Report presented by the Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop of Oakland
Thankyou, Your Eminence. Good morning/afternoon, Brother Bishops.
Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, during his homily at the closing Mass of the
recent Seventh World Meeting of Families in Milan, spoke about the fruitfulness
of married love. A husband and a wife, the Holy Father noted, give their "whole
lives" to one another. Their love is fruitful for themselves, fruitful in their
generous and responsible procreation of children, and fruitful for society,
particularly since "family life is the first and irreplaceable school of social
virtues." The Holy Father's words remind us that the love of husband and wife
is a decisive gift for the world, and it calls for stewardship and
begin my report to you today, I would like to thank in a special way, for their
stewardship of the gift of marriage, Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Jugis in North
Carolina, Bishop Malone in Maine (soon to be in Buffalo), Cardinal O'Brien,
Archbishop Lori, Cardinal Wuerl, Bishop Malooly, and the bishops of Maryland,
Archbishop Neinstedt and the bishops of Minnesota, and Archbishop Sartain and
the bishops of Washington state. Thank you for your teaching and steadfast
witness to the beauty of marriage. Our prayers remain with you and with the
many who are working to preserve the unique meaning of marriage in your states'
Bishops, I am grateful for this time to update you on the work of the
Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. Today I will speak
briefly about the Subcommittee's ongoing catechetical work and the legal
landscape before us, and then I will close by highlighting initial findings
from a new study on family structures, released just a few days ago.
its catechetical work, the Subcommittee continues to advance its initiative, Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The
current project underway is the Spanish-language video entitled "El matrimonio:
Hecho para el amor y la vida" (Marriage: Made for Love and Life). The video,
envisioned to be fifteen minutes long, will use a telenovela-style format and
will present a story based on a 50th wedding anniversary. The story will
introduce all four themes of the Subcommittee's catechetical messaging: sexual
difference, the good of children, the common good, and religious liberty.
Additional time and focus groups have been utilized in this video's development
to ensure a culturally effective presentation. We anticipate the video's
completion by the end of this year.
the release of the Spanish-language video, the Subcommittee plans to complete
the Marriage: Unique for a Reason
project with the production of two additional English videos, the first on
marriage and the common good and the second on marriage and religious liberty.
video on the common good will aim to introduce the broader social context and
meaning of marriage, grounded in an authentic anthropology. With the help of
the witness of young adults, it will also seek to address arguments that
falsely employ the language of equality, rights, fairness, non-discrimination,
and the like. These arguments can and need to be reframed. The core issue is
the meaning of marriage and its significance for the rights and best interests
of children and for the common good.
video on religious liberty will be developed in close collaboration with the
ongoing efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. As described in
last January's open letter signed by various religious leaders, marriage and
religious liberty stand or fall together.
since last November's launch of the new website marriageuniqueforareason.org, staff continues to monitor and
develop the website to improve its effectiveness. Various resources are
available on the site, and more resources will continue to be developed based
on current needs.
now to the legal landscape, the urgency around the protection of marriage has
the state level, this year is a significant one. The recent victory in North
Carolina, 61% to 39% in support of the constitutional amendment protecting the
definition of marriage, is a great encouragement. Also encouraging is the
outstanding number of signatures being collected in Maryland and Washington
State to place their respective referendum on the ballot. Both are reporting breaking
state records in the amount of signatures collected. The redefinition of
marriage in the law is not, and never will be, inevitable. But ongoing
vigilance and effort are needed. Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington
State are poised to have crucial votes in November. Also, in Illinois, a
lawsuit was recently introduced challenging the current law around civil unions
as discriminatory and calling for the full redefinition of marriage. The State
Attorney General, who is charged to defend the law of the state, is officially
supporting the lawsuit.
the federal level, recent negative court decisions concerning both the federal
Defense of Marriage Act as well as California's Proposition 8 now open the door
for both DOMA and Prop 8 to go before the Supreme Court. The "Roe v. Wade
Moment" for marriage that Archbishop Kurtz indicated to this body in November
2010 is ever closer.
as we learned last month, President Obama has now voiced his official support
for the redefinition of marriage in the law.
Dolan, we are grateful for your strong words expressing disappointment with the
President's recent comments. You remind us well of the ongoing need to pray for
the President and for all our leaders entrusted with the common good.
Subcommittee continues to monitor all these areas and to seek opportunities to
educate our people, advocate for the truth of marriage, and collaborate with
ecumenical and interreligious leaders.
Findings from New Family Structures
I would like to call your attention to an important new social-science study
whose initial findings were just released a few days ago. The study, entitled
"New Family Structures Study," was conducted at the University of Texas at
Austin. The study has surveyed a very large, nationally-representative, and
random sample of American young adults (ages 18 to 39) who were raised in
different family or home environments, including homes with a parent in a
same-sex relationship, as well as single-parent families, step-families,
adoptive families and families where the children were raised by their
biological parents married to each other.
an article recently published in the July issue of the peer-reviewed journal Social Science Research, the study's
principal investigator, Dr. Mark Regnerus, presented initial findings that should
serve as significant points for future public discourse. The findings indicate
several significant statistical differences when comparing young adults who
were raised in an intact home with their married, biological parents and young
adults raised in other home environments. The measurable outcomes of the study
cover a range of information, including social and economic well-being,
psychological and physical health, sexual identity, sexual behavior, and other
areas. Twenty-five (25) of the forty (40) areas measured showed significant
difference, and in no area were children better off in an alternative
arrangement. The differences in outcomes illustrate, as the article notes, "that children appear most apt to succeed well
as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend
their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially
when the parents remain married to the present day."
to be a benchmark for further studies and findings, this study has been noted
to empirically call into question other studies with smaller and more
restrictive sample sizes that have purported to show that there are no
differences between father-mother parenting and other arrangements. Another paper
by sociologist Dr. Loren Marks, also published this month in Social Science Research, reviewed
fifty-nine (59) previous studies cited by the American Psychological
Association (APA). He found these studies to have various limitations,
including being based on small, non-random, non-representative, and self-selecting
samples, and he concluded that the studies were "insufficient to support a
strong generalized claim either way."
other words, this New Family Structures Study is being acknowledged as one of
the first studies on this topic to have a comprehensive and scientifically
respectable approach—so much so that some social science researchers with views
supportive of new or so-called alternative family structures have acknowledged
the scientific validity of the study. The study itself was developed and conducted
by a team of researchers who disagree among themselves about the topic of
family structures but agreed to lead an objective study. A website has now been set up to
present the study's findings, which can be accessed at: www.familystructurestudies.com. Although it is not the job of social science to protect
the meaning of marriage, nor can correlation be taken as equivalent to causation,
social science has an important role to play in the public conversation. In
this instance, a well-respected study is attesting to something very basic:
fathers and mothers matter, and married fathers and mothers matter for
we have come to a point in Western society where the meaning of marriage is
being largely eclipsed by a counterfeit version, by a false idea that marriage
is just a matter of adult interests and can be manipulated as a product of
arbitrary invention. However, I believe many of our young people, who have
experienced firsthand the difficulties of broken families and the absence of a
father or a mother, know intuitively that such an understanding of marriage cannot
stand the test of time and can only lead to further disappointment and
this new study indicates, social science continues to affirm that children
thrive and do best with their mother and father in an intact home. The
protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a work of
justice and is foundational to the good of all, especially for those most
vulnerable among us, our children. It is the way of true compassion—love in
truth and truth in love. Our young people are hungry for this truth and are in
a position to witness to it in a uniquely powerful way.
Subcommittee is grateful to all those who, in charity, hope, and truth, are
working to shed light on the true meaning of marriage and to strengthen and
protect it.In a special way, Brother
Bishops, I thank each one of you for your stewardship of the gift of marriage
and family and for all the time and work in your dioceses and eparchies
dedicated to strengthening marriage. As always, the Subcommittee seeks to
assist you and continues to benefit from your guidance and feedback. On behalf
of the Subcommittee as well as Bishop Rhoades and the Committee on Laity,
Marriage, Family Life and Youth, thank you again for this opportunity to update