"It is with deep sadness that we will realize this Monday the creation of same-sex marriages here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," the archbishop of Boston said in a statement released Monday.
"The Catholic Church remains committed to the truth that marriage is a unique bond between a wife and a husband, a bond which is the bedrock and foundation of our families and society," he stated. "Our stand for the defense of marriage is motivated by a deep conviction concerning the common good of all citizens."
The archbishop continued: "Marriage is given special protections and benefits in law because it is the institution which best provides for the procreation and the raising of children. The creation of a right to same-sex marriage in the end will not strengthen the institution of marriage within our society but only weaken it as marriage becomes only one lifestyle choice among many others."
"Our hope is that at some point in the very near future, our legislators will enact laws to protect the unique benefit to society that the marital bond creates and the good that this bond produces for children," Archbishop O'Malley said.
"At the same time," he cautioned, "I remind all Catholics that our sadness at what has happened should not lead us into anger against or vilification of any group of people, especially our homosexual brothers and sisters. Our task as Christ's disciples is to build a civilization of love."
More than 1,000 homosexual couples sought applications for marriage licenses on the first day Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to legally wed, the Associated Press reported.
The state's high court ruled last year that same-sex couples' marriage rights are protected under the state Constitution, making Massachusetts the first state to allow homosexuals to legally wed.