This uplifting video was created by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and reminds of the true joy that comes with the Sacrament of Marriage. We commend those who made this video for your commitment to what the Catholic Church defines as marriage and thank you for reminding us of the gift of a marriage established in Christ. Many in the United States have a heavy heart as the Supreme Court has voted in favor of requiring all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage”.
As a people of faith, we place our trust in the Lord (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). United in prayer, our Church will experience the meaning of true love only in Christ Jesus our King. Let this be an opportunity for us to live out our faith with greater generosity and creativity. As our cultures’ vision of the human persons continues to slide away from a Catholic one, the challenges and urgency for men and woman that are able to transmit the joy of the gospel in a loving, patient and attractive way becomes ever more urgent!
When we don’t know how to respond, we should look to our leaders and follow their actions. Here are 5 responses from Catholic leaders in the United States about the actions of the Supreme Court:
1) The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on marriage is not a surprise. The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today’s action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions. The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God’s Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision.
– Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Philadelphia
2.) All persons have inviolable dignity and deserve love and respect. Unjust discrimination is always wrong. However, our commitment to marriage 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.
As Bishops, we believe it is more vital than ever that we share the Church’s consistent witness to the truth about marriage, and we call on Catholics and those concerned for the common good to continue to pray, live and speak out with charity about the true nature of marriage. The truth cannot be marginalized.
3.) When you think about it, governments have come and gone. Presidents have been elected and un-elected. Kings and queens have taken the throne, and they have been dethroned. And throughout the history of the Church, many governments have tried their best to destroy the Church.
-Bishop Rice St. Louis
4.) The ancient Maxim “love the sinner but hate the sin” is central to our behavior because it refers to all human beings. The Lord asks us to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” but he does so in reference to how we are to love one another (Matthew 5:48). In the Sacraments, he also gives us the grace to do so. The Church has and always will meet people where they are to bring them closer to Christ. At the same time, to condemn any sin is not discrimination against the person who commits the sin. Disagreement is not discrimination…What then is our responsibility in the face of all the changes in man-made civil law? We are followers of Jesus Christ, so our message must be what he proclaimed. All Christians have the responsibility to learn and to grow in their faith in order to share it with others. We should be able to explain what we believe and why we hold it. This means taking up the challenge to be better informed on Church teaching and why such belief is part of the vision rooted in Gospel values. This is all the more important when we find the teaching difficult. We witness with our lives. Each one of us is called to an exalted standard of life and to be witnesses to the joy of the Gospel. As Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). May the world see that to follow the Lord Jesus, to be a member of His Church, makes a difference.
– Cardinal Donald Wuerl
5.) Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.
Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.
– United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
We can take this wisdom and use it in our response to those around us. These leaders of the faith encourage us to remain strong in our commitment to the definition of marriage as an institution that unites one man and one woman. If we are unsure why the Church teaches this and remains steadfast on this truth, we should read the teachings of the faith in the Catechism (1601) and the Theology of the Body written by St. Pope John Paul II. We have been encouraged to defend the rights of a child to be raised by a mother and a father in a stable home. The joy of our own Christian families can be a great witness through our actions and the love that we bestow upon our children. Above all, these leaders have instructed us to do all of this in love. Though we may disagree with others, we must act with peace and Godly love towards all (as God acts with each and every one of us). Remembering that Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), we show this same type of love and mercy on those who need it the most. We pray : “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Photo Credit: @Flickr Thomas Hawk