Bishop Richard J. Malone, apostolic administrator of the Portland diocese, has stated that Catholics who support same-sex "marriage" are “unfaithful to Catholic doctrine.”
“As we prepare to make these decisions on Election Day, we need to be asking ourselves if our vote will serve to advance human dignity, support life in all of its stages of development, and serve the common good,” he wrote in a statement released Oct. 25.
Maine voters will face a referendum Nov. 6 asking them to approve same-sex marriage.
Bishop Malone said that Catholics don't look at referenda and candidates' positions “within a vacuum,” but in “the context of an educated conscience formed through scripture and the teachings of the faith.”
He urged Maine voters to consider “if our vote will serve to advance human dignity, support life in all of its stages of development, and serve the common good.”
He focused his statement on Question 1, the referendum which would permit “same-sex marriage” in the state.
“Any Catholic who supports a redefinition of marriage—or so called ‘same-sex marriage’—is unfaithful to Catholic doctrine,” he said. He went on to say that the groups “Catholics for Marriage Equality” and “Catholics for a Free Choice” do not speak for the Church and that “faithful Catholics will give no credence” to the groups.
In addition to marriage and the defense of life, Bishop Malone discussed the importance of both religious freedom and the “societal obligation” to care for and nurture the poor.
“A Catholic whose conscience has been properly formed by scripture and Church teaching cannot justify a vote for a candidate or referendum question that opposes the teachings of the Church,” he wrote.
“The definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, open to the birth of children, is a matter of established Catholic doctrine.”
Bishop Malone released another statement the same day stating a $100,000 donation from the Knights of Columbus to Protect Marriage Maine was not made at his request or “at the urging of the Diocese.”
In 2009, voters in the state approved a ballot measure that overturned the legislature's earlier recognition of “gay marriage.” That vote was approved by 53 percent to 47.
That year the Portland diocese was a major player in the campaign to overturn “gay marriage.” This time around it has chosen to play “no formal role” in the campaign because “the best use of resources” was judged to be in educating about Church teaching on the nature of marriage, according to the diocese.
This year's referendum is expected to be a very close vote. Polls suggests that 52 percent of Maine voters support the proposal, 44 percent oppose it, and 4 percent are undecided.
The bishop concluded, saying “Vote your faith on November 6.”
Bishop Malone led the Diocese of Portland from 2004 until his appointment to Buffalo, New York earlier this year. He will remain the apostolic administrator of Portland until a successor is appointed.