May. 21, 2013
New from the USCCB: a Spanish translation of the nationwide bulletin insert, “Marriage and the Supreme Court.”
Like the English bulletin insert, this one-page document is meant for distribution in parishes during May and June, in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s rulings on two marriage cases at the end of June.
If you have Spanish-speaking friends and family, or attend a church with Spanish-speaking parishioners, please share this great resource!
Archbishop Lucas (Omaha): “The truth of the nature of marriage is a beautiful sign of God’s creative love”
May. 11, 2013
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)
May. 8, 2013
Hot off the press: a new bulletin insert – for nationwide circulation in May and June – about “Marriage and the Supreme Court.” This bulletin insert is being shared with all of the U.S. bishops, along with a set of “lead messages” on marriage redefinition, which we’ll feature in a later blog post.
Content, in text form:
For the first time in our nation’s history, the Supreme Court is considering two cases about whether or not marriage should be redefined to include two persons of the same sex. These cases involve the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children.
What You Can Do
Pray, Fast, Sacrifice
The Bishops have encouraged Catholics to participate in a Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty during this Year of Faith. Visit www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty to learn more and commit to praying and fasting for life, marriage, and religious liberty.
The Bishops have also called for a second Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. Visit www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.
Please consider contributing time, talent, and/or treasure to local or national efforts seeking to protect the unique meaning of marriage.
Advocate for Marriage (Lead Messages)
Be a witness for the truth of marriage in word and action. Take advantage of opportunities to speak about marriage’s unique meaning in conversation with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. Share the truth in love.
Everyone has inviolable dignity and deserves love and respect. There are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all, but redefining marriage serves no one’s rights, least of all those of children.
What is marriage? Marriage is the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman, for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of children. One man, one woman—for life. (See Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, no. 48).
The difference is the difference. Men and women matter. They are equal but different. Sexual difference is essential to marriage.
Mothers and fathers matter. They aren’t interchangeable. Every child has a basic, natural right to come from and be raised in the loving marital union of his or her own father and mother.
Protecting marriage matters to everyone. It’s Catholic social teaching 101: pro-woman, pro-man, pro-child. Redefining marriage in the law says many false things: women – mothers – are dispensable; men – fathers – are dispensable; what adults want trumps what a child deserves and has a basic right to.
Visit MarriageUniqueForAReason.org for more resources on the authentic meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For resources for engaged couples and married couples, visit ForYourMarriage.org and PorTuMatrimonio.org.
May. 3, 2013
Intention: For the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, that they would respect the authentic meaning of marriage by upholding California’s Proposition 8.
Reflection: The following are key quotes from the USCCB amicus brief in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry, about California’s Proposition 8, which is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Given both the unique capacity for reproduction and unique value of homes with a mother and father, it is reasonable for a State to treat the union of one man and one woman as having a public value that is absent from other intimate interpersonal relationships” (p. 2).
“Redefining marriage…not only threatens principles of federalism and separation of powers, but would have a widespread adverse impact on other constitutional rights, such as the freedoms of religion, conscience, speech, and association” (p. 4).
“If the meaning of marriage is so malleable and indeterminate as to embrace all ‘lifelong and committed’ relationships, then marriage simply collapses as a coherent legal category” (p. 14-15).
“A law is not constitutionally impermissible because it overlaps with a religious teaching” (p. 20).
Did you know? California’s Proposition 8 is the marriage referendum approved by California voters in 2008. It defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the California State constitution. Proposition 8 was challenged as being unconstitutional and is now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, with a ruling expected in June. The USCCB urges the Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 (see January 2013 amicus brief). A negative ruling could mean that marriage would be redefined nationwide.
- Learn about the Bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty
- Sign the pledge to fast on Fridays for life, marriage, and religious liberty
- Join the Call to Prayer Facebook event
Apr. 12, 2013
This week’s intention and reflection
Intention: For the justices of the Supreme Court, that they would respect the authentic meaning of marriage by upholding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Reflection: The following are key quotes from the USCCB amicus brief in the case United States v. Windsor, about the Defense of Marriage Act, which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
“There is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex” (p. 2).
“For well over a century, this Court has held that marriage is a fundamental right, but those decisions, which expressly reference the link between marriage and procreation, make clear that by ‘marriage,’ the Court means the union of one man and one woman” (pp. 8-9).
“If this Court were to conclude that the Constitution requires a redefinition of marriage to include persons in same-sex relationships…it is unclear where the logical stopping point would be. This Court will ultimately be asked why other interpersonal relationships are not entitled to similar inclusion, and why other ‘barriers’ to marriage (such as those posed by youth, kinship, or multiplicity of parties) should not also have to be struck down as inconsistent with this redefinition” (p. 20).
Did you know? The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was passed in 1996 with strong bipartisan support. DOMA defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the purposes of federal law, and ensures that states will not be forced to recognize so-called same-sex “marriages” enacted in other states. The part of DOMA that defines marriage is currently under review by the Supreme Court, with a decision expected by June. The USCCB urges the Supreme Court to uphold DOMA (see amicus brief).
- Learn about the Bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty
- Sign the pledge to fast on Fridays for life, marriage, and religious liberty
- Join the Call to Prayer Facebook event
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. 27, 2013
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, the chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage spoke at a rally yesterday as a part of the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. The march was timed to coincide with U.S. Supreme Court’s oral arguments about California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act .
I want to begin with a word to those who disagree with us on this issue and may be watching us right now: we love you, we are your neighbors, and we want to be your friends, and we want you to be happy.
Please understand that we don’t hate you, and that we are not motivated by animus or bigotry; it is not our intention to offend anyone, and if we have, I apologize; please try to listen to us fairly, and calmly, and try to understand us and our position, as we will try to do the same for you.
And to you, my friends gathered here, I say, thank you for being here, thank for your courageous support of the defining issue of our day. Why, really, are we here? One simple reason: marriage matters to kids. It’s the simple principle that children deserve a mother and a father, and that society needs an institution that connects children to their parents. What could be more beautiful, or even more sacred, than a man and a woman coming together to create new life? Marriage is the only institution that does this, that connects children to their parents and parents to their children and to each other.
Sometimes that isn’t possible, sometimes due to circumstances beyond people’s control the ideal doesn’t happen. Those parents, too, need and deserve our love and support. This isn’t about parenting skills, though; we know that sometimes kids can do well in less-than-ideal circumstances. Rather, it’s about rebuilding a marriage culture, which begins – certainly doesn’t end! – with preserving in the law the principle that children deserve a mother and a father, and that society should do everything it can, and offer all necessary support, to help insure that children get what they deserve. Only a man can be a father and only a woman can be a mother, and children need both, and no matter how happy their childhood may be, to grow up without one or the other is always a deprivation. This is not discrimination; on the contrary, marriage benefits everyone, including those of us who are not married and those who disagree with us.
And finally, to the nine justices on the Supreme Court, I say: please, for the sake of the children, please, preserve the meaning of marriage in the law, a meaning common to every human society since the beginning of the human race. For the sake of the children, please.
-Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco
Mar. 25, 2013
Just in time for tomorrow’s March for Marriage, here is an interview with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, on the meaning of marriage and the importance of the upcoming Supreme Court cases.
Notice how the Archbishop often re-frames the questions he’s asked. For example:
Q: What is the greatest threat posed by allowing gays and lesbians to marry?
A: The better question is: What is the great good in protecting the public understanding that to make a marriage you need a husband and wife?
In the interview, Archbishop Cordileone addresses many of the frequently asked questions in the marriage debate: What about infertile couples? Isn’t the Church’s position just like racism? He also fields a few more personal questions, such as how he addresses this issue with friends and family members who have same-sex attraction.
And in regards to the oft-used claim that redefining marriage is “inevitable”, Archbishop Cordileone has this to say:
Q: Has it become more difficult to oppose gay marriage over the years? Does it seem the tide is turning against you?
A:There is a problem here – an injustice, really – in the way that some people are so often identified by what they are against. Opposition to same-sex marriage is a natural consequence of what we are for, i.e., preserving the traditional, natural understanding of marriage in the culture and in the law.
But of course people who are for the redefinition of marriage to include two men or two women are also against something: They are against protecting the social and legal understanding that marriage is the union of a husband and wife who can give children a mother and father.
So there are really two different ideas of marriage being debated in our society right now, and they cannot coexist: Marriage is either a conjugal union of a man and a woman designed to unite husband and wife to each other and to any children who may come from their union, or it is a relationship for the mutual benefit of adults which the state recognizes and to which it grants certain benefits. Whoever is for one, is opposed to the other.
The whole interview is worth reading – find it here!
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. 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.