Urging local Catholics to speak out in favor of traditional marriage between a man and woman, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said Friday said the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize same sex unions will have major “ramifications” and that the Catholic Church would not endorse or perform any such marriages.
“The Supreme Court by ruling has changed the definition of marriage and also changed the definition of family and family life,” Aymond said by phone interview Friday afternoon. “This ramification will be felt for many generations to come.”
Aymond said he “was not at all surprised” by the decision and the ruling does not change the church’s position on what constitutes marriage.
“Catholic Christians believe that marriage and the sacrament of marriage is between one man and one woman,” Aymond said. “This belief we have is deeply rooted in scriptures and natural law.”
He made clear that the Catholic Church would not be overseeing or participating in same-sex marriage proceedings in New Orleans, adding that the First Amendment protects religious leaders from “acting against their beliefs.”
The archbishop also urged like-minded Catholics to speak up about their beliefs concerning marriage, seizing the ruling as an opportunity to “do a little bit of teaching about the sacrament of marriage.”
“Whenever there is something that goes against what we believe in, it’s important that we don’t just remain silent but give witness to our beliefs,” Aymond said. “We have to be courageous in our belief, in holding it up.”
Despite a heated debate brewing in Louisiana — as Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a scathing statements against the high court’s decision and Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said he wouldn’t begin immediately issuing marriage licenses— Aymond urged Christians to remain respectful of others’ opinions. He asked that members of his faith not resort to “name-calling” or “hatred.”
Aymond continued that people of same-sex orientation were still “welcome” into the Catholic Church, pointing to the pastoral care of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, overseen locally by Father Salvador Galvez and Father Emile C “Buddy” Noel.
The church just wouldn’t marry them, he said.
“This is a way of showing respect to all people,” Aymond said. “By showing respect to someone does not mean we agree with their actions.”