In Scotland, an Offensive for Marriage and the Family

Bishops Sending Out Quarter-Million Leaflets

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GLASGOW, Scotland, JAN. 29, 2004 ( The faithful in Scotland’s 450 parishes will receive a leaflet this weekend on the Church’s teaching and understanding of the sanctity of marriage.

The 250,000 copies of a statement from the Scotland bishops are the fruit of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s declaration in December that 2004 would be a year in support of life and the family. The statement touches on the sacredness of human sexuality and the importance of the family.

To the recipients of the leaflet Cardinal O’Brien writes: «I hope you will use this material as the focal point of debate, discussion and initiatives in your homes, parishes, schools and workplaces, aimed at supporting marriage and the family and building a culture of life.»

In the statement, the bishops stressed marriage’s God-given nature and its importance to the well-being of the family and the society.

«The three great monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — honor marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of the family, the building block of society,» they write.

«They attach supreme value to its function of providing a stable environment for the expression of human love and for the education of children,» they add.

The full expression of human sexuality between a husband and wife was another key point.

«The Church is concerned whenever the gift of sexual expression is demeaned,» the bishops state. «In the Apostolic Tradition any use of the sexual faculty [outside of] marriage is sinful and dishonest, for of its nature it can only find true expression within the covenant of marriage.»

«Likewise the contraceptive mentality prevents the gift of love between husband and wife from being true and complete by deliberately seeking to exclude conception,» they add.

This statement is the first of the Scottish bishops’ two-part plan to promote marriage and the family.

In his December letter, Cardinal O’Brien said, «It is in the best interests of Scottish society, and is therefore a duty incumbent on all who are active in public life, to respect and foster family life.»

On May 31, the Church in will celebrate a «Day for Life» as leaflets, prayer cards and information packs will be sent to every Catholic parish and school in Scotland.

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