American Catholic Bishops Reaffirm the Church’s Teaching on Marriage

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Various Catholic bishops of the United States have recently reaffirmed the Church’s timeless teaching on the sacrament of marriage as the sacred union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. The Catholic Church’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage is, of course, based on Christ’s, as seen in Matthew 19:1-12 and Mark 10:1-12. Pope Francis has likewise repeatedly both promoted and defended the Church’s teaching on marriage, perhaps most prominently in his 2016 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family.

In a September 14 post for Patheos, author Scott Eric Alt wrote about a September 13 statement by Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond. Within the statement, Bishop DiLorenzo reminded the faithful that “As Catholics, we believe, all humans warrant dignity and deserve love and respect, and unjust discrimination is always wrong. Our understanding of marriage, however, is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator’s original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children, who should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father.” Alt did not mince words when, on September 15, he followed up with a reminder: “To Accept Same-Sex Marriage is Heresy.”

On September 14, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit (Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine) and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo (Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth) reminded us that “God’s plan doesn’t change.”

Archbishop Vigneron and Bishop Malone further affirmed that “We cause great harm to ourselves, to each other, and to the world when we ignore the moral law given to us by God and inscribed in our very nature. The goodness and beautiful diversity of God’s creation does not include those things that are consequences of our sins. The attempt to redefine the essential meaning of marriage is acting against the Creator.”

These latest statements follow similar ones in recent months. For example, on August 5, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville (President of the USCCB), Bishop Malone, and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami (Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) released a statement titled Faithful Witness to Marriage on the USCCB’s blog.

Multiple resources are available on the USCCB’s webpage Marriage and Family. Lay Catholics are called to witness to the beauty of God’s divinely-oriented plan for marriage, praying for the inspiration and intercession of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

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