Letter to +Dolan

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Archbishop Timothy Dolan
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
14 E 51st St
New York, 10022

Dear Excellency:

You seem to be having palpitations at the prospect, ever more likely, that the Empire State will legalize same-sex marriage (SSM). This would represent, you say, a “perilous presumption of the state to re-invent the very definition of an
undeniable truth-one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and
fidelity, hoping for children-that has served as the very cornerstone
of civilization and culture from the start?”

How could such a thing be?

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York,
in the United States of America–not in China or North Korea. In those
countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights,
relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the
government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and
what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

Actually, last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear that Your Rotundity is living, oh, 30 miles by limo from Connecticut, a Land of Steady Habits in the United States of America that legalized SSM next door to your archdiocese a few years ago. And yet, having removed the very cornerstone whereof you speak, we find our civilization and culture to be pretty much intact. This past legislative session, we even managed to raise taxes to avoid draconian cuts in programs for the needy and passed a law requiring companies to pay for sick leave–policies that accord nicely, I’m sure, with your understanding of Catholic social teaching.

Meanwhile in Vermont, another jurisdiction bordering your state that recognizes SSM, they’ve just passed legislation establishing a single-payer system for universal health care–going an important step further than the health care coverage pioneered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which also pioneered SSM in the U.S., and which also borders your state. Universal health care is, I know, something close to your heart.

In short, we New Englanders feel like we’re moving ahead quite nicely in the civilization department. As for culture, have you checked out the recent records of the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics against your own local teams? OK, maybe the Patriots not so much. But there are plenty of Catholics hereabouts, doing their thing in their own way, unimpeded by presumptuous communiqués from our governments. Except maybe in New Hampshire, which also has SSM but which voted in a bunch of rowdy Republicans last year. Anyway, why don’t you come up and see us some time, and check out the state of our civilization and culture for yourself? I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Sincerely yours,
Mark Silk
Trinity College
300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106

  • Kevin M. Schultz

    Smart letter but “Your Rotundity”?

  • Mark Silk

    Well, he’s always joking about his weight. But given that he’s a cardinal-in-waiting, how about “Your Imminent Eminence”?