Faithful Citizenship: Marriage and family

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series prepared by the Wisconsin Catholic Conference as a guide for those who wish to inform their consciences in order to participate more fully in the political process. To learn more about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (FCFC), visit faithfulcitizenship.org and wisconsincatholic.org.


Why are marriage and family essential?
“The family founded upon marriage is the basic cell of human society. The role, responsibilities and needs of families should be central, national priorities. Marriage must be defined, recognized and protected as a lifelong exclusive commitment between a man and a woman, and as the source of the next generation and the protective haven for children. The institution of marriage is undermined by the ideology of ‘gender’ that dismisses sexual difference and the complementarity of the sexes and falsely presents ‘gender’ as nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality, which a person may choose at variance with his or her biological reality (see “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,” no. 224). As Pope Francis has taught, ‘the removal of (sexual) difference creates a problem, not a solution’ (General Audience, April 22, 2015). … This affirmation in no way compromises the church’s opposition to unjust discrimination against those who experience ‘deep-seated homosexual tendencies,’ who ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358)” (FCFC, 70).

Which public policies help families?
“Policies on taxes, work, divorce, immigration and welfare should uphold the God-given meaning and value of marriage and family, help families stay together and reward responsibility and sacrifice for children. Wages should allow workers to support their families, and public assistance should be available to help poor families to live in dignity. Such assistance should be provided in a manner that promotes eventual financial autonomy” (FCFC, 70).

What rights do children have?
“Pope Francis has stressed, ‘Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity’ (Address on the Complementarity Between Man and Woman, Nov. 17, 2014). Children who may be placed in foster care or with adoptive parents have a right to be placed in homes with a married man and woman, or if not possible, in environments that do not contradict the authentic meaning of marriage. Child welfare service providers, consistent with their religious beliefs, have a right to place children in such homes rather than in other environments. We oppose contraceptive and abortion mandates in public programs and health plans, which endanger rights of conscience and can interfere with parents’ right to guide the moral formation of their children” (FCFC, 71).