Bishops talk about defense of traditional marriage
A few hours before voters in North Carolina were to go to the polls to vote on a referendum defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte, N.C., prayed with his brother bishops for the courage always to defend the Gospel.
Bishop Jugis said May 8 that he and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh had been criticized publicly for their support of the amendment to the state constitution and for their defense of “something so beautiful and foundational to society.”
He said when he told another bishop about the criticism, “he encouraged me by saying, ‘Wear it as a badge of honor.’”
Bishop Jugis was the principal celebrant and homilist at a morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with Bishop Burbidge and the bishops of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
In his homily, Bishop Jugis said North Carolina was “the last state in the South” to consider a referendum on defining marriage.
While marriage between same-sex couples is already illegal in North Carolina, supporters of the amendment said it would add more protection for traditional marriage.
In Georgia, voters passed a similar referendum in 2004, and it was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2006.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta told Catholic News Service that the institution of marriage “predates the church and predates the state, and now people are saying it’s up for grabs.”
Young people today are growing up in a world “that easily jettisons things that have ‘lost their relevancy’” and, he said, they don’t realize there are some things that can never be rendered irrelevant or redefined according to current trends or people’s whims.
“Marriage is by God’s design, by human nature, the union of a man and a woman for the procreation of the human race and for the sanctification and augmentation of the partners. That doesn’t pass out of vogue,” he said.
The church needs to address this “cultural attack” more effectively with improved teaching and by listening to the reasons why people are more accepting of current trends against the institution of marriage, he said. [More]