WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) — Marriage “is a unique relationship between a man and a woman” and it’s not the government’s place to “define or redefine” it, Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington said in an April 15 letter to Delaware legislators.
The letter was sent four days after Gov. Jack Markell announced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. In 2011, Delaware legalized civil unions for same-sex couples.
While the government can regulate marriage, Bishop Malooly wrote, it’s “not theirs to define or redefine its essential makeup. It remains God’s design, a permanent union between a man and a woman.”
He said his letter was not written “to attack anyone, but rather to join the current public debate about marriage and to voice once again the God-given meaning and purpose of marriage.”
God created marriage, a unique relationship and loving partnership between a man and a woman, for two purposes: “the good and happiness of the couple and the continuation of the human race,” he wrote.
Bishop Malooly acknowledged the current notion that marriage is “just about love and commitment between two people,” an argument that supports the redefining of marriage to include persons of the same sex.
However, the bishop told lawmakers, while marriage is about love, “it is also about the unique expression of love that only and man and woman as husband and wife can give to each other.”
True marital union, he wrote, “is impossible without the sexual difference. Sexual difference and the capacity to procreate is the very starting point for understanding why it is so important to protect and promote marriage as a union between one man and one woman.”
Marriage isn’t a label “that can be attached to different types of relationships,” the bishop added. Marriage “is best described as a communion,” where, in the words of Scripture, ‘the two become one flesh,'” the bishop wrote.
“No other relationship, no matter how loving or committed, can have this unique capacity to bring about new life. This is why sexual intimacy is reserved for married love.”
Marriage is the only union “that has the capacity to do what God ordered: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.'”
With his April 15 letter, the bishop also sent lawmakers a copy of his February pastoral letter to Catholics on the church’s teachings on marriage. That letter, “Marriage — Gift from God,” is posted on The Dialog’s website, www.thedialog.org.
Ryan is editor of The Dialog, newspaper of the Diocese of Wilmington, Del.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103