Town hall-style meeting Oct. 27 to address church’s teaching on marriage

| October 15, 2010 | 0 Comments

Two archdiocesan priests will address Catholics’ questions about the church’s teaching on marriage and family Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. John the Baptist in New Brighton.

In September, Minnesota bishops mailed a DVD about the church’s teaching on marriage to Minnesota Catholic households. The mailing followed a yearlong effort by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office for Marriage, Family and Life to explain to Catholics the church’s teaching on marriage.

This town hall-style meeting is a continuation of that effort, said Father Michael Becker, rector of St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul who will be presenting at the gathering along with Father Michael Skluzacek, pastor of St. John the Baptist in New Brighton.

The event will review the bishops’ DVD on marriage, present the bishops’ catechesis on marriage, and provide an opportunity for questions and answers.

The DVD mailing stirred controversy among Catholics and non-Catholics over the church’s teaching that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman. The DVD encouraged Catholics to support a constitutional amendment to Minnesota’s Constitution defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. This would prohibit a Minnesota court from ruling that gay couples have a right to marriage.

Some Catholics who disagree with the church’s teaching launched efforts to return the DVD to their bishops, or collect them for use as political statements, prompting local and national media coverage about the DVD and the issue of the Catholic Church and state-sanctioned homosexual unions.

“There’s clearly a misunderstanding out there, and right now it’s the issue of our culture,” Father Becker said.

“We want to make sure our Catholics aren’t confused, that they’re informed, [that] they understand the consequences of an alteration of the definition of marriage, especially the negative consequences for children,” he said. “We want to preserve marriage as a beautiful reality, a communion of life and love, which provides a safe and secure environment for the raising of children, and that is an essential component of a healthy culture.”

He added: “The gay marriage push … does two things. First, it reduces our understanding of the sanctity and the high calling of what marriage is. Our appreciation for marriage is diminished, since now a marriage can be between almost anybody. And the second thing is, it leads to further environments of instability for children, for child-raising.”
The Oct. 27 meeting is not a reaction to any negative press surrounding the DVD, Father Becker said.

“It’s just us trying to inform our people about the truth, so they in turn work to transform culture, [so] they would be articulate defenders of our faith in the public square,” he said.

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