With only three weeks before the Federal Marriage Amendment is expected in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver is urging Colorado Catholics to write their senators and urge them to advance the amendment.
“If citizens don't act vigorously to protect marriage now, the fallout for our nation's children in the coming decades will be huge and damaging,” he warned.
In a column in this week’s issue of the Denver Catholic Register, the archbishop said that, in the ongoing debate over same-sex marriage and the nature and identity of marriage, Catholics must keep three basic principles in mind.
The first is that the debate is not one of minority rights and that it is “gravely misleading” to cast the argument in a rights framework.
“Minority groups have every right to live in the United States without intimidation,” wrote the archbishop. “They do not have a right to redefine marriage in a way that undermines the family and attacks the environment in which children learn about the world and grow to maturity,” he argued.
Second, the people, through legislative action and the democratic political process, should decide the definition of marriage in the United States, not the courts, he said.
“The judicial activism that imposed abortion on demand on an unwilling country, and which has struck down every popular attempt to moderate it in the decades since, must not be allowed to do the same to Americans' understanding of marriage,” wrote Archbishop Chaput.
Thirdly, “no single state should be allowed to decide this vital issue for the entire country,” wrote the archbishop, referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts through court order just last month.
“If Americans are one nation, we need to express that unity in our basic national values and institutions, and nothing determines our shared future as a people more directly than our convictions about marriage and the family,” he said.
He also pointed out that Pope John Paul II spoke last week about the responsibility of Catholics "to proclaim firmly the truth about marriage and family, established by God, as an authentic service to society."
The truth about marriage, said the Pope to visiting Latin American bishops, is valid for all men and women of all faiths and is the “fundamental nucleus” of society.
The Federal Marriage Amendment is expected in the Senate for debate the week of July 12.