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Archbishop Cordileone speaks at March for Marriage; message from Vatican prelate

Catholic World News - March 27, 2013

As the Supreme Court heard the first of two cases on the constitutionality of laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the National Organization for Marriage held a March for Marriage in Washington.

Among the cosponsors of the march was Marriage: Unique for a Reason, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“A diverse crowd of more than 10,000 marched today to show that those who protect marriage are on the right side of history,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. “The fact that our supporters remained peaceful, kneeling in prayer and singing songs and chants even in the face of verbal attacks and intimidation by our opponents is a testament to the respectful way pro-marriage activists carry themselves, even when harassed.”

“The intrinsic dignity of every human being must be affirmed, but this is not realized by redefining marriage to mean simply the public recognition of certain emotional bonds among adults,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said before the march. “Marriage is rooted in the natural reality that men and women are different, and thereby complementary, and that children deserve both a mother and a father.”

Archbishop Cordileone, who was the first speaker at the march, said, “I want begin with a word to those who disagree with us on this issue and may be watching us right now: We love you, we are your neighbors, and we want to be your friends, and we want you to be happy.”

“Please understand that we don't hate you, and that we are not motivated by animus or bigotry; it is not our intention to offend anyone, and if we have, I apologize; please try to listen to us fairly, and calmly, and try to understand us and our position, as we will try to do the same for you,” he continued.

“Only men can be fathers and only women can be mothers,” Archbishop Cordileone added. “I find it hard to believe I have to stand here and say that.”

In a message sent to march participants, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, referred to Holy Week:

That time in the life of the Church not only makes us more aware of the great sacrifice that Jesus made in giving His life for us, it also reveals how He did so in the context of relationships that are mirrored in the life of every family: the loving obedience of the Son to his Father, the provident love in the Father’s plan for salvation that would bring the Son out of suffering and into glory, the faithfulness of a mother’s love as Mary stood beneath the cross on which her Son was dying; and the protective love, learned from Saint Joseph, that Jesus showed his mother when, just before dying, he entrusted her to Saint John, and Saint John to her, as mother and son.

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