Vatican statement clarifies duties of Catholic faithful after Obergefell decision

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 02, 2015

Twelve years ago, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith anticipated the possibility that some states might recognize same-sex marriage, and said:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

That’s why, when the Obergefell decision was released, your bishop indicated his “clear and emphatic opposition” with the public statement in which he said…

Oh, wait. Did your bishop make his opposition clear and emphatic? Did he issue a public statement? Are you still waiting?

Dozens of statements from American bishops are available here. How many show the "clear and emphatic opposition" that is our duty? How many warn against formal cooperation? Or encourage conscientious objection? 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jul. 07, 2015 7:46 PM ET USA

    Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon had a wonderful letter regarding the SCOTUS decision in the church bulletins this past Sunday. Wish we had more bishops like him.

  • Posted by: FredC - Jul. 03, 2015 5:50 PM ET USA

    And how many bishops wrote of the "decision" as if it came from a computer and not from people? The people behind the decision need moral guidance. (They also need legal wisdom.)

  • Posted by: filioque - Jul. 03, 2015 5:06 PM ET USA

    The fact that so many bishops are so unclear on this issue is a real problem. Many Catholics will remain in their complacency. But some of us will find ourselves before various tribunals being told that our position is not Catholic because it is not what the Catholic bishops teach. Thank God we have the CDF document.

  • Posted by: adamah - Jul. 03, 2015 8:35 AM ET USA

    I fear that one of the results of the pathetic response (if any) by a great majority of bishops is that it leaves the laity vulnerable to the accusation that opposition to same sex "marriage" is not about religious liberty because their own bishops aren't opposing it in the same fashion. "Well, your bishop is more open-minded. You are just a hater."