Jean-Louis Plouffe, the bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, has commented on the adoption by parliament of Bill C-38.
His comments are included in the following news release issued today by the diocese:
Following the third reading of Bill C-38, Canada's Federal Parliament adopted the Bill on Tuesday evening, June 28, 2005, thereby changing the legal definition of Marriage in Canada, His Excellency, Jean-Louis Plouffe, bishop of Sault Ste. Marie has commented on the adoption of this piece of legislation which permits marriage between persons of the same-sex.
He regrets that "in the name of more than 32 million Canadians, 158 members of the Canadian Parliament persuaded themselves, with time, that they could change the definition of marriage and thus backhandedly eliminate the civil and social recognition of marriage and the respect for the unique and privileged relationship of a man and a woman in this context".
Since the history of marriage has been a part of human heritage for many centuries, not only in the Catholic Church, but in all religious traditions, "it is deplorable," continued Bishop Plouffe, "that the impact of this Bill and the repercussions which it will have on our society have been ignored, and that the Members of Parliament have scorned the very foundations of marriage and family on which a balanced and healthy society are built. In our Church, the basis of marriage is found above all in the loving relationship between a man and a woman which generally bears fruit in the birth of children who are educated and raised in a setting which allows them the best possible climate for growth and development. With the adoption of this Bill, we must forget all this and prepare ourselves for the emergence of new values, contrary to those which the population in general would have wished".
"It is a given that various religious traditions must remain united so that freedom of conscience and religion may continue to be recognized, protected and respected. Together, we must remain the guard dogs in the face of the slippery slope which seems to await us, all across Canada, in relation to human rights, the solemnization of marriages, school policies, moral and social repercussions as well as laws which will be adopted in this light".
Bishop Plouffe, along with his colleagues of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked the Canadian Senate to carefully study Bill C-38 and to consider the social, religious, legal and civil effects. According to him, "the Senate would adequately fulfill its role if it could listen at last to the greatest possible number of Canadians from all parts of the country and all walks of life who wish to make their views on this subject known."
He wishes to thank all those who have dedicated their time and energy thus far to making the position of the Catholic Church known and to defending it. Finally, he wishes to reassure the faithful that the Diocese will continue to offer the sacraments according to the established practices of the Catholic Tradition.