July 6th, 2005

My Dear People,

I am writing to you once again on the issue of the sacrament of marriage: the gift of God that so many of you have offered to each other and are modeling in your daily lives. As Christ is to the Church - sustainer, lover and protector, - so you are to each other in the sacrament of marriage.

In the first place, I thank you for the efforts so many of you have made over the last two years by prayer, celebration and the voicing of your opinions in support of marriage. As a group we have acted with conviction and charity, spurred by a desire to preserve and enhance the common good through preservation of marriage and the family.

With the passage of Bill C-38, the government of our country has arbitrarily fashioned a new concept of marriage. This is a radical and unjustifiable break from ages-old tradition, and robs the matrimonial union of a man and a woman of its uniqueness. The position of the Church is clear. Marriage is a union between a woman and a man for their mutual support and for the procreation of children. It is the source of the family and the bedrock of society. Be assured that the Church will not compromise on the meaning of this unique institution, which has been the foundation of civilization from its beginning.

As Bishop, I call upon all our clergy and faithful to uphold the true meaning of marriage. Provide support for those who are married and those who soon will be. Pray for the success of marriages, and celebrate in every way possible the contribution that marriage makes to our society by way of the family. It is now by our witness, through word and deed, that we must persuade our government and courts that the course of action they have undertaken is misguided. Our efforts are necessary for the sake of the common good.

Let us entrust this cause to the intercession of Mary, the mother of our Lord, and of St. Joseph, the patron of Canada and of the family.

Sincerely yours in Christ our Lord,

+ Marcel Gervais
Archbishop of Ottawa