As same-sex couples throughout California prepare Monday for the era of gay marriage, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and six auxiliary bishops spoke out against the unions, saying the Catholic Church cannot approve of the redefinition of marriage.
In their statement, the church leaders said gays and lesbians must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
“Nonetheless, the church cannot approve of redefining marriage, which has a unique place in God’s creation, joining a man and a woman in a committed relationship in order to nurture and support the new life for which marriage is intended,” the statement says.
“The meaning of marriage is deeply rooted in history and culture, and has been shaped considerably by Christian tradition. Its meaning is given, not constructed. When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened.”
In their statement, Mahony and the six auxiliary bishops noted that same-sex partners already have the option of obtaining some benefits without marriage, including owning joint property, designating one another as beneficiaries on wills and sharing health insurance.
“Let us strength our resolve to respect the dignity of each human being and to protect the sanctity of marriage, asking God’s guidance in our efforts to promote the common good central to a free and democratic society,” the statement concluded.
In addition to Mahony, the statement was signed by Auxiliary Bishops Thomas J. Curry, Gabino Zavala, Gerald Wilkerson, Edward Wm. Clark, Alexander Salazar and Oscar A. Solis.