Letter to the President on the Sacredness of Marriage

Let me share with you a letter that I wrote to President Barack Obama about the Defense of Marriage Act.

“The institution of marriage is built on this truth, which goes to the core of what the Catholic Bishops of the United States, and the millions of citizens who stand with us on this issue, want for all children and for the common good of society. That is why it is particularly upsetting, Mr. President, when your Administration, through the various court documents, pronouncements and policies identified in the attached analysis, attributes to those who support DOMA a motivation rooted in prejudice and bias. It is especially wrong and unfair to equate opposition to redefining marriage with either intentional or willfully ignorant racial discrimination, as your Administration insists on doing.

We as Bishops of the Catholic Church recognize 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. The law should reflect this reality.”

Click here to read the whole letter and the USCCB Staff Analysis of Recent Federal Threats to Marriage.

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14 Responses to “Letter to the President on the Sacredness of Marriage”

  1. Jane Elliot says:

    Sorry, Bishop Dolan, but your actions speak louder than your words.

    Where were YOU on that fateful day in Albany not very long ago?

    New York State needed your presence. The legislature would have thought twice about their vote had the leaders of the Catholic Church in that state been physically there.

    But because you weren’t, they could only draw the conclusion that the vote wasn’t all that important to Catholics.

  2. Thomas says:

    As usual from our Catholic bishops no backbone, too little too late. Why were 100% of the US bishops quiet on this issue? You said nothing. If you as archbishop of New York in 2011 do not see that a bunch of liberal politicians cannot be trusted to promote morality then you don’t belong sitting on the throne inside St Pat’s cathedral.

  3. mary elizabeth Stanton says:

    Why are you so worried about what consenting adults are doing? Spend your time routing out from the Catholic Church pedophiles and bishops who condone their acts.

  4. Rolando Rodriguez, SFO says:

    Most Reverend Dolan,
    Some of the statements you made in your letter to President Obama have left me with questions.
    “The institution of marriage is built on this truth, which goes to the core of what
    the Catholic Bishops of the United States, and the millions of citizens who stand
    with us on this issue, want for all children and for the common good of society.
    That is why it is particularly upsetting, Mr. President, when your Administration,
    through the various court documents, pronouncements and policies identified in
    the attached analysis, attributes to those who support DOMA a motivation rooted
    in prejudice and bias. It is especially wrong and unfair to equate opposition to
    redefining marriage with either intentional or willfully ignorant racial
    discrimination, as your Administration insists on doing.”
    `The “institution of marriage” is built on civil contract law. The issuance of a “marriage license” confirms that the state has received proof that two of its individual citizen/residents are validly and freely entering into a civil contract, with shared responsibilities and benefits recognized and enforced according to that state’s laws. The decree of divorce terminates the civil contract if it is in accordance with state laws and regulations, and observes civil requirements, child support and division of marital assets being the most prominent. This is “for all children and for the common good.”
    The”Sacrament of Matrimony” is founded on God’s Law as interpreted by a “faith community.” Unfortunately, “faith communities”, as the plural noun indicates, are neither unified nor in communion. Some recognize interracial, intercultural and international unions. Some recognize plural marriage. In this country, only monogamy is legal and recognized; that is, only a contract between two individuals is recognized and protected as a “civil marriage,” or “civil union.”
    Here, perhaps, is an example of the wants of the English language when it comes to legal and technical inter- and transactions. I suspect that Latin and German are appreciably better at expressing and recording these human activities. In this country, where English is the national language, “civil marriage” and/or “civil union” is between two individuals, subject to and regulated by civil law. In some states, citizens have accepted as legal the contract of “civil marriage” and/or “civil union” only between opposite-sex individuals. In other states, citizens have accepted and recognized “civil marriage” or “civil union” between individuals regardless of gender.
    First and foremost is the truth and transcendence of God’s Law. Each and every human being is created in the Divine image and likeness. That is awesome in the fullest sense. Understandably, this gives rise to confusion and reaction.
    “While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the
    common good what marriage between husband and wife provides. The law should
    reflect this reality.
    Here is where the family situations I was reared in, what I saw and experienced, and most significantly, what I remember leave me wondering what reality “the Catholic Bishops of the United States, and the millions of citizens who stand with us on this issue” are referring to. In our family, there were and are widows, widowers, orphans and bastards, unwed mothers and unrespondant fathers, virgins and profligates, sinners and saints and some yet-to-be-categorized individuals. Maybe “reality should be reflected in law.” This may be a grace and blessing proffered by our call to “New Evangelization.”
    “Mr. President, I respectfully urge you to push the reset button on your
    Administration‟s approach to DOMA.”
    This, Excellency, is where I wince. If I may conveniently iterate myself, “Here, perhaps, is an example of the [misuse] of the English language when it comes to [jargon and slang, which can quickly and unbeknownst become either dated or out of touch].” Today, the phrase, “push the reset button” can and does call to mind images that can sometimes be misleading, even thwarting.
    There is no “reset button” in real life. We observe, examine, consider, decide and choose. If there was a misstep, regret, or remorse, God is listening There are no “take backs,” do overs,” “mulligans,” or whatever other word(s) in whatever language(s) there may be that can distract us from or deny the challenging truth of the John’s Gospel (John 6:60-69): “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” …As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. …Jesus then said to the
    Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” …,”Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6;60-69)
    It is not with “tough love” but because of true love that John the Baptist and Jesus together plead with us to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near at hand.” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17)
    Estimado y amado pastor, you conclude saying,
    I am convinced that the door to a dialogue that is strong enough to endure even
    serious and fundamental disagreements can and must remain open, and I believe
    that you desire the same.
    I believe you speak truly, brother, and I am in accord with you. I will pay attention and listen to what you with your brother bishops share with our family. I will try to observe the Commandments and live the Beatitudes. And speaking as an older brother in Christ, I must say that a mitered cut is much more expensive that a right angle joint. I look forward and work for the day of the mitered and righted cut and joint we accomplished together.

    Paz y Bien, Rolando, SFO.

  5. Tom T says:

    Would this be the same USCCB that sent out an article that is appearing in diocesan newspapers across the country presenting Labor Secretary Hilda Solis as a model Catholic politician? You forgot to mention her record while serving as a congresswoman from California of uncompromising support of legalized abortion where she even opposed restrictions on partial birth-abortion. Some organization you run there Archbishop Dolan. A wonderful example of strong Catholic leadership in defense of Church teaching. Pax

  6. Stephen C says:

    Jane, don’t attack His Excellency, please. You have no idea if his or other prelates’ presence would have changed the vote. How much better off would we be if more laity chose to pray for our clergy instead of attacking them in comboxes…

  7. Manny says:

    Bishop Dolan

    I’m with Jane. I was greatly disappointed with the Church and you in particular on the gay marriage debate in New York. I hope your letter to the President carries weight, but really after we were steam rolled in New York why should any politician worry about the catholic vote? Peace be with you.

  8. Mary says:

    DBA: I’d like to withdraw my previous sarcasm about cc’ing Governor Cuomo. This is my comment:

    Never in my lifetime or in our nation’s history have we faced a conflict between our church and the government such as this. I stand completely behind the bishops.

    But your phrasing raises a question that merits discussion here. Exactly what does a “national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions” look like when played out in the United States of America? And how will ordinary pewsitters recognize and stand with a persecuted Church?

  9. Rose says:

    Sorry, your excellency, but you need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I saw you on an interview with Raymond Arroyo right after the Albany gay marriage fiasco. I was very disappointed in your wishy washy answer to him about giving communion to pro abort and pro sodomy politicians. You are a bishop and you need to follow canon law. You are the pres. Of the USCCB for heaven’s sake. Show some real leadership, please. Now is the time!

  10. John G. says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    As a follower of your blog, I learned about your September 20, 2011 letter, as President of the USCCB, to President Obama expressing the concern of the Bishops caused by certain of the Justice Department’s recent actions and their effect on the future “Mission” activities of the Institutional Catholic Church in the United States.

    I have not seen any other public reference to your September 20, 2011 letter in the periodicals that I read. I hope that you sent a copy to the heads of the following organizations for distribution to their memberships and placement on their websites:

    • The Catholic League;
    • The Knights of Columbus;
    • The Ancient Order of Hibernians;
    • The Catholic Lawyers of America;
    • The American Association of the Knights of Malta;
    • The American Lieutenancy of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

    The wider the distribution is, the more effective the message may be.

    Respectfully,

    John

  11. D Maxwell says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    I and my wife are cheering for you and the Catholic Church and fully support your letter to Our President concerning the sacredness of marriage. We as Catholics will certainly make our support known here in Montana and will continue to pray for other Bishops to stiffen their back bone and speak out forcefully on this issue.

  12. Bob says:

    Some of us are with you but a lot have quit the fight. Why? Because MANY bishops and clergy are silent or acting against you and their sad example has infected the Church. Strong medicine combined with strong examples of courage and conviction are needed. The enemy has breached the walls and we are in hand-to-hand fighting. Where are our leaders? Why do they speak with forked tongues, sometimes for and sometimes against church teachings? Yet, God is in charge and the Holy Spirit can renew and recharge those who have given up. We just need Faith. Come on Bishops! The troops will stop their retreat if you but raise the cross and call on God. We are fighting a battle but have forgotten that, thanks be to God, the war has been won. This is the time for all good Christians to man their posts of duty so they are found faithful at the end. Help us Lord!

  13. tad says:

    Talk will not change the minds of our leaders; the US Bishops need to follow Our Blessed Mother’s initiatives more closely. As St. Louis DeMonfort said, it is only through Mary that we can bring in the Reign of Christ. Mary is the key to our problems. We need to follow her. She has requested certain things at Fatima and in the approved apparitions of Our Lady of America. Please Archbishop, for all our sakes, follow her more closely, obey her requests! The darkness is growing, many are suffering. You can never be too Marian! We all need to consecrate ourselves and our nation to her. Bishops need to initiate the praying of the Rosary in our parishes. We need to process through our streets praying for our nation just as they did Portugal which saved them from a communist takeover. The shrine to Our Lady of America must be completed in the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The bishop are too much about themselves and do rely on Mary and her Son enough.

  14. Charles J Murphy says:

    Archbishop,
    Marriage as a legal entity and marriage as a sacramental entity are different.
    When we say that the US Senate must confirm a nominee to the Supreme Court, we are not talking about sacramental confirmation. Sacramental marriage is the same as ever.

    Why do the bishops think that the state must adopt and enforce specific religious morality? Don’t the bishops have first responsibility to teach in a motivating and inspiring way? I think the bishops realize that they have not sufficiently catechized Catholics. The gospel ought to be compelling in itself. Do not lament the darkness…bring in a light! The Roman Empire persecuted Christians and Christianity grew because of Christ. There is nothing preventing the same in our time. Let’s not always blame secularism, relativism, etc. Sometimes you seem to seek an earthly kingdom and the approval of secular society. Christ, not Caesar.