There is a false impression being given by the local media and by gay activists that same-sex marriage in Hawaii is inevitable. Dear readers of this blog and friends, this is simply not true. Please read the important message from Bishop Larry Silva and pray for him and all courageous bishops and priests who continue to speak out against something that will be very detrimental to our society, and will change forever marriage and the family.
Diocese of Honolulu●Office of the Bishop● www.catholichawaii.org
1184 Bishop Street, Honolulu, HI 96813-2859 ●808.585.3347 ● firstname.lastname@example.org
August 22, 2013
URGENT LETTER TO ALL CATHOLICS IN THE STATE OF HAWAII
FROM BISHOP LARRY SILVA
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The issue of same-sex marriage is in the limelight once again in our community, with a move for a
special legislative session to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii.
While the Catholic Church is clear in its insistence that true marriage can only be between one man
and one woman, there are many people, even among Catholics, who perceive such insistence as
unjust discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Therefore, it is urgent to
clarify certain issues.
People with same-sex attraction are a part of our community, even our Catholic community, and
they deserve dignity and respect. Unjust discrimination against them is not acceptable. However,
not all discrimination – that is, making distinctions – is unjust. We discriminate quite justly
between adults and minors, even though both have equal dignity. We justly discriminate between
those who are married and those who are not, because marriage is a special societal bond that
assures the continuation of the race in the context of raising children in the loving environment that
appreciates the complementary nature of male and female. (If there were no such discrimination,
same-sex marriage would not be an issue, since anyone who wanted to apply for any benefits could
do so, whether married or not.) There is just discrimination between parents and children,
professors and students. While they are all equal in dignity as persons, they are not equal in their
roles. We must therefore be discriminating about the very language of discrimination, because
there are those who demonize the word and who presume that any kind of discrimination is unjust.
To discriminate between heterosexual and same-sex couples regarding marriage is not, despite the
hype on the streets, unjust discrimination.
If same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, its implications will go far beyond the
relationship of this or that couple. There will be long term and definitive changes in our entire
culture. If same-sex marriage becomes the law, it will become “normal” or the norm for our land.
If one may marry without discriminating whether the partner is of the same sex or the opposite sex,
then such “non-discrimination” will become the norm in other areas, too. Our school textbooks will
have to portray sexual attraction as normal, no matter to whom one is attracted. When schools have
dances, boys will have the choice of inviting a girl on a date or another boy on a date. Our youth,
whose sexual identity is formed over time, will be forced to decide prematurely if they are
heterosexual or homosexual, thus curtailing normal sexual maturation, with all its stumblings and
challenges.If same-sex couples are given the legal right to marry under the pretence that discrimination that
excludes them from marriage is unjust, why would people who prefer several spouses at the same
time not be afforded the same right? Why would we taxpayers be exempt from paying for marital
benefits for all those spouses? Why would there be discrimination against those who decide to
marry their mother or father, brother or sister, so that they can gain spousal benefits for them? Once
we give in to the false notion that same-sex couples have a right to marry, how can we reasonably
deny the same “right” to anyone who chooses to enter a “marriage” with a close relative, a minor
If same-sex marriage becomes “norm”-alized, would parents be considered bigoted if they raised
their daughters to be attracted to boys and their sons to be attracted to girls? Or must parents now
be completely neutral in steering their children toward the choice of a mate?
Would people who firmly believe that God made us male and female, and that God has revealed
that homosexual ACTS are sinful be allowed to hold such beliefs? Or would they have to be “reeducated” to think as “normal” people think? Would churches that refuse to celebrate same-sex
marriage because of deeply held religious convictions be deprived of the freedom to live those
convictions? Would Christians, Muslims, and others who believe that homosexual ACTS are
contrary to God’s law (the law that governs those whom God himself has created in such wonder)
be persecuted for holding on to those beliefs that have been so sacred to us for centuries? Will the
religious freedom we treasure be only a paper freedom, while we will be told what we may or may
Children will be the greatest casualties, in that they will be deprived of being raised in a loving
home by a mother and a father who loves them and whose love cooperated with God’s plan in
creating them. When children are deprived of such a home, there will be more poverty, more social
ills, more juvenile suicides, and more problems than we can imagine.
The issue goes far beyond simply the private relationship of this or that couple, and its implications
will be far reaching and profound. The language of the proponents is meant to convince us that this
is a civil rights issue and that anyone who does not agree is bigoted. Do not be led astray with such
language, and do not allow yourself to be bullied by it. Remember, Adam and Eve themselves fell
for the serpent’s manipulative promise that they would be like gods, knowing good from evil, if
they just ate the fruit God had forbidden them to eat. The fruit might have been tasty at the
moment, but it ultimately brought us all into a very sorry state.
Several legislators who are not in favor of same-sex marriage have told me that the loudest voices
on the issue are those who favor it, while those who say they are opposed are relatively silent. They
pointed out that legislators do respond to their constituents and do care what they have to say, but if
they only hear from one side of the issue, they presume that everyone is fine with same-sex
IT IS TIME FOR OUR FAITH COMMUNITY TO MOBILIZE INTO ACTION. The timing is
critical, since this issue may be presented in a special legislative session within the next couple of
weeks. YOUR LEGISLATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU NOW! I therefore ask everyone
to do the following within this coming week:
Contact both the State Senator and Representative who represent your district, and let them
know how you want them to vote on this critical issue for our community. A list of
legislators by district is attached to this letter, along with phone numbers and email
addresses. Please be courteous, thanking them for the very difficult work they do, but be
clear. It is said that some have already made up their minds, and that may be so. But minds
and hearts can be changed with the influence of constituents.
Ask your friends and neighbors who believe that marriage should only be between one man
and one woman to contact their legislators as well.
Pray for your legislators. (But do not let your prayers be mere words! See above.) Pray for
the wisdom, courage, and commitment to contact your legislators and let them know what
you think. I recommend that all Catholics offer ONE ROSARY (or at the least a decade of
the rosary) each day in the next several weeks, so that the power of prayer will shape the
discussions and deliberations about this critical issue. If possible, pray at all hours, walking
around the block that surrounds the State Capitol (without forming an assembly that would
need a permit), so that just as God tumbled down the walls of Jericho, he will be able to do
so through the prayers AND ACTION of his beloved people.
Be understanding and loving toward those who do not agree with you – even Catholic
legislators who have committed to vote for same-sex marriage. Pray for a change of heart
and the formation of an informed conscience, and let your love be the most powerful agent
of change. After all, God is love!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu