The former Roman Catholic bishop of Maine said Thursday that any Catholic who votes in favor of a referendum to allow same-sex marriage “is unfaithful to Catholic doctrine.”
Bishop Richard J. Malone, now head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., issued a statement about Question 1 through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. Even though he no longer is the bishop for Maine Catholics, Malone continues to act as the administrator for the diocese.
“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,” Malone said in the statement.
He urged Maine Catholics to “vote your faith on Nov. 6.”
Malone also said that the group Catholics for Marriage Equality did not speak for the church.
Anne Underwood of Topsham, who is a member of that group, said earlier this month that she had come to the decision to support the referendum on same-sex marriage after searching her conscience.
“The undergirding of Catholic intellectual history is the primacy of the conscience,” she said earlier this month. “There is an obligation on the part of Catholics to form one’s own conscience based on one’s own reading and one’s understanding of the Gospel and church teaching. If one’s conscience says I can’t do that, then one is obligated to follow one’s own conscience.
“How we live within the institution enriches us but also challenges us,” Underwood continued. “If we go against the church, we must do so carefully, conscientiously and prayerfully. It is the duty of a Catholic to inform his or her conscience and follow it.”