(CNSNews.com) – Salvatore Cordileone, the Catholic archbishop for the archdiocese of San Francisco, said it is his “duty to uphold and teach” the truth about marriage –the conjugal union of one man and one woman – and he will do so at the June 19 “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C., despite criticism and pleas from pro-gay “marriage” advocates, such as California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In addition, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a Catholic who supports abortion and homosexual marriage and lives in San Francisco, sent a letter to the archbishop urging him not to participate in the march, an event that she described as “venom masquerading as virtue.”
The “March for Marriage” starts at 11AM on Thursday and is expected to bring an estimated 20,000 people to the Capitol. Archbishop Cordileone, who is chairman of the Catholic bishops’ subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, is one of the principal speakers, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Protestant, and Rev. Ruben Diaz, president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization.
In a June 16 letter-response to his critics, Archbishop Cordileone thanked the pro-gay “marriage” advocates for re-affirming the Catholic Church’s teaching on the “intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their age and condition,” which includes children in the womb and the elderly and sick in their final days. (See Cordileone Letter.pdf)
In addition, said the archbishop, this Church teaching “requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth – the whole truth – about the human person and God’s Will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th.”
In direct response to criticism of the march’s organizers made in the June 10 letter (see Letter to Cordileone.pdf), Archbishop Cordileone said the following:
-- The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” …
-- It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric.
-- Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence. It is true that historically in our society violence has been perpetrated against persons who experience attraction to members of the same sex, and this is to be deplored and eradicated.
-- Sadly, though, we are now beginning to see examples, although thankfully not widespread, of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council).
In concluding his letter to the pro-gay critics, Archbishop Cordileone urged them to not “make judgments based on stereotypes” and “media images” of people who support true marriage between one man and one woman.
“When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing I should ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us,” said the archbishop.
There are an estimated 560,000 Catholics in the archdiocese of San Francisco, and 93 schools: elementary, middle, and high school. The first Catholic Church in the archdiocese was built in 1776.
The Catholic Church teaches that “marriage is the lifelong partnership of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. … Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become ‘one flesh’ and can give to each other ‘the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love.’”
Marriage reflects “the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman,” says the Church. “Just as oxygen and hydrogen are essential to water, sexual difference is essential to marriage. The attempt to ‘redefine’ marriage to include two persons of the same sex denies the reality of what marriage is. It is as impossible as trying to ‘redefine’ water to include oxygen and nitrogen.”
The “March for Marriage” starts at 11AM in front of the U.S. Capitol, down near the water fountain at Peace Circle. After the speeches, participants will march north and then east up Constitution Avenue and then south on 1st Street to the front of the U.S. Supreme Court.