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USCCB Committee Chairs Reaffirm the Catholic Church’s Teaching on Marriage

 
September 14, 2016

WASHINGTON—Two USCCB committee chairmen have issued a joint statement reaffirming the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage "as exclusively the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman [and] cannot change."

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, issued the following statement:

God's Plan Doesn't Change

Joint Statement from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Doctrine and Bishop Richard Malone, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

As pastors of the Church it is timely to reaffirm the Church's authoritative teaching about marriage as it comes to us from God as the author of creation and of revelation. The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage as exclusively the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman cannot change.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, hearkening back to the timeless words of the Book of Genesis: "'The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.' The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator" (CCC, no. 1603). And despite so many various cultural changes and understandings, this "order of creation persists..." (no. 1608).

This teaching was repeated by the Holy Father in his Encyclical "On the Care for Our Common Home" (Laudato Si'), where Pope Francis encourages all of us to work together on respecting the gift of nature, the gift of God's creation. In particular, Pope Francis calls attention to "the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature…" (LS, no. 155). 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. It cannot be morally justified, "for he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away" (Ps 148:5b-6). Therefore, as a community and a nation, we cannot make progress in human development if we "think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole" (Amoris Laetitia, no. 52).

May all of us work together for the common good, which includes the responsibility to protect, preserve, and strengthen marriage.
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Committee on Doctrine, Bishop Richard Malone, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, marriage, family, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Laudato Si', Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis
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