Thomas Paprocki, Catholic Bishop of Springfield, Illinois slammed Catholics supporting marriage equality, saying they are helping to destroy the family.
In a special speech to honor Valentine's Day and discuss the meaning of love, the Bishop also said that being gay is a 'condition' that can be dealt with through a 'life of chastity'.
The speech was timed ahead of tomorrow's planned debate of Illinois Senate that is tipped to approve marriage equality legislation
The Bishop warned Catholic supporters of gay marriage saying: 'We would do well to remember the color red is associated with St. Valentine’s Day because Valentine died as a martyr on February 14, about the year 270.
'Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Emperor Claudius II. This Valentine’s Day we would also do well to focus on a more authentic understanding of the word “love".
'Love never encourages sin or leads a person further into sin, but seeks instead to help others live a holy life. As St. Valentine demonstrated, love seeks to lead us further away from sin and closer to the truth. [...]
'Catholics who propose or promote the legal establishment of marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman harm the common good of society, as known by reason, and set themselves against the settled teaching of the Church.
'The Catholic Church has great love and compassion for those who experience same-sex attraction and offers pastoral help for people dealing with this condition to help them live a life of chastity.
'This is a separate issue, however, from the definition of marriage as a natural institution between a man and a woman committed to an exclusive and life-long relationship open to the potential to bring new life into the world'.
Illinois lawmakers are expected to vote tomorrow (14 February) to legalize same-sex marriage.
The measure would grant same sex couples the same rights as traditional couples.
It's expected to clear the Senate without problems, and then goes to the state's house for approval, in time for Valentine's Day.