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From Cardinal SeŠnís blog

Posted: 11/13/2009

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On Tuesday (Nov. 3), I had dinner and attended evening prayer with the archdioceseís marriage ministry committee. For three years, the marriage committee has been working on designing a new marriage preparation program for us. Pilot photo/ Courtesy Cardinalís office

(Last) week, our nation experienced a tragedy at the U.S. military base in Fort Hood, Texas. There is a great deal of trauma and suffering at Ft. Hood following the shooting. I spoke with Father Edward McCabe, a priest from the Archdiocese of Boston who serves our troops at Ft. Hood and who is providing pastoral care and solace in the aftermath of the shooting. I promised him our prayers for those who were killed and injured, for their families, and for all who are serving them. The fine men and women of our military are essential to the freedom we hold dear as a nation. We honor them with our prayers, thoughts and support now and always.

Maineís vote on marriage

I was relieved that a ballot initiative in Maine on behalf of traditional marriage prevailed, although I was also saddened that such an initiative had to be held, realizing how divisive this issue can be in a community.

The Mainers demonstrated for the thirty-first time that whenever the American people have an opportunity to express their opinion on marriage, they come down in favor of traditional marriage. I believe in my heart that if we had had the same opportunity in Massachusetts, the people of Massachusetts would also have voted in favor of traditional marriage.

Unfortunately, Governor Deval Patrick and our legislators did not allow us to exercise that right. I think that was a great injustice to the people of the Commonwealth.

By the same token, I think itís very unfortunate that it has been impossible to carry on a serious dialogue about the importance of traditional marriage for family life and for the raising of children in our country. This has always been cast in the light of the great emotional debate over prejudice and discrimination against homosexual persons.

I am positive that the people in Maine who voted for traditional marriage were not doing so out of any rancor or disdain for homosexual persons. While there are a small number who hold extreme views in almost any cause, I am convinced the vast majority of people were looking at what is good for society.

We, of course, live in a culture where individual rights are supreme and sometimes the common good and the rights of the community are trampled because of an exaggerated stress on individualism in our country. It is my hope that someday we will be able to have a serious conversation and public debate on the wider subject of marriage. Perhaps the bishopsí upcoming pastoral letter on marriage will allow this conversation to begin.

To say that gay marriage doesnít affect other peopleís marriages is disingenuous, at best. Changing ideas impacts the culture and society, even though the consequences may not be visible immediately. To help illustrate this, I like to compare it to a nationís change from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Perhaps the external trappings look the same but the difference in the end results and what transpires historically is going to be very dramatic.

We see that there have already been so many assaults on marriage and family life, and we are convinced that a redefinition of marriage is also detrimental to marriage. What is bad for marriage is bad for American society.

Marriage ministry committee

On Tuesday (Nov. 3), I had dinner and attended evening prayer with the archdioceseís marriage ministry committee. For three years, the marriage committee has been working on designing a new marriage preparation program for us.

With the pilot program being launched, this was bringing their work to a conclusion. It was a way of recognizing them and thanking them for their contributions.

We also talked a little bit about the fact that this month, God willing, the new pastoral letter on marriage will be published.

Kari Colella, our Marriage Ministries Coordinator, was very pleased to announce that she feels the new marriage preparation course that we have designed reflects many of the themes that have been developed in the marriage pastoral.

One of the biggest challenges we have in the American church today is to instill in our people a sense of vocation, particularly vocation to married life and to being mothers and fathers.