Dolan is Disingenuous re: LGBT People and “Defense of Marriage”

NYC archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan

NYC archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan

“We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people.”  These words from NY Cardinal Timothy Dolan sound friendly and encouraging. They sound as if they echo his earlier statements in the same interview with George Stephanopolous recognizing even gay people are created in God’s “image and likeness” and that he (Dolan) loves gay people too.  All well and good! But if Dolan and other Catholic leaders claim that their “defense of marriage” is not an “attack on gay people,” then why did we never hear about bishops “defending marriage” until the issue of public recognition of same-sex unions and civil marriage became a viable reality in the US? Why is it that the high divorce rate among heterosexual Catholic couples wasn’t enough to spur the bishops to “defend marriage”?  Why is it that the economic pressures on the American family practically demanding that both parents work outside the home — leaving so many children to essentially raise themselves — didn’t cause the bishops to speak out and “defend marriage”?

Dolan’s Irish joviality and good-natured humor make him a darling of the media. We want to believe him and take what he says as true. Facts and history, however, tell a different tale.  The truth is that the Church’s “defense of marriage” is a direct response to the recognition by the majority of Americans and people of good will around that world of a truth that the bishops will one day regret not recognizing sooner.  That truth is this:  all persons, including God’s LGBT sons and daughters, are created in the divine image and likeness; and by this very fact, every human person has the right to live his or her natural and God-given sexuality as he/she understands that gift to be.

Until Cardinal Dolan and other Catholic leaders own the truth that their so-called “defense of marriage” is nothing but an “attack on gay people” and that their words and actions don’t mesh — not until then will LGBT Catholics be truly welcomed in the religious home that is ours and that we refuse to give up.

Abp Dolan: “Conversion of hearts, not calls to action”

This direct quote from his presidential address to the current meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) struck me like a knife. In a litany of descriptions about the essence and mission of the Church, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said that the Church’s focus should be on what “Jesus prefers,” namely “conversion of hearts, not calls to action.”

The not-so-subtle critique of Call To Action notwithstanding, Dolan’s words are hard to understand. In an address that one would expect to be unifying those from all points of the Catholic spectrum, is this not a direct self-contradiction? Is not the life of Christ and His followers one that should continually seek both conversion of heart and the Gospel call to live out its mandates in daily action? Is not the Gospel in action evidence itself of the converted heart, or rather, the heart in the midst of ongoing conversion?

Here’s the full paragraph in which this statement was made:

“Our urgent task to reclaim “love of Jesus and His Church as the passion of our lives” summons us not into ourselves but to Our Lord.Jesus prefers prophets, not programs; saints, not solutions; conversion of hearts, not calls to action; prayer, not protests: Verbum Dei rather than our verbage.”

Archbishop Dolan’s Letter Recognizes US Bishops Don’t Speak for US Catholics

I just re-read the letter which Archbishop Timothy Dolan, current president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent to President Obama last month expressing concerns that the Obama Administration is no longer defending legal challenges to the constitutionality of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

Dolan repeatedly notes that he is writing on behalf of the “Catholic Bishops of the United States,” and that the views he is expressing are shared by “millions of citizens who stand with us on this issue.”

What the good archbishop does not say, however, is that these citizens are necessarily Catholic; nor that he is writing on behalf of Catholics in the United States.  Perhaps this is because, given whatever limitations the logic of his arguments might have, Archbishop Dolan at least is able to read opinion polls and he knows that the views he and his brother bishops are espousing are not the views of most American Catholics when it comes to recognizing that even gays and lesbians are God’s children, with all the rights and responsibilities this brings.

Archbisop’s Argument Supports Gay Marriage Argument

He doesn’t seem to know it, but Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is actually expressing public support for the basic values and arguments in support of same-sex marriage. In a blog entry entry entitled The True Meaning of Marriage, here’s what Dolan wrote just the other day:

NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan“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.”

Gay Wedding CakeHis point seems straightforward and simple enough — governments have little business involving themselves in defining or limiting the most basic and fundamental of human relationships. Isn’t this what the supporters of same-sex marriage are seeking to do, namely to have existing state laws updated to reflect this “less government intrusion in the lives of individuals” approach?

Except in those situations where there is potential harm to individual or to society (as in the case of children, or close relatives, or those already married), what interest does government have in placing limitations on which two adults — male, female, gay, straight, young, old, black, white, citizen, non-citizen, etc. — may or may not enter into that most fundamental of human relationships in which spouses commit to one another to share their lives, their resources, and their very selves?

Archbishop Dolan, I’m with you!  Those government communiqués dictating limits on fundamental human rights need to stop. How best to do this?  By telling the government it can’t limit these rights and by supporting marriage equality for all in New York State!