US Bishops’ July Marriage Newsletter

See You in Orlando!

The Convocation for Catholic Leaders in Orlando from July 1-4 is a great opportunity for staff at the USCCB to connect with you all in the field. Inspired by Evangelii Gaudium, the Convocation will form leaders who will be equipped and re-energized to share the Gospel as missionary disciples, while offering fresh insights informed by new research, communications strategies, and successful models.

As a reminder, the MUR blog ran a series on the relationship of Evangelii Gaudium to marriage and family life! Check it out if you are preparing for the Convocation.

If you won’t be there in person, you can follow the hashtag #CatholicConvo to keep up on how it’s going.

 

Marriage in Literature Blog Series

Every Friday from May 5 to June 16, MUR posted short reflections on a book or short story that had something to say about marriage to today’s world.

Here is the list of titles:

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Strong Poison, Gaudy Night, and

Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers

Persuasion by Jane Austen

“Parker’s Back” (short story) by Flannery O’Connor

Read the series here!

 

Judicial Updates

U.S. Supreme Court

June 26, 2017 was a big day for Supreme Court announcements surrounding marriage.

First, the Court has agreed to take up the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, regarding whether those with religious beliefs about marriage must be coerced into providing cakes for same-sex celebrations. Second, the Court reversed a decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding birth certificates, thus ordering the state to list a same-sex “spouse” of the birth mother automatically as the other parent, just as they do with male-female married couples.

Michigan

Stephen Tennes, a Catholic farmer in Michigan was barred from a number of farmers’ markets in East Lansing because of his views on marriage. His business refused to host a same-sex ceremony, and he announced on Facebook in August that the farm would no longer host any wedding ceremonies. They subsequently decided to resume offering their farm for weddings with the reservation that the weddings be between one man and one woman. The city claimed that this violated their non-discrimination ordinance. The city modified the vendor agreement this year to include complying with East Lansing’s Human Relations Ordinance. Tennes filed a lawsuit on May 31, 2017.

 

State Legislative Updates

Texas 

Governor Abbot signed into law the Freedom to Serve Children Act, which is a state version of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act that the USCCB supports in Congress.

Washington, D.C.

Residents in the District will be able to choose a third gender option for their driver’s license: M, F, or X. D.C. follows Oregon in allowing this.

 

Legislation in the 115th Congress

The USCCB supports the First Amendment Defense Act and the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act in Congress.

Take Action Now! by visiting this link and urge your representatives to support and co-sponsor this vital legislation.

 

Pope Francis

On June 1, 2017, the pope addressed the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE) in celebration of its 20-year anniversary. The FAFCE represents Catholic family associations from 14 countries across Europe and has participatory status in the Council of Europe as a Non-Governmental Organization.

Relationships within the family as a communion of persons, the pope said, are the “driving force of true humanization and evangelization.” The family, “grounded in the inviolable dignity of the person,” is called to influence the social, economic, and political realms of life. These familial relationships can help build up a “culture of encounter” to bring about unity between generations and cultures.

Read the Address here.

 

The U.S. Bishops are encouraging Catholics throughout the country to offer their Friday acts of sacrifice and penance for the protection of Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty.

Click here for more information.

 

Talking Point

Peace is not an absence of difference, but a respectful harmony within a healthy pluralism of beliefs, which “respects differences and values them as such” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 255).

 

Catechesis Corner

When we teach about God, we must always emphasize the harmony of the Gospel. We must “stress again and again the attractiveness and the ideal of a life of wisdom, self-fulfillment, and enrichment” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 168). All the demands of the Gospel way of life should be seen in a more positive light when we understand the beautiful integrity that it brings to our lives and the hope it offers to our world. One of the places harmony can be best seen is in the family-that “complex of interpersonal relationships,” where each distinct individual is uniquely incorporated into the fullness of the whole (Familiaris Consortio, no. 15).

 

For news and current events pertaining to marriage, visit the

Marriage in the News

 page on the For Your Marriage website.