Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, OFM Cap., issued a pastoral letter on Oct. 14 stating that the Guam Legislature “will forfeit its moral authority to continue to govern this island” if it passes a bill providing homosexual unions with the same benefits as married couples.
“As a bishop of the Catholic Church, I cannot remain silent about the efforts being made in the Guam Legislature which are a complete contradiction of the teaching regarding marriage that the Church has received from the Lord,” said the archbishop, in reference to Bill 185, which would provide health and tax benefits to same-sex couples who enter into a domestic partnership.
In the letter, dated Oct. 7 but released on Wednesday, Archbishop Apuron said Bill 185 “redefines the meaning of marriage” and promotes a homosexual lifestyle. He described the legislation as “doubly destructive because it encourages a lifestyle that is intrinsically unhealthy.”
“Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex,” Apuron wrote.
He also explained that “every humanly-created law is legitimate only insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.”
If the state passes the bill into law, Archbishop Apuron warned that it will fail in its “duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.”
The Archbishop of Agaña –whose jurisdiction encompasses Guam and other U.S. Pacific islands—also addressed the issue of the separation of Church and State in his letter, saying that “the Catholic Church has the right and duty to address moral issues in the public square.” The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, he noted, “does no more than simply forbid the establishment of the state religion.”
Archbishop Apuron closed his letter by calling on “Catholics and all others of good will to join with me in making our voices heard in the deliberations of our legislature.” He also asked Catholics to sign a petition sponsored by the archdiocese “so that those senators who desire to do the right thing for Guam will know that they are not alone.”
Archbishop Apuron’s full letter is available at: http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/images/pdf/archletter.pdf