Catholic leaders will continue to oppose "gravely disappointing" legislation, Barron says.
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Bishop Robert Barron said that the US Senate’s passage of a same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday is “gravely” disappointing and that the bishops of the United States will continue to oppose it.
Bishop Barron, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, issued a statement Thursday regarding the 61-36 vote sending the legislation to the House of Representatives. The lower chamber could vote on it as early as next week. President Biden has indicated his support for the legislation.
“We are gravely disappointed that the misnamed Respect for Marriage Act passed the Senate and continue to call for its rejection,” said the bishop, who heads the Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, Diocese and is founder of the Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.
We can hardly stop advocating marriage simply to avoid countering contemporary sensibilities.
Barron quoted Pope Francis’s 2016 encyclical Amoris laetitia, which said, “We can hardly stop advocating marriage simply to avoid countering contemporary sensibilities …. We would be depriving the world of values that we can and must offer.”
“Indeed marriage, which is a lifelong and exclusive union, a complete and mutual gift of the husband and wife to each other for their good and for the procreation and education of children, is essential to the common good,” Bishop Barron said. “However, decades of social and legal developments have torn sexuality, childbearing, and marriage from each other in the public consciousness. Much of society has lost sight of the purpose of marriage and now equates it with adults’ companionship.”
In addition, the Respect for Marriage Act’s religious liberty protections are insuficient, Barron said. The bill “fails to include clear, comprehensive, and affirmative conscience protections for religious organizations and individuals who uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage that are needed,” he said.
“We affirm our respect for the dignity of all engaged in this debate, and acknowledge differing perspectives in our civil society,” the bishop concluded, “but the impact of this bill will only contribute to the diminishment of the sacredness and integrity of marriage in our society.”