The letter, titled âMarriage and Society: For a Free and Enlightened Vote in Parliament,â was printed in the province-wide daily Le Devoir and launched on the Archdiocese of Quebec Web site Saturday. .- Canadaâs top cleric is calling for a âgenuine debateâ on the federal governmentâs proposed same-sex marriage legislation and warns that such a law âthreatens to unleash nothing less than a cultural upheaval whose negative consequences are still impossible to predict. âAs a Canadian citizen and as the Primate of Canada, I feel it is my duty to express my concern and disagreement and that of a great number of Canadians, who have asked me to step forward to give public voice to their opinion about the meaning and the consequences of this proposed change,â said Marc Cardinal Ouellet in an open letter, issued Jan. 22.
Prime Minister Paul Martinâs Liberal government is expected to table a bill on same-sex marriage in February.
In its Dec. 9 opinion, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that same-sex marriage would be in line with the Constitution.
âContrary to an interpretation that has become widespread in the media, the Supreme Courtâs judgment does not have force of law and has involved no change in the current legal framework,â wrote the archbishop of Quebec.
âIt is Parliament that must decide about this matter,â Cardinal Ouellet insisted.
The cardinal argued that same-sex marriage would âalter the institution of marriage by ignoring two of its essential finalities: the procreation and education of children, within the context of the love of a man and a woman, guarantee the future of society.
âThe union of persons of the same sex cannot make this essential contribution to society, because it lacks this properly conjugal complementarity that defines the institution of marriage,â the Sulpician explained.
âTrying to bring two such different things under the same legal category is to fail to recognize that they are in fact different and is, indeed, falsifying the meaning of words, which exist to designate objective reality, and not tailor this reality to our desires,â he said.
The cardinal recognized that children are raised in a variety of family situations, but said most Canadians maintain that children benefit most when raised by a father and a mother.
Cardinal Ouellet insisted that the future of children must remain a priority in this debate.
âIt is not the competence of the law to assert that another model of the couple would provide just as valid a support for the childâs growth process,â he stated. âTo make such an assertion would be tantamount to discriminating between one category of children who have the right to be raised by a mother and a father and another category of children who do not,â he argued.
âAt the risk of being judged âpolitically incorrect,â we need to recall that the bill under discussion is offensive to the moral and religious sensibility of a great number of citizens, both Catholic and non-Catholic,â he wrote.
The cardinal said he was encouraged by the strong reaction of the people against the bill. He called it âa sign that common sense still has a good chance to prevail and that the right decision for politicians under the circumstances is to confirm the traditional definition of marriage.â