Minnesota’s proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman should be passed to help children flourish and to defend God’s plan for man and woman, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of Minneapolis and St. Paul says.
“The Minnesota Catholic Conference, made up of the seven Catholic bishops from the state, support this amendment not for prejudicial or political reasons, but rather for reasons that are theological, biological and pastoral,” Nienstedt wrote in his June 9 column for The Catholic Spirit.
While Minnesota law already defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, backers of the amendment say it is needed to prevent marriage from being redefined through lawsuits or legislative action.
In May the state legislature approved a bill to place the amendment on the 2012 ballot.
The archbishop said that the definition of marriage predates any government or religious denomination. Marriage “reflects God’s plan for man and woman to share in his creative power of bringing new life into the world.”
This understanding is “ratified by Jesus himself” in Matthew 19:8-9, he said. It is also “evident in light of the natural moral law.”
Both the biological and spiritual “complementarity” of the two sexes defines the reproductive nature of their relationship and enhances their “well-being and joy” as “a communion of life and love.”
“Every scientific study,” he said, confirms the reality that children “flourish best” when they have both a mother and a father. While single parents “strive mightily” to raise children as normally as possible, it is “a proven fact” that boys and girls develop better under the influence of both a mother and a father living in the same home.
The archbishop noted that Church teaching is always meant “to uphold and enhance the inherent dignity of the human person as a son or daughter of God.”
“Regrettably, the media and some secular commentators have chosen to mischaracterize this measure as anti-gay, mean-spirited and prejudicial. This is not the case or the intent behind the initiative,” he wrote.
In 2010 Archbishop Nienstedt and the other Catholic bishops of Minnesota authored a pastoral letter on marriage and mailed 400,000 DVDs to Catholics throughout the state. The DVDs explained the importance of traditional marriage and the need for a constitutional amendment to put the definition of marriage “beyond the reach of the courts and politicians.”
The bishops’ defense of marriage drew hostile coverage from several secular media outlets, which highlighted the objections of Catholic dissenters.