In a statement issued late Friday, Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino said he was "deeply saddened" by a federal judge's ruling earlier in the day that Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Morlino has been a frequent and vocal critic of gay marriage. His statement suggested that allowing gay marriage would lead to other problems in society -- or "dominos" falling, as he put it.
The complete text of his statement follows:
"First, it bears repeating that, we must respect, love, and care for every individual we encounter, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or how they define themselves. This will never change. It is at the core of who we are as members of Christ's Church. Christ, Himself, invites each individual to know and love Him and live a life in response to His love. His love and mercy can heal all divisions that separate us; however, we must acknowledge the divisions that exist - notably those we choose through our actions. All are invited to this love and these graces offered by Christ, through His Church. This applies to all who sincerely seek the Truth.
"Marriage is, and can only ever be, a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or any vote. This is not based on any private sectarian viewpoint, but on the natural moral law that is universally binding on all peoples, at all times, and inscribed into our human nature, as man and woman from the beginning of creation. It behooves us to safeguard the sacred ecology of all nature, especially of our human nature.
"In striking down the constitutional amendment in our state which protects marriage, the court has, once again, shaken one of the most precious and essential building blocks of our civilization. There can be no question that the best formation for children is in the home of their biological mother and father, generally speaking, and we should always have a greater concern for future generations than we do for ourselves.
"Marriage, between one man and one women with openness to children, is an element of the very first "domino" of civilization. The very nature of marriage naturally generates life. When that first "domino" falls, everything that is good, true, and beautiful, which is rooted on the natural family, is seriously threatened. If the "domino" of true marriage falls, then fall all subsequent "dominos." This is demonstrated, too often, in a culture that increasingly chooses death over life.
"And so, I cannot find myself otherwise than deeply saddened. We trust that every avenue of just recourse will be examined and pursued by competent authorities, including the state attorney general. The Diocese of Madison will participate in the way that seems most prudent. For my own part, I will continue to speak strongly about the truth and beauty of marriage and encourage my brother priests and deacons, and all the lay faithful, to do the same.
"Let our fervent prayers not be lacking in the days ahead."
You can reach reporter Doug Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-252-6149.