to Hawaii Catholics, Bishop Silva touches on the issue of discrimination, on the long-term effects of redefining marriage, including threats to religious freedom, and on the importance of marriage for children, who will be the “greatest casualties” of marriage redefinition.
The bishop writes, “The issue goes far beyond simply the private relationship of this or that couple, and its implications will be far reaching and profound. The language of the proponents is meant to convince us that this is a civil rights issue and that anyone who does not agree is bigoted. Do not be led astray with such language, and do not allow yourself to be bullied by it.”
He encourages all Catholics in Hawaii to contact their state legislator and urge them to defend marriage, to pray for their legislators (“But do not let your prayer be mere words!” Bishop Silva says), and to be understanding toward those who do not agree with them – “even Catholic legislators who have committed to vote for same-sex marriage.”
On his blog Seek First the Kingdom, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington wrote on August 19, “Of the Catholic Church’s many teachings, perhaps some of the most challenging for people in today’s culture involve human sexuality, including homosexuality. As state after state considers changing its laws on the definition of marriage, all of us have had to think about the nature of love, the meaning of marriage and the teaching of the Gospel.”
The Cardinal goes on to describe the current cultural climate as one where describing marriage as “inherently something between a man and a woman only” is now considered discrimination, bigotry, or even hate speech.
For example, he says, “In the debate over the nature of marriage, even the White House chose to use words like ‘discrimination’ to describe the position of people of good faith who simply disagree with the President’s stance.” And in states where the legal definition of marriage has been challenged in the legislature and/or the courts, “words like ‘bigotry,’ ‘discrimination’ and ‘hatred’ have been bandied about with nothing more to support them than the actual fact that some people think that the definition of marriage really and truly is between a man and a woman.”
The proclivity to label those with whom one disagrees about marriage as “haters” or “bigots,” laments the Cardinal, stifles our ability to genuinely discuss an issue crucial to our society. “Too often the people who claim to be able to read the minds of other people and thus can denounce them as bigots are prepared to say in the next breath not only are your opinions not welcome, but neither are you any longer.”
Read the rest here: “Truth is Never Discrimination”
USCCB News Release: Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage: "Tragic Day for Marriage and Our Nation," State U.S. Bishops
The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The statement follows.
“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.
“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.
“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.
“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”
Editors: Background information can be found at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/backgrounder-on-proposition-8-and-doma.cfm
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, was interviewed by a San Francisco paper about marriage on the cusp of the Proposition 8 and DOMA Supreme Court decisions.
When asked what his “next move” would be if the Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, the Archbishop took the conversation back to the fundamentals: “The basic question is: does our society need an institution that connects children to their mothers and fathers, or doesn’t it? The only institution that does this is marriage. Redefining marriage will mean that our society will have given its definitive answer: “no”; it will mean changing the basic understanding of marriage from a child-centered institution to one that sees it as a temporary, revocable commitment which prioritizes the romantic happiness of adults over building a loving, lasting family. This would result in the law teaching that children do not need an institution that connects them to the mother and father who brought them into the world and their mother and father to each other.”
And when asked whether the Church should be spending its time and money on fighting poverty, for example, instead of defending marriage, Archbishop Cordileone responded, “Marriage and poverty are deeply intertwined concerns: an extremely high percentage of people in poverty are from broken families, and when the family breaks up it increases the risk of sliding into poverty, with single parents (usually mothers) making heroic sacrifices for their children as they struggle to fulfill the role of both mother and father. And beyond material poverty there is that poverty of the spirit in which kids hunger for their missing parent, who often seems absent and disengaged from their lives. We all have a deep instinct for connectedness to where we came from, and we deeply desire it when we do not have it. Promoting stable marriages is actually one of the best things we can do to help eradicate poverty; in fact, it is a necessary, even if by itself alone not a sufficient, part of the solution – that is, we cannot hope to fix the problem without it.”
This Spring, Denver’s Archbishop Samuel Aquila wrote a series of columns about marriage. They serve as a great primer on what marriage is, why it matters, and (for married couples) advice about living the vocation of marriage well.
1. The divine creation and gifts of marriage
“Marriage, most fundamentally, is gift. Or, perhaps more clearly, marriage is a series of gifts, connected and intertwined with one another.
“Marriage is the gift of a husband to a wife. And the gift of a wife to a husband. Marriage is a gift from God—an opportunity to form a family, a community of love. Marriage is the place where the gift of life begins. And marriage is a gift to every community, every culture, every people—marriage is the gift of stability, of civility and of love. Marriage is the first and essential community to society.”
2. Why traditional marriage is worth protecting
“The truth is that we need marriage promotion more than ever. More children than ever before are raised without fathers. More women are left to raise children alone. The three goods of marriage as a lifelong commitment, fidelity to one’s spouse and the gift of procreativity. These goods are the key to stable social life. When they are undermined, we face real social instability.”
3. Marriage as a cornerstone of culture and Christian life
“Marriage, one of the seven sacraments, is a cornerstone on which our Christian culture can rest. And like Christ, today marriage has become a stone rejected. Its trivialization and its redefinition mean that the importance of marriage has been forgotten. But Christ too, was forgotten. From a place of being forgotten, abandoned and crucified, Christ ushered in our redemption. And through the sacrament of marriage, like the other sacraments, Christ can redeem the world.”
4. The renewing, exciting graces of marital self-giving love
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve offered reflections on the nature and goods of marriage, and on the importance of marriage for Christian catechesis and culture. Marriage is a prophetic sign in our time, and one that is under attack. We’re called to promote and defend the vital role marriage plays in civic life and Christian culture. But we cannot do that if Catholic marriages are not lived with authentic vitality and faithfulness to God’s plan. The Church needs to promote marriage, and our world needs the benefit of healthy, fruitful marriages.”
5. Proclaim the truth about marriage
“Over the past five weeks, I’ve spent time discussing the mystery of marriage. I’ve done so because we are standing at an important cultural crossroads. Our culture is choosing between two views of marriage. The choice will have consequences for generations to come.”
“We must have hope—marriage is created by God. It is a beautiful gift given to man and woman, prior to the fall, so that they may become one flesh, share in co-creation with God, and from the two persons bring forth a new person, a child. No same-sex partners are able to do that. And while the state or government may attempt to redefine marriage, they are creating a lie that has no foundation in the truth. The Lord has given us all that we need to proclaim the truth about marriage—to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ who is “the way, the truth and the life.”