Kicking off the “March for Marriage” on June 19, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco invoked the witness of the early Christians to call for families rooted in “truth and love.”
“Let us, then, take our cue from the best our predecessors in faith have inspired, and not humanity’s frequent failings and sins,” the Archbishop addressed his audience in Washington, D.C. “Like them, we now in our own time need to proclaim and live the truth with charity and compassion as it applies to us today: the truth of a united family based on the union of the children’s father and mother in marriage as the foundational good of society.”
The Archbishop addressed the March for Marriage after local and state politicians, as well as LGBT activists and religious leaders, called for him to withdraw his participation in the event, claiming that some sponsors were “virulently LGBT.” Archbishop Cordileone responded that the march is “not anti-anyone or anti-anything” and that his duty is to speak “the truth about marriage.”
This truth, he made clear, is that “every child comes from a man and a woman, and has a right, a natural human right, to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their own mother and father.” This truth must be spoken with love, he insisted.
“Love is the answer. But love in the truth. The truth is that every child comes from a mother and a father, and to deliberately deprive a child of knowing and being loved by his or her mother and father is an outright injustice. That is our very nature, and no law can change it.”
The Archbishop hearkened to the example of the early Christians who bore witness to love in the truth. “I would call our attention to those first generations of Christians in the city of Rome, who were so often scapegoated by the powerful pagan Roman government,” he said. “But when a plague would strike the city and the well-to-do fled to the hills for safety until the plague subsided, it was the Christians who stayed behind to care for the sick, at great risk to their own health and very lives. And not just the Christian sick: all the sick, regardless of religion, of how they lived their lives, or even what they thought of the Christians themselves.”
He emphasized that today, Christians must love and support all: single mothers and fathers, those struggling with chastity, and especially those who not only oppose Church teaching, but malign faithful Christians who do.
“But even those from whom we suffer retribution – and I know some of you have suffered in very serious ways because of your stand for marriage – still, we must love them. That is what our ancestors in faith did, and we must, too.” He added that “we must not allow the angry rhetoric to co-opt us into a culture of hate.”
The Archbishop implored Christians not to lose heart though public opinion may be currently in favor of same-sex marriage, and he pointed to the resurgence of the pro-life movement as an example. In the 1970s, he explained, public opinion had been fast moving in favor of legalized abortion but now “the pro-life movement is flourishing like never before.”
In time, he added, many will “figure out that a child comes from a mother and a father, and it’s good for the child to be connected to his or her mother and father.” This is because, he stated, the truth “is in our nature.”
“So take heart: the truth spoken in love has a power over the human heart,” he implored his audience.