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Cardinal Wuerl: Supreme Court Won't Sway Church on Marriage Issue

By Stephen Feller and Kathleen Walter   |   Sunday, 16 Dec 2012 09:41 PM

The Supreme Court’s announcement last week that it will review the legality of gay marriage will not have any effect on Catholic teachings that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

Wuerl also told Newsmax that the Church is seeking to attract young people who have abandoned the faith through aggressive outreach on college campuses and on the Internet to show them the benefits of its teachings.

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“The one thing the Catholic Church will certainly be doing is continue to teach on what actually is marriage,” Wuerl said. “Historically, going all the way back into human history, going all the way back into human nature, marriage is the word that’s used to define when a man and a woman come together and hope to generate children and raise them and live together. Other words describe other things but this has always been the definition of marriage...

"It’s as if changing a word can actually change the nature of something. If you have an apple and an orange, you can’t change them just by changing their names.”

The Archdiocese of Washington is one of many across the country involved in lawsuits to prevent religious institutions from being forced by Obamacare reforms to pay for birth control methods in its employer healthcare plans.

Wuerl noted that the Church is mainly in a wait-and-see mode because the contraceptive mandate has not yet been enacted.

“That’s why we’re in court,” Wuerl said. “We believe it’s unconstitutional for any administration to announce that this is the definition of who you are. And so we’re there trying to get that ameliorated. But, to date, I haven’t heard of any movement from the administration that would address that.

"We have to remember that we’re open to any type of discussion that would begin to move this perhaps in the right direction," he added. "There hasn’t been an accommodation, a real one, even though that word gets used. So I would hope in the future months something might happen.

“We’ve seen some courts rule that the case isn’t ripe yet, that we haven’t suffered any harm and so we should wait and file the suit later; and there are other courts that say, obviously, you’ve suffered some damage, you’ve suffered harm because you have to be preparing yourself for what’s going to happen very, very shortly,” he continued. “So, right now, we have mixed responses from the courts and we’re just watching all of that make its way through the system.”

As Catholics across the country personally work to reinforce teachings regarding marriage and contraception, Wuerl said American dioceses are following the lead of Pope Benedict XVI to reach out to Catholics who have “drifted” from the Church.

The Pope himself joinedTwitter as a way to reach the young and disaffected. Catholic organizations are streamlining and explaining the message in sharper terms to make it more relevant to modern life, Wuerl said.

“This interest in representing the gospel, this interest in saying to young people there’s a whole other way to live, that our secular society doesn’t offer everything,” Wuerl said. “It doesn’t have all of the answers. And many of the truly important answers to questions like how should I live, what are the values that should guide my life, what’s the purpose of living, they come from God, they come from faith.”

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