A Letter from Bishop Michael Hoeppner on the recent marriage law passage in MN

My Dear Christ’s Faithful of the Diocese of Crookston,

Making “same-sex” unions marriage by law is unwise. Discrimination by definition is denying someone something they have a right to and the reasoning that claims it is discrimination not to recognize same-sex love relationships as marriage is false reasoning. It is false because it equates two different types of love relationships. It fails by treating things not equal as equal, by treating things that are different as the same. All people are created equal but treating them as equals does not mean that we treat them as the same. The male and female partners in a marriage relationship bring specific gifts to their union, gifts that only a man and a woman can bring, gifts that make their unique union a conjugal, marriage union.

These unique gifts are what make marriage beneficial for society. The gifts that people of the same sex in a love relationship bring to their relationship are not the same and so, in essence, their relationship is not marriage. The two love relationships, marriage and a love relationship between people of the same gender, are different in kind. There is no right for people in a same-sex relationship to have their union defined by law as marriage. Recognizing this is not discrimination; it is right reason. We must remember also that marriage existed before the State. The State is not the author of marriage – God is. However, now, in Minnesota, the State has usurped God’s authority, misusing its own, making marriage in law something that it is not. This is unwise. “Creation without the Creator fades into nothingness.” (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 36)

Making “same-sex” unions marriage by law is unjust. Children have a right to a father and mother. By allowing “same-sex” unions to be marriage in law, marriage and family cannot be expected to be seen as involving a male and a female, a mother and a father. This is a miscarriage of justice for children. And, as discrimination is denying someone something they have a right to, in passing this bill and signing it into law our elected officials are guilty of discrimination against children.

Making “same-sex” unions marriage by law is dangerous. What will our children be taught about marriage in our public schools? The truth or something false, unwise and unjust? In our public schools, what will our children hear about how marriage is consummated and about sex in marriage? “Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and objectively sinful (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357). That which is sinful does not and cannot lead to true fulfillment and happiness. Will those whose consciences tell them that they cannot be involved in any way with “same-sex” marriages be sued and denied business licenses or contracts? Will they be deemed bigots? Making “same-sex” unions marriage by law poses many dangers for conscience rights and religious liberty for many Minnesotans.

I am most grateful to those politicians who fought hard to keep marriage in Minnesota between one man and one woman. Thank you for your efforts and your courage. We need to continue to support them all. Thank you, too, to all who have prayed and sacrificed and worked hard for marriage in Minnesota these past many months.

My friends, in this time of cultural change, let us remember what Jesus said: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Christ has sent us into the world and so let us continue to engage our culture, working together for the transformation of what is not good into that which is good. Let us continue our efforts to bring the good news of the Gospel to our world. We evangelize first by the witness we give. And so, let each of us re-commit ourselves to speaking and living the truth in love and loving in truth (cf. Eph. 4:15). The world needs our example of a joyful, virtuous life, lived in obedience to God. Let us continue to pray for all who are married, that they might live married love as God intends it to be lived, joyfully and virtuously. In our families, our parish and school families, let us continue to teach our young people the truth about human beings, God’s gift of sex, marriage, and life here and hereafter. Obedient to our Catholic faith we will continue to be wise and just, to know and courageously do what is right. Through the intercession of Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelization, may God bless us and help us now and always.

Sincerely, in the name of the Lord Jesus,

Most Rev. Michael J. Hoeppner
Bishop of Crookston

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