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Posted Mar. 27, 2013 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 17 comments
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


More About Archbishop-designate Cordileone's Move to San Francisco

Posted Aug. 7, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 2 comments

On Friday, July 27, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, bishop of Oakland and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, to be archbishop of San Francisco. In an August 1st article in the National Catholic Register, Joan Frawley Desmond writes about this appointment and what it could mean for Archbishop-designate Cordileone and for San Francisco:

“During an era of more aggressive advocacy for same-sex ‘marriage,’ the striking appointment will yield unpredictable, possibly explosive consequences for both the local Church and the U.S. bishops’ national effort to defend traditional marriage and religious freedom against a hostile, increasingly secular culture.”

Desmond’s article includes several quotes from Archbishop-designate Cordileone about marriage:

“People need to understand that if they want to live by the principle that marriage is between a man and a woman, they are likely to be regarded as bigots and treated by society and the law as such.”

“Out of justice for children, we need to do the best that we can to help them grow up with their mother and their father, married to each other in a stable relationship.”

“If we don’t save marriage, things will get very dark. The idea that you can change the definition of marriage is a lie. If our society accepts this lie, it will fall.”

The installation ceremony will take place on the feast of St. Francis, October 4. More information can be found in the San Francisco Catholic newspaper.




Bishop Cordileone: Redefining Marriage is Unjust to Children

Posted Jul. 10, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 4 comments

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

In a recent interview with Catholic News Agency, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, offered several reasons why the Church works tirelessly to preserve the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“Marriage is about fundamental justice for children,” said the bishop. “Children do best with a mother and a father.” He cited a recent research article published in Social Science Research, which affirmed, again, the benefits to children of being raised by their own biological mother and father. The article was based on a representative group of young adults raised in different familial arrangements. As the bishop says, “In no area were children better off in an alternative arrangement [than their own mother and father].”

Bishop Cordileone also drew attention to the fact that redefining marriage poses a serious threat to religious freedom, a topic we treated in the Fortnight for Freedom series. The bishop emphasized that the proposal to redefine marriage is not an isolated problem but is intimately connected with broader misunderstanding of sexuality. “This isn’t a new threat to marriage,” he explained. “It’s a huge problem, and it’s gone on for decades.” Contraception, divorce, and promiscuity all eroded the characteristic marks of marriage – fidelity, permanence, and openness to life. Now people have a hard time seeing marriage as a lifelong child-centered institution instead of an affirmation of adult relationships.

Finally, Bishop Cordileone encouraged society to defend marriage in civil law, noting the unique contribution that marriage makes to society, and especially to children.

Read the entire interview here.



VIDEO: Bishop Cordileone's address to bishops' general assembly on promotion and defense of marriage

Posted Jun. 23, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 2 comments

On Thursday, June 14, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, delivered the above address to the U.S. bishops gathered in Atlanta for their biannual general assembly. He spoke about the current cultural situation, the catechetical efforts being advanced by the Subcommittee, impending legal and political issues, and a new social science study on children raised in various family structures.

Read the text of Bishop Cordileone’s speech here.


Bishop Cordileone Addresses Full Body of Bishops on Defense of Marriage

Posted Jun. 14, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 3 comments

From Wednesday to Friday of this week, all of the bishops in the United States have been meeting together in Atlanta for their biannual general assembly. During this time, a number of bishops present oral reports on the work of their respective committee or subcommittee. Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, presented today, Thursday June 14, to the full body of bishops about the Subcommittee’s work. Below is his talk in full, with hyperlinks added.

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone


 Thank you, Your Eminence. Good morning/afternoon, Brother Bishops.

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, during his homily at the closing Mass of the recent Seventh World Meeting of Families in Milan, spoke about the fruitfulness of married love. A husband and a wife, the Holy Father noted, give their “whole lives” to one another. Their love is fruitful for themselves, fruitful in their generous and responsible procreation of children, and fruitful for society, particularly since “family life is the first and irreplaceable school of social virtues.” The Holy Father’s words remind us that the love of husband and wife is a decisive gift for the world, and it calls for stewardship and responsibility.

As I begin my report to you today, I would like to thank in a special way, for their stewardship of the gift of marriage, Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Jugis in North Carolina, Bishop Malone in Maine (soon to be in Buffalo), Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop Lori, Cardinal Wuerl, Bishop Malooly, and the bishops of Maryland, Archbishop Neinstedt and the bishops of Minnesota, and Archbishop Sartain and the bishops of Washington state. Thank you for your teaching and steadfast witness to the beauty of marriage. Our prayers remain with you and with the many who are working to preserve the unique meaning of marriage in your states’ laws.


Brother Bishops, I am grateful for this time to update you on the work of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. Today I will speak briefly about the Subcommittee’s ongoing catechetical work and the legal landscape before us, and then I will close by highlighting initial findings from a new study on family structures, released just a few days ago.

Catechetical Update

In its catechetical work, the Subcommittee continues to advance its initiative, Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The current project underway is the Spanish-language video entitled “El matrimonio: Hecho para el amor y la vida” (Marriage: Made for Love and Life). The video, envisioned to be fifteen minutes long, will use a telenovela-style format and will present a story based on a 50th wedding anniversary. The story will introduce all four themes of the Subcommittee’s catechetical messaging: sexual difference, the good of children, the common good, and religious liberty. Additional time and focus groups have been utilized in this video’s development to ensure a culturally effective presentation. We anticipate the video’s completion by the end of this year.

Following the release of the Spanish-language video, the Subcommittee plans to complete the Marriage: Unique for a Reason project with the production of two additional English videos, the first on marriage and the common good and the second on marriage and religious liberty.

The video on the common good will aim to introduce the broader social context and meaning of marriage, grounded in an authentic anthropology. With the help of the witness of young adults, it will also seek to address arguments that falsely employ the language of equality, rights, fairness, non-discrimination, and the like. These arguments can and need to be reframed. The core issue is the meaning of marriage and its significance for the rights and best interests of children and for the common good.

The video on religious liberty will be developed in close collaboration with the ongoing efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. As described in last January’s open letter signed by various religious leaders, marriage and religious liberty stand or fall together.

Lastly, since last November’s launch of the new website, staff continues to monitor and develop the website to improve its effectiveness. Various resources are available on the site, and more resources will continue to be developed based on current needs.

Legal Landscape

Moving now to the legal landscape, the urgency around the protection of marriage has not abated.

At the state level, this year is a significant one. The recent victory in North Carolina, 61% to 39% in support of the constitutional amendment protecting the definition of marriage, is a great encouragement. Also encouraging is the outstanding number of signatures being collected in Maryland and Washington State to place their respective referendum on the ballot. Both are reporting breaking state records in the amount of signatures collected. The redefinition of marriage in the law is not, and never will be, inevitable. But ongoing vigilance and effort are needed. Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington State are poised to have crucial votes in November. Also, in Illinois, a lawsuit was recently introduced challenging the current law around civil unions as discriminatory and calling for the full redefinition of marriage. The State Attorney General, who is charged to defend the law of the state, is officially supporting the lawsuit.

At the federal level, recent negative court decisions concerning both the federal Defense of Marriage Act as well as California’s Proposition 8 now open the door for both DOMA and Prop 8 to go before the Supreme Court. The “Roe v. Wade Moment” for marriage that Archbishop Kurtz indicated to this body in November 2010 is ever closer.

And as we learned last month, President Obama has now voiced his official support for the redefinition of marriage in the law.

Cardinal Dolan, we are grateful for your strong words expressing disappointment with the President’s recent comments. You remind us well of the ongoing need to pray for the President and for all our leaders entrusted with the common good.

The Subcommittee continues to monitor all these areas and to seek opportunities to educate our people, advocate for the truth of marriage, and collaborate with ecumenical and interreligious leaders.

Findings from New Family Structures Study

Lastly, I would like to call your attention to an important new social-science study whose initial findings were just released a few days ago. The study, entitled “New Family Structures Study,” was conducted at the University of Texas at Austin. The study has surveyed a very large, nationally-representative, and random sample of American young adults (ages 18 to 39) who were raised in different family or home environments, including homes with a parent in a same-sex relationship, as well as single-parent families, step-families, adoptive families and families where the children were raised by their biological parents married to each other.

In an article recently published in the July issue of the peer-reviewed journal Social Science Research, the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Mark Regnerus, presented initial findings that should serve as significant points for future public discourse. The findings indicate several significant statistical differences when comparing young adults who were raised in an intact home with their married, biological parents and young adults raised in other home environments. The measurable outcomes of the study cover a range of information, including social and economic well-being, psychological and physical health, sexual identity, sexual behavior, and other areas. Twenty-five (25) of the forty (40) areas measured showed significant difference, and in no area were children better off in an alternative arrangement. The differences in outcomes illustrate, as the article notes, “that children appear most apt to succeed well as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.”

Promising to be a benchmark for further studies and findings, this study has been noted to empirically call into question other studies with smaller and more restrictive sample sizes that have purported to show that there are no differences between father-mother parenting and other arrangements. Another paper by sociologist Dr. Loren Marks, also published this month in Social Science Research, reviewed fifty-nine (59) previous studies cited by the American Psychological Association (APA). He found these studies to have various limitations, including being based on small, non-random, non-representative, and self-selecting samples, and he concluded that the studies were “insufficient to support a strong generalized claim either way.”

In other words, this New Family Structures Study is being acknowledged as one of the first studies on this topic to have a comprehensive and scientifically respectable approach—so much so that some social science researchers with views supportive of new or so-called alternative family structures have acknowledged the scientific validity of the study. The study itself was developed and conducted by a team of researchers who disagree among themselves about the topic of family structures but agreed to lead an objective study. A website has now been set up to present the study’s findings, which can be accessed at: Although it is not the job of social science to protect the meaning of marriage, nor can correlation be taken as equivalent to causation, social science has an important role to play in the public conversation. In this instance, a well-respected study is attesting to something very basic: fathers and mothers matter, and married fathers and mothers matter for children.

Unfortunately, we have come to a point in Western society where the meaning of marriage is being largely eclipsed by a counterfeit version, by a false idea that marriage is just a matter of adult interests and can be manipulated as a product of arbitrary invention. However, I believe many of our young people, who have experienced firsthand the difficulties of broken families and the absence of a father or a mother, know intuitively that such an understanding of marriage cannot stand the test of time and can only lead to further disappointment and hardships.

As this new study indicates, social science continues to affirm that children thrive and do best with their mother and father in an intact home. The protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a work of justice and is foundational to the good of all, especially for those most vulnerable among us, our children. It is the way of true compassion—love in truth and truth in love. Our young people are hungry for this truth and are in a position to witness to it in a uniquely powerful way.

The Subcommittee is grateful to all those who, in charity, hope, and truth, are working to shed light on the true meaning of marriage and to strengthen and protect it.  In a special way, Brother Bishops, I thank each one of you for your stewardship of the gift of marriage and family and for all the time and work in your dioceses and eparchies dedicated to strengthening marriage. As always, the Subcommittee seeks to assist you and continues to benefit from your guidance and feedback. On behalf of the Subcommittee as well as Bishop Rhoades and the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, thank you again for this opportunity to update you today.

Video coming soon: stay tuned!


USCCB Press Release: "Bishops' Committee For Defense of Marriage Disappointed Over DOMA Ruling"

Posted Jun. 5, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 2 comments

June 1, 2012

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals decision ‘grave injustice’
  • Respecting marriage as the union of a man and a woman protects children
  • Marriage a cornerstone of our society, notes Bishop Cordileone

WASHINGTON—A federal appeals court decision May 31 to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act is a matter of “grave injustice,” said Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

He voiced his disappointment following the May 31 decision of the federal appeals court in Boston to strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, is the cornerstone of society,” Bishop Cordileone said. “It is also the foundation of a just society, as it protects the most vulnerable segment of the population, children. Every child longs for and deserves a mother and a father, and marriage is the only institution that insures that children grow up knowing and being known by their mother and father. The public good demands that this truth of marriage be respected in law and society, not rejected.”

On May 31, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, upheld an earlier U.S. District Court decision claiming section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional. Section 3 defines marriage for purposes of federal law as the union of one man and one woman.

Bishop Cordileone noted, “The federal appeals court in Boston did a grave injustice yesterday by striking down that part of the Defense of Marriage Act that reasonably recognizes the reality that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. DOMA is part of our nation’s long-established body of law rooted in the true meaning of marriage. Hopefully, this unjust ruling will be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, for the benefit of our nation’s children, and our nation as a whole.”

DOMA was approved by a broad, bi-partisan majority of Congress in 1996, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA recognizes for purposes of federal law that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and it also protects the rights of states to uphold this definition of marriage in the face of laws from other states that might be adverse to such definition.

Original press release found here.

Why marriage matters to the common good: FAQs


U.S. Bishops Applaud Approval of North Carolina Marriage Amendment in face of President Obama's Recent Comments

Posted May. 10, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 2 comments

USCCB press release, dated May 10, 2012:

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

  • Marriage protection essential to the common good, says Bishop Cordileone
  • Cites right of every child to be raised by mother and father
  • North Carolina is 30th state to protect marriage via constitutional amendment

WASHINGTON—The decision by the voters of North Carolina to define marriage in a constitutional amendment as the union of one man and one woman “affirms the authentic and timeless meaning of marriage,” said Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, California. Bishop Cordileone, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), applauded the May 8 decision with Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina.

“The success of this amendment demonstrates people’s awareness of the essential role that marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, plays for the common good,” said Bishop Cordileone.“Despite his comments yesterday, I would hope that President Obama would recognize this essential role as well. This is not a partisan issue, but a matter of justice, fairness and equality for the law to uphold every child’s basic right to be welcomed and raised by his or her mother and father together.”

He added, “I extend my gratitude to all of the people in North Carolina who worked tirelessly to make this a reality. The people of North Carolina join millions of other Americans in affirming the importance of marriage in our society.”

North Carolina is the 30th state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The statements of Bishop Burbidge is available online:


Easter Sunday: He is risen!

Posted Apr. 8, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason No comments yet

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Today, Easter Sunday, Christians around the world celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and His victory over death.

Today we share with you a reflection on Easter by Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, the chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage:

Easter season time of coming to life

In his column, Bishop Cordileone writes about the maternal nature of the Church:

“The Church gives birth to new children for God’s kingdom at the baptismal font; she nourishes them with the food of the Eucharist and by teaching them the truth of Christ; she comes to their aid when they are ill spiritually or physically through the healing grace of the sacraments; she trains them in the school of virtue so that they may develop the capacity for love and happiness.” Read more

A very blessed and happy Easter to all of our readers!


National Marriage Week: Closing Remarks from Bishop Cordileone

Posted Feb. 14, 2012 by Marriage Unique for a Reason 1 comment

Dear friends,

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

Today marks the end of National Marriage Week USA. It is no accident that its culmination falls on Valentine’s Day, which has long been regarded as a day to celebrate love. Indeed, love is a great gift; even more, love is “the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (Catechism, no. 1604). Every man and woman, created in the image of a God who is Love, is called to the vocation of love.

Reflecting on the gift of love moves us to reflect on the gift of marriage, which is a unique and privileged instance of love. As our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), among the many meanings given to the word “love” today, “one in particular stands out: love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness. This would seem to be the very epitome of love” (no. 2).

Marriage is indeed a great gift, and a great witness to the beauty of love. The lifelong, life-giving bond formed between husband and wife is a great good not only for them, but also for any children who come from their union, and for all of society. As National Marriage Week USA draws to a close, I encourage each of you to continue praying that all in our nation would recognize and protect the unique beauty of marriage.

May the Lord bless you abundantly,

Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone
Bishop of Oakland
Chairman, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage