The Cardinal Must Have Meant, "The Church Says We Must Clearly and Emphatically Oppose Same-Sex Unions"
So, in keeping with what I stated in the last post, here is my response to a story on Yahoo News, http://news.yahoo.com/pope-francis-dolan-gay-marriage-150312090.html. Of course, this was all over the news this weekend. This is a long post, but if you are concerned about this issue, please read it. First, here is the story from Yahoo.
Pope Francis wants church to study civil unions, Cardinal Dolan says
Pope Francis wants the Catholic Church to study same-sex unions, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday.
According to Dolan, Francis wants church leaders to "look into it and see the reasons that have driven them."
"It wasn't as if he came out and approved them," Dolan said. "He said, 'Rather than quickly condemn them, let's just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people."
In an interview published last week by an Italian newspaper, Francis reiterated the church's longstanding opinion that "marriage is between a man and a woman." But, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."
The Vatican moved quickly to clarify the comments.
"The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions," Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office, said in a statement. "We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words than what has been stated in very general terms."
But according to the Catholic News Service, it was the first time a pope has "indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions."
When asked for his own views on same-sex marriage, Dolan said he is concerned it could "water down" the sanctity of traditional marriage.
"It's not something that's just a religious, sacramental concern," Dolan said. "It's also the building block of society and culture. So it belongs to culture. And if we water down that sacred meaning of marriage in any way, I worry that not only the church would suffer, I worry that culture and society would.”
Dolan was also asked about Michael Sam, the Univ. of Missouri football player, likely an NFL draft pick, who recently came out as gay.
"Good for him," Dolan said. "I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don't think, look, the same bible that tells us that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo.'" (emphasis added)
Since being installed as pontiff in 2013, Francis has changed the tone coming out of Rome from one of exclusion to inclusion, irking some conservative Catholics in the process.
"I haven't sensed too much bristling among the conservatives," Dolan said. "They honestly will say, 'His style is a little different and might periodically cause us a little angst.' But in general they too seem to be rejoicing in what you might call the evangelical fervor, the good interest in the life of the church."
Here are some of the relevant points of Church doctrine:
1. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Non-discrimination against Homosexual Persons." (July, 1992)“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” (No. 9)
2. The doctrine and practice of the Church requires opposition to legal recognition of same-sex unions. See the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," (June, 2003) which states, "In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty." (bold and emphasis added)
This document was very specific about actions to be taken. The document questioned the genuineness of policies of so-called tolerance of these unions. It called upon Christians to give witness to the whole moral truth which is contradicted by homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons. It suggested ways that Christians could act: 1. Unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology. 2. Stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions. 3. Reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and above all to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defenses and contribute to the spread of the homosexual phenomenon.
Regarding those situations wherein homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given legal status belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. “One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application."
The document made special mention of Catholic politicians in opposing the legal recognition of homosexual unions. It said that when legislation in favor of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law maker has the moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of such a law is gravely immoral.
This document was signed by the Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and at the end of the document we see the Papal Authority attached explicitly to this document. It reads: "The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of March 28, 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication."
Catechism of the Catholic Church2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
So, given my principles of interpretation from my earlier post, I have to say that Cardinal Dolan's appraisal of the Pope Francis's comments do not imply that there is any openness to approval of same-sex unions. The Church has instructed us that "clear and emphatic opposition [to same-sex unions] is a duty." Moreover, there can be no agreement with the legislation's approval and no cooperation with such laws, as far as possible, when they are already enacted. Given the authority ascribed to the Church's position on this matter, the Church will not approve so-called "same-sex unions." So, tell all your friends.
Cardinal Dolan uses some unfortunate words in describing the "coming out" of the Missouri college student. Of course, we do not know exactly what the Cardinal might have intended in his response but I can say what he did not intend. He did not intend to approve of homosexual acts or even the condition itself. Unfortunately, the Cardinal's remarks makes most of us look outdated who try to encourage chastity and push back against this onslaught of the gay agenda. Nonetheless, do not be discouraged. Keep the faith. The Church needs YOU more than ever. We can pray for Cardinal Dolan. We can write him and encourage him to be brave. He is in a difficult position as the Archbishop of New York. We should be supportive of his efforts to go before a national audience and try to proclaim the truth in a venue that uses every opportunity to mock our religion.