MAYNOOTH, Ireland - The Vatican official who will act as papal legate for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin defended marriage based on the church's traditional teaching and urged Catholics to use the resource of the family to confront the challenges of secularized societies.

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, head of the Congregation for Bishops, made his comment in his keynote address to open the International Theology Symposium at St. Patrick's College June 6.

Published in Vatican

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina voters headed to the polls May 8 to decide whether to define traditional marriage in the state constitution -- an issue on which the state's two Catholic bishops have been vocal in urging people in their dioceses to support.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte have spent months educating the faithful about church teaching on marriage and encouraging people to vote for the constitutional amendment, ever since the measure was placed on the ballot by the Republican-led state legislature last fall.

Published in International

It’s a sad irony that during this past Lenten season of holiness, all around me marriages and families were falling apart.

There were stories of fathers leaving their families after infidelity, as if he’s Eddie Fisher and she’s Elizabeth Taylor. Wives sunk into despair waiting for prodigal spouses to return. Some fathers were shunned by their children, others remained home with little remorse, bringing pain to their children and spouses who were left to wonder about the adulterous act. Frankly, there was enough drama for a BBC mini-series. Except for one crucial difference — this was reality.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

OTTAWA - Amid challenges Catholics are facing in the area of marriage and human sexuality, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) gave John Paul II’s teachings on the Theology of the Body (TOB) top billing at its third “Seminar on the Family.”

Catholic weddings have decreased 74 per cent in Canada over the past 34 years. The picture is similar in the United States and other Western countries, said Christian and Christine Meert, directors of the office of marriage and family life in the Colorado Springs diocese.

Among Catholics who choose a church wedding, 90 per cent of engaged couples are already sexually active, using artificial contraception and planning to continue using it after marriage, the couple said. They said Catholic priests and marriage preparation leaders may be reluctant to bring up the Church’s teachings on human sexuality for fear of scaring away young people.

Published in Canada

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Feb. 17 made good on his pledge to veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed by the state Legislature but at the same time said he might name an ombudsman to make sure the state's current law recognizing civil unions is respected.

The state Assembly passed the bill Feb. 16 with a 42-33 vote. The state Senate approved it 24-16 Feb. 13.

Published in International

Edmonton - In the eyes of Fr. Jack Gallagher, sociologists have proven Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage right.

“Study after study” shows that the ideal place for children to be raised is with their two birth parents, said Gallagher.

“It’s astounding to me that the empirical evidence is so clear,” he said. “I thought there would be general evidence in favour of the Catholic teaching. On point after point, the sociologists have simply proven it true.”

Published in Canada

One thing the “great gay divorce crisis of January 2012” has shown is that our government can move fast when it feels a need to get something important done. The same-sex marriage debacle lasted all of about three days and ended with the government assuring all gay couples who married here, but do not reside here, that not only is their marriage valid but they can come here any time to enjoy the weather, curling and get a divorce.

Meantime, the government’s office of religious freedom, promised almost a year ago during the federal election campaign, still sits in limbo with no details being released to the public about what such an office would look like or when it might open.

Published in Guest Columns

WASHINGTON - A letter signed by more than three dozen U.S. religious leaders objects to the specter of religious groups being forced to treat same-sex unions "as if they were marriage."

"Altering the civil definition of 'marriage' does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once," said the letter, "Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together," released Jan. 12.

Published in International