DATE: April 11, 2013

RE: Coppola Petitions

FROM: Sean P. Dolan
Today, April 11, 2013, the Diocese of Rockville Centre was presented with pages of petitions “telling the bishop to let Nicholas resume volunteering . . .” The 350 pages of petitions (one ream of paper is 500 sheets) dropped off at the Diocesan Pastoral Center at approximately 9:33 AM did not, as it would appear, fill the three large boxes that were received. In fact, two of the boxes were empty.
The Catholic Church recognizes that all persons share equally in the dignity of being human and are entitled to have that human dignity protected. This does not, however, justify the creation of a new definition for marriage, a term whose traditional meaning is of critical importance to the furtherance of fundamental societal interests.
Well settled Church teaching recognizes marriage to be the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, holy and loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. Regardless of civil pronouncements, this definition does not, and indeed cannot, change in the eyes of the Church because it is rooted in biological teleology and natural law. Others may disagree but they have no justification to prevent the Church from living according to her teaching and protecting that teaching and the lives of faithful Catholics from those who would disregard it. Regardless of contrary opinion or even civil legislation, the Church must be faithful to her teaching and consistent and coherent living out that teaching.
As Bishop Murphy has said: Church teaching “is not discrimination against homosexual men and women. No one has a right to discriminate against persons because of sexual orientation.” It is, however, the case that all Church institutions and teachers of the faith are bound to support this teaching, particularly by their public action.
The Diocese respects those who may have signed a petition but in turn expects others to respect the Church, which will remain clear in her teaching and faithful in living that teaching for the good of one and all.