Archbishop urges Catholic voters to defend marriage

Posted: September 27, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. - The Newark archbishop is urging more than one million Roman Catholics in North Jersey - especially Catholic politicians - to defend marriage against those he says would "deconstruct or radically alter its meaning."

In a pastoral statement Tuesday, Archbishop John Myers said equating same-sex marriage to marriage as "it has traditionally been understood" damages the institutions of marriage and family. He says redefining marriage would "enshrine in law a nonoptimal way to raise children as equivalent to that which is best."

Myers said Catholics who disagree with church teachings on marriage should refrain from receiving Communion.

The archbishop said he was not endorsing a political party but said he wanted Catholics to exercise their right to vote in defense of traditional teachings on marriage.

Garden State Equality, the state's largest gay rights organization, said polls showed a majority of Catholics favoring "marriage equality."

James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, a liberal organization, said, "We live in a time when Catholics are walking away from the faith in record numbers. . . . When so many families live paycheck to paycheck, pew-sitting Catholics like myself want our faith known for its service to the poor, not for the far-right politics of the bishops."

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