26 June 2015
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
You are all probably aware of the United States Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case which is surprising but not yet surprising. What is surprising and sad is that the definition of marriage can be determined by a legislative body. Pope Francis put forth an “integral ecology” of the person and nature. The very nature of the man, the woman, the covenant of marriage and the procreation of life spring from the creative hand of God. This created covenant by divine design is sacred and reflects the life of the Holy Trinity. God’s law, natural law, is woven in the fabric of our very being and is oriented by divine design according to His plan for the covenant of marriage as reflected in the creation of the first man and woman, and ratified by Jesus himself (Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9).
Through a most generous outpouring of love in the creation of the man, the woman and the covenant of marriage is enfleshed in the very nature of their unique person (male & female) is the gift of procreation; it is from this divine institution that the family is born. This is why on November 17, 2014 in Rome at an international, interfaith colloquium entitled, “The Complementarity of Man and Woman,” Pope Francis said, “Children have the right to be raised by a father and mother." He further stated, “the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy of social fragmentation.” Pope Francis has in many public proclamations passionately repeated this message.
The Catholic Church can never change its teaching on the divine institution of marriage between one man and one woman as revealed by the creative hand of God. As we each are created in the image and likeness of God, we must do everything to safeguard every person’s dignity. As a Catholic Church, we respond with utmost pastoral care and compassion to all persons of the human family but in no manner waiver from our commitment to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ. This will bring forth some challenging discussions but we must ask for the grace to see all persons through the eyes of Christ as brothers and sisters—charity and the truth must always prevail!
I kindly ask that you read my statement at Masses this weekend or the following weekend. Also, I ask that you include in your bulletins for next weekend the Alaska Conference of Catholic Bishop’s statement which will be sent early Monday morning due to the late hour in the day.
I have attached the statement by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and some talking points to assist in discussion. Thanks for your pastoral care and concern regarding this matter!
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Chad W. Zielinski
Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska
Diocese of Fairbanks