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Indiana bishops issue statement on marriage, decline to take position on amendment

December 13, 2013

As Indiana legislators debate a proposed state constitutional amendment designed to preclude the possibility of same-sex marriage and civil unions, Indiana’s bishops have issued a statement upholding marriage as “a permanent partnership between one man and one woman ordered to the good of the couple and the procreation and education of children.”

The bishops, however, are not taking a position on the amendment, according to Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference.

“Trying to read it one way or another is a political question, which is not what they’re trying to deal with,” said Tebbe, according to the Indianapolis Star. “At this point they are not taking an explicit position on this.”

“They’re making a statement that this is a complex issue that has to be dealt with in a very thoughtful and serious manner,” added Tebbe, according to a report in the archdiocesan newspaper. “It’s not an easy, knee-jerk kind of reaction. There is clearly one definition of marriage under God’s laws. There is clearly the importance of each individual being made in the image and likeness of God, and is deserving of the respect and dignity that that person embodies through that divine creation.”

The bishops’ statement, in full, reads:

The dignity of the human person, rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God, is a fundamental principle of Catholic social teaching. The Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, who “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2358).

At the same time, the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage, a natural institution established by God. By its very nature, marriage is a permanent partnership between one man and one woman ordered to the good of the couple and the procreation and education of children. It is the foundation of the family, where children are raised and nurtured, and learn values and virtues that help them to grow in maturity.

It is not within the power of either the Church or the State to redefine marriage since God is its author. Male-female complementarity is essential to marriage. Marriage is a “unique” communion of persons with the potential to bring forth human life.

With deep respect for all our brothers and sisters, we affirm the institution of marriage as the intimate communion of life and love between one man and one woman. Marriage is an intimate sharing of conjugal life and love. It involves the total gift of self in a partnership for the whole of life. Only by means of the complementarity between a man and a woman can this total gift of self be fully given and received.

We respect the equal dignity of all persons while upholding the uniqueness of the covenant of marriage as established by our Creator. The well-being of children, of the family, and of society is closely bound to the healthy state of marriage and respect for its true nature and purposes.

We urge the people of Indiana to respect and defend the dignity and equality of all persons as well as the truth about marriage, according to God’s plan and laws, with charity toward all.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - Dec. 15, 2013 11:09 AM ET USA

    "It is not within the power of the.... etc." Well done! It is NOT within the power of the Church or State to redefine... Truth is truth, created reality is created reality... and those who rebel against it destroy themselves.. JP

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Dec. 13, 2013 11:40 PM ET USA

    Meanwhile, Cardinal McCarrick has no problem blessing House Minority Leader Pelosi and others, after they fasted for immigration reform legislation. I could understand taking a position on an issue without taking a position on a specific piece of legislation if that was what the bishops did in regard to every issue, but it is not. They endorse legislation that already has broad societal support, but not any that is in conflict with the current ethos. They're bandwagon jumpers of the first order.

  • Posted by: shrink - Dec. 13, 2013 1:32 PM ET USA

    Whatever became of sin? It would be charitable if the bishops reminded people that they may go to hell if they go along with this.

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 13, 2013 12:16 PM ET USA

    How can the bishops not take a position on the amendment? It's illogical - but wait, where is Notre Dame located? Got it.