Bishop to all mass-goers: Catholics have ‘duty’ to ‘emphatically oppose’ marriage ruling
July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – All mass-goers this weekend in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas will hear a clear reminder from their bishop about what marriage is, regardless of last Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision.
“Let me unambiguously state at the outset that this extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it,” Bishop Joseph Strickland wrote in a statement that will be read after Sunday’s Gospel throughout the diocese.
“In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family.”
“Regardless of this decision,” the bishop said, “what God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.”
Bishop Strickland explains in his letter that marriage was created by God and passed down through history via the Church.
“Marriage is not just a relationship between human beings that is based on emotions and feelings,” he said. “Rather, our Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions tell us that God established true marriage with its own special nature and purpose, namely the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.”
Bishop Strickland also reminded the faithful that unjust discrimination against individuals with homosexual tendencies is to be avoided, and that they must be treated with loving kindness and respect based on their dignity as human persons.
He also said that while Christ rejects no one, he calls all people to be converted from sinful inclinations.
“Nevertheless,” the bishop stated, “our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.”
In his message Bishop Strickland also cautioned against compromising on the Church’s teaching on sexual morality in situations where loved ones suffer from same-sex attraction.
“While some of us may have family members who have same-sex attraction,” he said, “this decision to require the legal recognition of so-called marriage between homosexual persons should in no way lead us to believe that the living out of this orientation or the solemnizing of relationships between two persons of the same sex is a morally acceptable option.”
The bishop plans to decree that no clergy member or of employee of the Tyler diocese may take part in solemnizing or consecrating same-sex “marriages,” and likewise no diocesan property, facility or any location designated for Catholic worship may be used for a same-sex “marriage.”
Bishop Strickland said it was his responsibility as a shepherd of the Church to act, and he called for prayer for the country to come to a greater understanding marriage as revealed by God. He said as well that it was necessary to faithfully oppose the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law.
“We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience” Bishop Strickland stated, “thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.”