Bishop James Conley: Does Radical Redefinition of Marriage Concerns You?

7 Concerns on the Redefinition of Marriage

Bishop James D. Conley

Bishop James D. Conley

Bishop James D. Conley, Southern Nebraska Register: In the century before Christ was born, the great Roman poet Horace wrote a wise line: “Tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet.” The English translation is: “It concerns you when your neighbor’s wall is on fire.”

Horace taught that we are connected to one another—that human beings are responsible for each other’s wellbeing, and that the misfortunes of others can endanger each one of us.  Horace meant that we need to respond when neighbors face danger—that justice, and love, demand that we care for the needs of those in our communities.

St. Paul expressed Horace’s wisdom more clearly. To the Church in Philippi, he wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Christ put it even more clearly—“whatever you do for the least of your brothers,” he said, “you do for me.”  If we really love Christ, the needs of those around us will become our needs, and the misfortunes of others will become our concern.

In November, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the state of Nebraska, alleging that Article I-29 of our Constitution is a violation of federal law. The article states that in our state, marriage shall be understood as a union between a man and woman—and that marriage cannot be contracted or recognized as a relationship between two people of the same sex.

Over the past few months, Nebraskans have fought to protect our Constitution. As the lawsuit continues to run through the federal courts, Catholics will continue to proclaim and clarify the real meaning of marriage.

Tragically, marriage has been legally redefined in many states across the country.  The federal government has accepted alternative definitions of marriage.  So-called ‘same-sex marriage’ is increasingly accepted by cultural, religious, and political leaders.  To some, universal recognition of same-sex marriage seems inevitable.

As the debate goes on, some Catholics have begun to ask why fighting same-sex marriage is so important.  A friend asked me recently, “If the Church will not have to violate her teaching, why does same-sex marriage concern me?”

7 Concerns on the Redefinition of Marriage

Radical redefinition of marriage concerns each one of us.  It concerns me, and it concerns you.

It should concern all of us when our state’s Constitution is undermined—when the votes of Nebraskans are less important than the force of well-funded and well-organized political interest groups.  It concerns us when the government is used to validate and endorse whatever kind of social arrangement citizens might wish to make—no matter the harm.

It concerns us when the world forgets that children do best with mothers and fathers, each playing unique roles in formation and education.  It concerns us when “fatherhood” and “motherhood” become lost or muddled concepts. It concerns us when the real needs of children are undermined for the sake of “tolerance” and political correctness.

It concerns us when the state forces bakers and photographers, teachers and parents to ignore what they believe—to abandon their convictions and their faith—in order to make a living for their families.

It concerns us when our state is not free to recognize that men and women, forming stable families and stable communities, have an important role in every human culture.  It concerns us when our state is not free to support and promote the sacrifices of those men and women. It concerns us when our state must deny real truths about human families, and human hearts.

It concerns us when we begin to lose sight of God’s plan for the world. It concerns us when the world confuses real God-given dignity with moral license and pathways to unhappiness. It concerns us when a confused, unhappy, and over-sexualized culture makes it harder for all people—no matter their attractions or inclinations—to know God’s love.

Redefining marriage concerns each of us because its impact is profound.  For the sake of our neighbors and friends—for the sake of our whole community—we need to continue to proclaim and clarify the truth about marriage.

Proclaiming the truth about marriage, and families, and parents, is an act of love.  It is an act of love for our state, which has the right to be organized according to reality.  It is an act of love for children, who have the right to know the complementary love of mothers and fathers.  And it is an act of love for all those who might be kept from discovering God’s real love—and their real dignity—by the confusing lies of the world.

The Church should be a place of welcome for all people.  It should be a place where all people come to know God’s love, and to know his incredible plan for their lives.  The Church should be a place where knowing the truth is a source of hope, of healing, and of joy.  And that means that the Church should be a place where the truth is proclaimed—charitably, respectfully, and openly.

The world is very confused about the meaning of marriage, about the importance of families and, ultimately, the world is very confused about happiness, and joy, and peace.  The world is a dangerous place for anyone who is seeking real love.  Christ’s love—and his plan for each one of us—is the antidote to that danger.  That concerns each one of us.

Bishop Conley: “Voting is a Civic Duty”

Bishop  James Conley, “Catholics have an obligation to vote.”

Bishop Conley: “Voting Helps Protect the Unborn, the Family,
the Poor, and the Freedom of Conscience”

 

Courageous Priest News Flash:  Happy All Saints Day!    I am giddy like a little school boy, our family is going to visit the grave site of Servant of God Augustus Tolton,  the first African American priest in the United States.  Please don’t forget to visit the graveyards, you may receive plenary indulgences for the Holy Souls until November 8th.

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By Bishop James D. Conley: Southern Nebraska Register

Election Day is  a reminder of our obligation to one another—our obligation to support the common good, and to build a civilization of love.

Voting is a civic duty. 

Sadly, many Catholics in our state do not vote on Election Day. I don’t understand why. I have never missed voting in an election ever since I reached voting age. Even during my 12 years of living in Rome, I never missed voting in an election year through an absentee ballot. Voting is a means of expressing our hopes for our communities, a means of pursuing justice, and of building a culture of life. Voting is a means to help protect the unborn, the family, the poor, and the freedom of conscience and faith in public life. Voting is a civic duty.  It seems to me that not voting, unless there are very grave reasons to abstain, is a sin—and when we fail to vote for reasons no better than apathy or forgetfulness, we ought to confess that.

Whenever possible, Catholics have an obligation to vote—particularly when critical issues are at stake.  Today, in our country, critical issues are certainly at stake. Abortion remains our national shame.  Our failure to protect the unborn is a failure of the highest magnitude. The right to life is the foundational human right.

Religious people are being systematically marginalized in public life, in business, and in schools.  The sanctity of marriage as we have always known it, is being undermined. The family, and the right of children to have mothers and fathers, is under attack.

And the dignity of the poor, whom we are called to love zealously, is often undermined by policy initiatives and greed.

We are connected to every single member of our community—living or dead.  We ought to pray for them.  And we ought to do all that we can to build a culture of justice, of liberty, and a culture of life.

Slight editing 

 

Bishop James D. Conley

Bishop Conley: I Exhort You To Reject The Use Of Contraception!

“Today, our culture rejects love when it rejects the gift of new life, through the use of contraception!”

Bishop James Conley –  Twenty years ago, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta stood before the President of the United States, before senators and congressmen, before justices of the United States Supreme Court.  She spoke about her work among the world’s poor.  She spoke about justice and compassion.  Most importantly, she spoke about love.

What Is True Love?

“Love,” she told them, “has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them.  This requires that I be willing to

give until it hurts.  Otherwise, there is no true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”

Sacrifice is the language of love.  Love is spoken in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who poured out his life for us on the cross. Love is spoken in the sacrifice of the Christian life, sharing in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.  And love is spoken in the sacrifice of parents, and pastors, and friends.

We live in a world short on love.  Today, love is too often understood as romantic sentimentality rather than unbreakable commitment. But sentimentality is unsatisfying.  Material things, and comfort, and pleasure bring only fleeting happiness.  The truth is that we are all searching for real love, because we are all searching for meaning.

Love—real love—is about sacrifice, and redemption, and hope.  Real love is at the heart of a rich, full life.  We are made for real love.  And all that we do—in our lives, our careers, and our families, especially—should be rooted in our capacity for real, difficult, unfailing love.

But today, in a world short on love, we’re left without peace, and without joy.

In my priesthood, I have stood in front of abortion clinics to offer help to women experiencing unwanted pregnancies; I have prayed with the neglected elderly; and I have buried young victims of violence.  I have seen the isolation, the injustice, and the sadness that comes from a world short on love.  Mother Teresa believed, as do I, that much of the world’s unhappiness and injustice begins with a disregard for the miracle of life created in the womb of mothers.  Today, our culture rejects love when it rejects the gift of new life, through the use of contraception

Mother Teresa said that, “in destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife…destroys the gift of love.”

Husbands and wives are made to freely offer themselves as gifts to one another in friendship, and to share in the life-giving love of God.

He created marriage to be unifying and procreative.  To join husband and wife inseparably in the mission of love, and to bring forth from that love something new.

Contraception robs the freedom for those possibilities.

God made us to love and to be loved.  He made us to delight in the power of sexual love to bring forth new human beings, children of God, created with immortal souls.  Our Church has always taught that rejecting the gift of children erodes the love between husband and wife: it distorts the unitive and procreative nature of marriage.  The use of contraception gravely and seriously disrupts the sacrificial, holy, and loving meaning of marriage itself.

The Church continues to call Catholic couples to unity and procreativity. Marriage is a call to greatness—to loving as God loves—freely, creatively, and generously.  God himself is a community of love—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Christian marriage is an invitation to imitate, and to know, and to share in the joyful freedom of God’s love, an echo of the Holy Trinity.

No True Happiness Can Be Found In Sin

In 1991, my predecessor, Bishop Glennon P. Flavin, wrote that “there can be no true happiness in your lives unless God is very much a part of your marriage covenant.  To expect to find happiness in sin is to look for good in evil…. To keep God in your married life, to trust in his wisdom and love, and to obey his laws…will deepen your love for each other and will bring to you that inner peace of mind and heart which is the reward of a good conscience.”

God is present in every marriage, and present during every marital embrace.  He created sexuality so that males and females could mirror the Trinity: forming, in their sexual union, the life-long bonds of family.  God chose to make spouses cooperators with him in creating new human lives, destined for eternity.  Those who use contraception diminish their power to unite and they give up the opportunity to cooperate with God in the creation of life.

Reject The Use Of Contraception

As Bishop of Lincoln, I repeat the words of Bishop Flavin.  Dear married men and women: I exhort you to reject the use of contraception in your marriage.  I challenge you to be open to God’s loving plan for your life.  I invite you to share in the gift of God’s life-giving love.  I fervently believe that in God’s plan, you will rediscover real love for your spouse, your children, for God, and for the Church.  I know that in this openness to life, you will find the rich adventure for which you were made.

Our culture often teaches us that children are more a burden than a gift—that families impede our freedom and diminish our finances.  We live in a world where large families are the objects of spectacle and derision, instead of the ordinary consequence of a loving marriage entrusted to God’s providence.  But children should not be feared as a threat or a burden, but rather seen as a sign of hope for the future.

In 1995, Blessed John Paul II wrote that our culture suffers from a “hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and… a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. ”  Generous, life-giving spousal love is the anecdote to hedonism and immaturity: parents gladly give up frivolous pursuits and selfishness for the intensely more meaningful work of loving and educating their children.

In the Diocese of Lincoln, I am grateful for the example of hundreds of families who have opened themselves freely and generously to children.  Some have been given large families, and some have not.  And of course, a few suffer the very difficult, hidden cross of infertility or low fertility.  The mystery of God’s plan for our lives is incomprehensible.  But the joy of these families, whether or not they bear many children, disproves the claims of the contraceptive mentality.

Man Is Called To The Fullness Of Life

Dear brothers and sisters, Blessed John Paul II reminded us that, “man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God.”  The sexual intimacy of marriage, the most intimate kind of human friendship, is a pathway to sharing in God’s own life.  It is a pathway to the fullness of our own human life; it is a means of participating in the incredible love of God.  Contraception impedes our share in God’s creative love.  And thus it impedes our joy.

The joy of families living in accord with God’s plan animates and enriches our community with a spirit of vitality and enthusiasm.  The example of your friends and neighbors demonstrates that while children require sacrifice, they are also the source of joy, meaning, and of peace.  Who does not understand the great gift of a loving family?

Sacrifice Is The Harbinger Of True Joy!

Yes, being lovingly open to children requires sacrifice. But sacrifice is the harbinger of true joy.  Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to be open to joy.

Of course, there are some true and legitimate reasons why, at certain times, families may discern being called to the sacrifice of delaying children. For families with serious mental, physical, or emotional health problems, or who are experiencing dire financial troubles, bearing children might best be delayed.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that couples must have “just” reasons to delay childbearing. For couples facing difficulties of various kinds, the Church recommends Natural Family Planning: a method for making choices about engaging in fruitful sexual relations.

Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning does not destroy the power to give life: instead, it challenges couples to discern prayerfully when to engage in life-giving sexual acts. It is an integrated, organic and holistic approach to fertility care.

Natural Family Planning is a reliable and trustworthy way to regulate fertility, is easy to learn, and can be a source of unity for couples.  To be sure, using NFP requires sacrifice and patience, but sacrifice and patience are not obstacles to love, they are a part of love itself.  Used correctly, NFP forms gentle, generous husbands, and selfless, patient wives.  It can become a school of virtuous and holy love.

Those who confine sexual intimacy to the infertile times of the month are not engaging in contraceptive practices.  They do not attempt to make a potentially fertile act infertile.  They sacrificially abstain during the fertile time precisely because they respect fertility; they do not want to violate it; they do not want to treat the gift of fertility as a burden.

In some relatively rare instances, Natural Family Planning is used by couples with a contraceptive mentality.  Too often couples can choose to abstain from fertility by default, or out of fear of the consequences of new life.  I encourage all couples who use Natural Family Planning to be very open with each other concerning the reasons they think it right to limit their family size, to take their thoughts to God, and to pray for his guidance. Do we let fear, anxiety, or worry determine the size of our families? Do we entrust ourselves to the Lord, whose generosity provides for all of our needs?

“Perfect love,” scripture teaches, “casts out fear.”

Dear friends, I exhort you to openness in married life.  I exhort you to trust in God’s abundant providence.

Medical and Healthcare Professionals

I would like to address in a special way Catholic physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.  The noble aim of your profession is to aid men and women as they live according to God’s perfect plan. Bishop Flavin wrote that, as professionals, “you are in a position to be God’s instruments in manifesting his truth, and his love.”

No Catholic healthcare provider, in good conscience, should engage in the practice of medicine by undermining the gift of fertility.  There is no legitimate medical reason to aid in the acts of contraception or sterilization.  No Catholic physician can honestly argue otherwise.

Healthcare is the art of healing.  Contraception and sterilization may never be considered healthcare.  Contraception and sterilization denigrate and degrade the body’s very purpose.  Fertility is an ordinary function of health and human flourishing; and an extraordinary participation in God’s creative love.  Contraception and sterilization stifle the natural and the supernatural processes of marriage, and cause grave harm.  They treat fertility as though it were a terrible inconvenience, or even a physical defect that needs to be treated.

Contraception attempts to prevent life from the beginning, and when that fails, some contraception destroys newly created life.  Many contraceptives work by preventing the implantation of an embryonic human being in the uterus of his or her mother.

Contraception is generally regarded by the medical community as the ordinary standard of care for women. The Church’s teachings are often regarded as being opposed to the health and well-being of women.  But apart from the moral and spiritual dangers of contraception, there are also grave physical risks to the use of most chemical contraceptives.  Current medical literature overwhelmingly confirms that contraception puts women at risk for serious health problems, which doctors should consider very carefully.

Some women have health conditions that are better endured when treated by hormonal contraceptives.  But the effects of contraception often mask the underlying conditions that endanger women’s health.  Today, there are safe, natural means of correcting hormonal imbalances, and solving the conditions that are often treated by contraception.

Contraception is an unhealthy standard of care.  All doctors can do better.

Catholic physicians are called to help their patients and their colleagues learn the truth about the dangers of contraception and sterilization.  The good example of a physician who refuses to prescribe contraceptives and perform sterilizations or a pharmacist who refuses to distribute contraceptives in spite of antagonism, financial loss, or professional pressure is an opportunity to participate in the suffering of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for the Catholic physicians and pharmacists who evangelize their patients and colleagues through a commitment to the truth.

Tragically, a majority of people in our culture and even in our Church, have used contraception.

 Much of the responsibility for that lies in the fact that too few have ever been exposed to clear and consistent teaching on the subject.  But the natural consequences of our culture’s contraceptive mentality are clear.  Mother Teresa reflected that “once living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.”  She was right.  Cultural attitudes that reject the gift of life lead very easily to social acceptance for abortion, for no-fault divorce, and for fatherless families.  For fifty years, America has accepted the use of contraception, and the consequences have been dire.

Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to read the encyclical by Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae with your spouse, or in your parish.  Consider also Married Love and the Gift of Life, written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Dear brother priests, I encourage you to preach about the dangers of contraception, and to visit with families in your parish about this issue.

Dear brothers and sisters, if you have used or prescribed contraception, the merciful love of God awaits.  Healing is possible—in the sacrament of penance.  If you have used or supported contraception, I pray that you will stop, and that you will avail yourself of God’s tender mercy by making a good heartfelt confession.

Today, openness to children is rarely celebrated, rarely understood, and rarely supported.  To many, the Church’s teachings on life seem oppressive or old-fashioned.  Many believe that the Church asks too great a sacrifice.

But sacrifice is the language of love.  And in sacrifice, we speak the language of God himself.  I am calling you, dear brothers and sisters, to encounter Christ in your love for one another.  I am calling you to rich and abundant family life.  I am calling you to rejoice in the love, and the sacrifice, for which you were made.  I am calling your family to share in the creative, active love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I pray that in true sacrifice, each of you will know perfect joy.

Taken From: Spirit Catholic Radio

The House Of Horrors…The Fruit Of Contraception And Abortion And A Big Ugly Reflection On American Society!

Bishop_James_D_ConleyThe Only Difference Between Abortion And Infanticide Is Geography…A Mere Technicality!

Bishop James Conley – Our news outlets are not known for their squeamish attitude toward violence. On the contrary, reporters are often criticized for fixating on violence, exploiting it as fodder for the 24-hour news cycle.

We rarely see journalists shying away from a gruesome case. Yet, the media has been reluctant to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell – a Philadelphia abortionist accused of committing unspeakable crimes at his “Women’s Medical Center.”

Already indicted by a grand jury, Gosnell is on trial for running a “house of horrors,” where hundreds of infants were born alive and beheaded with scissors.

The testimony against him includes some of the most shocking statements ever made in an American courtroom. His former aides speak of infants whose hands and feet were kept in jars, and their bodies flushed down toilets, after they were delivered alive and decapitated.

Somehow, this story went largely unnoticed by mainstream reporters. One would expect a murderous doctor, running a “clinic” reminiscent of Auschwitz, to face a media blitz and a burst of public outrage.

Instead, Gosnell’s trial has been treated as a low-key, local story. Pro-life advocates took up the task of publicizing it, using social media to make up for news outlets’ silence.

I suspect journalists would rather ignore what happened at Gosnell’s “Medical Center.” The case raises too many disturbing questions – about the mentality behind abortion, and our culture’s troubling attitude toward human life.

For instance, most “pro-choice” partisans dismiss the idea that abortion leads to infanticide. They distance themselves from thinkers like Princeton’s professor Peter Singer – who defends the killing of newborns, and the “right” to abortion, on the same philosophical basis.

But Gosnell’s trial shows the difficulty of separating abortion from infanticide, in theory and in practice.

Indeed, there is a hideous logical consistency in Gosnell’s career. He started off killing children in the womb, and ended up killing them after birth. At some point, the distinction between abortion and infanticide must have struck him as a mere technicality, just a matter of geography.

Most abortion advocates are, thankfully, not so logical. Most of them find Gosnell’s actions appalling. Yet they have no valid or compelling grounds on which to condemn his particular methods of abortion as wrong.

Indeed, on the level of moral principles, infanticide and abortion are equivalent. Kermit Gosnell took the abortion mentality to its logical conclusion.

This is a hard fact, with disturbing implications. It is an inconvenient fact for journalists, and many members of their audience, to face. This partly explains their reluctance to cover Gosnell’s trial, since it directly raises the question of abortion and its relationship to infanticide.

But the link between infanticide and abortion is not the only issue raised by this case. There is also the larger question of how human life is regarded, in a culture where contraception is widespread and abortion becomes “backup birth control.” After all, most women who seek an abortion are on some form of birth control.

Kermit Gosnell’s actions are the logical outcome of the abortion mentality. But they are also, in a deeper sense, the result of what Blessed John Paul II called the “contraceptive mentality.”

Many people wrongly believe contraception prevents abortion. This is not borne out by statistics, or by careful thinking about the issues.

house of horrors

Research shows that contraception leads to riskier behavior, more unplanned pregnancies, and consequently, more abortion. When contraception fails – as it inevitably does – couples are tempted to eliminate the “unwanted” life.

Kermit Gosnell looked at these “unwanted” lives, and saw burdens placed upon women. He was more ruthless than most, in his efforts to eliminate these living “burdens.”

Most people do not share Gosnell’s ruthlessness. But many in our society seem to share his attitude: that human life is sometimes an inconvenient and unnecessary burden, rather than a sacred gift from God.

This is the “contraceptive mentality” that Blessed John Paul II saw as a root cause of abortion. When we see any human life as a troublesome burden we must manage, rather than a sacred gift entrusted to our care, there is a temptation to get rid of the burden by any means necessary.

The Gosnell case suggests that our society’s view of human life is deeply wrong. It suggests that a culture of contraception cannot avoid becoming a “culture of death” – in which some lives are seen not as gifts, but as burdens.

Our media outlets thrive on provocation and controversy, but they shrink from life’s deeper questions. They shy away from suggesting that abortion might lead to infanticide. They don’t dare to ask whether the “contraceptive mentality” makes us callous toward life.

The popular media will not take the risk of raising these more fundamental questions by publicizing Gosnell’s trial. That is why we must raise awareness of this case, to help the world see the consequences of contraception and abortion.

Originally posted at:  The Southern Nebraska Register

Bishop Conley: Redefining Marriage Will Mean That Government Will Try And Redefine Truth!

The Long Term Consequences Of Creating A Parallel For Marriage Will Be Severe!

Catholic News Agency

By:  Kevin Jones

A Colorado proposal to recognize same-sex civil unions is a “dangerous and unjust” effort to redefine marriage warns Bishop James D. Conley, the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Denver.

“We do not know the long-term consequences of creating a parallel for marriage, distinct from its ancient and natural meaning. But we do know they will be severe,” Bishop Conley said in his Jan. 11 column for the Denver Catholic Register.

He said that a renewed legislative push for civil unions in the state threatens to erode the “unique status” of marriage as between one man and one woman.

This upcoming weekend, the Colorado Catholic Conference will ask Catholics to sign postcards to legislators in opposition to the move.

Bishop Conley urged people to participate in the campaign because “it allows each of us to speak the truth – to ask the government to respect the plan for marriage God has given us.”

“Doing so protects children, protects marriage and, ultimately, protects the common good of all of us.”

He warned that recognizing civil unions for same-sex couples would allow them to adopt children and infringe on religious liberties for many groups. Some also view civil unions as “a stepping stone” to endorsing polygamous relationships.

“Redefining marriage means that government will try to redefine truth,” he said.

He then cited Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ conference subcommittee on marriage.

Bishop Cordileone recently said that civil unions can “in no way” be considered a permissible compromise or an advance for the common good.

“(I)nstead, they directly violate principles of justice and accelerate the push to redefine marriage itself.”

Marriage is “among the oldest human institutions,” Bishop Conley emphasized, saying that “the communion of husband and wife is a unique reality that has no true parallel.”

The Denver bishop observed that throughout history, political thinkers have believed that protecting families is at the heart of government’s responsibility.

He said that laws which protect marriage ensure that families can provide children “the right to two parents, a mother and a father, who can love them and care for them.”

Marriage laws also require men to treat women with dignity, he noted, adding that the “exclusive and permanent bond” of a married man and woman cannot be redesigned by “legal dictate.”

Bishop Conley pointed to Church teaching that Catholics must treat individuals with same-sex attraction with “dignity and love.” Those who have homosexual inclinations are not evil, though the inclination is a “tragic distortion of the great gift of sexuality God has given us.”

The essentials problem with civil union laws, he explained, is that they “endorse and sanction that distortion by suggesting that homosexual relationships are equivalent to marriage.”

The Catholic bishops of Colorado have also stressed that opposition to civil unions is not voiced out of desire to deny fundamental civil rights and is not a condemnation of homosexual people.

“We affirm what our Church teaches – namely, that we must treat our homosexual sisters and brothers with dignity and love, as we would all God’s children,” they said in a joint statement.

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