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How the U.S. Catholic Bishops Reacted to Supreme Court’s Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

Michael Hernandez / Anadolu Agency

Zelda Caldwell - published on 07/06/15 - updated on 06/08/17

The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial counties will continue to honor and embody the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman as a gift from God — in our teaching, our sacramental life and our witness to the world. We will do so in a manner which profoundly respects at every moment the loving and familial relationships which enrich the lives of so many gay men and women who are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, and ultimately our fellow pilgrims on this earthly journey of life."

  • Bishop R. Daniel Conlon,  the Diocese of Joliet:

"The Supreme Court has decided that every state must make provision for same-sex marriage.  This is a legal decision.  It is not a decision about morality or religious belief.  Thus, it has no impact on what the Catholic Church understands to be the mind of God about marriage, nor does it affect how the Church will teach and act with regard to marriage.

Although the Church cannot accept the concept of two men or two women being married, we nevertheless respect those persons who experience same-sex attraction.  Like everyone else, they are children of God whom Jesus came to lead to eternal life.  Following Christ is a source of great joy; it is also, for all of his disciples, a call to sacrifice."

• Bishop David Malloy, Diocese of Rockford:

"Recently, Pope Francis’ Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, called the legalization of marriage between couples of the same gender, ‘a defeat for humanity.’

Those strong words underscore the time honored significance of marriage as recognized in reason and faith between a man and a woman, open to the life that is the future of humanity. The truth about ourselves and our world comes not from the votes of elected or unelected representatives but from God’s hand.

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is deeply regrettable. But it is also an opportunity for the Catholic Church to further its resolve to teach and live the plan for marriage found in nature and in faith.

The issue of the definition of marriage can also be expected to have great significance for the future of religious liberty in our country. As even the Court’s majority opinion issued today acknowledged, ‘Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.’"

• Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Archdiocese of New Orleans:

"As Catholic Christians, we believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. This belief is rooted in Sacred Scripture, Natural Law and 2000 years of Christian Tradition. To change and redefine marriage will have ramifications for families now and in the future. I stand with the Catholic bishops of the United States as we had hoped there would have been another means of moving forward in society without redefining marriage and family life.

While we stand firm in this belief, as Christians we must extend respect to all and treat all of God’s children with dignity even in disagreement. We cannot be disrespectful but always loving in witnessing our faith. Disrespect and hatred can never be condoned.

This is an historical moment in the United States. It gives us as Catholic Christians an opportunity to uphold the Sacrament of Marriage and the importance of family life.

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