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USCCB seeks to "promote and strengthen marriage both as a natural institution willed by the Lord and as a Christian sacrament between a baptized man and baptized woman."

From the USCCB:

WASHINGTON–In a letter sent to all U.S. bishops on January 17, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, hailed National Marriage Week USA (February 7-14) and World Marriage Day (Sunday, February 9) as opportunities “to celebrate the gift and blessing of marriage and to affirm and support engaged couples.”

The celebration of National Marriage Week in the U.S. began in 2002, originating from Marriage Week International. World Marriage Day, held the second Sunday of February each year, was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

In his letter, Bishop Malone identified numerous resources that can be of assistance to bishops, priests, and lay leaders in promoting, strengthening, and defending the gift of marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman, including the websites For Your Marriage, Por Tu Matrimonio, and Marriage: Unique for a Reason. He also encouraged participation in the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, and shared a preaching resource for World Marriage Day, available here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/upload/Preaching-Resource-World-Marriage-Day-2-9-14.pdf.

The USCCB is providing a daily virtual marriage retreat for National Marriage Week, available through the For Your Marriage Facebook page: www.facebook.com/foryourmarriage.

Bishop Malone’s letter is available at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/upload/Malone-to-Bishops-National-Marriage-Week-1-17-14.pdf.

Bishop Malone's letter states, in part:

As you know, one of the pastoral priorities of our Conference is to promote and strengthen marriage both as a natural institution willed by the Lord and as a Christian sacrament between a baptized man and baptized woman. Marriage and the family face many challenges in our contemporary society. The declining numbers of marriages in the  Church is a concern to our Committee, as are the effects that pornography use has on marriages and families. In the political and legal realm, it is certainly of grave concern to  see continuing attempts to redefine marriage into something other than the lifelong union  of one man and one woman. We are well aware of the disappointing June 2013 Supreme  Court decision that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.
 
And yet we remember that in the midst of ongoing challenges, there are always opportunities to proclaim the Gospel more clearly. In particular, we eagerly anticipate the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization, to be held in Rome October 2014. We are also grateful for the many good efforts that continue in dioceses and parishes to promote, strengthen and defend marriage, and to accompany marriages and families in their joys and difficulties.

 
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Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
 
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