Even artificial reproduction, he said, only finds ways to "mimic the union of a man and woman in order to be successful."
The bishop rejected arguments that legal recognition only for marriage between a man and a woman privileges one religious view over others. Marriage was not invented by the Church or the state, but precedes them both as an institution rooted in nature, he stressed.
As a result, he said, the state has no authority to redefine marriage or family, which make up "the first cell of society, from which the state receives its existence."
A law recognizing same-sex relationships as "marriages" is thus "devoid of any intrinsic moral legitimacy," he explained. The state "exists to serve the family" and the family's "own legitimate nature and identity."
Bishop Paprocki also recalled the Catholic Church's experience with 20th century totalitarian movements which sought to remake family life to advance state goals of racial purity or Marxist ideology. This experience, he said, led to the more refined Catholic teaching that "it is not legitimate for the state to interfere with the fundamental nature of the family."
"(I)t is never legitimate for the state to decide that it will use marriage and the family as mere instrumentalities to be manipulated to achieve the state's own goals of cultural transformation," the bishop insisted.
In addition, he said, it is "naive" to assume that the redefinition of marriage poses no threats to religious freedom. Rather, it is "quite likely" that the Church will be pressured for its opposition to same-sex "marriage," just as it is pressured to provide contraceptives and abortions.
He noted the cancelation of Illinois state contracts with Catholic Charities adoption services and foster care because the government refused to accommodate Catholic teachings against placing children with same-sex or unmarried couples.
Bishop Paprocki also voiced concern over unequal treatment in the media. He lamented the brutal 1998 murder of college student Matthew Shephard in Wyoming because he was a homosexual. However, he also noted that his own former parish secretary, Mary Stachowicz, was "brutally murdered" by a co-worker in 2002 after she urged him to quit the gay lifestyle.
Her murder was "widely ignored by the media, despite the fact that she died as a martyr for the faith," he said.
Recognizing that it is an "uphill struggle" to convince people that same-sex relationships are not the same as marriage, the bishop emphasized that "the ethical or moral analysis of an issue is not properly based on polls or surveys of public opinion, but on values, virtues and principles."
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