Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, head of the Catholic diocese of
Tyler, Texas. (Photo: Diocese of Tyler.)
(CNSNews.com) – In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling (5-4) that homosexual “marriage” is a civil right, the Catholic bishop for the diocese of Tyler, Texas said it was an “unjust” law “contrary to the moral order” and “not binding in conscience,” adding that Christians “must now exercise our right to conscientious objection.”
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, who oversees the diocese, also ordered that no Catholic facility or employee of the church would participate “in any way” in gay “marriages,” and that the church’s pastoral care of homosexual persons “cannot and will not “ lead to condoning homosexual behavior or the “acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions.”
“We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage,” said Bishop Strickland in his statement, which was read in every Catholic church in the Tyler diocese over the July 3-4 weekend.
The Supreme Court “has acted in contradiction to their duty to promote the common good, especially what is good for families,” said the bishop. “I join with the Bishops of the United States in calling this decision a ‘tragic error.’”
“[T]his extremely unfortunate decision by our government is unjust and immoral, and it is our duty to clearly and emphatically oppose it,” said Bishop Strickland.
“In spite of the decision by the Supreme Court, there are absolutely no grounds for considering unions between two persons of the same sex to be in any way similar to God’s plan for marriage and the family,” he said. “[W]hat God has revealed and what the Church therefore holds to be true about marriage has not changed and is unchangeable.”
Gay rainbow flag and same-sex couple silhouette. (AP)
True marriage between one man and one woman, as reaffirmed by the Bible and sacred tradition, shows that its purpose is for the “good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children,” said the bishop.
“While taking a strong stand for marriage is the duty of all who call themselves Christian, every type of unjust discrimination against those with homosexual tendencies should be avoided,” he said.
However, “our continued commitment to the pastoral care of homosexual persons cannot and will not lead in any way to the condoning of homosexual behavior or our acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex unions,” said Bishop Strickland.
In concluding his statement, the bishop emphasized that no Catholic facility or church employee would be allowed to participate in any same-sex “marriage” ceremony.
“[R]ecognizing my responsibility and moral authority as the shepherd of this Church of Tyler, I will shortly issue a decree in this Diocese establishing, as particular law, that no member of the clergy or any person acting as employee of the Church may in any way participate in the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages,” said the bishop, “and that no Catholic facilities or properties, including churches, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or any places dedicated or consecrated, or used for Catholic worship, may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.”
Joseph E. Strickland was appointed bishop of the diocese of Tyler, Texas in 2012 by then-Pope Benedict XVI. The Tyler diocese covers 33 counties in eastern Texas and serves an estimated 56,000 Catholics.