Special Legislative Committee on Bill C-38: Bishops Encourage a Culture of Marriage

Thursday, May 19 2005

(CCCB – Ottawa)…  The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) submitted a brief on Wednesday, 18 May 2005, before the special Legislative Committee on Bill C-38 defending the traditional definition of marriage.


Most Reverend Marcel Gervais, Archbishop of Ottawa, and Mrs. Hélène Aubé, a lawyer, represented the CCCB at the hearings which began last week. The two interveners reiterated the principles on which the Catholic Church defends the traditional definition of marriage as the partnership between a man and a woman that is essential to the survival of society. According to the Conference brief, changes to this institution could have dramatic repercussions: “Because the relationship of a man and a woman in marriage is the most stable basis of the family, and because the family is a vital unit for society, there are great risks in playing with the definition of marriage and the family.”


Warning the government there are also serious threats to freedom of conscience and religion – such cases are already before the provincial tribunals – the CCCB argued that Canadian legislation is needed to promote a culture of marriage. The brief states: “If it is to defend the common good, how can our country’s legitimate authority seriously contemplate redefining a human institution that is so fundamental and vital for the stability of families and the future of society? How can it wish to impose on Canadian society a norm contrary to natural law? We ask the government to abandon its plan to redefine marriage and to commit itself to promoting a culture that encourages and fosters marriage as a fundamental institution which provides the norm for society.”


Since the beginning of the debate on redefining marriage to include same-sex unions in the Fall of 2002, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has continuously intervened, not solely because of its faith convictions but also because of the responsibilities of citizens to promote and defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons while respecting the natural order.


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