Intention: We pray that we can continue to educate students in the fullness of our Catholic faith.
Reflection: In his proclamation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis praises the efforts of Catholic schools and charities that promote peace, social harmony, and the protection of human and civil rights. He states, “Yet, we find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good.” The role of Catholic schools, the Holy Father emphasizes, is to remain in dialogue with the formative teachings of the Church. In this way, all the sciences are embedded with Catholic theology, and these disciplines become instruments “for enlightening and renewing the world.” In his address to trustees of the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, Pope Francis explained, “Essential…is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.”
In light of Catholic Schools Week, let us remember the role of Catholic schools in striving to proclaim the Gospel message in all areas of study through first knowing and loving Christ.
Did You Know? Catholic Schools Week is being observed in dioceses around the country from January 26 through February 1. This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” focuses on the principles of a Catholic education.
Archbishop Cordileone: “You cannot be consistently pro-life without being pro-marriage: the two go together”
On Saturday, January 25th, thousands of people came together in San Francisco to witness to the sacredness and dignity of the human person, marking the 10th anniversary of the West Coast Walk for Life. Before the Walk, nearly 4,000 people met for mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Cordileone explained that the defense of life and defense of marriage movements go hand-in-hand. “You cannot be consistently pro-life without being pro-marriage: the two go together.” He explained further, “The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby. It’s about giving that baby all the care, love and nurturing he or she needs to grow up happy and healthy and to achieve his or her total potential in life…It’s especially about connecting that baby to where he or she came from: the mother and the father. And that, my friends, is the whole point of marriage: to connect husbands and wives to each other and to any children they bring into the world. There is no other institution that does that, that connects children to their mother and father. Marriage is primarily about the children, not the adults…”
Archbishop Cordileone continued, “My young people: your elders in the pro-life movement have stayed the course during some very hostile and dark times, and now the pro-life movement is stronger than it ever has been. Now it is your turn. It is this wider picture of the pro-life movement that is now the critical issue of the moment and, yes, I won’t hesitate to say it: it is under attack. Yes, marriage is under attack, but not just recently; this has been going on in our society for a very long time now, actually, for at least as long as the abortion-rights movement has been in existence. And it stands to reason, as both are manifestations of what Pope Francis so often refers to as the ‘throw away’ culture. A baby in the womb is thrown away because at least one of the two people who brought that baby into the world has thrown the other away, has rejected the other as someone worthy of commitment, self-surrender, and unconditional love. This is what marriage is and is for: not a privileged social status, not a government recognition of people’s love life, not a special relationship one stays in as long as one is deriving some immediate benefit from it, but a self-surrender of husband and wife to each other for the sake of the children they bring into the world – just like Christ and the Church, as St. Paul teaches us.
“Now the same contempt, accusations and name-calling are being hurled at those who stand for the truth of marriage as were hurled against those who stood for life a generation and two ago. But we cannot allow ourselves to be shamed into silence. The truth needs a voice, and you, my dear young people, are that voice for the next generation. And your voice must be heard so that – just as you now understand the harm that abortion does to women despite the lies perpetrated by the abortion industry – so future generations will understand that the natural truth of marriage benefits everyone and discriminates against no one; no one is harmed and everyone benefits when government enshrines in the law the right of everyone to have a mother and a father. But prepare yourselves: it will require heroic virtue, for there is a lot of reverse bullying going on these days.” (Bold added)
For Archbishop Cordileone’s full homily, click here.
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.
Intention: May we accompany women facing crisis pregnancies with the compassionate and merciful love of Christ.
Reflection: In his homily at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, Cardinal O’Malley said, “The feelings of the woman in the Gospel must be like the young woman caught in a crisis situation of an unwanted pregnancy. She feels overwhelmed, alone, afraid, confused. We must never allow that woman to perceive the Pro-Life movement as a bunch of angry self righteous Pharisees with stones in their hands, looking down on her and judging her. We want the woman to experience the merciful love of Christ. Jesus does not condone the woman’s fall, but He does not condemn her. He invites her to make a new start, to know that she is forgiven and loved. Pope Francis urges us to practice ‘the art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other, in this case, the woman in crisis. This accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian Life.”
Did You Know? Today is Day Seven of 9 Days for Life, but it’s not too late to participate! Join thousands of people across the country praying the U.S. Catholic bishops’ novena for life through a free app, email, text message, and more. http://www.9daysforlife.com
Although Utah is appealing a recent decision made by a federal district court to redefine marriage and the Supreme Court has stayed the district court decision while the case is on appeal, Attorney General Eric Holder has recently announced that so-called “marriages” performed before the stay would be recognized. In his recent article on the matter, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage explained, “Attorney General Holder is ignoring Utah law and imposing a contrary federal definition of marriage in that state. In this, General Holder’s decision is actually contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor.” Archbishop Cordileone continued, “If the federal government is legally obliged to defer to the marriage law of the state, as Windsor itself holds, then how can the federal government recognize as valid – even if only for federal purposes – marriages which a state has not deemed valid? This logically opens the door for the federal government to recognize any type of relationship (and with any number of partners) as valid marriages in contradiction to state law.”
For Archbishop Cordileone’s full article, click here.
Intention: We pray that we can continue to serve the poor and needy while living out the fullness of our faith.
Reflection: In his exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis urges Catholics and non-Catholics alike to serve the poorest among us. As Christians, we are called to serve Christ by serving and caring for our brothers and sisters. We do this every day in our schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations that seek to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable.
Read Pope Francis’ recent words regarding Christ’s love for humanity and living out this love in our daily lives.
Archbishop Kurtz, President of the USCCB, has explained how the HHS mandate threatens our ability to serve the poor and vulnerable and how “forcing our ministries to divert funds from serving their neighbors to paying government fines will have real consequences for real people.” Let us pray that the administration, Congress, and the courts will allow us to serve others while living out the fullness of the Catholic faith.
Did You Know? Each year, the President declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the landmark adoption in 1786 of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The goal of this day is to promote and protect religious expression and to “observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship.”
Federal government disregarding state marriage laws in certain instances
Requires deference to law of state where couples reside
State laws defining marriage as between a man and woman deserve respect
January 10, 2014
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, applauded the January 9 introduction of the bipartisan State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (H.R. 3829) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Randy Weber (R-TX).
“The State Marriage Defense Act is a necessary piece of legislation that will prevent the federal government from unjustly disregarding, in certain instances, state marriage laws concerning the definition of marriage,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
In a letter of support to Rep. Weber, Archbishop Cordileone noted that various agencies of the federal government have begun using a “place of celebration” rule to determine whether persons are validly married for purposes of federal law. He went on to say, “The Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor, however, requires the federal government to defer to state marriage law, not disregard it.” He therefore concluded that this bill is necessary because it “would remedy this problem by requiring the federal government, consistent with Windsor, to defer to the marriage law of the state in which people actually reside when determining whether they are married for purposes of federal law.”
Urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Act, Archbishop Cordileone said, “State marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman deserve respect by the federal government. This bill does that. I, therefore, strongly encourage the House of Representatives to pass the State Marriage Defense Act.”
Archbishop Cordileone’s letter of support to Rep. Randy Weber can be found at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Weber-re-SMDA.pdf.
Keywords: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Rep. Randy Weber, State Marriage Defense Act, United States v. Windsor
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Sister Mary Ann Walsh