An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Welcome from Archbishop Cordileone

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Marriage: Unique for a Reason website.

As the chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, as well as the archbishop of San Francisco, California, I am happy you are visiting this website, the latest project in the ongoing work of the bishops to strengthen marriage and the family, and particularly to promote and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We are excited to establish this latest online presence for the Subcommittee’s work.

Confusion about marriage’s meaning is common today. What is marriage? Why does sexual difference matter for marriage? Do children have a right to a mom and a dad? Is marriage between one man and one woman discriminatory? These and many other questions are being raised with great urgency, and they call out for answers.

The Marriage: Unique for a Reason website is designed as a home of resources on what the Catholic Church teaches about the unique meaning of marriage, and why. There are resources and materials for those who want to form study groups, for those responsible for preaching and teaching, and for those who are simply curious and want to learn more. While the resources have been developed for Catholics, the unique meaning of marriage is a truth accessible to all people.

On this site you will find the video resources developed by the bishops thus far: “Made for Each Other,” about sexual difference and complementarity; and “Made for Life,” about the gift of children and the need for fathers and mothers.

You will also find helpful FAQs about marriage, a library of Church teaching on marriage, and a regularly-updated blog.

I invite you to join us in the work of promoting and defending marriage. Please consider subscribing to the Marriage: Unique for a Reason blog (see upper right of this page). I also invite you to become a friend of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason project on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you have a specific question about marriage, you can send the Marriage: Unique for a Reason team an email here.

Thank you for visiting this site. Please share the word. Most of all, let us each become an ambassador for the beauty, adventure, and truth of marriage as it was designed from the beginning. Marriage indeed is unique for a reason.

May the Lord bless you abundantly,

Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
Chairman, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage

36 responses to “Welcome from Archbishop Cordileone”

  1. Pam says:

    Thank you so much for this! My husband and I have been married 29 years. I will promote this site on my Facebook page as well as my blog.

    • Samuel Roeble says:

      Congratulations Bishop Cordileone for being named Archbishop of San Francisco! Fight the good fight and continue the race.

  2. James says:

    What you seem to be arguing for is not the preservation of the sacrament of marriage as the Catholic Church understands it, but the civil contract known as marriage and as made available by the government to its people.

    Why must the civil contract reflect the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage when not everyone subscribes to Catholicism (or even Christianity)?

    The Catholic Church says contraception is a grave moral sin. Must it thus be illegal for Protestant couples to utilize it as well? The Catholic Church says divorce is a sin, yes? Should it be legal impermissible to divorce one’s spouse unless there are also Biblical grounds to do so?

    What you’re arguing for, then, is a theonomy whereby all civil laws reflect one’s moral outlook based on their own denomination.

    This doesn’t work in theory or in practice: what would prevent a Calvinist from then seeking to criminalize the practice of Catholicism because they believe it’s “idolatrous”?

  3. Bobby In Seattle says:

    As a Catholic, I have to disagree with this issue 100%. Our church should be focused on helping the poor, the sick, the homeless and the disadvantaged, not getting involved in Civil Government matters that force others to live by the Catholic code. The money being thrown at this issue, rather than for true Christ-like programs of helping those in need, is a terrible display of misplaced priorities of my Church.

    To the very decent and loving gay and lesbian couples that only seek to have the same rights as other Americans, I must apologize for the lack of respect my Church has shown.

    To the Catholic Church I simply ask, please, get your priorities straight. This is not the behavior I would expect from the religion I grew up in.

    • Tom Templeton says:

      Bobby, you are wrong on this issue. Regardless of any secular laws governing civil unions, marriage is Sacramental and vocational. In fact it was the first vocation. It is exactly what the Church needs to be concentrated on. If you believe that the Church should only be concerned about the material well being of its people and not the spiritual well being you really don’t understand the Gospels.

      Our modern culture wrongly puts the entire emphasis and focus of marriage on the adults and ignores the prime purpose for the union. Its purpose is to permanently bind one man and one women, open to life, to any children that may be produced and to establish the optimal environment for their nurturing and formation. It is NOT about two (or more) people publicly professing their love for each other, it is not about the ownership and distribution of property, and it is not a right.

  4. Jim says:

    How is that in the bible, men had many wife and legal concubines, yet the catholic church states that one man, one woman is the entire history of marriage. That is just plain dishonest.

  5. Charles Martin says:

    What is your response to Catholics who see error in this conclusion?

  6. Sarah says:

    I am not a Catholic, but I LOVE this website. Thank you so much for sharing your beliefs in a strong, beautiful, and spiritual way. You don’t know how much this has touched my life.

    I know you will be blessed for your service and for your efforts in this endeavor. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. Dan says:

    Now that Gays can marry here in New York and elsewhere it is obvious that denying them the right to do so is silly.

    Opposite gender couples are not being denied the legal right to marry.

    Any private organization, including the Catholic Church, can discriminate against anyone they want, as long as they don’t take money from the government..

  8. Susan says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this website. As a practising Catholic, I very much appreciate a cogent and easy to understand defense of marriage. I’ve been following the push to legalize “same sex marriage,” and all the attendant ramifications that impinge on religious freedom, with growing alarm. That my children may be taught in school that a gay relationship is equally moral to a husband and wife’s relationship is very disturbing, but I didn’t know where to turn to formulate a resistance to this co opting of our culture.
    God Bless you for your efforts. I’ll spread the news of this website. Your leadership is so appreciated.

  9. Computerized says:

    Great! thanks for the share!

  10. Joe says:

    Hello, what problems has the church with civil gay marriages? You (as a church) are not beeing forced to marry gay couples if you do not want so. Or am I wrong? You also do not marry couples with other beliefs (e.g. Jews or Muslims) but also accept a civil muslim or jewish marriage, even if you would not marry them. So what is the problem with civil gay marriages? Best wishes, Joe from Germany

  11. Mark Monaghan says:


    Congratulations on this website. This is exactly the type of information that people need to be able to read. There is too much complacency and confusion out there as well as many who aim to destroy our Faith. Stay strong, and thank you for being on the “tip of the spear” for the sacrament of marriage.

    Yours in the Risen Christ,

    Mark and Patricia Monaghan
    Virginia Beach
    (married 30 years next May)

  12. Loraine says:

    Big enthusiast on this page, a variety of your blog posts have definitely helped me out. Awaiting upgrades!

  13. Mirella says:

    I am very happy to know that we have a to go site for the purpose of formation. I think there is sometimes little formation on marriage and we need the tools that will help us grow in love and service to one another each day. Thank you for thinking of us.

  14. Bartholomew Shea says:

    The Church hasn’t performed same-sex marriages for a thousand years. Why turn back the clock?

  15. Arlen says:

    As a practicing Catholic, I find this website both appalling and a waste of resources.

    Really? We have an entire subcommittee to making sure people who love each other can’t get married?

    It’s clear the USCCB has little understanding about how American Catholics actually think about these issues.

    I’ve been married for four years to a wonderful woman. We have many gay friends who want to be married. How is allowing gays to join in civil marriage a threat to the Church? I haven’t seen the churches in New York start to collapse. Our friends in Spain don’t seem to have any issue with it.

    Why is that American Catholics do?

  16. edward says:

    Marriage is not simply a “civil contract” defined by the state, or by the church for that matter.
    It is natural social reality based in biology. Physically, a man is made for a woman, and a woman for a man. Two women, or two men do not have the same biological compatability. This distinction is not insignificant.

  17. Daniel says:

    Regardless of what side of this issue you are on, I would like to offer a few historical facts that everyone should take into consideration.

    We can have our own opinions, but we simply cannot have our own facts. Time and time again, I have heard Catholic leaders make statements that patently misrepresent human history with regard to marriage.

    Marriage has not always been between one man and one woman. Marriage has not always had anything to do with love. Women have not always been an equal partner in this relationship. Women have not always had any say in who they married. Different races were not always permitted to inter-marry. People of different religions were not always permitted to inter-marry. Civil marriages did no always exist, and the Church objected to them when they did come into existence. Slaves used to not be permitted to marry each other. Marriage was not a recognized sacrament of the Church for centuries.

    Same gender couples HAVE been permitted to marry, in many different cultures, throughout human history.

    Thousands of mammalian species form exclusive, same gender sexual relationships and bonds. Look to wikipedia.

    Educate yourself on facts, and then form an opinion. Don’t form an opinion, and then look for facts.

    There is not “confusion” about what marriage is. Marriage has been many things. There is much “disagreement” about what it should be. That is no the same thing as confusion.

    I am not confused.

  18. Very well written post. It will be valuable to anybody who utilizes it, as well as myself. Keep doing what you are doing – for sure i will check out more posts.
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  19. Bob says:

    I find it appalling as a baptized Catholic that the church continues to focus it’s resources on such issues. If the church wants to impose it’s interpretation and not wed same sex couples, so be it. BUT, to leverage it’s resources to impact legislation, and deny rights to anyone is immoral. Where does it stop? You want to strengthen marriage…then outlaw divorce, make adultery a crime with imprisonment. While we are at it, as the church is opposed to contraception, we should outlaw the sale of condoms, birth control pills, etc. If the church wants to get into the legislation discussion then they should be taxed as a political organization. Why doesn’t the church use their power of the pulpit to rally against child abuse, and increase early detection of such behavior? Or is this something that truly has good intent but is too close to the actions taken by the church?

    This is exactly why I no longer am a practicing Catholic!

  20. KellyK says:

    PLEASE spend your energy on efforts that would make a positive difference in the world. Go multiply some loaves and fishes. Nowhere in the bible did Jesus take issue with a gay couple. Please. Go try to be Christ-like where it matters and leave people alone to love in their happy, healthy relationships that do not affect your life whatsoever.

  21. Some genuinely quality posts on this website , bookmarked .

  22. Joan says:

    I think that as long as the Catholic Church states the definition of marriage to be between one man and one women, which i do agree with, the Church’s definition of the Catholic Priest being ‘married’ to the church must change. Interestingly enough, the new translation includes a word change from “it” to “her” when speaking of the church.

  23. Bob Pena says:

    I write to you from El Paso, Texas where this mostly Catholic citizenry voted to recall our Mayor who TRASHED our vote to NOT start providing insurance benefits to our city employee domestic partners. Our recently transferred Bishop opposed parish and parishioners defense of traditional marriage, even encouraging some priests to chastise our activity. WHAT CAN WE DO TO ASSURE THAT WE GET A NEW BISHOP WILL SUPPORT PARISHIONERS DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE. Your advice would be most appreciated.

  24. Mary Ann Shimelonis says:

    What a wonderful resource! I have just started to explore the site and it is set up beautifully. I like the picture of Saints Anne and Joachim. You bet I will be visiting this site more in the future to read and learn. I am glad that the Catholic church is explaining the subject and promoting this vocation that I love and have grown closer to Christ in. I will be better versed to explain my beliefs. BTW I learned of this from the article in the Universe Bulletin. Thank you.

  25. Joe Peitz says:

    Thanks for this fantastic web site! I’m very surprised by the critical comments posted above about it and the Church’s teachings on the subject. May I offer for their consideration that there are a great many people living in darkness today. They’ve swallowed the lie that everything is relative, if it feels good do it, all’s good that feels good. They’ve believed it for so long that when someone finally tells them the facts of life, they resent the individual who does them the favor of shining the light of truth. When people build castles on presumptions and opinions that ignore the unchangeable laws of God, they shouldn’t be surprised that their loved ones are getting hurt as their castles come crashing down around them. Truth is not relative. It is rock solid and foundations cannot be built on shifting sands! The results have been TERRIBLE! An escalating divorce rate, more children being raised in fatherless homes, kids shooting kids in schools and an ever increasing prison population. The aborting of over 55 million of our children, the same children who are our nation’s greatest resource and future. Our nation is more divided now then it has been since the Civil War. God only knows what’s coming next! All due to the rejection of truth.
    My friends, the darkness is getting darker, but the darker it is, the brighter the light will shine that dares to penetrates it! Thank God He gave us His Church to shine the light of truth so we can see the way out of this mess! Yes, the Catholic Church is right. God has blessed us with a great gift in marriage, it can only exist between one man and one woman and the fruit of which maintains and builds strong nations. Furthermore the Church does not impose, it proposes. And that which it proposes on marriage has been the foundation of many a strong nation. History has also shown time and time again that when a nation turns away from this foundational truth, its collapse was only a few generations away. Please remember that two plus two will always equal four no matter how strongly you feel otherwise. A truth as solid as He who ordained it to be so!For He is the WAY, the Truth and the Life!
    God Bless America!!!

  26. Joe Peitz says:

    Dear Bishop Cordileone,
    As my previous comment was getting too lengthy, I’ve decided to post a second to further encourage and reaffirm you and your staff on your quest to present this indispensible aspect of our Creator and Lord’s teachings.

    I ask you to please see the above venomous comments as a symptom of the deep darkness that far too many have been lured into. The truths that you are presenting are extremely profound, awakening and life giving. But to one who has accepted darkness, something so profoundly bright can be totally blinding. In other words once one’s eyes grow accustom to the darkness, sudden exposure of the light of truth results in temporary blindness, pain and anger. But once one grows accustom to the light and sees the value of that truth, one tends to reject the dark and live the light.

    You dear Bishop are a good Sheppard and I’m sure are fully aware of the above. Please understand that I post it not only for your consideration, but for all who visit this web site and respond to the call to share its teachings. I pray that many disciples of marriage will come from it and they will be prepared to handle the initial rejection and continue a loving presentation of our Lord’s truths. For the glory of our Creator and our country.
    Please keep up the GOOD work!

    • Poeple have been sleeping for to long it is time for them to wake up and see the truth ,many will argue and get mad but the truth is the truth ,our children are in danger of this abomination in the world ,they are introduced to false religion in our school system about marriage betheen man and woman ,it is time that we defend our faith and put God back in our lives and in our school ,communities before it is to late ,we have a resposibility to our God first and our families .People must know that we will fight for the truth and many will not like it at all because this world is full of lies and people don t talk afraid to hurt but at the same time are being hust by lies .For ones on this site the truth is being said .God bless

  27. […] Cordileone, 56 — the San Diego-born head of the neighboring Oakland church since 2009, and chairman of the US bishops’ efforts to defend the traditional definition of marriage — to […]

  28. […] Cordileone, 56 — the San Diego-born head of the neighboring Oakland church since 2009, and chairman of the US bishops’ efforts to defend the traditional definition of marriage — to succeed […]

  29. Sam Roeble says:

    Congratulations on your installation as Archbishop today, the feast of St. Francis.
    Also, my wife pointed you out in Champions of Faith–an MLB documentary on the faith of major league baseball players

  30. Cyprian Dengu says:

    The website is a wonderful one. I will be visiting it to learn more: Marriage is unique for reason.

  31. Caroline says:

    Archbishop Cordileone, I admire your resilience and your faithfulness to Christ’s teaching no matter what. You give hope to many of us in the Church. Whenever I see your name I smile.
    God bless you abundantly as you carry out what He has called you do do.

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