If the hotly debated Proposition 8 in California is overturned by the judicial system, the cultural impact of defeating the traditional marriage initiative will be “akin to Roe v. Wade,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz at the ongoing fall bishops' meeting.
Archbishop Kurtz, who is the Chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage and Family Life, made his comments Nov. 15 at the bishops' three-day fall assembly in Baltimore, Maryland.
During his remarks, the archbishop asserted that if Prop. 8 – which is expected to reach the Supreme Court – is struck down, “the decision will have a moral, legal and cultural impact” similar to the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.
“In our nation we find ourselves at a moment of great opportunity but also great consequence,” he said.
“The urgency of our priority to promote, protect and strengthen marriage has not abated,” he said, noting that over the last year, attempts to redefine marriage have moved from the state level to the federal level.
“So, in a sense, today is like 1970 for marriage,” he said. “If, in 1970, you knew that Roe v. Wade were coming in two or three years, what would you have done differently?”
“And so now, the vital question that stands before all of us in this country is: What will we do for marriage?”
Archbishop Kurtz then recalled the Pope's visit to the U.S. in 2008, where the Pontiff “summoned us to remember our duty as bishops” and to “boldly” proclaim and uphold the institution of marriage – defined as between one man and one woman.
The Ad Hoc committee, he noted, “seeks to assist this proclamation.”
Briefly updating the bishops on the recent work of the committee in conjunction with Knights of Columbus, the archbishop discussed the launching of their “Marriage: Unique for a reason” instructional campaign, including video and booklets.
A short video from the next series on the topic of marriage's benefits for children called “Made for Life” was also screened at the conference.
“Brothers,” he told his fellow bishops, “our proclamation makes a difference. Even recent polling indicates this difference, as those who go to church every Sunday are more likely to support the true meaning of marriage.”
“And this support has remained steady, despite the challenges of our culture,” he emphasized.