By Peter J. Smith

NEW YORK, June 22, 2009 ( – Long Island's Bishop William Murphy has come out swinging at Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, after the New York politician publicly stated he was a “practicing Catholic” who now supports same-sex “marriage,” a position that Murphy said is incompatible with being Catholic.

Suozzi, the DeCounty Executive for Nassau County, expressed his support for same-sex “marriage” in a June 13 op-ed for the New York Times. Suozzi described himself as a “practicing Catholic,” who had abandoned his previous support for civil unions, saying now anything less than civil same-sex “marriage” would create “a separate and unequal system.”

Bishop Murphy penned a forceful response in that week's edition of the Long Island Catholic, the newspaper for the Rockville Center diocese, stating he felt compelled to respond publicly to Suozzi, “because [Suozzi] publicly identifies himself as a practicing Catholic.” Murphy stated that Suozzi was “contradicting some basic moral teachings of his own faith” that no Catholics are free to deny.

“The logic of Mr. Suozzi's argument is difficult to discern,” wrote Murphy. “It seems that he has become convinced that because he has met homosexual persons who have suffered discrimination, they now have a 'right' to insist that the state redefine their private sexual relationships and give such the term of marriage.”

In his op-ed, Suozzi had stated that he was looking for a solution that would serve the common good. Unlike married heterosexual couples, he said, homosexual couples are “deprived of access to the employment benefits, life and health insurance and inheritance laws” under New York state law. In addition, Suozzi added that homosexuals have “suffered too long from legal discrimination, social marginalization and even violence,” and the passing of the bill to legalize same-sex “marriage,” would affirm the inherent worth of homosexuals and therefore “reduce discrimination in everyday life.”

Murphy stated that Suozzi was prescribing the wrong solution for the problem.

“Mr. Suozzi's argument fails logically because all the reasons he cites can easily be met without calling such relationships marriage,” the bishop said.

“The answer, however, is not to give them a title, 'marriage' that has a meaning with a purpose, a meaning and a purpose that homosexual relationships cannot fulfill,” continued Murphy.

“The sexual reality of male and female is such that they are related to each other and to each other only in a complementarity that alone can naturally create new human life,” said Murphy. Because the union of man and woman is the “most basic social unit” that predates even the state, Murphy continued, the state makes rules about marriage to ensure the health of society. But the state has no interest in encouraging other sexual relationships, because they have “no impact on the common good which the state exists to foster and protect.”

However, Bishop Murphy made clear that Suozzi's disregard for the Church's teaching on same-sex “marriage” and “abortion” do not qualify him to be a practicing Catholic, because these teachings are “unambiguous, faithful to the Lord and binding on all Catholics.”

“In saying this, I am not singling out Mr. Suozzi. I am speaking to all Catholics in our diocese and beyond, reminding them that what we bishops teach is not “another opinion” among many that Catholics may choose or not choose.”

“Instead, such truths are 'non-negotiable,' binding on all of us who claim to be 'practicing Catholics,'” reiterated Murphy. “Otherwise we are not faithful to our Lord, to His Church and to the ultimate truths about the human person which alone can bring us freedom, justice, joy and peace.”

According to, a local New York journal, diocesan spokesman Sean Dolan stated that the bishop and Suozzi have yet to discuss Suozzi's status in the Church and ability to receive Holy Communion, a sacrament reserved for only practicing Catholics.  

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