WORCESTER, May. 24 ( – A Massachusetts bishop has warned Catholics that they should not be involved in the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

Just a week after his installation as head of the Worcester diocese, Bishop Robert McManus issued a strong statement teaching same-sex “marriages” are “clear and serious violations of the law of God and moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.”

City and town clerks in Massachusetts began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17: the day after Bishop McManus assumed his new episcopal duties. Referring to the court decision that authorized same-sex unions, the new bishop said: “The judicial decision of a court can never make morally right what is by nature morally wrong.”

In the most striking passage of his statement, Bishop McManus cautioned Catholics that they must not become involved in granting legal approval to homosexual unions. He wrote:  “Moreover, it must be pointed out that Catholics, especially public officials, who willingly and with approval facilitate the legal sanctioning of same-sex unions are involving themselves in cooperation with evil. Such cooperation is not free from serious moral and spiritual harm.”

Bishop McManus issued his statement—which was published in the diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Free Press—in immediate response to a statement by Worcester’s city clerk, David Rushford. Rushford, who is Catholic, had said that by granting licenses to same-sex couples, he was upholding Church teaching on “inclusivity, universality, and respect for the dignity of each individual.” Bishop McManus quickly replied that “Mr. Rushford’s opinion, as stated, is morally incorrect and pastorally misleading.”


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