.- Bishop William Skylstad, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling on all bishops across the country to mobilize their dioceses and urge the U.S. government to establish a federal constitutional amendment protecting marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.
In a letter, made public yesterday, Bishop Skylstad, who also oversees the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, said that “there is a growing sense shared by many people, including a wide range of religious leaders, that a Marriage Protection Amendment is the only federal-level action that ultimately will protect and preserve the institution of marriage.”
Addressing the bishops specifically, he wrote that “timely and focused efforts are needed to help the Catholic faithful form their consciences on such an important matter.”
In June, the drafted Protection of Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 1) is slated to be brought before the U.S. Senate.
At that time, said Bishop Skylstad, the Church “will have the opportunity once again to stand publicly in support of marriage as the God-given union of a man and a woman.”
He also said that he is “aware that the time is short for taking action”, and so urged the bishops “to do whatever you can, given the situation and the resources available to you.”
Because “in some states there are upcoming votes for either legislation or constitutional amendments defining marriage,” Bishop Skylstad admitted that “We are challenged…to give attention to the interplay of state and federal level policy as well as to focus our efforts where they are most needed and can do the most good.”
Calling married love “a gift of God to humankind and to his Church,” the bishop said that “It needs to be promoted, preserved, and protected now and for the future. Indeed, in his first encyclical letter, Deus caritas est, Pope Benedict XVI places the highest value on love between a man and a woman ‘where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness.’”
On March 14th, the USCCB’s Administrative Committee formally reaffirmed its support for a federal marriage amendment in the document ‘Promote, Preserve, Protect Marriage.’