Pastoral letter to Catholics in Canada on Redefining Marriage

Tuesday, February 08 2005
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Most Rev. Brendan M. O'BrienDear brothers and sisters in Christ:

The Catholic Bishops of Canada are united in their belief that marriage is the unique, essential and fundamental relationship of a man and a woman. This has been the teaching of the Church since its beginnings, and reflects human history.

For this reason, the Bishops of Canada reaffirm their opposition to the proposed redefinition of marriage, as they have already declared on a number of occasions, including statements by individual Canadian Cardinals and bishops, in addition to those of many other Canadian citizens.

The conjugal partnership of a man and a woman constitutes a particular benefit for the couple and a unique good for society, as evident in their mutual love as well as in the procreation of children. Marriage provides a stable and positive environment for children and thus for future generations. The right to marriage is more than the rights of two individuals; it involves the common good.

The proposed redefinition of marriage not only clashes with the faith and practice of Catholics and other Canadians, but also has enormous civil and social implications for everyone.

The Bishops of Canada encourage all Catholics to express their social concerns by writing to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, members of Parliament and other elected officials.

As Canadian citizens, you not only have the right but the responsibility to inform your political representatives and government leaders of your convictions about marriage and the social issues that are involved in its definition and nature.

May this Lent be a time of serious reflection on this matter and an opportunity for us to pray for the guidance of our political leaders.

Sincerely in Our Lord,

+ Brendan M. O’Brien
Archbishop of St. John’s
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Last Updated on Wednesday, July 26 2006