MASSACHUSETTS CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
WEST END PLACE
150 Staniford Street, Suite 5, Boston, MA 02114-2511
Phone (617) 367-6060
FAX (617) 367-2767
May 7, 2007
Hon. Jarrett Barrios
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Senator Barrios:
We, the Roman Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts with nearly 3 million parishioners in communities all across the Commonwealth, urge you to vote at the Constitutional Convention, scheduled to be called to order on May 9th, to move the Marriage Amendment to the November 2008 state-wide ballot.
As Bishops, we reiterate our position that we do not seek the translation of our religious convictions into public policy. Rather we speak based on universally accessible moral reasoning in order to promote the common good. We believe that society has a moral responsibility to foster the good of families, since the good of the family is closely linked to the institution of marriage as it has been recognized from time immemorial.
The proponents of the Marriage Amendment have followed the process afforded them by the Massachusetts Constitution. A record number of registered voters signed petitions asking to put the amendment on the 2008 ballot. A recent Suffolk University poll concluded that nearly two-thirds of the Commonwealth’s registered voters want to exercise their constitutional right to vote on the Marriage Amendment.
We ask you to listen to the people. We ask you not to deny the right of our citizens to vote in this democracy. We ask you to let the people express their views on the future of marriage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please vote to move the Marriage Amendment forward for the voter’s consideration at the 2008 ballot.
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley
Archdiocese of Boston
Most Rev. George W. Coleman
Diocese of Fall River
Most Rev. Timothy A. McDonnell
Diocese of Springfield
Most Rev. Robert J. McManus
Diocese of Worcester
This has been a difficult budget year and the decline in revenues have forced the legislature to make some difficult decisions. Many services provided to poor and vulnerable communities are at risk of elimination. Developmentally delayed adults--some served by Catholic providers--are in danger, as are those suffering with addictions and mental illness. The poor are generally impacted, and the homeless in particular. Reduction in support for housing and homeless programs have the very real likelihood of increasing the pain and reducing the life opportunities of the poor in our midst. Immigrants of all backgrounds are facing a backlash based in ignorance and hate.
In this context, I have waited anxiously to hear from the Catholic Church, my church, on behalf of these effected individuals. You have a strong and persuasive moral voice. But it has been silent. Rather than focusing on issues that have little impact on the citizens of our state, I encourage you to speak up for these issues--ones that actually impact the people we profess to care about in our church.