Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Stand for Marriage, Stand for Faith

I wanted to take a moment to write to you about the continuing challenges to the nation’s traditional understanding and legal recognition of marriage. Indeed, due to activist lawsuits here in Virginia, the issue is more pressing than ever, and the Commonwealth may stand on the brink of a forced, dramatic and far-reaching break with history and Church teaching with regard to the definition of this basic building block of families and communities.

Eight years ago, the will of the people of Virginia was expressed clearly and decisively as citizens cast their ballots to safeguard in the state constitution the age-old definition of marriage as between one woman and one man. At that time, along with Richmond Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, I wrote to you about “the unique and vital role the institution of marriage has in society” and how the result of the referendum would have “profound significance for the future of the family, the most fundamental social structure of our society.” We noted that marriage “had a design and purpose long before any nation, religion, or law was established,” and that “the proper role of both church and state is one of stewardship, to preserve our Creator’s great gift of marriage from one generation to the next.” Now, these words are all the more true as the challenge seems ever greater.
March for Marriage 2013
March for Marriage 2013
In the time since the vote here in Virginia, when only Massachusetts, under pressure by state court order, had redefined its marriage law, seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marriage between individuals of the same sex. It is true, we have seen public opinion shift to some degree under the relentless advocacy of those who would change marriage from its basic meaning and purpose. This is all the more reason for us to make the case for marriage and its importance to children, society, and, yes, God’s plan for us.

St. John Paul II spoke of the transcendent role of marriage this way:
In a marriage, a man and a woman pledge themselves to one another in an unbreakable alliance of total mutual self-giving. A total union of love.

Love that is not a passing emotion or temporary infatuation, but a responsible and free decision to bind oneself completely, “in good times and in bad,” to one’s partner. It is the gift of oneself to the other.

The love of husband and wife in God’s plan leads beyond itself, and new life is generated, a family is born. The family is a community of love and life, a home in which children are guided to maturity.
And Pope Francis affirms this basic teaching:

“Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple,” (“Evangelii Gaudium,” n. 66).

These words truly convey the Lord’s plan for those called to marriage. It is the ideal, yes, and one we pray that all who enter into this union may achieve. Of course, there are failings sadly visible all around us — adultery and high rates of divorce, broken and suffering families — but that does not change the intrinsic worth of marriage and family willed by the Lord and proclaimed by the Church. Further, we know that traditional marriage bolsters society and is best for children. The social science is clear that children do best when raised by a mother and father in a stable marriage.

I know that some you have resigned yourselves to the redefinition of marriage, or perhaps are not convinced that defending the true definition of marriage is essential to the well-being of society, but I urge you, by example and prudent and thoughtful words, to stand for marriage at this critical time in our history. This is a fight worth having, and the time is now! As I wrote to you when we voted on marriage here in Virginia, “Preserving and promoting marriage is an integral component of our shared civic responsibility.”

Finally, I would encourage you to participate in the March for Marriage 2014 in Washington, D.C., being held this year on June 19th. The unchanging reality of marriage is being tested right now, perhaps to the point of no return, and our diocesan participation is very necessary. To learn more, go to

Editor’s Note: In anticipation for the March for Marriage later this month, the Forum will feature a number of articles related to the fight for traditional marriage. While the following column is particularly written for those in Virginia, it is a message for each one of us. This column originally was printed by the Arlington Catholic Herald. Reprinted with permission.


George said...

Can Marriage be anything other than that between a man and a woman?

What Scripture, the Word of God says:
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22

Traditional marriage between a man and a woman is that which was instituted and ordained by God Himself and so any other marital arrangement can never be valid or licit in the eyes of God. A marriage which is true and valid according to the precepts of the Church has a special significance corresponding to the relationship of man to the Creator. A marriage which is blessed by God is one which is covenantal, in that it represents an bond between the married couple and the Creator, and it is also sacramental, in that it confers grace. The covenantal agreement is one in which the couple pledges both explicitly and implicitly to abide by the laws of God, especially in regards to those matters which pertain to the functioning of married life.
These matters include not only propagating and raising children, but also, those things which comprise the day to day obligations of life. These include acts of love, kindness, forgiveness, service to each other and the bearing of the tribulations and adversities which will inevitably be encountered. A daily prayer life is to be recommended and I would say that one should adopt the attitude that it is a necessity to pray often and to regularly avail oneself of the sacraments of Reconciliation and the
Holy Eucharist.

Marriage in one important aspect is defined by the conjugal act by which it is consummated, and if
that act is not licit in the eyes of the Creator, then no marriage can exist. This conjugal act must be one which is open to the creation of new life. The integrity of the marriage bond suffers when those who are in a legitimate sacramental marriage engage in acts which are not open to the possibility of life and
so run contrary to the laws of God. A valid sacramental marriage does not cease to be legitimate if
the marital couple engage in acts which are sinful unless this was done from the outset and the
intention to be open to the possibility of life was never there from start of the marriage. It would be harmful to the marriage if a couple in a legitimate marriage were to continue in this sinful
behavior and so they must discontinue these kind of acts, repent and reconcile with God.

This is why unions in which both partners are of the same gender can never be valid in the eyes of
The act which constitutes the pre-eminent means of expression of affection between the two
persons in such an arrangement is gravely sinful and is one which can never be licit under Divine law. Man through his laws can legalize such arrangements but that which is instituted by man can never stand on equal footing with that which is instituted by God.

It speaks to the lack of belief of many today that they presume to judge God as not having done
enough, of not having provided adequately, of having left things unfinished or incomplete and
of being unfair. As if God Who is Generosity Itself has not done and provided enough. As if God
Who is the Creator of all things has left things partially finished. As if God who Mercy and
Justice itself is not fair in what He has done for us and provided to us. God Who is Truth
itself cannot change or re-define what is true according to the whims of man. Truth is truth and because it is true can never change or be changed. God cannot ordain that which goes against His Divine nature and what He desires from His creatures.
Such persons who can’t and don’t accept this have a very weak faith- if they have any at all- and so they do not know God and what He desires.

Anonymous said...

Those calling for total capitulation on marriage claim to be on the winning side of history.

They claim their victory is "inevitable" and resistance is futile.

But other groups have make similar claims in the past. Some declared themselves the vanguard of a world revolution and that it was better to be Red than dead.

Others claimed to be ushering in a kingdom or 'reich' that would last a thousand years.

Abroad right now a global group is calling for a new Caliphate, a super-state that will 'inevitably' rule the world.

So too now the secular hedonists claim that their desires are unstoppable, their victory assured.

They feel justified and feel that outrage is the means by which to trump all counter arguments.

But they're wrong as all the others before them. Fact is, they've got all of 20 years left as the demographics and mathematical certainty of super-bugs and infection rates works towards the only inevitable process human nature knows: the meek will inherit the earth.