Dioceses send one million piece mailing to save marriage

Making their boldest move to date in defense of marriage, the four dioceses of Massachusetts have collaborated to blanket the state with one million copies of a pro-marriage publication.

Working together with the Massachusetts Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy arm of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts, the bishops created the mailer, titled “Marriage in Massachusetts: Crisis and Challenge,” in order to inform, challenge and encourage Catholics to make their voices heard in support of traditional marriage.

“I think this is the first time in the history of all the dioceses in the Commonwealth that a mailing of this magnitude has been undertaken,” postulated Maria Parker, associate director of public policy for the MCC. “It underscores the importance that the bishops have attached to the threats facing traditional marriage.”

According to Parker, the publication demonstrates that “the bishops of Massachusetts are absolutely unified in their response to the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) decision which undermines marriage.”

The mailing defines and explains the Church’s position on marriage. It also includes information on the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment — often referred to as “MA and PA” by its supporters — as well as personal messages from each of the four diocesan bishops. In addition, it urges all Catholics to contact their legislators and voice their support for marriage.

“Catholics should be informed and encouraged to have a say in this societal debate,” stressed Parker. “It should not be up to four judges to destroy an institution that has existed since the beginning of time.”

In Massachusetts, the amendment approval process requires two consecutive votes of affirmation by state lawmakers before it is placed on the ballot to be voted on by the residents of the Commonwealth. The first of these votes is scheduled for Feb. 11, although recent media reports indicate that this vote is currently in jeopardy.

Parker feels that the timing of this mailing “has become even more important” since Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, D-Boston, is threatening to suspend the Feb. 11 vote, pending a decision by the SJC.

“[Travaglini] is following in the footsteps of former Senate President Thomas Birmingham in thwarting the democratic process to delay a vote on this constitutional amendment,” Parker declared.

“It is crucially important for every recipient of this mailing to contact their legislators and demand a vote on Feb. 11, so that they [the legislators] can bring it to the people and let the people of the Commonwealth decide on the future of marriage,” she continued.

According to Parker, the publication was the brainchild of Fall River Bishop George Coleman. Acting on his suggestion, Parker, Daniel Avila, associate director of policy and research for the MCC, and Gerald D’Avolio, executive director for the MCC, drafted model language that was sent to each of the dioceses for feedback.

Once the final text was approved by the bishops, the publication was given to The Pilot to create and distribute the finished product.

“We are extremely grateful to The Pilot, especially to editors Antonio Enrique and Gregory Tracy, for their generous offer of time and expertise in the design and production of this publication,” Parker said.

“The vast majority of Catholic households in this state — if not all of them — should have this mailing in their hands within the week,” she said.

[Editor’s note: As a service to our readers, a copy of the mailer has been included in this week’s Pilot.]