The bishops of Minnesota are “alarmed” by continuing attacks on marriage, Bishop of Winona John Quinn has said. He reported that Catholics of his diocese will receive a DVD and a letter from him to remind Catholics of church teaching and to explain the dangers of the legal recognition of same-sex “marriage.”
“From the beginning, the church has taught that marriage is a lifetime relationship between one man and one woman,” the bishop wrote in his diocese’s newspaper The Courier. “It is a sacrament, instituted by Jesus Christ to provide the special graces that are needed to live according to God’s law and to give birth to the next generation.”
The “most threatening” of current attacks on marriage are efforts to legalize “same-sex” marriage, he remarked.
The mailed DVD will provide more detail about Catholic teaching on marriage and about the possible effects that the recognition of same-sex “marriage” will have in Minnesota, he explained.
“I hope that you will read the letter and watch the DVD. Then, I hope that you will become one of the thousands of Catholics who have contacted legislators and told them that marriage is a lifetime relationship between one man and one woman.
“Any other kind of relationship simply is not a marriage,” he stated.
According to the Minnesota Independent, the Catholic bishops of Minnesota are preparing to defend the definition of marriage in the final two months of the 2010 election campaign. It characterized Bishop Quinn’s comments as a “glimpse” of the bishops’ plans.
Last week Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, told the Minnesota religion blog Divinity and Beyond that the effort is “still kind of taking shape.”
Michael Bayly of the Catholic dissenting group Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities characterized the effort as an “anti-marriage equality campaign.”
"The good news is that unlike five years ago, they're now on the defensive, not the offensive," he told the Minnesota Independent, predicting “marriage equality is coming to Minnesota.”
Bayly’s group is hosting Daniel Maguire, a professor of moral theology at the Jesuits’ Marquette University who claims that same-sex “marriage” can be defended from a Catholic perspective.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis brought in Maggie Gallagher, head of the National Organization for Marriage, to discuss strategies for opposing the redefinition of marriage. Last week Archbishop John Nienstedt repeated his call for an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution to defend the nature of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The issue is relevant to the governor’s race in Minnesota. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate Mark Dayton supports same-sex “marriage,” while Republican candidate Tom Emmer does not.
Bishop Quinn’s comments in The Courier concluded by exhorting Catholics to take action:
“This is our time to stand up and defend marriage as a unique institution that, from the beginning of human history and in every culture, is the union of one man and one woman for the propagation of the human family and the upbringing of children.”