The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment

The Catholic Church’s social doctrine teaches us: The family has its foundation in the free choice of the spouses to unite themselves in marriage, in respect for the meaning and values of this institution that does not depend on man but on God himself. – Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (CSDC) 215

It is important to emphasize the point that the meaning and value of marriage as an institution does not depend on man but on God himself.

The Church teaches, futhermore: No power can abolish the natural right to marriage or modify its traits and purpose. Marriage in fact is endowed with its own proper, innate and permanent characteristics. (Italics mine) CSDC 216.

The characteristic traits of marriage are: totality (complete giving of oneself to the other); indissolubility; and fruitfulness. It is ordered to procreation and education of children.

The Church has always held that marriage is both a natural and divine institution. In other words, there is something in our nature as human for a man and a woman to unite themselves to each other for their mutual welfare, the begetting of children, and the stability of society. We cannot alter our human nature or its designs. Likewise, the Church has taught for centuries that marriage has its roots in divine life, and reflects the relationship of God with his people. It is a reflection of the Trinitarian life of God himself.

Christians have fought off many erroneous teachings over the centuries, especially regarding the person of Jesus Christ, but also regarding the human person, i.e., who we are and how we understand ourselves as created in the image of God. As is so clearly stated in the teachings of the ancient Church fathers, we as human beings are not mere bodies, nor are we mere spirits. We are body-mind-spirit beings. All that we do, we do with that unity of our person, and we act as a person comprised of body, mind and soul. It is a misunderstanding of humanity to dismiss our bodies in our attempts to become “more human” just as it is a misunderstanding to dismiss our souls and spirits in the pursuit of physical ends or pleasures or perfections.

That is why it is impossibile to call “marriage” a same-sex relationship. Our physicality precludes a true union of mind-body-spirit between two persons of the same sex for it renders such a union devoid of its procreative power.

That is why one cannot call a union of a married man with an unmarried woman a “marriage” for it precludes the union of mind and spirit (which has previously been given to the man’s wife).

That is why one cannot call marriage co-habitation of a man and a woman because whereas there may be union of body, perhaps even of mind, there is no union of spirit in covenantal love.

Only the union of a man and a woman, entered into freely, with unity of body-mind-spirit and thus open to the procreation of children, can be a marital relationship, for we are persons who act as integrated individuals, not pursuing only physical, or emotional, or even spiritual unity.

Obviously, not everyone is called to marriage. Many are called to close friendships, which are very different relationships (although share in common with marriage certain characteristics). Those who have same-sex attractions are called to such chaste relationships. They are called, as are all of us, to relationships of emotional and spiritual support and commonality. They are called to live as men and women who are valued and esteemed by all.  No doubt, their calling is a difficult one. But God is with them every step of the way.

A couple of years ago, the leaders of many religious groups in the United States united together and issued a joint declaration on the protection of marriage. I included it here:

The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment

Dear Friends,

Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.

As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensable place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.

Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways.

The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all.

Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.


Sincerely yours,


Leith Anderson, President

National Association of Evangelicals


Dr. Thomas E. Armiger, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, Dr. Jerry G. Pence

The Board of General Superintendents

The Wesleyan Church


Dr. Gary M. Benedict, President

The Christian and Missionary Alliance


Glenn C. Burris Jr., President

The Foursquare Church


Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Dr. Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr., Presiding Bishop

International Pentecostal Holiness Church Ministries


Nathan Diament, Director, Institute for Public Affairs

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America


Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


Dr. Eugénio R. Duarte,Dr. David W. Graves,Dr. Jesse C. Middendorf,Dr. Jerry D. Porter,Dr. Stan A. Toler,Dr. J. K. Warrick

The Board of General Superintendents

The Church of the Nazarene


The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America

Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh


Rev. Jim Eschenbrenner, Executive Pastor

Christian Union


Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Gammon, Conference Minister

Conservative Congregational Conference


Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, President

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod


John Hopler, Director

Great Commission Churches


Dr. Clyde M. Hughes, Bishop

International Pentecostal Church of Christ


Ken Hunn, Executive Director

The Brethren Church


Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church

Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches


The Most Blessed Jonah, Archbishop of Washington

Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Orthodox Church in America


Dr. Richard Land, President

Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission


Rev. Frederick J. Moury Jr., National Conference Chair

Evangelical Congregational Church


Dr. James Murray, Interim Executive Director

General Association of General Baptists


Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference


Manmohan Singh, Secretary General

World Sikh Council – America Region


The Rev. Paull E. Spring, Bishop

North American Lutheran Church


Dr. Joseph Tkach, President

Grace Communion International


Rev. Phil Whipple, Bishop

Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA


Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent

Assemblies of God

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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