Saint Paul, MN, May 17, 2012—The public statement issued today regarding the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment by three retired priests of the Archdiocese is factually incorrect and does not represent Catholic teaching.
First, the writers misunderstand what marriage is—a social reality that unites a man and a woman and any children born from their union. Marriage is a natural and universal human institution that government and religious communities recognize and affirm. To say that man-woman marriage is simply a religious view would be to falsely assert that the truth of marriage as a social reality does not apply to all persons and societies. That is incorrect and not Catholic teaching.
Second, the statement misrepresents the views of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn and Archbishop Vincent Nichols as though they would oppose the marriage amendment. They would not. Archbishop Nichols has explicitly and forcefully opposed marriage redefinition in Great Britain. In fact, in his March 11, 2012, Letter on Marriage, he stated: “…changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step … [that] would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage.”
The bishops of Minnesota, along with their brothers around the United States, and in communion with Pope Benedict and bishops worldwide, oppose the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to change the legal definition of marriage.
Third, the marriage amendment only affirms current state law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It does not prevent the creation of other arrangements that would allow any two people to share or distribute property, direct medical care, visit loved ones in the hospital, or attend to personal needs at the point of death, among other things. These rights already exist and will remain intact.
All people are children of God. People who experience same-sex attraction are our beloved family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. The Catholic Church is committed to protecting the basic human rights of all people and condemning discrimination against those who identify themselves as gay or lesbian.
Redefining marriage to accommodate same-sex couples is inconsistent with the teaching of Jesus and the Gospel, and the demands of justice. All people, children especially, have a right to live in a society that recognizes the importance of mothers and fathers for child and social well-being. People can live as they choose, but no one has the right to redefine marriage for all of society.
Media and External Relations Manager, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis