Marriage and its redefinition, a response from Bishop Joseph Kopacz

CDJ-Shield-FinalMarriage and its redefinition, a response from Bishop Joseph Kopacz

Grace and peace from God our Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Many have raised their voices from across the spectrum of ideologies, religious convictions, and all levels of society in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to legally sanction same sex marriage throughout our country. I too want to weigh in on such a critical court decision that has radically altered the definition of marriage. In doing so I am mindful of the inspired words of Saint Peter in his first letter. In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1Peter 3,15)
The Church, as stewards of the mysteries of God, and servants of Jesus Christ (1Cor. 4,1) has been entrusted with a way of life in marriage that is solidly set in Scripture, in Tradition, in Christian Anthropology, and in our Sacramental life. The union of man and woman in marriage emerges out of God’s creative work as the primary relationship for all of human life. It has been the cornerstone, not only for the Church, but also for civil society for millennia. Its demise in the modern world has led to enormous problems for individuals, families, and society.
The Catholic Church has cherished and celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage among its seven sacred gifts (sacraments) bequeathed to us by the Lord Jesus. The roots of marriage are foundational in the Word of God beginning with the second chapter of Genesis where a “man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two become one flesh.” (Genesis 2, 24). Jesus clearly confirmed God’s creative action regarding marriage in Mark’s Gospel when he reminded his hearers about his Father’s intention from the beginning. (Mark 10, 6-10). Later in the New Testament the basis for the sacrament of Marriage is established when the author of Ephesians eloquently wrote “that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5, 25). Therefore, the love of husband and wife in Marriage is a sacred sign of the Lord’s faithful and permanent love for us.
Therefore, we are stewards and servants of the sacred institution of marriage that we are not free to change in our tradition of faith. In the light of faith and reason, it is regrettable that what God intended from the beginning has been trampled so often in our modern world, and now redefined.
Yet, our unshakeable commitment to the dignity of every human person created in the image and likeness of God, and in need of salvation, motivates all of our ministries and parish life. Our personal experience of the merciful love of God, the key to eternal life, must direct our encounters, actions and conversations with all people, including our brothers and sisters of same sex attraction, and lifestyles. Although the Church cannot accept the redefinition of marriage, we are compelled by the command of Jesus Christ to love one another as he has loved us. This is the love that moves heaven and earth, and seeks to reconcile all people with God and one another.

+Bishop Joseph Kopacz

Diocese of Jackson

USCCB Response

Statement from Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, Archbishop of Mobile

June 10, 2015 Statement Regarding Cathedral School and the Investigation of Former Teacher and Coach, Brett Hinson

Media Contact:     Maureen Smith
Director of Communications, Diocese of Jackson
(601) 969-3581 — maureen.smith@jacksondiocese.org

Cathedral School and the Catholic Diocese of Jackson take the safety of students very seriously.  Last week, Cathedral School and the Diocese of Jackson became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by a former teacher and coach, Brett Hinson, involving a student at the school. Cathedral School no longer employs Mr. Hinson. Cathedral School and the Diocese of Jackson will continue to cooperate with authorities in the investigation of the charges levied against Mr. Hinson.  The administration of Cathedral School visited with the parents of the student and offered counseling for the student and her family.

Before the allegations were levied against Mr. Hinson, Cathedral School administrators were unaware of any alleged improper conduct. Beginning in 1985, the Diocese of Jackson implemented a written policy and procedure regarding reporting and handling of sexual misconduct claims against lay and church personnel. Sexual misconduct by school or church personnel violates human dignity and the mission of the Church. Cathedral School and the Diocese of Jackson are committed to ensuring that children being served by the school are not at risk of sexual abuse.  The spiritual well-being of all victims, their families, and others in the community is of particular concern to the Church. For more information about these policies and the procedures, visit the diocesan website at www.jacksondiocese.org and click on “Protection of Children.”

We encourage all parents and students to contact school administrators to report any allegations of misconduct. In addition to the availability of school counselors, the Diocese of Jackson has appointed a Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, Valerie McClellan.  Her contact information is also available on the diocesan website.