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June 5, 2006

Cardinal Rigali's Statement Regarding The Federal Marriage Amendment

I join with President Bush, my brother Bishops and the leaders of other religious faiths in support of the Marriage Protection Amendment which I hope will soon be approved by the United States Senate. The Senate has an opportunity to protect the precious institution of marriage at a time when this very foundation of our society is under attack in courts and state legislatures across our country. It is an opportunity which should not be squandered. If this amendment does not move forward, we may find ourselves in the future with the entire framework of society altered, the well-being of children threatened and people of good will asking, "Why did we do nothing to prevent the erosion of marriage and society?"

Those who would seek to redefine the institution of marriage are asking society to give up something it does not have the right to relinquish. Marriage is given to us by God. It is the sacred union of one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation, part of God's plan for the human race. Marriage, then, is not the construction of any particular religion, nor is it a mere legalism, but was established by the universal law of God within creation: In His image and likeness He created them male and female, and he commanded them to be fruitful and multiple (cf. Genesis 1:26-28). We do not have the authority to change the structure of marriage. That is why unions that are not between one man and one woman cannot possibly receive the approbation of society, law and culture. There is nothing discriminatory about this and in fact, the Church has consistently taught that the dignity and rights of homosexual persons must be respected.

The Catholic Church proclaims that marriage is accorded a place of honor. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) described many different kinds of love but said, "Amid this multiplicity of meanings, however, one in particular stands out: love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined and human beings glimpse an apparently irresistible promise of happiness."

I recognize that amending our Constitution is a serious matter but I also believe that it is critical to take this action at this time because of increasing attacks in our culture and courts on the institution of marriage. I encourage Catholics and others concerned about the fate of society to contact their Senators and voice their concerns about the protection of marriage and the future of society.


Editor's Note: Cardinal Rigali has also expressed his support for the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment currently under consideration in the state House of Representatives. For more information, please visit

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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