May. 9, 2013
Also new from the USCCB, along with a new nationwide bulletin insert on “Marriage and the Supreme Court”: a list of “lead messages” on marriage redefinition. These points are intended to help clergy and leaders talk about marriage to those whom they serve, and to help everyone know what to say when marriage comes up in conversation with their friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
The big picture
Marriage is a great gift to men, women, children, and society. The Church serves and strengthens marriage by providing pastoral care to engaged couples and marriages at all stages, and in any difficulty. The Church promotes and defends marriage by preaching and teaching about marriage’s authentic meaning.
Challenges facing marriage
Marriage needs to be strengthened, not redefined. Cohabitation, divorce, and contraception all erode marriage’s meaning as a public, total, lifelong, and fruitful communion of persons between husband and wife. The latest challenge to marriage, the proposal that sexual difference doesn’t matter, removes the very basis of marriage’s meaning as a one-flesh communion, open to children, making the definition of marriage in law (and thereby culture) open to limitless variation and ultimately meaningless.
May. 1, 2013
Preaching at a “red mass” on Tuesday, April 23, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami told the attendees, many of them members of the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild, that redefining marriage in the law “will open a Pandora’s Box of unforeseen and, to be sure, unintended consequences.” His words have a particular poignancy now, as the Supreme Court is currently reviewing two cases involving the definition of marriage: United States v. Windsor, about the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, about California’s Proposition 8. If the Court rules negatively in either or both of these cases, marriage could be redefined throughout the country. A ruling is expected by June.
In his homily, Archbishop Wenski reminded the judges and lawyers in attendance that “we should oppose any and all unjust discrimination” (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). He added, however, that when it comes to the law, “the state has long provided benefits and concessions to encourage or reward behaviors that serve the common good of all.” Marriage is one of these behaviors. Society has long supported marriage because “only in the marriage of a man and a woman can ‘two become one flesh’ (cf. Genesis 2:24) and thus create a conjugal society – a family – which provides that the individuals who give life to children should be the ones to raise them in a bonded and enduring relationship.”
In other words, marriage is the only institution that brings a man and a woman together for life, bonding them to each other and to any children that come from their union. Catholic social teaching describes marriage as the “cradle of life and love” and says that “the unborn child must be guaranteed the best possible conditions of existence through the stability of a family founded on marriage, through the complementarities of the two persons, father and mother” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 209 and 235).
Archbishop Wenski cautioned that the approval of so-called same-sex “marriage” would redefine marriage “for all” from an institution “expressive of the complementarity of sexual difference between a man and a woman, ordered for the raising of children” to something “existing solely for the gratification of two (and why just two?) consenting adults.”
In the second half of his homily, the Archbishop provided an analysis of how we arrived at the current debate about marriage’s meaning. He described two opposing worldviews: On one side, those who claim “a radical autonomy by which truth is determined not by the nature of things but by one’s own will.” Those who share this view believe “that one’s individual desires are the locus of authority and self-definition.” Archbishop Wenski said that the question about marriage’s meaning is “only [the] most current poster child” of this way of thinking. He drew a connection between this worldview and abortion, for example, pointing out that once truth is based not in reality but in one’s will, every ethical principle is negotiable, “including every human being’s fundamental right to life.”
On the other side is a worldview steeped in Judeo-Christian principles and beliefs. Those on this side believe “that men and women are not self-creators but creatures. Truth is not constructed, but received, and it must reflect the reality of things.” The natural law tradition fits squarely in this worldview, as does the belief that marriage is not created by the state, or by a religious entity for that matter, but is rooted in the nature of the human person, created male and female (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1603.)
Archbishop Wenski said that when a society loses its connection to a “common truth” found in natural law, and rooted in the reality of things, “the only recourse is that of judicial positivism,” basing truth and law in the will of the lawmaker. This, warned the Archbishop, is “on its way to totalitarianism. The might of right quickly becomes might makes right.” Pandora’s box, indeed.
Read Archbishop Wenski’s entire homily on the Archdiocese of Miami website.
More from Archbishop Wenski:
- Column on Same-Sex Marriage (May 14, 2012)
- “Traditional marriage predates all of us” (March 26, 2011)
- “Marriage does need a defense” (March 7, 2011)
- “Same sex marriage, objective truth and the common good” (August 23, 2010)
- “‘Common good’ calls for defense of traditional, legal marriage” (July 4, 2008)
Apr. 1, 2013
Below is the text of the speech given at the March for Marriage by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Founder and President of the Ruth Institute. Click here to read Archbishop Cordileone’s speech.
This year was the fortieth anniversary of Roe v Wade.
We are gathered here to send one simple message to the Justices of the Supreme Court: allow the conversation about marriage to continue. Do not try to short circuit the debate over marriage the way Roe v Wade short circuited the debate over life.
We need to keep talking about the meaning of marriage.
This year, over a half million people gathered for the March for Life.
Of course, the Elites of Washington, can’t be bothered to notice the March for Life. But if they had taken the time to look out their windows, they would have seen that the average Marcher was about 17 years old. The Life Movement is a youth movement.
Why? Because young people eventually figured out that abortion set aside the interests of children for the convenience of adults.
Eventually, young people will figure out that redefining marriage sets aside the interests of children for the convenience of adults.
If the Court redefines marriage, forty years from now, the young people will be asking us one simple question: What were you thinking?
Dad, you and your partner were good parents. I love you. But did you really think I would never need a mom? What were you thinking?
Mom, you and your partner are lovely people. I’m grateful for my life. But the biological connection that was so desperately important to you, did you really think it would never matter to me? What were you thinking?
But all of us who are here today, all of us who couldn’t be here today but who are cheering us on from home, all of us will be able to tell our children and grandchildren:
We were thinking of you and your peers.
We were there at the very First March for Marriage.
The Marriage Movement isn’t going away, America.
Win, lose or draw at the Supreme Court: the Marriage Movement is here to stay.
Here to keep thinking of the children.
Here to be the conscience of America.
Forty years from now, it will be clear to everyone that Marriage, one man, one woman for life, is the right side of history.
Mar. 31, 2013
Today we share not a Pope Quote, but a beautiful passage about marriage from the Catechism that is very fitting for the joyous celebration of our Lord’s resurrection.
The grace of the sacrament of Matrimony
Christ is the source of this grace. “Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of matrimony.” Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1642
Mar. 27, 2013
USCCB News Release (March 26, 2013)
- Prays that the Supreme Court uphold Proposition 8 and DOMA
- Marriage is rooted in the reality that men and women are different
- Many support marriage
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, will participate in the March for Marriage in Washington, March 26, by leading the marchers in prayer. Thousands of people from across the country are expected to gather in the nation’s capital to march peacefully to the United States Supreme Court to show their support for marriage.
The march occurs as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8, the first of two marriage cases before it. Tomorrow, March 27, the Court will hear oral arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“It is truly inspiring to know that so many people from so many walks of life, including many young people, are expressing their support for marriage,” Archbishop Cordileone said about the march.
“It is my hope and prayer that the Supreme Court will uphold Proposition 8 and DOMA, respecting the very nature of the human person and the nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Archbishop Cordileone said.
“Every person has a mother and a father. Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to children born of their union,” he added. “The intrinsic dignity of every human being must be affirmed, but this is not realized by redefining marriage to mean simply the public recognition of certain emotional bonds among adults. Marriage is rooted in the natural reality that men and women are different, and thereby complementary, and that children deserve both a mother and a father. Respecting this truth benefits everyone.”
California’s Proposition 8 defines marriage in California’s constitution as the union of one man and one woman. In 2008, California voters approved the proposition, with more than 7 million voting in favor. Subsequently, Proposition 8 was found unconstitutional by lower federal courts. DOMA defines marriage for purposes of federal law as the union of one man and one woman. In 1996, DOMA was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA has been found unconstitutional by some lower federal courts.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on Proposition 8 and a decision on DOMA by the end of June. If the Court overturns either, the result would be adverse to the institution of marriage and to the family and could effectively result in marriage being redefined throughout the country.
Mar. 19, 2013
The countdown begins! One week from today – March 26 – is the March for Marriage in Washington DC. Below are five reasons why you should attend. Or, if you can’t make it in person, consider devoting some time to prayer and/or fasting on March 26 for the preservation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
1. When Pope Francis was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he encouraged the Catholic faithful to march for marriage. The year was 2010 and the Argentinean legislature was debating whether or not to redefine marriage. According to Zenit news, then-Cardinal Bergoglio “appealed to parish priests, rectors and chaplains of churches to facilitate the participation of the faithful” in a planned march and demonstration against redefining marriage. The marchers united under the motto “We want a mommy and daddy for our children” and Cardinal Bergoglio encouraged them to keep the tone positive. Read more about Pope Francis’ defense of marriage and family during his time in Buenos Aires.
2. Catholic Social Teaching is clear that marriage and the family are essential to the common good. “The family, the natural community in which human social nature is experienced, makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the good of society” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 213). The family, “born of the intimate communion of life and love founded on the marriage between one man and one woman,” is indeed “the first and vital cell of society” (no. 211). The importance of marriage and the family to the common good is why the Church works tirelessly to enact laws that recognize and support marriage’s authentic meaning as the union of one man and one woman. According to the Compendium, society and state institutions are called “to guarantee and foster the genuine identity of family life and to avoid and fight all that alters or wounds it” (no. 252). (From the March 1 Call to Prayer / Friday Fast reflection.)
3. There is a great lineup of speakers. Speakers at the rally following the March (see full schedule here) include Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute; Robert Oscar Lopez, an English professor who has written on the experience of being raised by a mom in a same-sex relationship; Doug Mainwaring, who recently wrote an article about his opposition to marriage redefinition as a man with same-sex attraction; Rev. Bill Owens, Sr., founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors; and more.
4. The March for Marriage has the support of Catholic bishops. In a February 25 letter sent to all U.S. bishops, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, encouraged participation in the March. The bishops wrote, “The march will be a significant opportunity to promote and defend marriage and the good of our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to stand in solidarity with people of good will. … We are deeply grateful for any support you can offer for this march.”
5. We are on the cusp of a momentous Supreme Court decision. On March 26, the day of the March for Marriage, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for one of two cases about marriage law currently under its review, Hollingsworth v. Perry (about California’s Proposition 8; read the USCCB brief here). On March 27, the Court will hear oral arguments for the other case, United States v. Windsor (about the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA; read the USCCB brief here). The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. As explained in a USCCB press release about these cases, “Depending on the Court’s ruling, there could be ramifications for marriage laws throughout the country.” (Keep in mind that currently 41 states do not recognize marriages between two persons of the same sex.) Highlighting the potential scope and severity of the Court’s ruling, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz compared it to the wide-ranging and hotly-contested 1973 ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country, Roe v. Wade. As Archbishop Kurtz put it in November 2010, “Today is like 1970 for marriage. If, in 1970, you knew that Roe v. Wade were coming in two or three years, what would you have done differently?”
One possible answer to the Archbishop: attend the March for Marriage! Or prayerfully participate from a distance, recognizing, as the bishops do, the importance of prayer, witness, and sacrifice in renewing a culture of marriage.
Mar. 14, 2013
During his years of leadership in Buenos Aires, Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) boldly defended marriage, the natural family, and the right of children to have a father and a mother. His courage and leadership were on display most vividly in the summer of 2010, when the Argentina legislature debated, and ultimately passed, a law that redefined marriage to include two persons of the same sex.
Knowing that a marriage redefinition bill was on the horizon, in April 2010 the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, of which Cardinal Bergoglio was president (2005-2011), published a statement on marriage: “On the Unalterable Good of Marriage and the Family.” In the statement, the bishops wrote that “the union of people of the same sex lacks the biological and anthropological elements that are proper to marriage and family.”
The bishops also responded to the oft-leveled charge of discrimination, pointing out that “the recognition of a real difference is not discrimination.” Continuing, they wrote, “Nature doesn’t discriminate when it makes us a man or a woman. Our Civil Code does not discriminate when it demands the requirement of being a man and a woman to contract marriage; it only recognizes a natural reality.”
Importance of Prayer
As the debate and vote on the marriage redefinition bill drew closer, Cardinal Bergoglio wrote a letter to Carmelite nuns in Argentina, enlisting their prayers and sacrifices, which he called “the two invincible weapons of Santa Teresa,” a reference to the founder of the Carmelite order, St. Teresa of Avila.
In his letter, Cardinal Bergoglio wrote, “In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family.” He then detailed what was at stake with the bill’s potential passage:
At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.
The Cardinal also highlighted the fact that advocating for the authentic meaning of marriage is not just about politics, but is a struggle between truth and deception, a real spiritual warfare: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
Concluding, Cardinal Bergoglio implored the intercession of the Holy Family: “We look to Saint Joseph, Mary and the Child Jesus and ask that they fervently defend the family in Argentina at this particular time.”
Education and Mobilization of the People
Cardinal Bergoglio did not discount the importance of ongoing education of the Catholic faithful, or the need for a vocal, visible opposition to the marriage redefinition bill. On the Sunday before the legislature’s consideration of the marriage redefinition bill, the Argentine Bishops’ statement on marriage was read at masses in Buenos Aires.
The Cardinal also exhorted the Catholics of Argentina to participate in a march and demonstration in Buenos Aires. He specifically appealed to parish priests, rectors, and chaplains to encourage participation in the march. All Catholic participants were advised by Cardinal Bergoglio to maintain a positive message, carrying only Argentinean flags or positive slogans for man-woman marriage. The slogan for the march was “We Want a Mom and Dad for our Children.”
Opposition to the marriage redefinition bill was strong. Catholic News Agency reported that 200,000 Argentineans gathered to protest the bill. Earlier in the month, around 635,000 people had signed petitions opposing the bill; their signatures were presented to the Argentinean Senate.
Cardinal Bergoglio collaborated with other Christians in Argentina to protest the marriage redefinition bill. Specifically, the pro-marriage march included leadership from not only the Catholic Church but also evangelical and pentecostal groups (see footnote 41 on page 9). Cardinal Bergoglio joined leaders from these Christian communities in writing a letter that was read during the demonstration.
Together, the authors wrote, “Marriage is an essential institution for our society and constitutes the basic structure upon which it is built. It is the fundamental responsibility of our political representatives to protect it and promote it, to legally preserve it as it is, the union between one man and one woman ordered toward mutual help, procreation, the fulfillment and happiness of spouses, the satisfaction of life in its fullness and the raising of children.”
Engaging a Hostile Culture
Unfortunately, Argentina passed the marriage redefinition bill by a vote of 33 to 27 in the Senate. The vote made Argentina the first country in Latin America to redefine marriage to include two persons of the same sex.
Since the passage of marriage redefinition legislature in 2010, Argentina has supported other measures that run contrary to an authentic understanding of the human person, marriage, and the family. In 2011, the Argentinean government distributed millions of copies of a “sexual education” guide produced by the United Nations, which taught readers about different types of families, including those with a father and a mother, those with only a father or a mother, and those with two fathers and mothers. “None of these families are better or worse than the others,” says the guide.
And in 2012, the Argentine legislature passed a bill that permits individuals to legally change their gender at will, regardless of their physiological sex, without enlisting surgery or hormonal treatment, and without the approval of a judge. The bill also included provisions for taxpayer-covered sex reassignment surgeries at public hospitals. According to the bill, gender is defined under the law as “the experience of gender as each person feels it, whether or not it corresponds with the sex assigned at birth.”
Engaging an Anti-Catholic Culture
Argentina has known its share of anti-Catholic persecution too. In a November 2012 New York Times article describing gay pride parades in Argentina, the author writes of the most recent march, “There were brief clashes with some Catholic activists who were protecting the cathedral from vandals; in previous years, the building had been spray-painted with anti-clerical slogans.” He adds, “The event was exhilarating.” [Link withheld because the article includes an inappropriate picture.]
In fact, on March 12, 2013, the day before Cardinal Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis, the cathedral in Buenos Aires was occupied for four hours by drum-beating protestors who opposed city subsidies for Catholic schools. A mass in honor of the Conclave had to be cancelled.
Pope Francis, then, is no stranger to engaging with a hostile culture and seeking to evangelize in the midst of worldly powers strongly opposed to key tenets of Catholic teaching. Given his demonstrated zeal for the beautiful teachings of the Church on marriage and the family, it will be exciting to see how Pope Francis continues to evangelize on the meaning of human love, sexuality, and marriage. Our prayers are with you, Holy Father!
Mar. 9, 2013
Colorado is one of a number of states that are currently facing marriage redefinition challenges. More specifically, a bill has been proposed in Colorado (or rather, re-proposed; it failed last year) that would establish civil unions for two persons of the same sex. As of March 6, the bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Finance Committee. According to CBS Denver, the bill could be voted on by the full House as early as next week, the last stop before the governor’s desk.
Two key things to know about the Colorado civil unions bill:
1. This bill IS about redefining marriage.
Don’t let the bill’s name fool you, said Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila. In a January 23 column for the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Aquila wrote, “Make no mistake, the Colorado Civil Unions Act, and all civil union legislation, is an attempt to redefine marriage – to undercut the long-standing human understanding that the stable, fruitful partnerships between men and women should be promoted and protected.”
The Archbishop points out that “in every state where civil union legislation has passed, its proponents have pushed to redefine marriage itself.” One example is Illinois, which approved civil unions in 2011 and is now debating full marriage redefinition.
Archbishop Aquila also pointed out that “in Colorado, same-sex couples can already attain the legal benefits civil unions would bring. The real goal of civil union legislation is social endorsement of same-sex unions, and, soon enough, the redefinition of marriage.” An example of this is Rhode Island, where civil unions were approved in 2011 but met with little enthusiasm, even though the bill granted the same benefits to those who entered civil unions as to married couples. The Rhode Island legislature subsequently proposed full marriage redefinition, which was passed by the House in January 2013 and has yet to be voted on by the Senate.
2. The bill lacks conscience protections
Unlike the civil unions bill proposed – and defeated by one vote – in 2012, the current bill does not include any protections for one group poised to incur serious consequences from its passage: adoption agencies. Language included in the 2012 bill – that the bill “shall not be interpreted to require a child-placement agency to place a child for adoption” with a couple in a civil union – is entirely absent from the 2013 version. Mark Rohlena, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, said that the bill’s passage could threaten the religious liberty of agencies like his that decline to place children with two persons of the same sex.
Indeed, that prediction is far from unfounded. In several states where civil union or marriage redefinition legislation has been passed – DC, Massachusetts, Illinois – religious adoption agencies that wouldn’t place children with two persons of the same sex have closed down. (See this video for an up-close look at the impact on families and children of foster and adoption agencies’ closing in Illinois.)
The Colorado Catholic Conference opposes the civil unions bill and asks all Colorado citizens to make their opposition known.
- Archbishop Samuel Aquila, “Make no mistake: civil unions a major step in radically redefining marriage” (Jan. 23, 2013)
- Catholic Bishops of Colorado, Statement on Civil Unions (2012)
- Catholic Conference of Illinois, “Promoting Civil Unions to Undermine Marriage” (2009)
Mar. 1, 2013
As you probably already know, the Supreme Court is preparing to consider two marriage-related cases this spring: United States v. Windsor, about the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Hollingsworth v. Perry, about California’s Proposition 8. As the USCCB news release about these cases pointed out, “Depending on the Court’s ruling, there could be ramifications for marriage laws throughout the country.”
To raise awareness of these monumental cases, and to show support for upholding the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the National Organization for Marriage, along with other partner organizations, is organizing a March for Marriage. The March will be held in Washington, DC, on March 26, 2013, the day oral arguments begin in the Supreme Court. Tentative information about the day’s schedule can be found at the March for Marriage website.
Catholic bishops have voiced their support for the March for Marriage. In a letter sent to all U.S. bishops on February 25, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, encouraged participation in the march. They write in the letter, “The march will be a significant opportunity to promote and defend marriage and the good of our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to stand in solidarity with people of good will.” Archbishop Cordileone will also be one of the speakers at the rally after the march.
Sign up for updates about the March for Marriage on its website: http://www.marriagemarch.org.
Feb. 27, 2013
In September 2015, Philadelphia will have the honor of hosting the 8th World Meeting of Families, an international event organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family. Here’s a brief Q&A about the 8th World Meeting of Families, along with some helpful links.
What is the World Meeting of Families?
The World Meeting of Families is an international event of prayer, catechesis, and celebration that draws participants from around the globe. It seeks to strengthen the bonds between families and to witness to the crucial importance of marriage and family to all of society.
What is the Pontifical Council for the Family?
The Pontifical Council for the Family is part of the Roman Curia. It was instituted by Bl. John Paul II in 1981, replacing the Committee for the Family which was created by Pope Paul VI in 1973. As explained on its profile page, the Pontifical Council for the Family “is responsible for the promotion of the pastoral ministry and apostolate to the family, through the application of the teachings and guidelines of the ecclesiastical Magisterium, to help Christian families fulfill their educational and apostolic mission.” The Pontifical Council for the Family has its own regularly updated website. (It is in Italian but can be accessed in English by clicking “Eng” in the upper toolbar.)
When and where is the 8th World Meeting of Families?
The 8th World Meeting of Families will be held September 22-27, 2015, in Philadelphia. This decision was announced by Pope Benedict at the 7th World Meeting of Families in Milan in 2012, and confirmed by the Vatican on February 25.
Where have the other World Meetings of Families been held?
Previous World Meetings of Families have been held in Rome (1994 & 2000); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Manila (2003); Valencia, Spain (2006); Mexico City (2009); and Milan, Italy (2012). The 8th World Meeting of Families will be the first time this event has been held in the United States.
Will the pope attend the 8th World Meeting of Families?
No one knows for sure, since Pope Benedict’s successor has not yet been elected, but it is certainly possible that the new Holy Father will attend the 8th World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. If so, it could also be the new pope’s first visit to the United States.
How many people attend the World Meeting of Families?
Attendance varies depending on the location. Most recently, hundreds of thousands of people attended the 7th World Meeting of Families in Milan, and one million attended Pope Benedict’s mass at that Meeting.
Does each World Meeting of Families have a theme?
Yes. For example, the theme of the 2012 World Meeting of Families in Milan was “The Family: Work and Celebration.” The theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families will be chosen by the new pope after he is elected.
What has Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, said about hosting the 8th World Meeting of Families?
In a letter published on February 25, Archbishop Chaput said, “I believe that this event has the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, not just the Catholic Church, but our entire community. We look forward to welcoming you and your family to Philadelphia for this important event in September 2015.”
How do I sign up to attend the 8th World Meeting of Families?
No specific registration procedures have yet been announced, but you can sign up for notifications on the 8th World Meeting of Families website (bottom right corner).