Biden called 'counter-witness' to church teaching for presiding at wedding


officiating at a same-sex wedding, Vice President Joe Biden as a prominent
Catholic politician has created confusion over church teaching on marriage and “the
corresponding moral obligations of Catholics,” three U.S. bishops said Aug. 5.

“Questions revolving around
marriage and human sexuality are deeply felt in our homes and communities,”
said the bishops. “We join with our Holy Father Pope Francis in affirming the
inviolable dignity of all people and the church’s important role in
accompanying all those in need.

“In doing so, we also stand with
Pope Francis in preserving the dignity and meaning of marriage as the union of
a man and a woman.”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of
Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was
joined by two USCCB chairmen in writing a blog post about Biden presiding at a
same-sex wedding of two longtime White House aides Aug. 1. The posting is on
the USCCB blog,

Signing on to the blog were Bishop
Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee on Laity,
Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman
of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

“The two strands of the dignity
of the person and the dignity of marriage and the family are interwoven. To
pull apart one is to unravel the whole fabric,” they wrote.

“When a prominent Catholic
politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the
relationship of two people of the same sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic
teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics,” the
prelates said. “What we see is a counter-witness, instead of a faithful founded
in truth.

“Pope Francis has been very
clear in affirming the truth and constant teaching of the church that same-sex
relationships cannot be considered ‘in any way similar or even remotely
analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,'” they continued, quoting from
“Amoris Laetitia,” the pope’s apostolic exhortation summing up two
synods on the family.

Referencing “Faithful
Citizenship,” the bishops’ quadrennial document on political responsibility,
the three prelates also noted that “laws that redefine marriage to deny its
essential meaning are among those that Catholics must oppose, including in
their application after they are passed.”

“Such witness is always for the
sake of the common good,” they added.

Archbishops Kurtz and Wenski and
Bishop Malone also quoted from Pope Francis’ address to Congress last September:
“He reminded us that all politicians ‘are called to defend and preserve the
dignity of (their) fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the
common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.'”

“Catholic politicians in
particular are called to ‘a heroic commitment’ on behalf of the common good and
to ‘recognize their grave responsibility in society to support laws shaped by
these fundamental human values and oppose laws and policies that violate (them),'”
the three added, again quoting from the pope’s words to U.S. lawmakers.

According to AP, the wedding of
Joe Mahshie and Brian Mosteller took place at the vice president’s official
residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory. The two asked Biden to officiate,
AP said, adding that the vice president had to get a temporary license to do so
from the District of Columbia to make the marriage legal.

In 2012, Biden said as a
Catholic he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex couples
marrying, adding they should get “the same exact rights” heterosexual
married couples receive. Shortly after that President Barack Obama announced
his support for same-sex marriage. In a June 2015 ruling, the U.S. Supreme
Court declared same-sex marriage legal in the nation.

Biden also has long-supported
keeping abortion legal.

In their blog post, Archbishops
Kurtz and Wenski and Bishop Malone said that “faithful witness can be
challenging — and it will only grow more challenging in the years to come — but
it is also the joy and responsibility of all Catholics, especially those who
have embraced positions of leadership and public service.”

“Let us pray for our Catholic
leaders in public life, that they may fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to
them with grace and courage and offer a faithful witness that will bring much
needed light to the world.” The three bishops said. “And may all of us as
Catholics help each other be faithful and joyful witnesses wherever we are

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