September 18, 2006

Dear Faithful in Christ:

Current circumstances lead me to address you once again on the subject of marriage. In the near future the issue of marriage will be addressed in the House of Commons. A vote will be taken to determine if we, as a nation, should review this issue and restore marriage to its traditional and proper definition.

Marriage is the union of a man and a woman for their mutual support and for the conceiving of children who can be brought up in the security of a family based on the stable life-long relationship of their parents. Marriage creates the setting for the domestic Church, where children will first learn about God and the blessings he has bestowed upon us. From marriage, through the family, flow love, charity and the basis of good citizenship dedicated to the common good. All great civilizations have had their beginnings and derived their strength from recognition of the key role of marriage and the family.

In June 2005, in contradiction to common sense and the experience of centuries, the Canadian government changed the definition of marriage from the union of a woman and a man to the union of two persons. The process by which this was done was flawed in a number of ways, not the least of which was the fact that our elected representatives were not allowed in all cases to vote in accordance with their consciences. This time, as Members of Parliament consider such a crucially important issue, their vote must be a free one.

I am, therefore, requesting that you contact your local MP and ask her or him to ensure that the vote is free and reflects the will of the people and also to urge her or him to vote in favour of re-opening the issue of the definition of marriage.

Sincerely yours in Christ our Lord,

+ Marcel Gervais
Archbishop of Ottawa