Dear Brothers and Sisters, All in the Lord,
The first reading in this Sunday's liturgy says, "The Lord God said: 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.'" Sunday's Gospel fittingly emphasizes this, saying, "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." Both our faith and our reason direct us toward the truth of marriage.
Marriage is the sacrament that defines the family, builds vocations, and which is ever so critical for turning our culture into a Culture of Life. Marriage and the family are the foundational cells on which our society is based, which together make up our social fabric.
The institution of marriage creates a holy sanctuary for a man and a woman to reflect the love of God for His creation and His Church, and it presents the most perfect atmosphere for mutual support between husband and wife and in which to raise children.
Some people say that the Church should not be "political." However, they mistake partisan politics (the support of particular candidates or political parties) with the support of legislative issues. The Catholic Church has a duty to reflect the truth of Christ, proudly to preach the Gospel values in the public sphere on all issues, and the Church has the right to be heard.
I say to you, it is our moral duty to look at the issue of the definition of marriage and to act to protect marriage. To engage in this debate is not to enter into partisan politics, but is rather to engage in a debate of great moral magnitude. It is my duty, as your bishop, to teach the truth unceasingly, so that all who are open to the truth, Catholic or not, will not be confused.
The diocese has prepared brochures that I have requested each pastor to share with you this weekend. I believe it so important to have this information that I asked pastors to give people a few minutes after Communion to read the brochures and reflect upon them. It is because the concept of marriage is so central to our understanding of Church, of God's Covenant with us, of how to share God's gift of love, that I made this request.
Within this brochure, entitled "Marriage Matters" you will find a listing of how to get further information. Your assistance in speaking to friends, neighbors, and co-workers to share the message that marriage needs the protection offered by this amendment is vital.
From Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical, God is Love, he says, "The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society . . . is proper to the lay faithful." I urge you to take this to heart, to use your power as laity to put the definition of marriage, as we have always known it, into the constitution, to protect it from re-definition by voting yes on the marriage referendum.
Thank you for your prayerful support and may God bless you all!
Praise be Jesus Christ!
Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070 Fax: 608-821-3071 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org