Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese, said his church took a strong stand in support of Proposition 8.
Wester said the debate invoked strong feelings on both sides - thousands of angry protesters marched around the headquarters of the Mormon church Friday - and called for civility and respect in the gay marriage debate.
Wester said the proposition drew the support of many other faiths and ethnic groups and that it shouldn't be interpreted as an attack on any gay person. The bishop made his remarks in a statement circulated Saturday to Utah news outlets.
Wester is leader of 200,000 Catholics who make up less than 10 percent of Utah's population. The Salt Lake Diocese governs 63 parishes and missions throughout the state.
"Like our friends in the Mormon faith, the Catholic Church has long championed and promoted the sacredness of traditional marriage and the importance of the family in our society," Wester said.
"While acknowledging that this position is not universally held in our society today, our churches are committed to proclaiming the truth and we cherish our ability to participate in the democratic process," he said.