We must not be silenced

In her Jan. 18 Boston Globe column “For bishops, wrong fight,” Eileen McNamara not only misses the point of the bishops’ position on marriage but she also misinforms her readers. She says that, in their 1 million-piece mailing on marriage, the bishops did not answer a fundamental question.

McNamara incorrectly claims that the bishops “fail to specify the exact threat posed by couples, many with children, who want nothing more than to legalize their status as a family. How such a plea for stability undermines the rearing of children remains a mystery.”

Fortunately, more than 1 million Catholics will be able to read the answer for themselves when they receive the mailer that, contrary to her assertion, addresses the issue.

The mailer states: “The marital union ... provides the best conditions for raising children: namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage. The state rightly recognizes this relationship as a public institution in its laws because the relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good …

“When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened. The weakening of this basic institution at all levels and by various forces has already exacted too high a social cost.”

McNamara’s attempt to undermine the effort of the Church to urge the faithful to uphold the traditional definition of marriage serves as a good example of the “full-scale campaign through the media to shame concerned citizens into silence” that the four bishops of Massachusetts denounced in their recent statement on the mailer.

It is interesting that often those who most strongly advocate for tolerance become fiercely intolerant when it comes to members of the Church making their voice heard on public policy issues.

We are living in an historic moment. If those who wish to change the definition of marriage succeed, the impact on our culture will be enormous. In their statement, the bishops acknowledge the fact that “people may be hesitant to act for fear of being falsely labeled as bigots or intolerant.”

We should not allow ourselves to be silenced. McNamara’s diatribe and those like it simply provide further evidence of the necessity to speak out and do everything in our power to overturn the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to redefine marriage.