Catholics are called to defend the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, together, said Fr. Roger Landry in a homily he delivered titled "Doing What Christ Tells Us About Marriage."

"The whole mystical body of Christ is called to act in concert, all of us using our own gifts given to us by God for the effort," he said.

Fr. Landry’s homily comes at a time when the bishops of Massachusetts are trying to rally Catholics of the Commonwealth to voice their support publicly for the protection of the legal definition of marriage as the union of one many and one woman.

The call for action follows a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision last November. The court ruled that the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is discriminatory. The court ordered the Legislature to draft a bill, legalizing same-sex marriage, within six months.

In his homily, Fr. Landry outlined what specifically people can do, according to the gifts of their profession, to participate in the debate.

Bishops and priests much preach the truth about marriage, he said.

Lawyers must "use their skills and education in showing, from a legal point of view, how ridiculous the Supreme Judicial Court decision was and in crafting the language and fighting the legal battles necessary to defend marriage," he said.

"For psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, scholars and social workers, the Lord wants them to use the gifts he has given them to show why homosexual activity – and any institutionalization based upon it – will harm individuals with same-sex attractions and society as a whole," he said.

Public servants and legislators are called to "defend the institution of marriage and to defend our democracy against the oligarchic, unconstitutional interpretation of the state's constitution by four justices, and to vote in support of the amendment to defend marriage."

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Others are called to persuade friends to join the effort or write letters to legislators and newspaper editors.

Polls already showing results

Pointing to the impact that the Catholic Church in Michigan had on the state referendum on euthanasia in 1998, Fr. Landry said success was possible.

A few months before the referendum vote, polls showed that 70 percent of Michigan residents supported euthanasia. But Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit, other bishops and thousands of Catholic lay people organized and made a concerted effort to teach the public about the dignity of life. At referendum time, the polls were reversed – 70 percent voted against euthanasia.

"History can repeat itself here in our state," he told the congregation and efforts may already be showing good results.

In December, a University of Massachusetts poll showed that 46 percent of people supported the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment, he said. However, a January poll showed that support increased to 54 percent.

He spoke hopefully of the efforts of the bishops of Massachusetts, led by Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston. He referred to the letter the bishops sent out to one million Catholic households, explaining the Church's teaching on marriage and asking every Catholic to take action immediately.

"We need each of the practicing Catholics to get involved in some way. Our concerted effort – along with our Protestant brothers and sisters and non-Christian friends – has already been making a difference," he said.

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"But we still have a lot of work to do," he said.