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Supporting marriage: promoting and defending church teaching

      In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage across the country, what can Catholics do to support traditional marriage?

      The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has provided numerous resources to help people understand and address the issue.

      “Don’t be afraid to talk about it,” the bishops advise in a nationwide insert for parish bulletins. “Be a witness for the truth of marriage. Take advantage of opportunities to speak about it kindly with family, friends, neighbors or co-workers.”

      Be prepared, as well, for false charges of discrimination and to respond with truths spoken in charity, the bishops advised. Among those truths, also from the USCCB:

Definitions Matter

      “Marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. It is the only institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Only a man and a woman can become husband and wife, father and mother, together.”

Sexual Difference

      “Sexual difference, male and female, is essential for marriage and children. Our bodies matter – we don’t just have a body, but are a body. Without this basis, there is no limit to what “marriage” can mean.”

Marriage is Natural

      “Marriage is a natural institution that predates government. Every human society has acknowledged that the sexual union of man and woman matters because it creates the next generation. While Jesus elevates Christian marriage to a sacrament, the complementarity of the sexes and the natural meaning of marriage can be known through reason without appealing to Scripture.”

Children

      “Every child has a mother and a father and deserves to be loved and raised by them. While some circumstances may prevent this, marriage is the primary way society protects this right of children.”
Single Parents

      “Single parents and others often make great sacrifices to raise children. They deserve our respect and support. The key point is not to deliberately or unintentionally deprive children of their mother or father or ignore their rights.”

Adoptive Parents

      “If circumstances preclude a child’s staying with his or her natural parents, the optimal alternative is for a married man and woman to become for that child a father and a mother united in an exclusively faithful commitment for life.”

Dignity of the Human Person

      “All persons have inviolable dignity and deserve love and respect. Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children.”

Equality and Rights

      “Affirming the true definition of marriage denies no one their basic rights. Rather, it affirms the equal dignity of women and men and safeguards the rights of children.”

Discrimination

      “Unjust discrimination is always wrong. Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination. Protecting marriage is a matter of justice.”

Same-Sex Attraction and the Church

      “The experience of same-sex attraction is a reality that calls for compassion, sensitivity, pastoral care and attention. Support groups, such as Courage (for people with same-sex attraction) and EnCourage (for their families and loved ones) are an important part of the church’s pastoral ministries.” (More information on this ministry through the Family Life Office in the Archdiocese of Omaha is available at the archdiocese’s website, archomaha.org/family-life/courage-encourage-program.)

Religious Freedom

      “Redefining marriage in the law changes thousands of laws at once. It will set the church’s teaching and witness about marriage in opposition to the law. It will cause innumerable conflicts between the state and religious institutions and individuals. There are, in fact, already numerous examples of this.”

Ongoing work

      “The USCCB seeks to strengthen, promote and defend marriage through its initiatives For Your Marriage (foryourmarriage.org), Por Tu Matrimonio (portumarimonio.org) and Marriage: Unique for a Reason (marriageuniqueforareason.org.) Please visit, explore and share these sites.”

The Catholic Voice

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