Bishops talk marriage, religious freedom at regional meeting in Charleston
CHARLESTON — The Provincial Assembly of Bishops met in Charleston, S.C., June 25-27 for their annual conference to discuss various Church issues.
According to several of the bishops, one of the main topics they focused on was upholding the sacrament of marriage.
Charleston Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said they spoke of ways to come up with practical policies to make it easy for people to understand where the Church stands on practical issues related to marriage.
Two areas of concern for dioceses center on marriages between Catholics and people of another faith, and where a marriage ceremony can take place. Bishop Guglielmone said more and more often, couples want to be married in all sorts of locales, not inside a church, and "we're trying to preserve the sanctity of the holy place."
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta said they cover a lot of Church business during these regular meetings, but primarily they provide an opportunity for fellowship and mutual support.
The other bishops agreed, saying that there have been new bishops installed in the region for each of the past three years, and the gatherings are a good way to get to know one another, share ideas, and support each other through prayer.
"It's a great opportunity for fraternal sharing regarding the pastoral issues that we all face," noted Bishop Peter J. Jugis.
Bishop Jugis said the group also talked about the increasing threats to religious freedom in the U.S., as well as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' "For Your Marriage" campaign (online at www.foryourmarriage.org), which educates Catholics about the societal impact of marriage and which provides married couples with tools of support, education and prayer.
Archbishop Gregory led the assembly and celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston on June 26.
Concelebrants included Bishop Guglielmone and Bishop Emeritus David B. Thompson of Charleston, Bishop Jugis, Bishop Luis R. Zarama of Atlanta, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh, and Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer and Bishop Emeritus J. Kevin Boland, both of Savannah.
During his homily, the archbishop spoke about holy and wise people from the past and our desire to capture their knowledge and use it in life.
Jesus' teachings, including His commandment to love one another as oneself, is worth striving for, Archbishop Gregory said.
"It sounds so simple ... but yet it is one of the most challenging mandates that we can follow in trying to follow Jesus' teachings," he said.
Jesus didn't qualify the statement, the archbishop said, so it applies to everyone – even people we don't agree with or even like.
— Amy Wise Taylor, The Catholic Miscellany. Photo provided by The Catholic Miscellany
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