Category Archives: Catholic Church

Pope: "The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman."

From CNSNews:

Pope FrancisDuring his General Audience speech at St. Peter’s Square on Apr. 2, before a crowd estimated at 45,000, Pope Francis first cited Genesis, saying, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. … Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

"The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together," said the Pope. "God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful."

"When a man and a woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony, God as it were 'is mirrored' in them; He impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love," said Pope Francis. "Marriage is the icon of God's love for us."

Read more here.

"Notre Dame, you have a voice..."

A group of plucky students at Notre Dame made news this week with a petition to the University officials "to take up the defense of marriage at this pivotal moment in the national discussion surrounding this foundational institution."

Notre DameThe Cardinal Newman Society provides more details:

The petition was created by members of the newly formed Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), made up of undergraduate and graduate students at the University...


A co-founder of the group, Tiernan Kane, told The Cardinal Newman Society that he believes the university should take the lead on marriage.

"The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, which is universally intelligible to human reason, is informed by a tradition of philosophical reflection that reaches back at least as far as Plato," [Kane] said. "As the nation's premier Catholic university, Notre Dame has the ability, and thus the responsibility, to contribute to--indeed, to lead--public discourse about marriage."


Senior Michael Bradley, a co-founder of the group, told The Cardinal Newman Society that the administration has been "entirely mute on marriage" while publicly supporting the Dream Act and other contested political issues.  [Bradley] said, "Notre Dame, you have a voice, and it would mean a lot in defense of Church teaching."

Bravo to these brave young men and women!

Michigan's Catholic Bishops: Judge's decision "strikes at the very essence of family, community and human nature"

The Catholic bishops of the seven archdioceses and dioceses of Michigan released a statement Friday responding to the decision by federal district court Judge Bernard Friedman finding Michigan's Marriage Amendment unconstitutional - a decision they called "most regrettable."

Bishop CassockThe statement is posted on the site of the Michigan Catholic Conference, and reads in part:

Today’s decision from federal district court Judge Bernard Friedman to redefine the institution of marriage by declaring Michigan’s Marriage Amendment unconstitutional strikes at the very essence of family, community and human nature. In effect, this decision advances a misunderstanding of marriage, and mistakenly proposes that marriage is an emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the dictates of culture and the wants of adults.


Going forward, we, the Catholic bishops of this state, working through the Michigan Catholic Conference, will collaborate with those who are upholding Michigan’s Marriage Amendment and adoption statute and will assist to the greatest extent possible efforts to appeal Judge Friedman’s most regrettable ruling.

Read the full statement here.

Virginia's Two Catholic Bishops issue Op-Ed on Attorney General Herring

In an op-ed piece penned for The Virginia-Pilot, the heads of the Diocese of Richmond and Arlington, Bishops Francis DiLorenzo and Paul Loverde, issue a joint call to action, writing that they "call upon the attorney general to honor the oath he took, as [they] call upon all Virginians to defend marriage."

The hard-hitting and powerful piece is worth reading in full; here is just a snippet:

VAbishopsWhile declining to defend the state constitution without even appointing outside counsel is unusual enough for the state's top attorney, his decision to actively challenge the state's definition of marriage - a definition he voted for when serving as a state senator - is shocking and reckless.

Much has been written already about the responsibility attorneys general have to defend state laws, whether they agree with those laws or not. We join many others in calling on Herring to do the job he was elected to perform.

But what is at stake here far surpasses the issue of the attorney general's role and integrity. Most fundamentally, what is at stake is the preservation of the family, the fundamental and foundational unit of society.

Though long-recognized in church and civil law, marriage did not originate in church or state but in nature. Long before nations or organized religions, the institution of marriage existed as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage has been shown throughout history to be civilization's irreplaceable building block, benefitting children and society at large. No religion, government or individual has the right or legitimate authority to alter the original design of marriage. Likewise, neither the attorney general nor the courts have the authority to impose a new definition of marriage on society.

We applaud these heroic Bishops for standing up in defense of marriage in Virginia!

Virginia's Catholic Bishops Say Herring Should "Do the Job He Was Elected to Perform"

In a joint statement issued by the two Catholic dioceses of Virginia, the Bishops of Arlington and Richmond "expressed extreme disappointment" with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's decision to abandon the defense of Virginia's marriage law in court and instead join the radical attack against it.

The statement read:

VAbishopsVirginia voters put this provision in the Constitution, and no politician should be able to reverse the people's decision. We call on the Attorney General to do the job he was elected to perform, which is to defend the state laws he agrees with, as well as those state laws with which he personally disagrees. We will continue to defend marriage between a man and a woman, an institution whose original design predates all governments and religions. The Government of the Commonwealth of Virginia should preserve and defend this original design because the constituent majority that supported the constitutional amendment understands the unique benefit that marriage between a man and a woman provides to individual families and society at large.

Click here to view the release from the Diocese of Arlington or to see media contact information.

"A Thumb on the Scales"

Salvatore J. CordileoneCatholic Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has written a piece responding to Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that the federal government will recognize the illegal same-sex "marriages" that took place in Utah around the turn of the year.

Archbishop Cordileone's article is posted at the USCCB blog. Here's a glimpse of what he has to say [emphasis added]:

Attorney General Holder is ignoring Utah law and imposing a contrary federal definition of marriage in that state. In this, General Holder’s decision is actually contrary to the Supreme Court's decision last year in United States v. Windsor. Windsor unfortunately struck down a uniform federal definition of marriage, but it made clear that the federal government is to respect a state's definition of marriage. In particular, the Court said that the federal government is to defer to “state sovereign choices about who may be married” and furthermore criticized federal actions – like General Holder’s – that “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.” 

Read the rest here.

No Shock: Media Intent on Misrepresenting Pope

In recently published remarks from a conversation with the leaders of certain religious orders, Pope Francis called for the Church to reevaluate the way in which children in difficult circumstances are engaged through catechesis and evangelization.

As children of same-sex couples were mentioned, the media of course went into its full spin cycle, with "Italian media on Sunday [running] headlines saying the pope's words were an opening to legal provisions for civil unions for gay couples" [SOURCE].

Pope Francis Microphone

However, the Vatican's Press Secretary called these reports "a 'manipulation' of the Pope's words," and said that the Pope was "alluding to the suffering of children" and how the Church addresses those sufferings.

Indeed, far from a softening of the Church's stance against redefining marriage, the Pope's remarks reaffirm that the Church recognizes the children raised in such abnormal circumstances as disadvantaged and indeed even "suffering" a violation of their fundamental right to enjoy the love of both a mother and a father. There is nothing new in the Pope's teachings, therefore, but simply a call to reemphasize the need of such children to be approached with compassion and clarity, lest they feel alienated and are further victimized when the situations in which they are raised are no fault of their own.

But don't wait for the mainstream media to present you with that angle, or you'll be waiting a very long time.

Gay Writer: "Being Against Gay Marriage Doesn't Make You a Homophobe"

Writing in The Atlantic online on Friday, Brandon Ambrosino takes to task the claim that support for traditional marriage means being "anti-gay."

SSMResponding to a piece by Paul Rauschenbush for The Huffington Post, in which Rauschenbusch leveled the anti-gay charge against New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Ambrosino writes:

... Raushenbush hauled out a familiar argument: “Let's just be very clear here —if you are against marriage equality you are anti-gay. Done.”

As a gay man, I found myself disappointed with this definition—that anyone with any sort of moral reservations about gay marriage is by definition anti-gay. If Raushenbush is right, then that means my parents are anti-gay, many of my religious friends (of all faiths) are anti-gay, the Pope is anti-gay, and—yes, we’ll go here—first-century, Jewish theologian Jesus is anti-gay.

Read Ambrosino's entire article here.

How the Media Misses on Marriage and Pope Francis

Renowned religious commentator Rev. Robert Barron writes at RealClearReligion on the recent naming by TIME magazine of Pope Francis as "Person of the Year" and cautions against some mis-perceptions in the mainstream media which the TIME cover-story evinces.


Barron writes of "a tendency to distinguish radically between [the] lovely Franciscan emphasis on mercy and love for the poor and the apparently far less than lovely emphasis on doctrine so characteristic of the Papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. There is actually a good deal of dangerous silliness in this way of characterizing things" [emphasis added].

Now listen to the authors of the Time article: "In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church -- the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world -- above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors." And "his vision is of a pastoral -- and not doctrinaire -- church."

... to which Barron responds: "This is so much nonsense." 

Which is to say, the Holy Father has in no way moved away from the historical teaching of the church on key matters such as life and marriage in his renewed focus on mercy.

As NOM President Brian Brown explained yesterday in the NOM Weekly News, there are reasons to celebrate Pope Francis' being named "Person of the Year," but of course all of us here at NOM recognize that there are also many folks out there being misled by the press into making mistakes about what Pope Francis represents.

Pope Francis

In short, there is a widespread perception in the secular culture that Francis represents some kind of softening of the Catholic Church's teachings on crucial social issues, including same-sex marriage. But nothing is further from the truth - a fact pointed out before by several American Churchmen including Cardinal Francis George and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. 

Indeed, as Father Barron implies, and as Brian explained yesterday, Francis hasn't at all demonstrated a need to move away from the Church's teachings on these issues, but has in fact emphasized that the Church needs to explain the importance of one man-one woman marriage in a more effective way and gain more adherents to that truth!

Citizens of the Republic of Croatia Vote to Preserve Marriage

As reported by Reuters [emphasis added]:

Dubrovnik, CroatiaCroats voted overwhelmingly in favour of defining marriage in the constitution as a "union of man and woman" on Sunday, a move initiated by Roman Catholic groups but criticised by opponents as discrimination against homosexuals.

Almost 66 percent of those who voted in the referendum in the new European Union member [nation] endorsed the initiative, launched by the Catholic group "In the Name of the Family", according to preliminary results on Sunday night....

Despite the usual cries from the left that this vote evinces an animus against gay and lesbian persons, the reasoning for those supporting the initiative is the same common-sense value system that has led to marriage victories in so many states here in America:

Ballet dancer Sanja Grgic said: "I have nothing against gay people, I have many gay friends, but I voted in favour because I think children should grow up in a family that has a mother and a father."

Read the rest of the report here.

Pope Francis on "Cultural Challenges" to the Gospel

Yesterday, the Vatican released the first major document penned solely by Pope Francis during his reign. The document (known as an "apostolic exhortation") takes its title (Gaudium Evangelii) from the "incipit" or first words of the exhortation in its official language. The phrase translate as "The Joy of the Gospel."

Pope FrancisIn one section of the lengthy work, the Holy Father reflects on specific "cultural challenges" confronting the mission of Christians in the modern age. Confronting these challenges, Pope Francis writes, is one of the ways Christians "evangelize" in today's world [emphasis added]:

We also evangelize when we attempt to confront the various challenges which can arise. On occasion these may take the form of veritable attacks on religious freedom or new persecutions directed against Christians; in some countries these have reached alarming levels of hatred and violence. In many places, the problem is more that of widespread indifference and relativism, linked to disillusionment and the crisis of ideologies which has come about as a reaction to anything which might appear totalitarian. This not only harms the Church but the fabric of society as a whole. We should recognize how in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions.

Francis goes on to expound on how this "widespread indifference and relativism" relates to our notions of marriage and family [emphasis added]:

In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional. What is real gives way to appearances. In many countries globalization has meant a hastened deterioration of their own cultural roots and the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to other cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated. This fact has been brought up by bishops from various continents in different Synods. The African bishops, for example... pointed out years ago that there have been frequent attempts to make the African countries “parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel...." [...] By the same token, the bishops of Asia “underlined the external influences being brought to bear on Asian cultures. New patterns of behaviour are emerging as a result of over-exposure to the mass media… As a result, the negative aspects of the media and entertainment industries are threatening traditional values, and in particular the sacredness of marriage and the stability of the family."

FamilyFinally, Francis speaks directly of the "crisis" facing the family in the attacks brought against it around the world, and he does so in words clearly implicating attempts to redefine marriage:

The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple....

You can read the entire monumental document online.

US Catholic Bishop's Marriage Committee Chairman Condemns Politicians for "Manipulating" Pope's Words

From Catholic World Report:

Pope FrancisIn response to the Illinois legislature’s approval of a measure legalizing same-sex marriage in that state, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the US bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, called the move “a serious injustice.”

He also criticized those who used the words of Pope Francis in defending their support for the redefinition of marriage. Pointing to the Holy Father’s opposition to same-sex marriage legislation in his home country of Argentina as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cordileone said, “It is therefore disgraceful that some legislators would manipulate the words of Pope Francis to suggest that he would support marriage redefinition.”

Read the rest here.

Or read the full statement from Abp. Cordileone on the USCCB's website.

As Illinois Same-Sex 'Marriage' is Signed into Law, Legal and Religious Leaders Speak Out

Yesterday, Governor Quinn of Illinois signed the deceptively named "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act" into law. This prompted reactions from religious and legal leaders who warned of the bill's ill effects which will soon be seen.

Peter Breen, Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, explained that the bill's name belies its real legal effects:

IllinoisThe bill is called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. But this act is neither free nor fair for people of religious convictions. [...] Because the general assembly left out specific protections for individuals, businesses, religious organizations, and religious charities, we will have to discover the boundaries of this act through litigation.

Breen's remarks were reported by The Illinois Review, which also quoted the President of the Thomas More Society, Tom Brejcha:

The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom. [...] This affects believer[s] in myriad ways—how they live out their faith, how they educate their children, and how they operate their businesses.

Brejcha here was quoting the words 'the price of citizenship' from an August decision of the New Mexico Supreme Court against Elane Photography, a commercial photo studio whose owners, Jon and Elaine Huguenin, had been taken to court for declining to provide services for same-sex unions.

While The Huguenin's maintained that participating in such ceremonies would violate their religious convictions, the Court maintained that they were "compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives."

In the concurring opinion to the majority decision, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson went on to say chillingly:

[T]here is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life. In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship [emphasis added].

Meanwhile, yesterday in Illinois, the Catholic Bishop of Springfield, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Paprocki, also spoke out against the new law during a prayer service at the Cathedral [emphases added]:

Flag-Church[A] major deception or distortion of marriage is the view that it is not ultimately about generating life, but rather is mainly about a romantic relationship designed for individual (not even mutual) fulfillment. That distorted understanding cuts across opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage proponents in our culture. We are all summoned to reflect more deeply on the truth of marriage.

It is also a deception to say that there will be no adverse effects on children being brought up in the household of a same-sex couple.

The division brought about by the Devil due to same-sex marriage may be seen in the way our society, our families and our friendships have become so divided and polarized over this issue.

The diversion of the Devil in same-sex marriage may be seen in the fact that so much of our time, energy and resources are being spent in addressing this issue, when there are more pressing needs facing our state and our Church.

The work of discouragement by the Devil in same-sex marriage is apparent in the message being conveyed to defenders of traditional marriage that the universal redefinition of marriage is unstoppable, so we might as well just stop trying. But the legalization of abortion on demand forty years ago did not silence those who believe that abortion is contrary to God's law. On the contrary, Roe v. Wade only heightened the need for more concerted efforts to protect all human life from conception to natural death. So, too, the legal redefinition of civil marriage does not put an end to the need for discourse and action to defend natural marriage in accord with God's plan, but only serves to heighten the need for greater efforts in this regard.

You can read more of the Bishop's words at the Diocese's website.

ICYMI: US Catholic Bishops Lend Their Voice to Chorus of ENDA Opposition

In all of the activity last week surrounding the Senate's consideration of ENDA ("The Employee Non-Discrimination Act of 2013"), we forgot to share with you this statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Emphasizing the dignity of all people, the bishops quoted Pope Francis’ statement that “Work is fundamental to that dignity.” They added that “the Catholic Church has consistently stood with workers in this country and continues to oppose unjust discrimination in the workplace. No one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including his or her sexual inclinations.”

Catholic BishopThe bishops noted, however, that ENDA goes beyond prohibiting unjust discrimination and poses several problems. The bishops explained that the bill: (1) lacks an exception for a “bona fide occupational qualification,” which exists for every other category of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, except for race; (2) lacks a distinction between homosexual inclination and conduct, thus affirming and protecting extramarital sexual conduct; (3) supports the redefinition of marriage, as state-level laws like ENDA have been invoked in state court decisions finding marriage discriminatory or irrational; (4) rejects the biological basis of gender by defining “gender identity” as something people may choose at variance with their biological sex; and (5) threatens religious liberty by punishing as discrimination the religious or moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, while protecting only some religious employers.

Click here to see more from the Bishops' conference regarding their position on this bill, which passed the Senate last week 64-32. Speaker of the House John Boehner has stated firmly that the measure will not be brought up for consideration in that chamber.

"The Vocation to Form One Flesh"


Pope FrancisPope Francis urged youth today to have the “courage” to get married and have children despite a culture that emphasizes “individual rights” over family.

The pope made the remarks in Assisi during an energetic question and answer session with a number of young people.


The pope pointed out that marriage is a "real vocation, just like priesthood and religious life are. Two Christians who marry each other have recognized in their love story the Lord's call, the vocation to form one flesh, one life from the two, male and female" [emphasis added].

Read more here.