Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic World News

US bishops issue pastoral letter on marriage, condemn contraception, homosexual unions

November 18, 2009

The bishops of the United States have issued a 60-page pastoral letter on marriage that offers an overview of Catholic teaching on the sacrament while addressing the challenges posed by contraception, same-sex unions, divorce, and cohabitation.

The draft of the document, which earned praise from pro-life and pro-family leaders, underwent nearly 100 changes before it was approved by a 180-45 margin. For example, in the section on contraception-- which cites Humanae Vitae seven times-- the sentence “this is an intrinsically evil action” was changed and expanded to read:

This is objectively wrong in and of itself and is essentially opposed to God’s plan for marriage and proper human development. It makes the act of intercourse signify, or speak, something less than the unreserved self-gift intended in the marriage promises.

The draft’s key paragraph condemning the legal recognition of homosexual unions remained unchanged:

The legal recognition of same-sex unions poses a multifaceted threat to the very fabric of society, striking at the source from which society and culture come and which they are meant to serve. Such recognition affects all people, married and non-married: not only at the fundamental levels of the good of the spouses, the good of children, the intrinsic dignity of every human person, and the common good, but also at the levels of education, cultural imagination and influence, and religious freedom.


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  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2009 9:58 PM ET USA

    I live in Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has been legal for about five years. I actually know and like some gay couples who have "tied the knot." A few of those couples are raising children together. If you are of the opinion that immorality was rampant in Massachusetts before the legalization of same-sex marriage, you will be hard-pressed to make the case that it was made even worse by these relationships.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 18, 2009 7:13 PM ET USA

    To say that contraception is "objectively wrong," "opposed to God's plan," and "less than the unreserved self-gift," sounds as if someone used cement powder instead of flour in baking a cake. Not a big deal in the whole scheme of things. Contraception is a mortal sin, and those who die with this sin unrepented go to hell. There. Now that sounds serious enough to maybe change a few minds.