New Marriage Pastoral Letter From US Bishops

"Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan"

BALTIMORE, MD, November 17, 2009 - The US Bishops, at their annual Fall gathering in Baltimore, approved a new Pastoral Letter yesterday meant to respond to the many cultural attacks on marriage with a comprehensive re-affirmation of Catholic teaching on marriage.

It is the hope of the Bishops that this document will serve as a teaching aid. "We intend this pastoral letter to be a theological and doctrinal foundation. It can be a resource to help and encourage all those who are moving toward marriage, who are journeying in married life, and who are accompanying and assisting those who are called to the vocation of marriage." (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan)

USCCB Pastoral Letter on Marriage

The Bishops write of the many positive examples of Christian marriage, but say, "we note a disturbing trend today to view marriage as a mostly private matter, an individualistic project not related to the common good but oriented mostly to achieving personal satisfaction. We bishops feel compelled to speak out against all attempts to redefine marriage so that it would no longer be exclusively the union of a man and a woman as God established and blessed it in the natural created order." (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan)

The Pastoral Letter is part of an initiative begun in 2004 to support marriage and provide resources for Catholics preparing for marriage or looking to strengthen their marriages. In addition to this letter, the Bishops have approved a television ad campaign promoting marriage and a project to study and improve marriage preparation programs around the country.

CCG applauds the Bishops for giving the faithful such a clear teaching on marriage at a time when this is so critically needed. Those who have attended CCG Marriage Advocates' Trainings, Retreats and Workshops will recognize a complementarity between the Bishops' teaching and CCG's approach to advocacy. Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the bishops' Domestic Justice Committee acknowledged that marriage has become both a moral and political issue. "Our task," he said, "is to speak to the moral and not the political."

The mandate of the laity to evangelize culture and promote marriage is clear. It is our job to take the teaching into the public square with positive dialogue and coordinated action. This is the mission of Catholics for the Common Good through our Stand With Children project, to promote the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society.

The entire text of Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan can be downloaded at

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