National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  August 15, 2003

U.S. bishop says Vatican reaffirms marriage’s ‘unique character’

By Stephen Steele
Catholic News Service

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the Vatican document opposing the legalization of same-sex marriages was “intended to re-express the church’s teachings about the unique character of marriage.”

Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Ill., said the 12-page document, released July 31 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was written “with the purpose of protecting the common good and preserving the family.”

“The truth of marriage is beautifully and properly characterized as a caring and loving relation between a husband and a wife who fulfill themselves as persons by complementing one another in domestic life and in the natural creation of new life,” he said in a statement released the same day.

Titled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” and released in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish, the Vatican document coincided with a growing movement in Europe and North America toward granting gay couples some or all of the legal protections and benefits of marriage.

Bishop Gregory said any attempt to legalize homosexual marriages “not only weakens the unique meaning of marriage, it also weakens the role of law itself by forcing the law to violate the truth of marriage and family as the natural foundation of society and culture.”

The bishop urged Catholics and “people of good will” to examine the Vatican document.

“I am confident that many a careful reader will see the wisdom of what is proposed in this document, including many who may think otherwise at first,” he said.

National Catholic Reporter, August 15, 2003

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