MONTREAL, SEPT. 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Canadian bishops’ conference issued a warning about the government’s proposal to redefine marriage as the lawful union of any two persons, including homosexuals.
“For the first time in its history, Canada is faced with a proposal that it accept two conflicting definitions of marriage, one that would be civilly valid and another that would be religiously valid, at least for most faith groups,” the episcopal conference said in its Pastoral Message on Marriage in the Present Day. Bishop Jacques Berthelet, the president of the conference, presented the message today at a press conference here.
“The two definitions are inherently contradictory,” said the message. “Society needs to think long and deeply before going down this unknown and troubling road.”
The message said: “Clearly, marriage as one of the seven sacraments of the Church has important religious meaning. But it also has enormous social importance and significance because of its pivotal role in the procreation of children and the nurturing of future generations. Likewise, the anthropological, personal, religious and social dimensions of marriage are deeply rooted in history and culture.”
The bishops stressed the importance of the common good in lawmaking.
“Laws must be developed not only according to their impact on individuals, but also according to their impact on the social fabric,” the message said. “It is important, for the stability of the family and indeed for the stability of all society, to strengthen the institution of marriage.”
“Marriage needs to be preserved as an institution uniting two members of the opposite sex,” it said. “For the common good of society, it must be protected. Together with so many other Canadians, as Catholic bishops we call on the state to protect and support marriage as the union of a woman and a man, in accordance with both its institutional nature and its foundational role for the family.
“We reject the attempt of the state to reduce all intimate personal relationships to the same level, leading to the disappearance of the civil institution of marriage as understood in all human societies since time immemorial.”
The full message is at www.cccb.ca/Files/marriagemessage.html.