Diocese of Duluth Statement on Legislation to Redefine Marriage

“[Jesus] said in reply, ‘Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator “made them male and female” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?'” (Matthew 19:4).

The Catholic Church in the Diocese of Duluth will continue to uphold and propose to the world what we know, through sound reason and through divine revelation, to be the authentic nature of marriage: a permanent union between one man and one woman, uniting a mother and a father with any children produced by their union. Legislation that appears poised to become law in Minnesota attempts to revise and redefine this natural institution, an institution written into our nature by our Creator. But no civil government has the authority or competence to redefine marriage. Civil authorities have the obligation to protect and defend true marriage for the sake of justice and the common good.

We recognize that many of our fellow citizens disagree with us, and we are particularly mindful of our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attractions. Our hearts break that this debate has often been used as an occasion to sow mistrust and doubt, as if followers of the God who is Love, and whose love for all people we proclaim each day as the Body of Christ, are acting instead out of some sort of ill will. To all those with same-sex attraction, we continue to extend our unconditional love and respect. For those who have heard God’s call and respond in faith, hope and love, striving to walk in His ways, we also offer our pastoral support.

To our state and our local communities, we offer our continued witness. We unconditionally reaffirm our understanding of marriage. For Catholic Christians, the call now is to be even stronger witnesses to the Good News about marriage, both when it is popular and when it is not, carrying out the exhortation of St. Paul: “… Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

The Most Rev. Paul D. Sirba
Bishop of Duluth