The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has joined with the Knights of Columbus in developing a national plan of action to defend marriage against consequential legislative and judicial efforts to redefine marriage.
Among the first initiatives planned are the production of a brief internet video, the use of social networking site marketing, and the distribution of the bishops’ statement on marriage “Between Man and Woman.”
The 2003 statement affirms that marriage is a unique relationship between a man and a woman and therefore an essential element of healthy societies.
Cardinal Francis George, USCCB president, has appointed the ad hoc committee leading the effort. The committee is chaired by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who also serves as chair of the USCCB sub-committee on Marriage and Family Life. He is joined by Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, who chairs the bishops' Committee on Doctrine; and Bishop Gabino Zavala, who is auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and chair of the USCCB task force on strengthening marriage.
The Knights of Columbus have agreed to fund the bishops’ efforts and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson serves as a consultant on the committee.
“We must increase our efforts to make known the unique beauty of the vocation to marriage," explained Archbishop Kurtz at the announcement of the committee. "At the same time, we must address inadequacies in the ongoing public debate on the nature of marriage through education and public policy advocacy.”
The new plan continues broader efforts at promoting and protecting marriage. In 2004 the bishops began a National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage, which includes the “For Your Marriage” campaign.
The campaign web site at www.foryourmarriage.org offers information and help to engaged and married couples. The campaign began distributing “For Your Marriage” messages in July 2007, in such an amount that the campaign ranked in the top twenty percent of air time.
As of September 7, a press release states, Nielsen reported 27,726 total broadcasts of the four "For Your Marriage" messages released so far, using donated airtime valued at $4.3 million.