An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"We love you…and we want you to be happy."

Archbishop Cordileone at the March for Marriage

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco speaks at a rally as part of the March for Marriage

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

17 responses to “"We love you…and we want you to be happy."”

  1. Donna Dorman says:

    Dear Archbishop Cordileone,
    Thank you for speaking out on this timely subject and having the courage to do so. I’m sure there are others who think this way but never say anything. We only hear the other side: that living together is alright, that gay marriage should be not only tolerated but promoted as an option.
    I support your marriage march and hope you will continue to promote traditional marriage so that our coming generation will be a stable one and one that God intended it to be.

  2. S says:

    What about divorce? What about couples who do not decide to get married, but stay together and have children. What about happy, gay parents who adopt children who need homes because their heterosexual parents didn’t want or couldn’t keep them. Just because you say this wasn’t backed by bigotry doesn’t mean it’s not a bigoted statement. Divorce goes against the bible’s teachings as well. Where is everybody on that issue?

    • Maria says:

      Is it possible that you don’t know the Catholic Church’s position on divorce? If so, then we need to do a better job of articulating that. Divorce also does a disservice to children. If a child’s natural parents are unable to care for them, this is indeed a sad situation which we strive to correct in the best way possible. Adoption by married, loving, stable husband and wife has always been considered (and studies prove this) the next best thing to be being raised by one’s biological parents.

  3. Sue Burns says:

    So well said. Having grown up in a military family and then marrying a military man – we experienced the “loss” that comes when Dad is sent on a “hardship” (combat) tour. And so did our children when their Dad spent 2 tours in Nam – flying assault helicopters the first tour. There is always great joy at the time of their homecoming – and then, times of adjusting – my husband was always family first. In the family, to him, I was first. Once when one son said he didn’t have to obey me, my husband towered over him and said, “You will not speak to the woman I love like that.” He was up for the task of “rebuilding” the family when he came home both times. A child needs a mother and a child needs a father. They also need to see the love that flows between their parents for each other and out to them. I remember times when my parents argued and I would be terrified that one of them would leave for good. They stayed together, thanks be to God.

  4. Eileen Barreca says:

    Thank you Archbishop and may God bless you abundantly.

  5. Steven P. says:

    No one is asking the Church to redefine the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. If civil marriage is extended to include same-gender unions, it does no harm to those married within the context of the Church–nor does it impose its meaning on Church teaching.

    • DK says:

      Steven P. –
      I respectfully disagree, this is a direct movement to impose the governments will on the Church. If Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, the next step will be a gay person will sue their church protestant or Catholic for discrimination. Just like Obamacare, this is an attack on the 1st Amendment. I would propose, the “state” no longer issue marriage licenses, let Holy Matrimony remain in the Church and government stay out of religion.

      • Steven P says:

        DK, your viewpoint is Church-centric, meaning that you assume marriage is only that which is blessed and sanctified by Holy Matrimony. For millions of Americans, that is not the case–their marriage is officiated at City Hall, not inside a church building. If freedom of religion prevails, no religious denomination will be forced to perform any marriage which departs from church teaching. The Church already prescribes rules for couples who have asked to be married within its purview, and couples must comply with those rules or the priest will not marry them. It is the same here, and no one, gay or otherwise, should be allowed to challenge it. My position is that the Church should keep out of the marriage debate until a gay couple knocks on their door–then and only then is the Church within its rights to disapprove.

  6. L. Patrick Carroll says:

    I am a life long, 76 year old Catholic, with an Ma in theology…I totally disagree with your premises….I know several gay families who are way better parents than most, I see no threat of gay marriage to my own, and I think the churhc ought to be supporting commitment, permanenc,e fidelity in love among all couples….as promoting gospel values for all. We have a historical blind spot that desperately needs healing!

  7. Michelle says:

    What a beautiful speech! Thank you!

  8. Roberta Brodsky says:

    If the intent is to ensure children grow up with a (married) mother and father, I expect to see marches of equal magnitude in every state to outlaw divorces of any sort, to criminalize adultery (or to “not recognize” the marriages of spouses who obviously aren’t preserving the principle of marriage).

  9. Gina Lepore says:

    Keep up the good work! I Agee with you totally, and I am fighting this battle alone. Very few people recognize this. Every time I discuss this subject with people, the only thing accomplished is that I make a few more enemies.
    They think that I am an insensitive, uncaring, person! I am understanding to their feelings, why are they not understanding to my beliefs? You have a tough battle ahead of you! I pray to St. Michael to defend us in this battle! That’s just what people, including Catholics are making of this, a battle. God be with you!

  10. Elizabeth Yanga says:

    Very well said, most Reverend Cordileone. It came straight from your heart and that is the way we who supports traditional marriage all feel. God instituted marriage for the sake of our children’s total well-being. God bless you, Reverend!

  11. JS says:

    I love my Catholic faith and struggle with this teaching. May I humbly submit that what matters most to children is love and selfless commitment. That is what the institution of marriage is uniquely built to preserve. I am blessed to have witnessed many male/female marriages that uphold love and selfless commitment. I am also blessed to have witnessed female/female and male/male relationships that do the same.

    Would a child be better off being raised by a mother and father or by same sex parents? All things being equal – I admit that a child is probably better off being raised my a mother and father. But all things are not equal. There are abusive fathers. There are drug addicted mothers. There are mothers and fathers who are happier nurturing their careers than nurturing their children. There are mothers and fathers who prefer to abort their children rather than “put their lives on hold” for them.

    There are even loving, wonderful, selfless mothers and fathers who die before their children reach adulthood. And yet, the surviving parent manages to do right by their children and raise well-adjusted kids in a sacred and loving home.

    I whole-heartedly believe that a child would be better off with two loving and committed mothers or two loving and committed fathers than a mother and father who is abusive or neglectful. And I believe that two mothers or two fathers would do at least as good of a job raising children as one widowed parent.

    I agree that in today’s culture marriage needs defending. But the way to defend marriage is to teach people about faithful, fruitful, free, total love… and NOT by preventing people from publicly committing to such a love.

  12. John Jesinger says:

    I want to remind the Archbishop, that His Holiness Pope Paul VI, told the clergy that they were to stay out of matters of state. The cases now being heard by the US Supreme Court, have no effect on the Church. The Archbishop, will continue to have the unobstructed right to instruct his church members regarding matters of faith from the pulpit. That, in the United States, is the limit of his authority. Even the authority to legally preside at a wedding is a priviledge extended by states at their discretion. To use the collar to influence interpretation of the laws of the land is to use it as a weapon to attack the amendment that guarantees us both freedom of and from religion. Certainly the Archbishop has the right to speak as a private citizen. But then, he must leave the trappings of his office at home and speak as that private citizen. The Church cannot have it both ways. If the Church wants to keep its special status, then it must stop acting as a political party.

  13. JustMoved315 says:

    A very well written letter. I certainly hope the justices on the Supreme court read this.

    There should be a petition available for everyone to send a letter like this to the justices.

  14. […] via “We love you…and we want you to be happy.” | Marriage Unique for a Reason. […]

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