Canadian Conference Defends Marriage

Bishop Berthelet Responds to Discussion Paper on Same-Sex Unions

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OTTAWA, NOV. 26, 2002 ( The president of the Canadian bishops’ conference called on the nation’s Catholics to take a stand for marriage.

In a statement, Bishop Jacques Berthelet of Saint-Jean-Longueuil said he would «encourage the Catholic community, especially married people, to accept the invitation from the Minister of Justice to become involved in this important public debate about marriage, which is a social institution essential to the future of society.»

Bishop Berthelet’s call refers to the Nov. 7 discussion paper issued by Minister of Justice Martin Cauchon and entitled «Marriage and Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Unions.»

In this paper, Cauchon initiated a public discussion, saying: «I believe strongly that Canadians as a society should be encouraged to thoroughly consider, in an open and respectful way, what all of the implications of either maintaining or changing the opposite-sex legal requirement for marriage in Canada might be.»

In his statement, Bishop Berthelet describes marriage as «a union between one man and one woman has existed across all cultures, in all civilizations, in all countries and in all religions for all of recorded history. It is the basic unit of society, the social nucleus in which most children are born and raised.»

He also cited the Catholic Organization for Life and Family paper «In Love for Life,» which states: «We affirm that marriage is a unique and exclusive public commitment between a man and a woman whose love overflows in fruitfulness, and ultimately brings children into the world,» and that «the transmission of marital love from generation to generation … is indisputable evidence of the greatness and grace of marriage, [and] deserves the support and protection of society and the Church.»

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