The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge and the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis have responded to President Obama’s March 16 statement in which he registered his opposition to the proposed North Carolina constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. The Bishops’ statement follows:
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last week, President Barack Obama took the unusual step of commenting on a state ballot initiative. His stated opposition to the referendum on the marriage amendment in North Carolina is a grave disappointment, as it is reported to be the first time that the President has entered into this issue on the state level, further escalating the increasing confusion on the part of some in our society to the very nature of marriage itself.
As Catholics, we are FOR marriage, as we believe it is a vocation in which God calls couples to faithfully and permanently embrace a fruitful union in a mutual self-giving bond of love, according to His purposes. It is not only the union itself that is essential to these purposes, but also the life to which spouses are called to be open, the gift of children. Children have the right to the indispensable place of fatherhood and motherhood in their lives as they grow, are loved, nurtured and formed by those whose unique vocation it is to be a father and a mother through the bond of one man and one woman in marriage. As our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has stated, children have the fundamental right to grow up with the understanding of the proper place of sexuality in human relationships. He recently emphasized that “Children are the greatest treasure and the future of every society: truly caring for them means recognizing our responsibility to teach, defend and live the moral virtues which are the key to human fulfillment."
In his comments on the upcoming referendum in our State, the President regrettably characterized the marriage amendment as a matter of discrimination. While we are respectful of the Office of the President, we strongly disagree with this assessment. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently stated, “The Catholic Church recognizes the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals, including those with same-sex attraction, and we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person. Our profound regard for marriage, as the complementary and fruitful union of a man and a woman, does not negate our concern for the well-being of all people, but reinforces it. While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good what marriage between husband and wife provides.”
Join us in our support FOR the sacred vocation of marriage and what it means for us and for the future of our great State. We urge you to visit our Catholic Voice NC website for more information and to vote FOR the referendum on May 8th.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh
Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Bishop of Charlotte