Catholic bishops in Massachusetts are urging the faithful to mobilize against the recent Supreme Judicial Court's ruling that will allow for same-sex marriage, and are advocating a constitutional amendment that reaffirms marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
The bishops issued this call in a letter that was read in churches across the state this past weekend, reported the Boston Globe.
"We hope that all citizens will come to recognize what is at stake and work to ensure that marriage as the fundamental institution of society will be safeguarded," said the letter, which was published in the Nov. 29 issue of The Pilot, the Boston archdiocese’s newspaper. Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and the bishops of Worcester, Fall River and Springfield signed the letter.
The statement calls the court's Nov. 21 decision "a national tragedy," and declares the 180-day stay "a sure formula for chaos" that denies citizens a fair chance to respond.
"Every effort must be made to extend the stay beyond the 180 days mandated by the court," the bishops wrote.
The court delayed implementation of its decision for six months to give legislators time to take "appropriate" action. However, the stay is only long enough to pass a law allowing same-sex unions, but it is not long enough to adopt a constitutional amendment that would preserve marriage for heterosexual couples. A constitutional amendment would require the approval by the Legislature in two consecutive sessions and could only be finalized by 2006, reported the Boston Globe.
In their letter, the bishops argue that marriage "is not just one life-style choice among many," and that changing "the definition of marriage in the long run will seriously harm family life." The bishops say their aim is not discrimination.
"It is not the intention of the Catholic community to infringe upon the civil rights of homosexuals or anyone else," says the statement. "Our opposition . . . is to safeguard the institution of marriage for future generations."