Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, a devout Roman Catholic, has predicted his church will evolve to embrace marriage equality -- but his bishop says don't hold your breath.
Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, made the prediction about the Roman Catholic Church at a Human Rights Campaign gala in Washington, D.C., Saturday. "I think it's going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who, in the first chapter of Genesis, surveyed the entire world, including mankind, and said, 'It is very good,'" said the candidate, currently a U.S. senator from Virginia. His home church is in Richmond.
But Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, head of the Richmond Catholic diocese, countered Kaine, without mentioning his name, in a statement posted Tuesday on the diocesan website:
More than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage, and despite recent statements from the campaign trail, the Catholic Church's 2000-year-old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged and resolute.
As Catholics, we believe, all humans warrant dignity and deserve love and respect, and unjust discrimination is always wrong. Our understanding of marriage, however, is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator's original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one's rights, least of all those of children, who should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father.
We call on Catholics and all those concerned for preserving this sacred union to unite in prayer, to live and speak out with compassion and charity about the true nature of marriage -- the heart of family life.
"DiLorenzo is known as a conservative bishop but rarely weighs in on political fights," CNN reports. The network asked the Clinton-Kaine campaign organization for comment on DiLorenzo's statement, but officials there declined.
Many LGBT Catholics and their allies have praised Pope Francis's attitudes toward LGBT people, which appear to be more welcoming and inclusive than those of his predecessors. However, few expect the church to abandon its opposition to same-sex marriage, and same-sex relationships in general, anytime soon. The church teaches that people with same-sex attractions should never act on them.
Kaine, who became a marriage equality supporter relatively recently -- in 2013 -- has diverged from Catholic doctrine on other issues during his political career, CNN notes. For instance, he says he is personally opposed to abortion, in line with church teaching, but as an elected official he supports a woman's legal right to undergo the procedure.