2-March-2013 -- EWTNews Feature |

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US bishops called to support March for Marriage

Leaders within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are encouraging their brother bishops to support the upcoming March for Marriage in the nation's capital.

"We are grateful for this opportunity to express support for the Marriage for March and to encourage participation in this event," said Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco.

"The march will be a significant opportunity to promote and defend marriage and the good of our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to stand in solidarity with people of good will," they said in a Feb. 25 letter to their fellow bishops throughout the country.

Both bishops have worked in recent months to encourage prayers for the protection of marriage. Bishop Rhoades is the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, while Archbishop Cordileone heads the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The bishops sent the letter out on behalf of their committees.

The March for Marriage will be held in Washington, D.C., on March 26, the first day of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on two cases challenging the definition of marriage.

The rulings in the cases are expected to be landmark decisions that affect the legal definition of marriage throughout the nation. The U.S. bishops have voiced concerns for both the well-being of children and the protection of religious freedom if "gay marriage" becomes the law of the land.

"This is a decisive time for marriage in our country," Bishop Rhoades and Archbishop Cordileone said. "We are deeply grateful for any support you can offer for this march."

They added that they intend to promote the march through online and social media initiatives in the coming weeks as well.

The announcement about the March for Marriage complements other initiatives of the U.S. bishops, who issued a "Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty" last November.

Archbishop Cordileone's subcommittee spent months producing a website entitled "Marriage: Unique for a Reason" to promote and explain the Church's teaching on marriage.

The two prelates praised the efforts of individual dioceses to encourage defense of marriage efforts on an individual level. According to march organizers, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had already committed to sending five busses to the March for Marriage.

The bishops also commented on the timing of the march, noting that it "will occur during the solemn days of Holy Week." In spite of the timing, they stressed the importance of the march and requested that their fellow bishops "consider promoting this event in your diocese and parishes and encourage participation where possible."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, applauded the Catholic bishops for joining a "coalition on behalf of marriage" that encompasses "a great many people and groups representing a diverse array of faith traditions."

"We welcome people of every faith - and no faith at all - to join us in protecting the unique bond of marriage, the only institution that provides children with the mother and father they deserve," Brown explained.

"Those who believe in the protection of religious liberty as we do are also wise to stand strong for marriage at this decisive time."

Brown continued to say that he expects and welcomes "more pledges of participation from other Catholic dioceses on the east coast and across the country."

"Now is the time for Catholics and people of all faiths to commit to marching for marriage," he stressed.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=7151#ixzz2McCr2G2k

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