Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 15, 2003
Bishops defend natural marriage
They urge faithful to lobby politicians
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"I think it's time for our good Catholic people to get off of their hands."
- Bishop Fred Henry
Collins noted the current definition of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman is not just a Catholic view but a universal one.
"Even atheists recognize as self-evident that to have a marriage you have to have a bride and a groom, a husband and wife. That's what marriage is," he said. "As bishops, we are trying to affirm and defend the reality of marriage, which also is very intimately and closely connected to the reality of the family."
The bishops' message says, "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."
Because of the recognized contributions that marriage brings to family stability and to the future of society, "legislators have the duty of preserving the distinction between marriage and other forms of relationships involving two persons."
"The Catholic bishops of Canada call for the definition of marriage to remain intact: 'the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.'"
Collins stressed that true marriage necessarily involves a "covenant of love and life between a man and a woman."
"Marriage is blessed by God and it's a foundation really for bringing new human life into this world. And any effort such as the present one to make such a reality just another variety of marriage, certainly diminishes and undermines the centrality of true marriage."
The desire to give formal protection to other forms of adult personal relationships doesn't have to radically redefine marriage, the bishops say. The govern-ment's draft legislation proposes to remove the distinctions between heterosexual spouses and same-sex partners in order to give gay couples access to marital status.
Added Henry, the Calgary bishop: "If there are areas in which we need to recognize the rights of gay people then we can do that without altering a fundamental structure of our society."
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