Denver Archbishop Writes Pastoral Letter on the Family

Encourages Couples to Live Gospel in ‘Broken, Skeptical and Hostile Culture’

Share this Entry

Many of the problems facing society today can be traced back to the disintegration of family life. This is one of the key messages in a pastoral letter by Denver’s archbishop, Samuel J. Aquila.

The letter, dated June 29, mentions the coming Church synods, in October this year and then in 2015, that will be dedicated to themes regarding marriage and family life.

“I believe that God, in his Providence, has given us this period of time to build up family life and redouble our efforts to support ‘the cradle of life and love’,” the archbishop stated.

The first part of the letter explained the theological foundation on which the family is based, going back to the origins of human life in the book of Genesis.

The family, he explained, is called to greatness, but there is also confusion today about the nature and purpose of marriage.

The root problem behind this confusion, Archbishop Aquila affirmed, is “that married couples and families are not living according to their created purpose and are not embracing the fulfilling but challenging truths revealed to us by Christ through his Church.”

Culture today, he continued, has shifted dramatically to an individualistic focus, concentrating on self-satisfaction instead of a giving of oneself.

Citing Saint Augustine, Archbishop Aquila said that for a union to be a true marriage it must be founded on three goods: “the good of children, the gift of fidelity between the spouses, and the good of the unbreakable bond.”

“If they become separated one from the other, then any type of relationship could be considered ‘marriage’ and any type of sexual act can be justified,” he added.

Marriage is not limited to a union founded on an emotional bond, but also involves a bodily union, based on the complementary nature of male and female.

An essential part of marriage is the procreation of children, and even if for reasons beyond their control a couple cannot conceive they still share in this bodily union and complementary human union.

“There is nothing wrong with friendship and love between two people of the same sex,” he said. “It can even be a great gift. Disorder enters in when same-sex friendships become sexualized.”

He warned that, “if we separate pleasure from the total and permanent self-giving of husband and wife in marriage, we confuse our human identity and dignity, misuse our bodies, and separate ourselves from God.”

He also made it very clear that not only homosexual acts, but any sexual act of non-married persons are contrary to God’s plan for us.


On another sensitive topic, contraception, Archbishop Aquila explained that when couples close themselves to the possibility of life this falsifies the nature of married love.

“The fundamental problem caused by contraceptive use is that it short-circuits the exchange of love between husband and wife and it cuts them off from the creative power of God that they are made to participate in,” he said.

There are also serious problems with the use of in vitro fertilization, he continued, and creating a child outside of marriage is unjust to the child.

Turning to the subject of divorce, the pastoral letter outlined some of the statistics regarding the break-up of marriages. Marriage is a permanent bond, the archbishop maintained, citing the words of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew 19: 4-7.

Turning to look at what we can do in the future he said: “We have to help couples live the fullness of the Gospel in a broken, skeptical and hostile culture.”

We won’t find a solution in justifying evil or denying the Gospel. “Instead,” he insisted, “the solution is fidelity to the only Truth that really saves the human person: Jesus Christ!”

On the Net:

Pastoral Letter – 

Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation