April 1, 2013

Cardinal Dolan: Catholic Church could do better on gay outreach

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timothy dolan

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York reviews New York's annual St. Patrick's Day parade outside St. Patrick's Cathedral. RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

(RNS) Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the top U.S. Catholic prelate, says the Roman Catholic Church has to make sure that its defense of traditional marriage is not reduced to an attack on gays and lesbians.

Dolan is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and last month was reputed to have gathered some votes in the Vatican conclave where Pope Francis was eventually elected.

timothy dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the top U.S. Catholic prelate, says the Roman Catholic Church has to make sure that its defense of traditional marriage is not reduced to an attack on gays and lesbians. RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

He made his remarks on two morning talk shows on Easter Sunday (March 31), just days after the Supreme Court heard arguments in two same-sex marriage cases.

Dolan says the church could work on being more welcoming to gays and lesbians, noting it hasn’t “been too good at that.”

Dolan, who is archbishop of New York, was blasted by gay marriage opponents for failed lobbying efforts when the state passed gay marriage legislation in 2011.

On Sunday on the ABC News program “This Week,” he said the church tries its “darnedest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody.”

Dolan says he would tell gay men and lesbians that God loves them and they’re entitled to friendship. But he says marriage is a union between a man and a woman “where children can come about naturally.”

Dolan made similar comments on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the gay Catholic group New Ways Ministry, which has often been at odds with the church hierarchy, called Dolan’s remarks “nothing short of an Easter miracle.”

“This is the first time that the cardinal has made such a positive statement about God’s love for lesbian and gay people,” DeBernardo said. “Such a statement is a refreshing change from the usual harsh rhetoric that the church hierarchy uses when discussing LGBT issues.”

(Cathy Lynn Grossman writes for USA Today. Kevin Eckstrom contributed to this report.)

  • Southern Baptist

    God “loves” child molesters but he won’t accept them into Heaven UNLESS they ASK FORGIVENESS and STOP THE SINFUL BEHAVIOR!

    Gays CAN be saved but ONLY by giving up the lifestyle!

  • Ohso

    Mr. Dolan forgets either that he is Supposed to be a Catholic Leader (or maybe just a CHINO publicity hound), or that the Catholic Church Has Directly addressed these issues…
    – in an Honest and Compassionate manner that does not pander to SSAD (Same Sex Attraction Disorder) – but Also seeks to Help those afflicted from acting out such Aberrant Pathological Homosex Behaviors…

    Let alone the Separatist / Neo-Exterminationist MISANDRY (Hatred of Men & Boys, Masculinity and Normal Heterosexuality) that is the Real ‘Orientation’ of the Twysted Systerhood and their Goal of creating “A World Devoid of Men”:

    Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

    “…Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it.
    These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.

    The Church’s ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church.
    But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church’s position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.

    9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it.
    It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.

    There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws.
    This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing.
    Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.

    The Church can never be so callous. ..”

  • JRooney

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan!

    God loves everybody! He doesn’t love the evil things we do (homosexual acts are certainly no exception) but with His love and His grace – we can turn from evil and orient our paths towards Heaven!

    Does God hate those who practice sexual perversion? NO! He loves them! But, He loves them too much for them to continue in their sin. Our loving Father wants what is best for us all – and sometimes what is best for us isn’t what we “want.” Much less what society says we should want. 😉

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  • Mike in Wisconsin

    Cardinal Dolan seems to be rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship. He’s not helping the church actually improve. Morality, including Biblical morality, are but human-created evolutionary adaptations designed to serve the needs of society during a certain period in history. When society’s needs change morality must also change in order to serve people better. Society is much better off when all couples, straight and gay, live in stable committed relationships.

  • gilhcan

    The first necessary step by Dolan to follow his own advice would be for him and his church clergy and religious to come out of their closets. First: They wrongly presumed that their homosexuality was a sign that a non-married (also chaste) life was meant for them, like a direction from heaven. Secondly: cloistered living from a very immature age prevented them from attaining mature sexual development at a time when homosexuality was more closeted by the church than by the rest of society and even gays themselves.

    The problems of the sexual abuse crisis were inevitable with those who did not escape healthily, somehow, from these attitudes and conditions. The church played a huge part in the immature, unnatural, unhealthy attitudes about sex in general and homosexuality in particular. Homosexuality seldom received any church attention except in confessionals, and that was harmful most of the time because confessors didn’t know what they were talking about. The best ones said nothing, but only handed out “Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.”

    Dolan, very, very belatedly, couldn’t speak more honestly or more sensibly. One of the first steps must be for the church to move off its mad pedestal of ignorance about sex in general, including celibacy, the exclusion of women from the priesthood, and Benedict’s madness about homosexuality being an “intrinsic disorder.” It is out of his “order,” if he’s not homosexual, but it is not at all out of order for those who admittedly are and are healthy about it. Benedict may have had a lot of theology under his belt, but he sadly missed out on science, psychology, and sociology studies.

    The church must get over the notion that the sole purpose of sex is procreation, even to be “open” to procreation. Human beings are a bit higher than flowers and birds and bees. Do you know of any plant or other animal who was able to develop contraceptives? The purpose of human sex is more than just pollenating and procreating. All of happiness and all of health must be taken into account. Celibates ought to be seeking advice from non-celibates about “the joys of sex” and quit publicly making it dirty while privately practicing it hypocritically, sinfully, and criminally. Oh yes, and then working with their hypocritical superiors in covering up those sins and crimes.

  • gilhcan

    The first necessary step by Dolan to follow his own advice would be for him and his church clergy and religious to come out of their closets. First: They wrongly presumed that their homosexuality was a sign that a non-married (also chaste) life was meant for them, like a direction from heaven. Secondly: cloistered living from a very immature age prevented them from attaining mature sexual development at a time when homosexuality was more closeted by the church than by the rest of society and even gays themselves.

    The problems of the sexual abuse crisis were inevitable with those who did not escape healthily, somehow, from these attitudes and conditions. The church played a huge part in the immature, unnatural, unhealthy attitudes about sex in general and homosexuality in particular. Homosexuality seldom received any church attention except in confessionals, and that was harmful most of the time because confessors didn’t know what they were talking about. The best ones said nothing, but only handed out “Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.”

    Dolan, very, very belatedly, couldn’t speak more honestly or more sensibly. One of the first steps must be for the church to move off its mad pedestal of ignorance about sex in general, including celibacy, the exclusion of women from the priesthood, and Benedict’s madness about homosexuality being an “intrinsic disorder.” It is out of his “order,” if he’s not homosexual, but it is not at all out of order for those who admittedly are and are healthy about it. Benedict may have had a lot of theology under his belt, but he sadly missed out on science, psychology, and sociology studies.

    The church must get over the notion that the sole purpose of sex is procreation, even to be “open” to procreation. Human beings are a bit higher than flowers and birds and bees. Do you know of any plant or other animal who was able to develop contraceptives? The purpose of human sex is more than just pollenating and procreating. All of happiness and all of health must be taken into account. Celibates ought to be seeking advice from non-celibates about “the joys of sex” and quit publicly making it dirty while privately practicing it hypocritically, sinfully, and criminally. Oh yes, and then working with their hypocritical superiors in covering up those sins and crimes.

  • gilhcan

    At least respectfully, healthily, and happily, right?

  • Ralph

    Why serve a clump of cells with the illusion of existence? Why even care about society if this is just an evolutionary material exercise? What is even “serve” under that context?

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  • Peter Freeman

    Cardinal Dolan’s comments should not be surprising to Mr. DeBernardo or any of the other commenters here. The USCCB put out a letter called “Always our Children” years ago which states the Church’s love and acceptance of gay people. However, because the Church will never approve of gay marriage, Catholics are seen as gay haters, which is just not true.
    I applaud Cardinal Dolan’s statements and, hopefully, he will spur the other bishops to do a better job of showing acceptance of homosexuals. My local diocese has absolutely no outreach to the gay community, Catholic gay people or even the Catholic parents of gay children. It’s time to put some action to “Always our Children”.

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