ST. LOUIS, July 16, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Tuesday, August 3, the Missouri government will be asking citizens whether to amend the Missouri Constitution on the definition of marriage. The question to be posed will be: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman?”

Archbishop Raymond Burke has become the effective spokesman for the orthodox Catholic position among the US bishops with his unabashed criticism of Catholic politicians who support abortion. Burke has been equally forthright on the subject of homosexual ‘marriage.’ He has issued a letter addressed to the Catholics of the St. Louis Archdiocese in which he urges his flock to participate in the decision and offers a document for instruction. Burke says, “The action in question has profound implications for the future of marriage and family lifeā€¦ I urge you to exercise your right and fulfill your duty to vote on Aug. 3”

The question of the definition of marriage, either, common-law civil unions or full-fledged marriage has become a regular topic for the Canadian bishops as well. The CCCB has issued similar letters on the sanctity of marriage, both collectively and as individuals. However little has been forthcoming from them on the immorality of homosexual acts and the illicitness of the concept of homosexual marriage.

LifeSiteNews.com investigated this omission by canvassing individual bishops. There appears to be an unspoken agreement among Canadian bishops to refrain from directly condemning homosexual activity. One bishop, after talking about the plans in his diocese to promote the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of marriage, said, “people aren’t ready to hear” about homosexuality.

Burke however seems to have no such qualms. In his letter he says, “It would be wrong, on our part as individuals and on the part of society, to give institutional recognition to same-sex relationships by giving them the status of the marital relationship.”

After reiterating the teaching in the Catholic Catechism, Burke says, “There is a tendency to accept same-sex relationships because we do not want to deal with the embarrassment and hurt of recognizing same-sex attraction as disorderedā€¦The fact that our American culture more and more fails to make any distinction between same-sex attraction and heterosexual attraction does not justify our failure to make the distinction, respecting God’s gift of human life in its integrity and helping others to attain the perfection to which we are called as true children of God.”  To read Archbishop Burke’s letter:  http://www.stlouisreview.com/abpcolumn.php?abpid=6656   ph