Bishop Malooly wrote a letter to Delaware legislators Monday stating that marriage “is a unique relationship between a man and a woman.”
The April 15 letter was sent four days after Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. In 2011, Delaware legalized civil unions for same-sex couples.
In his letter, the bishop wrote that while the government can regulate marriage, 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.”
Bishop Malooly wrote to Delaware legislators April 15 saying it’s not for government to define or redefine “the essential makeup” of marriage. (CNS)
Bishop Malooly 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.”
He wrote that 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.”
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 on The Dialog’s website, www.thedialog.org
Following is the text of the letter Bishop Malooly sent to legislators.
I am sending you a copy of my pastoral letter on marriage dated February 2, 2013, as you consider House Bill 75, which proposes the State of Delaware’s recognition of same sex marriage. I wrote the pastoral letter on marriage and I now write to you, not 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.
Marriage is an ancient institution established by God as he breathed life into the human species. Holy Scripture tells us God created them “male and female” (Genesis 1:27), and in so doing, God created marriage as a loving partnership between a man and a woman for two purposes: the good and the happiness of the couple and the continuation of the human race. Marriage is a unique relationship between a man and a woman.
As we contemplate the human person in all his/her aspects, we see the wisdom of God creating the two sexes, providing human persons the beautiful capacity to love one another deeply and to express that love in such a way that it has the capacity to create new life.
There is a popular argument that says marriage is just about love and commitment between two people, which argument supports the redefining of marriage to include persons of the same sex. Its implication is clear: if marriage is about love then any two adults who love each other should be free to marry. Such an idea has a wide appeal today. But love as well as freedom does not operate in a vacuum. Like our breathing depends on oxygen, love and marriage depend upon truth. A critical question to be asked: Does love have anything to do with the human body; with being a man or a woman? There follows the additional question: Is there anything unique about the love expressed between a man and a woman?
Marriage is indeed about love but it is also about the unique expression of that love that only a man and woman as husband and wife can give to each other. The beauty and the complementarity of the sexes is precisely the capacity to give life as the husband and wife give themselves completely to one another; as Holy Scripture says “the two become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). True marital union is impossible without the sexual difference. Sexual difference with 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. This is not arbitrary or discriminatory, rather, it is reflective of reality and truth.
Marriage is a special relationship. It is not simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships. Marriage is unique because the commitment it calls for is best described as a communion, where in the words of Holy Scripture, “the two become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). 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 context wherein sex between a man and woman can speak the true language of the total gift of self and which is open to the gifting of new life.
Marriage is the oldest human institution. It existed long before any human government that today attempts to redefine it. Despite the many variations marriage has undergone throughout the centuries in a whole range of cultures, it displays certain common and permanent characteristics. Safeguarding those characteristics helps to secure the well being of the family and, in turn, society as a whole. Marriage is not merely a human institution. Governments may find it necessary to regulate marriage in certain ways but it is not theirs to define or redefine its essential makeup. It remains God’s design, a permanent union between a man and a woman.
As you consider legislation which attempts to redefine marriage, I offer these comments which speak to the uniqueness of the union, the marriage of a man and a woman; the only union that has the capacity to do what God ordered: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
Sincerely in Our Lord,
Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of Wilmington
The following Action Alert was issued by the Diocese of Wilmington on April 16.
TAKE ACTION NOW
The Delaware General Assembly will be voting very soon to redefine marriage. Marriage was established by God as a unique relationship between a man and a woman for the good of society, for the wellbeing of the couple and their children and for the continuation of the human race. Now is the time to tell your representatives in Dover that you oppose efforts to redefine marriage.
Go to the following online address to send an email to your representatives: