15-November-2012 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Archbishop links marriage defense to New Evangelization

Efforts to strengthen and protect marriage have become more urgent and require both prayer and the witness of the New Evangelization, said the head of the U.S. bishops' marriage defense committee.

"The urgency around the protection of marriage has grown and is reaching what could be called a critical mass," said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco on Nov. 12.

Speaking at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore, the archbishop gave an update on the work of the conference's Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, which he chairs.

He noted that Pope Benedict XVI has observed a clear link between the modern crisis of faith and crisis of marriage.

"To forget the truth of marriage is to forget the truth of the human person and the very truth of God himself," the archbishop said. "To rediscover marriage on the other hand, and to faithfully live it out, hold a key to advancing the New Evangelization and the renewal of our culture."

Noting that marriage catechesis and formation is "both a matter of urgency and a long-time priority," Archbishop Cordileone updated his fellow bishops on the subcommittee's progress with its current catechetical initiative, Marriage: Unique for a Reason.

As part of the initiative, two English videos have already been produced, and two more will be made in the coming months. In addition, the bishops were able to watch a preview of a 25-minute Spanish video that is in the final stages of production.

These videos highlight the themes of sexual difference, the good of children, the common good and religious liberty, the archbishop explained.

In addition, he said, subcommittee staff members are continuing to update and develop the website, marriageuniqueforareason.org, which was launched last year to offer resources, information and Church documents about marriage.

Turning to the legal landscape, Archbishop Cordileone acknowledged losses for marriage in four states in the 2012 election.

Voters in both Maryland and Washington state passed referenda to approve laws legalizing "same-sex marriage," while those in Maine voted directly to redefine marriage. Citizens of Minnesota narrowly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, reflecting the state's current laws.

However, marriage defenders were largely outspent and defeated by only a narrow gap in each case, the archbishop said, adding that "this is not a time to give up, but rather a time to redouble our efforts."

At the federal level, it is likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear cases on the Defense of Marriage Act or California's Proposition 8 in the next term, he observed.

A negative ruling in either of these cases could be the "Roe v. Wade" of marriage, imposing a redefinition of the institution throughout the country regardless of state protections, he said. Such a decision would lead to an erosion of marriage and could threaten hundreds of other federal laws regarding marriage and family.

"These consequences would also impact religious liberty in serious, even unforeseen ways, since marriage is so intertwined in the law, being so basic to the common good and at the foundation of society," he added.

Furthermore, the executive branch has taken actions that erode marriage, including President Barack Obama's endorsement of "gay marriage" in May, the archbishop said, calling for great prayer and action to defend marriage and strengthen family.

The importance of strong families and faithful witnesses was also discussed by bishops at the conference reflecting on their experience at the recent Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, which was held in Rome last month.

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio said that "the synod was an encounter with our Lord in a very special way."

During the synod, the bishops emphasized the need for conversion, the importance of Scripture and the roles of families and parishes in the New Evangelization, he said. They also stressed the importance of youth, immigrants and the poor, along with the witness of those in consecrated life.

The Church must now embrace the task of the New Evangelization, which is living out and communicating a personal encounter with Christ to those who have never had that experience or who have lost it, "so that all may draw fully from the wellspring of our faith," he said.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles recalled that the presence of the Holy Father throughout the synod was "really wonderful." He reflected on the Holy Father's words about the need for confession and love for God and others, adding that "the whole universal Church is now engaged in the New Evangelization."

"I think there is a sense that there is a real priority for everyone," he said.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6557#ixzz2CR6H5eh3

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