• Mark Wagenaar
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    A powerful,well-reasoned, eloquent response. Thank you for your courage, & your leadership. God bless.

  • Therese Hynes
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you Archbishop Dolan. You did the right thing, you spoke the truth in love.

  • Bill langwasser
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Perhaps if you stood up on the public scene and demanded Catholic politicians tow the line you could have accomplished something! To take the position of excommunication on abortion or gay marriage is not using the sacraments as a weapon but actually doing the loving thing by refusing these politicians the chance of hurting their souls further. The Apostle Paul said that to take the Eucarist unworthily leads to sickness and even death. To eat it unworthily leads to damnation. Bishop, the blood of these politicians and the others of your flock who are led astray are on your hands.
    I know you will ignore this letter and others like it, but why should the Catholic faithful care about doing the right thing or remaining in the Church when the Churches own shepards appear to care nothing about the faith, or at best just give lip service.
    All I and many others see from our shepards is luke warm lip service!
    May God have mercy on us all.

  • Ben Anderson
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for your in depth analysis Your Excellency and than you for your valiant attempt at stopping this legislation. I have a few questions:

    1) What would be your response to Ed Peters seemingly good argument that Catholic politicians (especially Gov. Cuomo) should be denied communion. Will the Church do something?

    2) While Bishops like His Excellency Mathew Clark give lip service to the Church’s defense of SSM, the teaching of the Church is very cloudy here in Rochester. Our bishop and many of our priests are very ambiguous as to whether homosexuality is a sin. I have heard many speak directly to me, from the pulpit, in writing, etc that the Church must change her position on homosexuality. I have much evidence to back this up. How can Church officials outside of Rochester pretend to ignore this? The Catholic Church in NYS has actually fostered an environment where Catholic politicians can stand up and say, “I’m Catholic BUT…” knowing that so many lay-catholics, priests, and bishops actually support what they’re about to say. Are you going to address any of these issues or are men w/in the hierarchy going to continue to work against the larger mission of the Church without a challenged?

  • Mary Ann
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    God bless you for sticking your neck out like John the Baptist did, Archbishop Dolan.

  • Steven Schwalbach
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for staying true to Catholic Doctrine! We need more like you Archbishop Dolan. Your posting was well written and right on point!

  • Gene Sullivan
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts above. Many great civilizations have wilted from within (little-by-little) Hopefully this recent Albany action is a wake-up call and voters will elect politicians who reflect their values.

  • Louis E.
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    I think that,while affirming true caring for those afflicted by same-sex sexual attraction,one should mince no words in explicitly opposing the existence of “the gay community”,which serves no purpose other than to reinforce the worst tendencies of those who identify with it.”Disband” is the only useful “message to the gay community” as such.The bar is not the place to tell the alcoholic to sober up…you need to get him to stop going there.

  • Tom
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for putting into words what many of us feel and please keep defending the faith.

  • Anne
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop Dolan. I am being slowly marginalized in social circles, family groups etc. We need outstanding analysis and direction from our bishops and priests to avoid being devoured by the culture. It is very hard to maintain a sense of peace and joy when everyone around you is following the dominant group think…even those closest to us in our own families. Please keep helping us or we will be lost!

  • Jevaun
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop, all your points and your message remain valid for a nation ruled under the followings of a church. But this is a nation without a god and therefore not bound by your morality. The truth of the matter is in many instances that “right” is entirely subjective.
    We voted our officials in in order to represent us in this REPRESENTATIVE democracy of a nation and state that we are. And so if the majority chose to vote in favor of marriage equality then the majority have spoken.

    As an ad I saw on the train put it best though worded wrongly in my opinion: “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.”
    This will never impact the individual unless you are so bigoted to actually be disgusted by the thought of people of the same sex getting married, and for the religious organizations that still refuse the sweeping progressivism of the nation, then that is why the religious exemptions were specifically written into the legislation.

  • sam
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    One question. Why apologize for speaking and defending the Truth which is Christ? For me that weakens your argument and opens the door to misunderstanding and false ideas of collusion w/erroneous stances. I don’t recall anywhere in the Gospel where either St. John of Baptist or Jesus Himself or any of his apostles ever apologized to sinners for speaking the Truth in Love which I am certain you and the other Bishops did. So why apologize?? There is absolutely no scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetic; rather there is overwhelming evidence that it is behaviorally based. Sorry but I think you are in error here to apologize for offending those who offend the Church’s and every ethical historical teaching. Perhaps that is why we are not wining this battle – too much confusion on both sides as to the real premise.

  • mrd
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    I doubt this post will see the light of day, but what the heck. It seems obvious to me that Gov Coumo is no longer a Catholic, he has publicly defended abortion which last time I looked was called an “unspeakable crime” by Vatican II, and now we have this gay marriage issue which the Bishops are claiming is a grave evil. At what point does the promotion of public evils get some sort of public declaration that you are out of communion with the Church. What these days gets you excommunicated?

    Frankly Coumo himself would not care ( Based on his actions I doubt he seriously believes in anything the Church teaches, so whether he is a member or not is likely irrelevant to him) but excommunication might just stir the conscious of those Catholics who are fellow travellers and vote for folks like this regardless of what they do. There is a perhaps a microscopic chance that even the Govenor would recognize that his actions are gravely immoral and he is placing his immortal soul in jeopardy. ( I know that is kind of a quaint notion immortal soul, mortal sin and all that…..)

    BTW it is completely insane to apologize to the gay community for having “offended” them. They simple need to be offended because what they are doing is placing their soul is peril. If they end up in hell they will be a lot worse of then offended. This is not judgemental. To make this point is no more offensive that to tell married people adultery is a mortal sin or to tell unmarried people fornication is a mortal sin. You are doing them a favor. It is a blessing when someone tells you what you are doing can lead to eternal catastrophe. It might actually discourage the sin. The fact that you are apologizing suggests that you have some doubt about this. It would be like a physician apologizing to a smokre when they push for smoking restrictions. I am teaching my son to drive, when he turns into the wrong lane without looking I tell him in no uncertain terms why this is a very dangerous thing to do, and I do not “apologize” for hurting his feelings. Some day this might keep him from getting killed on the road. How much more important is it to not worry about hurting some gay activists feelings, after all you might be keeping them out of hell. Besides to the extent one preaches what the Church teaches their going to hate you anyway. They must have a hell of a time dealing with St Pauls letter to the Romans.

    I will not hold my breath waiting for a serious response, but I will make a predicition, We will have more of this and it will be worse as time goes on. Until it is recognized there is a crisis, and stop doing business as usual the results will be the same.

  • Ben Anderson
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    another question – if the Church doesn’t want political clout, why are Catholics guilted into signing petitions AT MASS for negotiable issues like SCHIP and the New START?

  • Bruno S. Schmalhofer
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Keep up the good fight Archbishop! Good Catholics, though sometimes too quiet, are with you!

  • Mundabor
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Beautiful words, Archbishop, and your battle has certainly been noted by all sincere Catholics.

    I wonder, though, when facts will follow the words, and excommunications will start to fall on those who, as you say, “scandalously claim to be Catholic”.

    At the same time, please allow me to remind you that your diocese is not entirely immune from scandal and bad example, as at the St. Francis Xavier church homosexual behaviour continues to be – behind some words of circumstance – scandalously promoted.

    I truly hope that this battle will be fought by the Church in the USA will all the strenght needed, and with no regard for political – and politicians’ – convenience.

    Best wishes to you, and thanks again for your effort.


  • Sue Joan
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    @Ben Anderson – Bravo! I have the same question. I think Cuomo should be ex-Communicated because he is at present, identifying himself as a Catholic but is singularly responsible for the passage of the s/s marriage law (if a governor vetoes a bill, it’s very difficult to pass it over the governor’s head – especially one which only marginally passed). To me that DEFINITELY is grounds for exCommunication! The church considers s/s marriage one of the intrinsic evils. Our Bishop here in Phoenix, did in fact, did publically declare a religious sister who encouraged an discretionary abortion as exCommunicated (as well as declaring the hospital as “no longer Catholic). (see: And yes, he is still receiving criticism for it but this is, to me what Christianity is all about. If our church doesn’t stand strongly for what it believes, then, it is confusing to the Catholic people and may actually damage their faith! JMO.

  • Dr. Ken
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop Dolan. After 30 years of marriage, I am now more aware of the need for all of us married couples to strive for a life of heroic virtue together – silly me, it was never an option, was it?
    I will pray that we all support one another in that effort with the awareness and intensity that I, for one, have been lacking in – to the neighbors next door, down the street, long time family friends.
    Perhaps a renewed call for support and solidarity, with the help of our parish communities, is the good that may come from the challenges to come ….

  • Kevin
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Gov. Cuomo like his father before him will define for a generation what the majority
    Catholics believe about homosexuality just like his father defined how and why Catholics accept abortion on demand. unless he is excommunicaed Gov. Cuomo is running the show.

  • Mary
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Pope Benedict said during Holy Week: “A force of gravity pulls us down – towards selfishness, falsehood and evil.. Christ lifts us on high to God.”

    I’m not so much worried about losing my head, as losing my soul and the souls of my family and loved ones.

    Why no stern reprimand for sinful catholic politicians? How many souls will be lost because of fuzzy teaching, scandalous silence, inattention to sin?

    Loving the wolves is hard in the face of their devouring sheep.

    What are we to do now?

  • Fr. Peter Pilsner
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Though this column certainly does give definitive counter-evidence to the quote below (from the NY Times, June 25, “Behind N.Y. Gay Marriage, an Unlikely Mix of Forces”), I think the faithful would be edified by a direct refutation of it, either by Bishop Dolan or by someone from his office: “The Catholic Church, arguably the only institution with the authority and reach to derail same-sex marriage, seemed to shrink from the fight. As the marriage bill hurtled toward a vote, the head of the church in New York, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, left town to lead a meeting of bishops in Seattle. He did not travel to Albany or deliver a major speech in the final days of the session. And when he did issue a strongly worded critique of the legislation — he called it “immoral” and an “ominous threat” — it was over the phone to an Albany-area radio show.” Many Catholics I have spoken to were mislead by this accusation.

  • HV Observer
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    I thank Your Excellency’s efforts in this matter.

    However, to echo Ben Anderson’s comments above, I believe that unless the provisions of Canon 915 are vigorously enforced, all of your efforts will have been wasted.

    If any of the politicians who voted for this bill or worked for its passage are now admitted to Holy Communion, that means the Church APPROVES the passage of this heinous legislation.

    We need, we desperately need, the sight of one of these officials PUBLICLY refused communion, to preserve the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament.

  • Rich
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    @ Ben,
    Your words are falling on deaf ears when you ask the Archbishop to actually stand up and discipline those who make a mockery of the Church’s teaching like Cuomo, the “catholic” state senators & legislators who voted to legalize sodomy, and “bishops” like Clark and Hubbard who praise these “catholic” politicians. Applying Canon Law for the defense of the faithful from the wolves within will never happen. The day Bishop Dolan makes a statement and ruling denying any of these men anything is the day I will all of my belongings to the Church……not going to happen. But, what we will hear is seemingly Catholic speeches with no teeth.

    And the Bishops continue to wonder why no one listens to them any more, and why so many leave the Church in search of more solid teaching…….



  • charles
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    And here, Archbishop, is an essay from the National Catholic Reporter, on why what you say, and what you do, just does not matter to us any more.

    I’m a Roman Catholic in Philadelphia — The City of THREE Grand Jury Reports.

  • John
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    We need action. The law of the Church is clear: Communion needs to be denied to those who voted for this atrocity.

  • charles
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Also from The National Catholic Reporter. Author is a canon lawyer.

  • Saint Next
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    THANK YOU Archbishop Dolan for your unwavering defense of marriage. God Bless you!

    Truth can never be defeated.

  • Brian Kelly
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    It reference to the studies cited by Magnet and Hymowitz, it strikes me that we have no data yet to suggest that “stable marriage and families” cannot be achieved with gay couples, in the same way as for those who are straight. It would seem that the key underpinnings of this stability is in the nature of the couple, and the love and the values they share, not their respective genders. I would posit that there’s no more correlation in stable families with the gender of the partners than there is with their hair color or any other random variable you might choose. But at least now that NY and other states are moving forward with such laws, we’ll have a chance to collect some of this data, and we’ll be able to see truly what drives stability and happiness in marriage, and what helps yield these happy children and families we ultimately care most about.

  • Simon Roberts
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    To quote an interesting point from Ben Anderson, “I have heard many speak directly to me, from the pulpit, in writing, etc that the Church must change her position on homosexuality. I have much evidence to back this up. How can Church officials outside of Rochester pretend to ignore this”? I would also like to know if this is going to happen as many other sins from the Bible are now acceptable; women are now allowed to speak in church, we are now allowed to wear cloth made from different materials, we work on the sabbath, etc. These were all abominations at some point and mother church has changed her views on them, I have homosexual work colleagues who I enjoy the company of but avoid outside of work because of my beliefs, I would very much like to change this as they seem to be of good character. Bless you.

  • Anna Rutigliano
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Dear Shepherd In Christ:
    It surely was a sad day for NY. I hope this is brought up as a Referendum because I believe most New Yorkers believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Thank you again for your courage.

  • John
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    God bless you Archbishop! It is often said that one can judge the quality of a man or institution by the quality of the enemies against it. when people say the eternal truths of the church are out of date, that is a sure sign that those truths are more needed than ever.

    Stay your ground. The world may change, but Mother Church remains eternal. The hedonists who worship their own reflections will learn all too soon what soft foundations they build their houses on.

  • Robert Steven van Keuren
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan–

    You should be ashamed of yourself for your rants about the terrible consequences of same-sex CIVIL marriage. You can see that none of these awful things have come to pass in Massachusetts, for example, which has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. You offer little for gay Catholics. The official Vatican teaching is that homosexuality is “gravely disordered”, even though the consistent finding of psychologists and psychiatrists is that gay and lesbian people are no more “disordered” than anyone else. You have the suicides and murders of countless gay teenagers to account for before God.

    You also seem to ignore the fact that we have gay saints in the Church. Are you ignorant of the Liturgy of Saints Serge and Bacchus, which set up a formal church liturgy for same-sex couples starting in the early fourth century, seven hundred years before the Church got into the business of blessing hetero marriages in church. The involvement of the Church in strengthening hetero marriages and families seems to be a recent development–there is almost nothing about it in the first millennium.

    Once again, we find the Catholic Church leaders opposed to civil rights. Bishops opposed it in Mexico. James Shannon was the only bishop with the balls to march for civil rights for African Americans. Now you oppose civil rights for gay people.

    Finally, besides creating despair in teenagers, why do you want your words to weaken protection of children in households led by same-sex couples? There are thousands of such households in New York state. Every study without preconceived conclusions finds that children thrive just as well in same-sex-led households as in hetero-led households.

    You sound simply like a pawn of the Vatican. “All Our Children” was a start, but care for gay people seemed to stop there. It’s difficult to find the truth in our top-down dictatorship of a church.

    Stop being a pawn and a nay-sayer. Support gay people instead of putting them down. Archbishop Dolan, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Are you going to have the courage to post this response?

    –Robert Steven van Keuren

  • Paul in Minneapolis
    July 7, 2011 Reply

    I’m a gay atheist. Is it not enough for you, Archbishop Dolan, that your church is free to deny its sacrament of marriage to any couple it wishes? New York’s marriage laws affect only the institution of *civil*, *secular* marriage, not *religious* marriage. Extraordinary steps were taken to include religious protections in your state’s new marriage legislation — steps that I personally find unnecessary given our nation’s First Amendment protections.

    Why do you insist that I follow the beliefs of the Catholic Church? Why do you insist that the secular state, which belongs to *all* citizens, legislate *your* church’s teachings of religious marriage into the laws of secular marriage? I do not insist that you believe as I do. I fully support your right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience (including your church’s right to refuse to marry same-sex couples and to preach that homosexual behavior is sinful); do you not support mine?

    Why should the state-granted civil contract of marriage — with its hundreds of legal rights, benefits, priviliges and responsibilities, many of which cannot be obtained in any other way — be denied to any couple simply because a couple is same-sex? Should other legal contracts, such as a mortgage, be denied same-sex couples? Like it or not, same-sex couples form lifelong relationships — my partner and I, both in our late 40s, have enjoyed a monogamous relationship for over 22 years — and many raise children, often the ones that opposite-sex couples don’t want. Why should these couples and their children be denied the *legal* protections of *civil* marriage?

    Freedom of conscience is the birthright of all Americans, be they theist or atheist. Although I strenuously disagree with many of your church’s teachings — for that matter, I strenuously disagree with many religious teachings, both Christian and non-Christian — I would be among the first to defend your right to practice your faith as your conscience demands.

    But the state is not the church. In the United States of America, the state belongs to *all* citizens, not to a mere subset of the citizenry professing certain beliefs. Laws here must be broad enough to accommodate *all* citizens. In a multicultural nation such as ours, other citizens will make decisions of which you disapprove, with which you disagree, and which you would not make for yourself. Such is the price of citizenship here — but is it really such a great price when you are also allowed to make your own choices despite what others may think of them? Would you *really* prefer to live in a theocracy? Before you answer that question, make sure you know which religion would be imposed by the state, because it might not be Catholicism; you would be as loathe as I to live under a state religion of devil worship.

    As a non-Catholic, I reject your church’s teaching that I live a celibate, sexless life simply because I am gay. I resent your church’s attempts to inject its teachings into secular law, much as I would expect you to resent any attempt of the state to force your church to take actions against its teachings. If you don’t like gay marriage, simply don’t marry another man. Since I don’t believe in Catholicism, I won’t darken the doorstep of your church.

    I would not support laws that attempt to make illegal attendance at Catholic Mass. In return, I would ask you to remember how fortunate you are to live in a country that allows you to practice your faith freely, and to stop supporting discriminatory *civil* laws that attempt to keep certain loving couples from entering a *civil* marriage. Yes, I know it’s asking too much of you, but there should be enough room in this country for both of us.

  • jctoast
    July 7, 2011 Reply


  • doug
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Mr. Dolan, you don’t have a clue. When you’re ‘pro’ something you’re ‘anti’ something as well. As a learned man, you should know this. You live a “non-life,’ behind a pulpit, trying to guide without having a reference point, but offering us what?

    Wow! Where to start…with the many in-accuracies, exaggerations and of course, the old stand by, fear mongering. Trying to portray the Catholic faith as ‘David,’ is rather ridiculous. The clout and control the Church has had through the years over the uneducated is an example of repression, racism and bigotry. It’s taken years for the many Catholics to stand up and realize that they have been manipulated, lied to and systematically abused by the many ‘good-hearted’, ‘moral men, aka, Priest.’

    The atrocities (Involvement with Nazi’s, suppressing women, and sexually abusing young boys) perpetrated by the Church is disgusting and worthy of total disbandment. You dare judge a society that in many ways deems you and the Catholic faith irrelevant.

    So you go ahead and, ‘fight the good fight,’ which means more of the same abuses from the Catholic Church. Oh, woe is you.

  • Andrew
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I understand that you feel strongly about this issue, as do I (though we disagree). But I do not think it is helpful to make hysterical references to martyrdom and beheading.

    The United States is not a monarchy, and the government is not going to put you to death for expressing your opinion or advocating for your cause. You will not suffer the fate of Thomas More or John the Baptist, and the New York state government is not Harod or Henry VIII.

    Comments such as those you made only serve to heighten emotions and turn a political debate into a screaming match.

  • David Badash
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    “And now we ring the steeple bell again at this latest dilution of the authentic understanding of marriage, worried that the next step will be another redefinition to justify multiple partners and infidelity.”

    Really, Archbishop? Is polygamy the law of the land now in the first state to honor marriage equality, Massachusetts – which boasts the lowest divorce rate in the U.s.? What about in Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Washington, D.C.? What about in the U.K.?
    What about in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain,or Sweden, all of whom honor marriage equality?

    No. Polygamy is a straw horse, a false slippery-slope argument. You have nothing to back it up.

    What the Church refuses to understand is that same-sex couples want marriage for the exact same reasons opposite-sex couples do. We honor the sanctity of marriage. Why can’t you?

  • Susy
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. So many of us, though unheard in public debate, are with you, praying for you, that you will speak for us.
    God Bless you, Archbishop Dolan.

  • John
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop, you say:

    “the Church has always stood-up for marriage — one man and one woman, united in lifelong and faithful love”

    If this is true, and it’s not just same gender marriage the church opposes, why didn’t New York’s bishops allocate equivalent resources to fighting New York’s adoption of no-fault divorce last year? I don’t recall the Catholic bishops chest-pounding and making speeches about it being a colossal threat to marriage. And yet, expanding marriage rights to include everybody is said to be so catastrophic. Double standard? Seems so.

    I am also curious to know if Catholic Charities New York refuses to place children with couples where one or both potential parents have been divorced without benefit of an annulment. I hope not, since otherwise you would be putting children in jeopardy by exposing them to, in the church’s view, an unmarried couple. And since you have decided every child is “entitled” to a mother and a father, when was the last time a Catholic bishop testified in favor of outlawing single parent adoptions? I don’t recall such opposition, let alone vociferouos opposition, to single parent adoptions at any time.

    Yes, you and the other Catholic bishops have further alienated a lot of people who struggle, mightily, to stay in the church. It seems there is one game plan for the minority, and another for the majority. Pointing this out isn’t anti-Catholic, it’s a reality check.

  • Shawna Ames
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Well said. The message of pro-marriage was twisted into antigay rhetoric by anyone that was for same sex marriage, I am from the Buffalo area and engaged myself in debate on Senator Grisantis facebook page. Never in my life had I encountered so much hate. I merely posted pro marriage arguements taken directly from the usccb site. I was accused of bigotry and hate mongering, simply for trying to speak on behalf of truth. I was personally attacked for how I looked, my marital status. I heard about the sex abuse scandal and even blasphemous remarks about our Lord. Simply for trying to speak truth. I must say, although saddened, I was not discouraged. I learned that there are so many out there in need of truth. They have completely closed their eyes to the light of Christ. What is left is this hatred and darkness that erupts whenever their ideals are challenged. They need our continued prayers. To the faithful, we must continue our belief in true, authentic sacramental marriage. We should see this latest development as an opportunity to strengthen what we already have. We need to teach our children what true marriage is by our example. Only through them, can we restore the institution of marriage and family.
    God Bless and never lose hope 🙂

  • Tomas
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Thank you your Eminence for these timely words!

    If I may bring this up for your consideration: one thing we seriously need to consider is working together with other faiths who may share our values on family and life issues.

    Something I have always wondered for example is where are the spokesmen for Islam? I’m sure on the issue of marriage and family life that they will wholeheartedly agree with our views on homosexuality. Furthermore, I am sure their voice will be of great value to our cause given that politicians today seem to tread the label of “Islamophobia” almost as much as it does “homophobia”.

    If we are accused of being homophobic for disagreeing with homosexuality, does that make those who support such rights Islamopobes given Islam’s equally (if not more so) negative view on the matter?

    Again your Eminence, thank you for your timely words and I hope you continue to speak out on this issue when needed.

  • Brian
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I thank you for explaining that your not anti-gay but want to protect Marriage. I think the church is at a cross roads where we need to rethink a lot of the old school thoughts. No birth control comes out of wanting to continue the species, now we are at a point where our population is becoming way too many. Look at China. Second AIDS, you are teaching no contraception going to countries where AIDS is rampant AIDS( side note it’s man and women spread of AIDS, not Man vs MAN spread) Countries like Africa.
    Now we are at a cross roads to redefine marriage. Marriage you are looking for a stable, loving couple who live through the words of God and spread his love and teachings.
    I think it’s time to think about the future and how religion is going to survive. People in this time has access to more information and are making decision based on that knowledge. People are more tolerant to many items and will not follow people blindly with out reason.
    Churches use the Bible as the reason for hate mongering but pick and choose what passages they want to use. I don’t see large out cry over shell fish, women who don’t cover their head or go bald,stoning of people working on Sabbath , which was Saturday in the Bible.What about Love thy Neighbor, I see a lot of hate and lac of acceptance and fear of the unknown.
    Thanks again for clearing up your views .

  • GFFM
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I for one wonder why you and the USCCB haven’t come out harder and stronger in defending marriage. You have said all of this after the fact–after the catastrophic legislative decision in New York. I remember in the 1980s the listening sessions ad nauseam about the lackluster women’s pastoral the USCCB finally issued. “Listening sessions” between bishop and flock are needed in order for you and the majority to hear us. They should scripted; they should be frank. And the connection needs to be made to the death culture and the sexual decadence which defines our times. Quite frankly many Catholics are quite fatigued by the fact that the episcopacy is not speaking more strongly on the conference level or at the local level. I have worked in and defended the Church my entire adult life and that will not change; however, one the greatest disappointments in my work with the Church is the silence, the reticence, the lateness of mild statements made by bishops when foundational issues such as marriage need to be defended and defended daily–and not always I might suggest with an avuncular attitude, but with gravitas inspired by the truth. If you haven’t noticed many Catholics do not understand what marriage really is. They go to Mass and some send their children to CAtholic schools, but they are more and more conforming to the culture especially concerning sexual matters and the meaning of marriage. I would hope that in the future you say more and say it in a more timely fashion. George Orwell maintained that the job of the intellectual in the modern world is to restate the obvious. This applies to the episcopacy, to the priesthood and the laity as well.

  • Deb
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    With respect Archbishop, Jesus was counter cultural, but the culture was led by the scribes and pharisees. Those who put stumbling blocks in the way. He ate with the marginal, He stopped those who would throw stones, He loved all. While you have tried to keep the conversation civil other Catholics have spoken in ways that are very hurtful to those of us who care about our lgbt sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. We have great respect for marriage, and realize that our friends who have been together for years have the rights to civil, tax, insurance, etc for their children and partners. No expectation for sacramental marriage, but there is an expectation of fairness in the civil system. Those who scream- deny them communion, (and they knew HIM in the breaking of the bread) who would call our children abominations… are part of the reason we see young folks hurting themselves, and assuming they will never be welcome in church. The pain inflicted is an abomination.

  • Scott Rose
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    A sine qua non of respect for gay human beings is respect for their long-term commitments to their spouses. To campaign against gay couples’ having the same legal rights as heterosexual couples displays a galling lack of respect for your gay fellow citizens. This concept is not complicated, Archbishop Dolan. If there’s anything about it that you do not understand, please contact me and I will attempt clarify it to you. Now the question is, will you have the integrity to publish this comment on your blog, or will you suppress it because you are fundamentally dishonest and will not expose any of your readers to anything more enlightening than your propagandistic, self-serving, anti-gay hate speech?

  • Blake
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    There are many flaws in your argument here, but none new. But if you truly believe the *state* has a duty to defend and protect marriage (or rather, your definition of it), then I look forward to seeing you support legislation OUTLAWING divorce entirely. Why even give citizens that legal option if you believe it wrong?

  • Stephen
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Why does the Archbishop never use specific examples of people being hauled into court for refusing to accept the concept of same-sex marriage?

    I suspect it is because there have been no such instances in America, with our cherished First Amendment protections. Other countries have different laws and are not relevant for a legal analysis.

    If there are ANY examples form America that prove the following quote, please include them. “If the experience of those few other states…where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be …hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.”

    Literally no one in America has been hauled into court for refusing to recognize same-sex marriages. There have been suits based on preexisting anti-discrimination statutes, which also protect gay business owners providing a public service from discriminating against straight people or religious people, but no one, not once, has been hauled into court under the guise of a state statute recognizing marriage equality.

    Please Archbishop, in the name of accuracy and fair discourse, provide examples if I am mistaken, or correct the record. Saying that people have been and will be “hauled into court” is an extremely grave, and should be levied with the utmost of caution.

  • David Grossman
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    “Recent studies… show that the weakening of stable marriage and families is the cause of most social and cultural woes, especially burdensome on poor women and children.”

    Wouldn’t including gay couples to the existing pool of married couples ADD more stable marriages? Because the implication here is that gay couples will somehow weaken straight marriages if they are also allowed to marry. I simply don’t see any correlation between the two groups. Heterosexual men are solely responsible for the social and cultural woes they have inflicted on poor women and children. It is not fair to assign blame, or imply a similar outcome will occur with same-sex marriage.

    As for Dan Savage’s comment about “agreed upon non-monogamy”. Dan is not the spokesperson for all gay people. He was speaking about his own personal relationship. But perhaps two of Newt Gingrich’s marriages could have been saved, if he would have heeded Dan’s words. Who’s to know? For the record, I’ve been in a monogamous long-term same-sex relationship for 16 years, and have no intention of cheating on partner. We were legally married in California 3 years ago, before Prop. 8 took effect. Our (secular city hall) marriage has had no impact on anyone, except for us. Just like our neighbor’s marriage has had no impact on our lives. Funny how that works out.

  • John
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I firmly believe that every religion is free to make its own rules, but remember that we live in a civil society, not a theocracy. And I find it very disingenuous to claim that marriage is a god-created, sacred institution. Marriage has historically served as a contract to control property, and/or to bring family groups (or clans) together for increased societal influence. It was practical, not sacred. And, until the twentieth century, woman were considered property of their husbands and had few rights. In some societies today they still are virtual slaves. Celibacy for priests was brought about in part to deny them heirs to whom they could pass down their property holdings; the church inherited instead. The Catholic church will not be affected by same sex marriage, but civil society must treat all citizens equally and refrain from discrimination. Legal marriage in the USA is a civil, not religious, institution. Thank you.

  • The FatMan
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    With all due respect to you Archbishop Dolan,
    I have a problem/concern that Catholic teaching may be misunderstood by saying saying the Church is not anti-gay. I have always understood “gay,” as defined by popular culture, to mean: active in homosexuality, and/or in support of the practice of homosexuality. To say the Catholic Church is not anti-gay is not true.
    That being said, I am aware that stating the Church’s position AS anti-gay is not the way to save souls in jeopardy. Perhaps it’s better to state that while loving and supporting those with same sex attractions, the Church does NOT support engaging in homosexuality. Your thoughts?

  • Brad Miner
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Believing with the other commenters that you did the right thing, I must add this caveat: Until renegade Catholics such as Andrew Cuomo are refused Communion, it will seem to too many Catholics that holding the positions he holds and, because of his “bully pulpit,” aggressively opposing Church teaching really has no consequence. And it would be one thing if one were right is thinking, Well, Mr. Cuomo will one day bring his very public sins before the ultimate Judge, one might put aside concern for the Body of Christ and just pray for Mr. Cuomo’s soul. But the scandal of his actions (and he’s just the latest public Catholic to give such scandal) is like a virus that infects others. If the governor may have a mistress, support abortion and same-sex marriage, and still receive Communion, too many others will come to accept that the bar has been lowered for everybody.

  • Anselmo
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    If the church were truly for marriage then it would be supportive of marraige for all God’s children. Jesus himself never said anything about homosexuality and many of the books attributed to Paul are in doubt on who actually wrote them.

    Besides the Church is protected by the First Amendment and by the provisions in the bill recently passed by the State. Please provide proof where any church of any stripe in America has been sued for not performing or recognizing same sex marriages.

  • Jessica
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    You are correct Bishop Dolan when you say not much changes in the Catholic Church. The popes still preach that the Jews killed Jesus and until 1945 were still killing Jews for killing Jesus. Catholics believing the bible is the inherent word of your god also believe in slavery, because that is all over your bible. Some Catholics probably still believe that the moon emits its own source of light even though you do finally believe that the earth is flat and does revolve around the sun. Catholics also believe that only Catholics are going to heaven and everyone else is going to hell.

    You also believe that legal marriage rights are the same as holy matrimony wedding rites. You also believe that only the people you agree with, approve of, accept, respect, tolerate and understand should have any rights in America. You believe women who abort fetuses should be killed because you do not agree with their right to reproductive right.

    You also believe in the Final Leviticus Sodom & Gomorrah Solution to the Homosexual Problem, as not much has changed in the Catholic Church in 2011 years. You believe that anyone who you don’t approve of, who you declare heretic, should be arrested, stoned to death and set on fire.

    Yes you are right, Bishop Dolan, not much has changed since Catholics killed Jews in the first century of the common era and now want to kill gays in the 2011 year of the common era.Of course all done in Jesus’ name.

  • Steve R
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    ” If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.”

    Proofs, please. And from the US.

    The vague sky is falling fears don’t really cut it. Often timis they’re gossip or there are other things involved. As far as one man, ine woman, I guess you haven’t looked at the divorce rate in this country.

    Also, it would be much better for the Church to put its own house in order after giving itself such a black eye with the priest abuse scandal; a house cleaning comparable to the Counter-Reformation. Better to stand on a real moral high ground after the cleansing than to be standing on a pebble in Death Valley now.

  • Jake Kach Khan
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Sir, no matter how many words you write, the essence of your blog is that you are intolerant of others who do not share your antiquated views. Marriage. like evolution, will take us to places not yet experienced. It moves forward to include all people, whether you like it or not.
    Why don’t you work towards the equality of all peoples of the world, not just the ones you pick to support your bigotry? Good luck: with your churches views, you will all become relics of the past.

  • Nicodemos
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    Please don’t confuse your failure to convince New Yorkers of the validity of your position with ‘theophobia’. Many Christian faith communities (as well as Jewish) support marriage equality. One of the benefits of civil society is its comprehension of difference. If some see your rhetoric as gay-hating and transfer that hatred to the community you represent, you might want to reflect on the unintended consequences of the words you’re choosing and change them.

    Be well during what seems to be a difficult time for you and take comfort in the words of St. John of the Cross: “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”


  • Brian Cook
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Unfortunately, your excellency, there are are many issues.

    There are an awful lot of self-styled defenders of marriage who do throw grenades all around. I’ve seen a lot of expose’s on the ‘net detailing just how virulently hateful and cruel and dishonest they really are.

    One reason why same-sex marriages are compared to interracial marriages is that there are still quite a few people out there who claim to be simple defenders of timeless truths of racial integrity or “human biodiversity”. They see themselves as Davids fighting mongrel Goliaths. I don’t know if any public Catholic voice has ever directly address that fact. I’ve tried to ring the steeple bell over right-wing extremism in other forums, but almost always hooted down as if I was a persecutor. Being politically incorrect or counter-cultural is not the same as being a courageous Christian–it rarely is.

    Also, I still hope that you can address the specific criticisms that commenters have brought before you, such as the apparent lack of continuity in human culture regarding marriage. They point out how marriage has been viewed differently in human cultures, such as the custom of handing over women as property.

    The Catholic Church is routinely accused of social engineering. That Church is accused of keeping people in poverty and disease and ignorance. The Church is accused of silencing all disagreement. The Church is accused of encouraging elimination and suicide. The Church is accused of propping up propaganda.

    The reason why I’ve posted these comments is that I truly want to help you. That is the same reason for mailing a couple of printed letters. I truly hope that you do well in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

  • Soo
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Because of the Church’s position on gay marriage (and a few other issues) I am no longer Catholic, nor will I raise my children in the Church. I firmly believe in my bones that the Church’s separatist position is nothing Jesus would want. I find this a terrible tragedy, and I have to wonder, just how many people are actually joining the Church because of its position on the gay marriage issue? I wonder because I know a heck of a lot who have left.

  • Ken
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Lying to your followers to keep them in a constant state of fear has been the modus operandi of the Catholic Church for centuries. Just keep in mind that less impressionable people are also watching and listening to you very closely and will hold you accountable for the lies you tell in public – you know – like when you’re engaging in tax-free political activity. Your suggestion that people will be “hauled into court” for their beliefs is absurd fear mongering. I do have to wonder though, where in the Constitution does one find the language guaranteeing the right to live in a country free from anything and everything that is inconsistent with one’s religious beliefs? I’ve searched and searched and couldn’t find so much as a hint at that concept.

  • Larry
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Your Excellence. I have been waiting forty years for such a ringing, “tell-it-like-it-is” statement from the American hierarchy. You have not only described the problem, you have identified the root of the chaos: contraception. The time has come to point out one critical fact: the teaching against contraception is not a precept of the Catholic Church, as is, say, the requirement to attend mass on Sundays. It is in fact the universal and eternal moral law of God, binding on all human beings the world over at all times in humanity’s history. As such, it is not only dangerous to a person’s soul, but is deadly to the future of the human race itself, as shown within communities where contraception is widely practiced. All over the western world, birth rates have dropped below the self-sustenance levels, causing perilous demographic swings. The stability of marriage is shattered. Increasingly, children who make it safely out of the womb are being betrayed by parents unfaithful to their vows. Now we have to consider taking things to the next level. Do you not believe, Your Excellence, that the time may have come to invoke ecclesial penalties against Catholics who have publicly advanced, and continue to advance the immoral agenda? Powerful words are needed, but are they in themselves enough?

  • Mark
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Civil marriage is Caesar’s. The sacrament of matrimony is God’s. It is valid only when invoked between a baptized man and a baptized woman, in the presence of two witnesses and the spouses’ proper ordinary or pastor or his delegate. Caesar has no say in this.

    What arguably could devalue the natural union of man and woman more than the fact that, in all 50 states, through no-fault divorces, any heterosexual spouse can walk away from the other, basically by filing an affidavit alleging that the marital bond is “irretrievably broken”?

    To parents of a gay child, the idea that a group of men can claim to know the mind of God so perfectly that they can proclaim with unyielding certainty that God deems a significant portion of creation “disordered” is absurd.

  • Christian Cooper
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Your analysis that “the church proposes, not imposes,” is factually incorrect. Your church, as ever, is free to preach what it likes. However, in seeking to use *government* to block same-sex marriage, you seek to impose your religious values on others. That is unacceptable, and a grave moral sin.

  • Dorothy Amorella
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Unfortunately, those ‘supporters’ you spoke of, the evangelicals, the mennonites, jews, muslims, amish, have all compromised the true meaning of marriage by their acceptance of divorce (with remarriage) and in some cases adultery and/or polygamy. And I do not think you have to apologize to anyone for seeming to be ‘anti-gay’. The truth is always going to ‘offend’ those not living in conformity with it. True freedom is living in conformity to the Truth and everything else is slavery.

  • David Hart
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Regarding marriage equality, the Archbishop is entitled to his opinion. I(n spite of apparent eloquence, the Archbishop has yet to voice a cogent argument that advances the notion that marriage equality has any negative effects on traditional marriage. That is certainly not the experience in Massachusetts. Now, after the fact, he would offer the slippery slope as a rationale? Ultimately, we are supposed to oppose marriage equality because Archbishop Dolan doesn’t like it which is intellectual mediocrity per so.

    To suggest that the Church does not have political clout is so profoundly disingenuous as to be laughable. In an odd way Archbishop Dolan has confirmed something that many of us already know. The Church should not be involved in politics. If nothing else that enterprise is antithetical to the US Constitution.

    Even more disingenuous is to suggest that opposing equality isn’t “anti” anything. Yet NOM, largely financed by organizations affiliated with the Church, has opposed marriage equality with the meme that gays are a threat to children. That is sheer bigotry which neither the Church nor Archbishop Dolan have opposed. Where is the Archbishop’s essay rebuking Robert George for claiming that Kevin Jennings threatens the “innocence” of children? I think that we all know what that means.

    I don’t know if Dolan speaks for NOM or if NOM speaks for Dolan. However, if either prefers not to be associated with bigotry I have a simple suggestion; Stop doing bigoted things.

  • Rich
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Marriage is not the foundation of civilization, civility is.

    I don’t believe the legislation coerces any religious organization to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. So, please show a little tolerance, lead by example and ease up on the slippery-slope arguments.

  • John Deuel
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency,

    It saddens me to see that you continue your campaign of misinformation regarding this issue.

    As you are aware, claiming that monogamous heterosexual marriage is a “timeless truth” denies the accounts of King David’s 6 wives, King Solomon’s 700 wives, his son Rehoboam’s 18 wives, everybody’s concubines and numerous other examples of polygamy in the Bible. More importantly, it denies much more modern and reliable history where marriage, blessed by the Roman Catholic Church, has been principally a property transaction and/or a political treaty (see Western Civilization up until the late 1800s). Monogamous heterosexual marriages based on love are recent *innovations* of western society and are still not the norm in many cultures and civilizations. Marriage has been, until recently, about breeding farms and property contracts.

    Like you, I believe marriage is one of the most amazing gifts God has given us. I shudder to think of how long it has taken humanity to realize that the unconditionally loving, committed partnership that we now call marriage is indeed the crucible for our greatest selflessness. Sadly, too often is the term marriage used to describe the temporary agreement two modern people make to stay together until one or the other decides to leave. Too often is this a matter of mere months later.

    I believe in the sanctity of marriage and its role in the stability of society and in bringing the love of God further into our world. I believe that God blesses the healthy, loving marriages of gay people. To deny this is dishonest and the fact that you must deliberately mislead people to convince them that you are right is proof.

    People do not hate God. They rightfully despise the acts of evil done in God’s name. They rail against the institutions that propose those acts of evil. Centuries passed between the evils of the Crusades and Pope John Paul II finally asking for forgiveness. People decried the incorrect actions of the Church then, and we do it again now. We should do it politely and without resorting to ad hominem, but not everyone can remain calm, cool and collected in the face of such wrong.

    Lastly, I suspect that you know people like me and my husband of 20 years. Like most bishops, you travel widely in your diocese and have experienced the obvious fruits of the Spirit manifest in two souls knit as one, be they gay or straight. You have seen us preach the gospel. You have seen us quietly ministering to the needs of our neighbors. You have seen us drawing strength from the blessings of our relationships. This is the strength needed to clothe the naked, tend the sick and visit the prisons. Someday, soon, I hope you are able to find the strength to give honest witness to this. It will cost you greatly in this world, but your treasure is not here in this world, is it? I hope that your other commenters respond to you will respect and love, and I hope you read all of the comments and prayerfully reflect on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    I shall hold you in my prayers. In Love,

  • Patrick
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    1. Your David and Goliath metaphor cannot be serious, can it? The RCC is the David here??? With trillions of dollars and millions of followers and thousands of paid prelates? You have the analogy BACKWARDS.

    2. You are wrong – It is not the State’s duty to protect and defend your religion’s views of a social, civil institution like marriage. It is the State’s duty to protect and defend the rights of its citizens. Thousands of those citizens who love each other will now marry each other. MYOB.

    3. I cannot believe that you are comparing yourself to GOD in your fifth paragraph. Where is your humility??? Moreover, you are comparing yourself to God when he was innocently “bloodied, bruised and beaten.” Shameful. And probably sinful to boot!

    4. Your statement about political clout is laughable. You must think that we are the most naive, uneducated and ill-read Catholics that God ever blew breath into.

    5. The parade of horribles that you envision will not occur. Have faith.

    6. Theophobia? You are really determined to cloak yourself in the mantle of the victim here, aren’t you? Seriously? Theophobia? I don’t think we need a nationwide capaign to protect the rights of the millions of theists in this country.

    7. Your apology is hollow. And offensive, since you are determined to continue in your efforts vis-a-vis gay people. No apology is necessary. I assure you that no one wants to hear these words from you.

    8. “Poor women and children”???? I don’t know which is worse – that this is your FOURTH attempt in one post to take on some “victim imagery” to your advantage or that this sad and unsophisticated attempt to conflate 2 separate issues is so transaparent and beneath a person of reason. Ted and Steve marrying is “burdensome on poor women and children???????” No one believes that.

    Praying for you,


  • Louis
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    The state has an interest in protecting opposite-sex relationships and their normative status,not in preventing their consensual dissolution.There is no state interest whatsoever in accommodating same-sex sexual relationships.

    Divorce should remain legal and same-sex marriage should not.

    (I am not religious).

  • Michael
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    It’s hard to take seriously the claim that the church is the victim of “theophobia” here, when at least 88% of Americans believe in God, and 86% of Americans belong to an organized religion, according to the Pew Forum on Religious and Political Life.

    Would that we lousy <12% of nontheist Americans had enough power to keep religion out of government, but we don't. So when a state's citizens and politicians decide to extend civil rights to gays, you can't blame it on the 12%, but rather some portion of the 88% that came to the realization that they don't need to impose their own religious beliefs on others.

  • candide001
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    It’s a good thing most American Catholics have the wisdom and depth of soul to reject your absurd and demeaning teachings about homosexuality. It’s your Church that is intrinsically disordered, not the sexuality of gays and lesbians. Instead of indulging in irrational fear-mongering you need to try to pray away your antigay bigotry. Love the Catholic, but hate the Catholicism.

  • Michele Mulholland France
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan,

    The beauty of our great nation is that you are entitled to your opinion, and to the exercise of free speech. You are not entitled to establish religion. We enjoy a separation of that here from the civil realm.

    As a proud American, I am appalled that the Roman Catholic Church is spending her time and resources to ruthlessly suppress American civil liberties. I refer you to the 14th Amendment of our great U.S. Constitution, particularly the equal protection clause.

    Children are starving, homeless, hopeless in this great nation. If you profess to live Jesus, then do what he asked. I refer you to the Sermon of the Mount first.

    You and your fellow men of the cloth are mistaken. There are millions of “cradle Catholics” like myself who no longer believe in what you say. The culture of CYO et al is holding us by a whisper – but as you crassly over play your hand – we rise. We rise. We walk down the aisle and we stop giving you pence. Know this Sir. Your time is coming to a close. The time of bended knee and suffering servants is over. We are paying attention as Americans first and we are not pleased by what we see.

    There is much work to do as people of faith – I ask each faithful Catholic to look well within your hearts. How exactly does giving your neighbor, your niece, your co-worker the security of equality and full civil rights affect your marriage? It doesn’t. Shame on you Archbishop Dolan. Shame. May God help you find the wisdom to reconsider and the courage to set a new course.

  • Pete
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    “the Church has always stood-up for marriage — one man and one woman, united in lifelong and faithful love”

    the Bible acknowledged and condoned polygamy (King David) and incest (Lot and his daughters). are you saying then that you are picking and choosing what part of the Bible you want to believe or enforce? so what Man says is now more important than what God says? how typical of the RCC.

  • Irene
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    “1) What would be your response to Ed Peters seemingly good argument that Catholic politicians (especially Gov. Cuomo) should be denied communion. Will the Church do something?”

    My own response is that democratically elected legislators have an obligation to carry out the will of the people they represent. If carrying out the will of their constituents poses a conflict for Catholic legislators, I think the appropriate thing to do would be for those legislators to resign from public office. But I don’t think it is a good thing for American Catholics to not be represented in Congress; for that reason alone, I would suggest restraint in threatening excommunication to legislators for voting the way their constituents want them to.

    As a Catholic voter, if you don’t like Governor Cuomo, don’t vote for him. (I didn’t)

  • Yaakov Sullivan
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency:
    You doth protest too much. Claiming you are not “anti” anybody is disingenuous. Any gay Catholic who wishes to maintain his/her sacramental ties to the Church will tell how how profound your “love” of the is. You should consider as well that your position, both political and theological, will prove as misguided as was the Church’s condemnation of Galileo. The recent sex abuse scandal by clergy in the Church and the multiple attempts by Church authorities to cover it up do not do much to put the Church in good moral standing or in a position where your moral rulings are credible. As for divorce and your claims of its negative impact on society, I have a question. What about the Catholic marriages where there has been no divorce but the family unit has suffered damage from abuse, neglect? What of those divorced couples where one or both of the parties have entered into successful second marriages providing the children with a stronger home life. Your strident political position speaks nothing of love or concern for gays. You have become nothing more than an institution of “nos”

  • Ralph
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Your statement was well written and able to avoid the many negatives of the church concerning marriage. This is a very sensitive subject to me, my parents (father catholic and mother lutheran however both were white) and forced to be married at the city hall in 1938. Would you like to comment on the churches reaction to this mixed marriage or in the 50’s to racial mixed marriages not permitted to marry in the church. Perhaps you would like to explain the fact that my father’s family including my father were never permitted to set foot in the church my 5 brothers and 4 sisters were raised because of the catholic church. Perhaps you do not know that historically the church has changed or you may say evolved its stance and importance of marriage and changed the rules the church uses to approve of marriage. My parents never discussed religion in the home, they were to busy raising CHRISTIANS. The day I entered the military in 1971 my father gave me his rosary to keep me safe. As you should know, under the catholic church of which you are speaking my parents who were faithful and married in the eyes of GOD for over 50 years even today would not be married according to the church. REMEMBER JESUS SAID “LET HIM WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE”. I think we need to work on ourselves, strive to be more CHRISTIAN before casting any stones.

  • Dave
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I love my Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Baptist, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Unitarian, Wiccan, agnostic and atheistic family and friends, all unquestioningly. I am pro-religion and agree that there are those who would argue inappropriately against religion.

    That said, you make a few points which I must contest. First, while it is true that dissolution of marriage is strongly correlated with a litany of social ills, there is no evidence in over 30 years of peer reviewed, published research and 10 years of real world experience among 300 million people and counting that allowing same-sex couples to receive civil recognition in any way decreases marriage rates, marriage longevity rates, birth rates, fidelity to partners, the well being of children, or any other measurable, observable phenomena. Indeed, despite years of trying, nobody has found a measurable difference between mixed-sex and same-sex couples, or the children thereof.

    As such, you are inappropriately employing red herrings.

    I will stand by you in staunchly opposing any attempt to impose non-Catholic beliefs upon the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations and its adherents. However, I also cannot abide pushing Catholic beliefs – valid only within the Catholic Church – upon non-Catholics without questioning the veracity of the claims.

  • Tyler
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Doug, Andrew, David, John and Blake

    Doug – please don’t name call. By the way, if I am pro-apple does that mean I am anti-orange? No because oranges and apples are different just like marriage and being homosexual are different. Archbishop Dolan was pointing, in a indirect way, the language games that society has played on itself. On the other hand there are times when being “pro” something does imply an “anti” position such as being pro-abortion means one is anti-life. In this latter example, the subject matter “life” is the same for these two positions (Pro-abortion and anti-life) where as the subject matter for marriage and homosexuality is different by definition. For one, Archbishop was trying to say that he does not reduce the homosexual person down to their sexual actions. He respects the person. Even if you want to collapse homosexuality to the sex act, and argue that marriage is about the right to have sex there still exists an objective difference in the subject matter. Homosexual sex is about having sex with a person of the same sex whereas the marital sex act is about sex between people of opposite sex. No law will ever change the truth of this situation. It will only try to mask it with a lie.

    Regarding your complaint that Archbishop Dolan compared Catholics to David I will only say that Archbishop Dolan’s comparison is supported by the fact that this issue never went to a referendum.

    David and John and Blake – what would you tell Archbishop Dolan to say to polygamists who want polygamy to be recognized because they feel it is their right? (By the way, have you not heard of the website Ashley Madison?) I hope you gentleman will not be silent when pedophiles demand their rights – although all of you were curiously quiet on this issue. By the way, us Canadians, actually need your help on the issue of polygamy right now! In BC there is a group of polygamists that wants polygamy to be recognized under the law.

    See you in Canada gentlemen.

  • Brent
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Distinction: Absolving something that is licit and good (while in fact it may be immoral in some cases) is different than promoting something that is always not good/evil. To equate the two, is to not be able to make this important distinction. Saying that divorce is equally immoral as homosexual marriage, assumes that divorce is a positive act. In fact, divorce is the dissolution of something good–same sex marriage is the creation of something not good. We can disagree about that statement but let’s not confuse the two notions. Fair?

  • Steven Schwalbach
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    No matter how the arguement is spun or how much the “progressives” share their “wisdom” The union of one woman and one man will always be the true meaning of marriage. It can be no other way because of God’s design of woman and man. To go against God’s wisdom is the height of arrogance.

    I also believe the issue would have been defeated if put to a referundum.

  • Steve
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    God loves and accepts all of his children. If you follow God, then you should as well.

  • Mary Dillon
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    (First read this on D. Cassidy’s blog. Posting my comments here too).

    Thanks for the post. Thank you to Archbishop Dolan for his statement. Agree with everything Archbishop Dolan said with exception to his statement about how the “Church stood up to contraception.” Yes, officially the Church stood up to contraception–we have so much here for which to thank Blessed John Paul II—but on the practical level a recent study shows the opposite of Archbishop Dolan’s words are true when it comes to reality about “Catholics and standing up to contraception.”

    Published in April by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) on contraceptive use by Catholic and Protestant women using data from the 2006-2008 National Survey on Family Growth, study findings showed:

    “98 % of Catholic women (of reproductive age 15-44) have used artificial contraception; 68 % of women have used highly effective methods including sterilization and the pill; 46 % see religion as very important in their lives.” The study found that “only 3 % of married Catholic women who do not want to become pregnant use Natural Family Planning.” Study authors “suggest that the perception of strongly held religious beliefs and contraceptive use are antithetical is wrong–in fact, . . . the two may be highly compatible.”

    Much discussion should be generated from this study and plans to adequately reeducate the faithful should be examined as this study’s findings are pertinent to the confusion about marriage, and related to the attacks on marriage today. For example, that many of today’s “church-going” Catholic women are cohabiting and contracepting reflects Planned Parenthood’s enormous negative influence on society. That “only 3 % of married Catholic women use modern methods of natural family planning” is shocking, given that Natural Family Planning (NFP) teaching programs have been in circulation for 40 years and are in every US Catholic Diocese and given that modern methods of NFP are effective, free from adverse health effects, and marriage-building. In fact, divorce rates among NFP users hover around 3 % compared to the almost 50 % divorce rate among Catholics and other denominations who use artificial contraception.

    However, on closer examination, these discrepancies are not so surprising. They point to what might be termed serious “communication gaps” in getting authentic teaching to Catholic “church-goers.” It is rare for a church-going Catholic to hear a homilist preach on the Church’s authentic teaching on artificial contraception preached from the pulpit on Sunday Mass (I can only remember two such homilies in the last 30 years). Nor do Catholics hear at Mass about the importance of the Catholic “pro marriage” vision for individuals and wider society as put forth in the Catechism and Papal Encyclicals. While it may be obvious, it is worth pointing out that, in today’s world, where Catholic women and men have been bombarded with Planned Parenthood’s distorted view of sexuality and relationships for a long time, it is probably only at Church that one will hear this message.

    Attacks on the Church’s”pro marriage” stance in forms of divorce, cohabitation, illegitimacy and of late, gay-marriage, can be traced back to the widespread acceptance and practice of contraception over the last 40 years along with the Church’s failure to adequately communicate to the faithful.

    One action plan to “renew the face of the earth,” with the Church’s “pro-marriage” message should focus on the practical level by having our clergy frequently(!) delivering the “good news” to us Catholics literally when we are “in the pews.”

  • Owen Kelly
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,
    I am not going to comment on your latest article, but want to make a strong comment on the church. I want you to know I love my faith even though I am a sinner, but I must tell you I am VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. If I was in your shoes I would of made loud noise, so loud that the Pope would of woken up from his sleep. I would of went after all the so called CATHOLIC POLITICIANS, talking about sinners…..PLEASE
    What are you scared about, you should of went after all of them, I take you are allowing those Politicians to receive communion? WHY.

    Now it’s going to get even more uglier, just watch and see, I am disappointed, very disappointed, especially during this time in our catholic chrches, schools are being closed, more people are not attending church, and Priest screwing around with kids, and now Chanel 5 has this priest that left the priesthood, and he has his own show, PLEASE. I am disappointed and I feel you should send a letter to all the priest not giving holy communion to these Politicians, take a cue from your bishop in Brooklyn, unless you don’t want to make waves because you are seeking a higher position in the church, I’ll tell you this, I’ve been around and if things don’t change very soon by being tough, I can assure you my catholic church will go under. Sad but true, please don’t pass the collection towards me, I want fight. Where is Michael the Arcangel when we need him.

  • Jude Rebecca
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Many thanks for your post. I found it spot on. And I wonder if the commenters realize that they come across as logically as a three year old whining for candy and no rules. Such hatred and animosity. I was especially amused by John and Blake. Do these people read anything other than the New York Times? Did they ever study World History? Apparently the Church is secretly pro-divorce but should spend all of her time “testifying” to outlaw it. And yet when priests and bishops do seek to enter the debate, they yell “separation of church and state.” Keep up the good fight. Oh, and Cuomo, Biden, and Pelosi should all be barred from receiving the Holy Eucharist. They are not in communion with the church and are scandalizing the faithful. (Just thought I would throw that in at the end. “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.”)

  • BobN
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    On the off chance you want to make amends for having offended us gay folks, perhaps you might consider full disclosure of your financial contributions to anti-gay organizations like NOM. They’re continuing to defy court orders to comply with campaign-finance laws in several states. Revealing the Catholic sources for much of the money would assuage your sins and relieve your allies of the burden borne by refusing to disclose your contributions. Besides, it would leave the Mormons as the only ones still hiding their financial supports and, all new friendships aside, what Catholic doesn’t like sticking it to the Mormons every now and then?

  • Kari
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I find it highly ironic that you should say the Church is “counter cultural” and that you would claim that the Church does not seek or desire political “clout”. Actions speak far louder than words.

    The Church is an integral part of the very establishment that wants to ensure gay and lesbian Americans are treated as second-class citizens. To play the victim card when you are clearly the oppressor is disingenuous; a flagrant lie that you have concocted for the purpose of supporting an indefensible anti-equality agenda.

    But even though it is disingenuous to play the victim when you are in fact the victimizer, what is more telling is the way the Church has been involved in this issue. If the Church did not seek political clout, it would not have spent money lobbying lawmakers to oppose marriage equality. You would not have asked your subordinates to write editorials in newspapers; you would not have told your priests to organize buses to protest equality in Albany. You would not be telling priests to deny Catholic lawmakers communion and you would not be telling

    And frankly, if you did not want political clout you, Archbishop, would not be spending your time writing this blog post. The fact that you are willing to spend your time kvetching about the idea that maybe, just make the state will treat all its citizens as equals for once, shows plain as day that you very much do want political clout.

    It also shows that you prioritize political activism over social justice work that might actually help people. ‘Tis a shame.

  • Tom
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Right on the money Archbishop Dolan. Thank you. Marriage will always be one man and one woman. It doesn’t matter what the pop culture thinks.

    You know there are always people who won’t agree on one stance of the church or another. Perhaps as time goes on our church will be a smaller and holier place to be seems to be going that way.

    God Bless.

  • Bill
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    If I could ask you one question, Archbishop Dolan, it would be this:

    Do you truly believe in your heart that you are treating gay citizens as Jesus Christ would?

    You have caused great pain to a great many of God’s children with your words and actions.

    I can not even for a moment believe that Jesus Christ would ever treat gay citizens with the public disrespect, public degradation, and public condemnation that you have.

    Can you, Archbishop Dolan? Can you?

  • Tim
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Sadly, Bishop, your blogging on this issue shows how truly archaic, ill-informed and narrow-minded your worldview is. Maybe 50 years ago…heck, even 15 years ago, your use of fear and apocalyptic language would have frightened the uneducated and myopic among your “flock”. But with younger generations realizing that love is love, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, your arguments now come across as an old man clinging to a sinking raft that’s weighted down by its own ignorance.
    Your kind are a dying breed, Bishop. And your words demonstrate your own self-fear that you’ve lost the battle. And I, for one, am glad that you’ve lost.

  • Judge William Lee (ret.)
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Enough pseudo-scholastic “prudential judgement”;that is merely an excuse for the line of least resistance at best or go along to get along at worst! the time is long overdue for a restoration of at least the appearance of Church discipline re “Catholic but…”pols.It is a matter of credibility and protecting the Faithful from scandal—if there is no downside to persistent public facilitation of vice, well, maybe it’s not so bad after all–a vrey slippery slope. Better to have organized the real Catholics of NY to have prevented this than to await the white martydom of the ACLU etc.

  • Irwin
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Thank God for Archbishop Dolan and his fellow Bishops and priests!! Marriage will always be between one man and one woman. Anything else is an abomination and everyone knows it. The vote was another sad day for what was once a great state. Fortunately there are other states proudly defending true marriage. With prayer New York will again join their ranks.

  • Diana Shertenlieb
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan:
    Thank God for courageous Catholic leaders like you! If only there were more like you! Please continue your struggle and we will support you by flooding heaven with prayer for your efforts.

    Those who smirk at your warnings of future persecution are the same ones who caved in during Thomas More’s time. We must always remember More’s sacrifice. He died not only because he was a Christian, but more importantly, because he was a Catholic!

    God bless you!

  • Michelle
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    This is a beautiful and positive message, I am new to the Church and will be sharing this with all my friends, both anti and pro gay marriage. It is so great to see a leader with words of love and brotherhood for homosexuals and those of other religions. It is also nice to see that Archbishop Dolan addressed the issue of homophobia, which I have always felt was used wrongly as an umbrella term to mean anyone against gay marriage.

    I too sent letters to every member of the NY senate with my opinion on the matter. (You can view the text of the letter at It is a shame that we didn’t win this battle, but the fight goes on.

  • John Anderson
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for your piece, your Excellency! I too worry about what kind of America will be left to my daughter, what will be left of her freedom to believe and to put into action the demands that truth, faith, and love enjoin upon all of us.

  • Repsac3
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    I support the right and the necessity for every faith and denomination to define marriage according to the tenets of their faith, and I stand opposed to any individual or group that would try to “force” any church to go against their teachings and marry (or not marry) any couple that doesn’t adhere to the faith.

    That said, I firmly believe there are significant differences between the sacred and religious rites of marriage, and the civil right to marry, and that it is not for any church to define and codify religious rites into secular law. (if you ask me, the problem is one of semantics. “Marriage” isn’t ( or shouldn’t be) a legal term, infused as it is with sacred teachings and beliefs.)

    The state has every right to choose to recognize religious ceremony as a legal union, just as each church can choose whether or not to recognize the secular, civil ceremony that creates a legal union as a marriage. But the twain needn’t meet. Religious marriage is what your faith teaches you is is; no more and no less. Legal marriage need not–and I would argue, ought not–be based on any faith’s religious teachings, but on the founding documents and laws of the land. Hopefully, this is the direction we are headed throughout this country.

    I applaud the Catholic church’s efforts to stay true to their teachings, and I hope they continue to do so. (I feel the same about my own faith–Unitarian Universalism–which has been performing weddings for same and opposite gendered couples for years, in accordance with our beliefs.) I would no more want US law to mandate (or forbid) my religious rites than I would your religious rites. If there’s one place where the church and the state ought to remain divided it is in mandating or forbidding religious rites by federal, state, or local law… …or mandating or forbidding Constitutional rights via the church, either.

  • Daniel
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Growing up, I heard the lyrics “Father Abaham had many sons…”, but little did I realize that those sons were the result of polygamist relationships:

    “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.” Genesis 16:3

    “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.” Genesis 25:1

    It seems absurd to pretend that the Church has always taken a principled stand against threats to marriage like polygamy when the practice appears so often in the Bible (i.e. David, Ezra, Jacob, Moses, Saul, Soloman, etc.). Father, you are too intelligent to resort to sensationalism and misinformation. Please show enough respect for the faith and for your readers not to use false arguments.

  • Valli Leone
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop:

    Whenever I hear or read a well-reasoned response to a very difficult situation, as was yours, I rejoice to be a part of the holy Catholic Church and a Christian, whose treasured belief in the beauty of marriage between a man and a woman, commits me to speak the truth in love in every venue. Your example inspires me and all of us who live to proclaim the Gospel of life to a world which most often does not want to hear it. Like parents guiding children, we will never give up or give in to the world, the flesh and the devil.

    Love never fails. You have shown us that, by your wise and well-delivered remarks. Thanks be to God for giving us clergy like you who will defend his truths in season and out of season. Please know that I will be praying with you for every person, regardless of his or her understandings or misunderstandings of scripture and the commandments. The Lord has no favorites, and we are connected as the family of God, hoping to bring the victory which Jesus lived for, died for and resurrected for, to all of his children. Come, Holy Spirit! The joy of the Lord is our strength!

  • Marya
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    A man and a man or woman and a woman living together is a piece of cake. But a woman and a man? For that you need an institution! The joke is that anyone really thinks gays need marriage. Isn’t this really about homosexuality that is narcissistic to the extreme? Aren’t we being manipulated not so much by homosexuals but by homosexuals who also have narcissistic personality disorder? Not all gays want this.
    This is like some kind of Sharia law. It’s about not allowing anyone their own conscience. I hope the argument becomes less arcane and we begin to see this for what it is. Marriage is altruistic, or should be. Can’t we speak more about that and how ‘mirroring’ relationships are unhealthy–that is, when one person expects another person to ‘mirror’ them and not complement them. Ever notice how people in gay relationships always seem like mirror images of each other. Unlike men & women who only start to look like each other after 40-50 years of living together.

  • Carlos
    July 8, 2011 Reply

    Thanks your Eminence for courageously and lovingly defending the faith, and for being a solid point of reference. At a time when relativism is the norm and intolerance toward the Catholic church is rampant, all I can say is thanks to the Church, the Pope, and the Bishops (along with so many Catholics and people from other faiths and convictions) for defending the truth and for reminding us what marriage’s true meaning is.

    Thanks also for bringing the example of St. Thomas More, how such a man of his stature followed his conscience without fear to the earthly powers. We will continue to live our lives bringing light to the world. The truth is what it is, and will forever be truth, no matter how much we try to twist it.

    May God bless you!

  • Benjamin Baxter
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Blake: Straw herring. The State has no duty to do anything to marriage. It is prudential for the state to encourage marriage, but only the sort +Dolan argues for — for the sake of raising children with a mom and a dad, that is, a stable environment.

    John: Read the Catechism on divorce and marriage. It is possible that there existed no marriage the first time, and the church considers divorce valid for the purposes of distributing property. It is remarriage that is impossible, but because whether or not marriage existed at all the first time is a sticky subject, we do not presume guilt. Though the bishops did very strongly oppose no-fault divorce, it is a far grayer area than same-sex marriage. It is like comparing the death penalty — where there might be legitimate disagreement — with abortion.

    What people seem to forget is that if a couple participates in the form of a marriage, we are to, generally, presume it valid. They are not required to conceive children — “a child is not a thing owed” — or fulfill much else but be open to life in their marital life. This being impossible with same-sex marriage so-called, just as it is philosophically untenable to deny the evil of abortion — ref. Kreeft — so is partnership.

    Marriage being more than a contract and social construct though it is one in part, just as man is more than an animal, has no business being widened to the point of rupture.

  • Ray
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop – BRAVO – May I have your permission to put this on my website verbatim, with proper attribution?


  • Julie Monette
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Keep fighting the good fight, Archbisop Dolan!

  • Fr. Peter
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Thanks so much Archbishop Dolan.

  • TJ Parker
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    “The only ‘clout’ the Church really has is God’s Truth.”

    Hah. “We don’t have clout! We merely claim that we speak for God and know what civil laws God wants implemented!”

    “We do worry indeed about this freedom of religion.”

    Why? You don’t trust the courts? Your freedom of religion is guaranteed in this country’s Constitution. The civil liberties of gay and lesbian people have had no defenders for decades.

    “None of this is anti-anybody, but simply pro marriage.”

    I’m a gay man married to my high-school boyfriend now since marriage was legal in California. We have a son who is 4 and a daughter 14 months. Your fight has directly impacted my family. You have fought to deprive us, to deprive my children of equal treatment under the law. You have fought to deny them the rights and privileges of other children, to deny my family the benefits of other families.

    Yes, your fight is a fight against my family. Perhaps you will argue that the long-term good outweighs the harm to families like mine, but you MUST make that argument. Your crusade DOES harm individuals and couples and families. At least acknowledge that much!

    There IS something that I will fight never to have taught to my children or any children. And that is your religion and your Bible. Some day, when they are old enough, I’ll let them see that document: How it condones polygamy. How it condones slavery. “Yes”, the Bible says, “you can sell your daughter into slavery … but she has to be at least 12!” “Yes”, the Bible says, “you can marry and impregnate your female slave, but she has to be at least 12!” This is not a book or religion for children.

    But they will grow up knowing that you and your people are their enemies. Because they will still see you on television, denouncing their family, telling lies about their lives. And when they see this, I’ll have to tell them something. So I will teach them about sanctimony and teach them about hypocrisy. What do you know: the church is good for something after all.

  • Donna Jorgenson Farrell
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    To doug:

    You certainly can be pro-something without being anti-something-else. That kind of either/or thinking is irrational.

    The natural law is what it is, and nothing anyone can do will change it. You may, however, subvert it at the peril of everyone.

  • tara
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop,

    Where is the public excommunication of this very public Heretic, Gov. Cuomo??! It is a great scandal to the Church!! And to do nothing speaks volumes!!!
    Thank you for your time.
    God Bless.

  • tara
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop,

    WHO…who…who will ‘defend’ Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament against public Heretics receiving Him in Holy Communion sacreligiously while blatantly, publicly attacking Holy Mother Church’s Sacred Teachings on the Sanctity of Life, the Sanctity of Holy Matrimony??
    Isn’t this the FIRST DUTY of a Priest…to defend Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament??!
    I just read that Archbishop Charles Chaput said, and I’m paraphrasing…”I expect to die in bed. My predecessor to die in jail and his predecessor to die a Martyr.”
    Who will defend and protect Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament NOW??!
    Thank you for your time!
    God Bless.

  • Thomas Warner
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    So sin is sanctity. When political incorrectness becomes a sin ,then we are in big trouble. I think this time has already arrived.
    Human anatomy and physiology were not created by us.
    Incidentally, the good bishop’s mention of Saint John the Baptist is so appropriate and may God bless him for it.

  • Michael Petek
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    “Editorials already call for the removal of guarantees of religious liberty, with crusaders calling for people of faith to be coerced to acceptance of this redefinition. If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.”

    Archbishop: If the worst happens and Christians are persecuted into silence, do you anticipate that there will come a point at which no Christian could in good conscience participate in the military defence of the United States, on the basis that the United States will no longer be worth defending against even her most murderous enemies?

  • Barbara
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    It is your job as Bishop to teach the Church’s position on marriage. However and respectfully, the cheapening argument does not convince many people because in the lived reality of our lives we see and experience many heterosexual unions blessed by the Church as marriage that cheapen marriage with abuse, neglect, lack of love and infedility. On the other hand, in recent years and in places such as New York where same sex couples have become mainstream, we are witnesses to same sex unions, not blessed by the Church, that are an inspiration to love, committment, and devotion that appear to have been Blessed by God. So this is where the disconnect is between the hierarchy and many lay Catholics on the same sex marriage issues and so many other issues in the area of sexuality. What you are saying does not find support in our lived reality.

    July 9, 2011 Reply


  • Prock
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    I am saddened that our Bishops have decided to take this issue and further alienate so many Catholics. There are so many issues that our church fails to yell and scream about: racism, poverty, immigration and the death penalty. Please adjust your priorities.

  • Kevin
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Your Grace:

    First of all, blessings on you for your staunch and courageous defence of the sanctity of marriage in the face of such overwhelming evil.

    I would say, though, that you have NOTHING for which you need to apologize. You are defending Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church which has always taught that marriage is the sacred union betwen one man and one woman. And what God has joined together, let no man put asunder!

    If there are those who would take offence at that teaching, then that is their problem -not yours. You correctly mentioned in your article that there are those who are guilty of Theophobia. Can there be much clearer evidence of the forces of evil at work?

    So, congratualtions to you and the Archdiocese of New York. Be assured of my prayers for you and for all Catholics in New York. We are living in difficult times, and we need Church leaders who will speak the truth.

    God bless you!

    Kevin Miller

  • Andrea
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    May God bless you. Thank you for your thoughtful and loving response.

  • Peter Comaskey
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    I’m seventy years old, a life long Catholic and in the last few years have, with many of my Catholic friends, totally lost faith in the bishops whose standard of response to so-called Catholic abortion/same sex marriage politicians is by doing nothing. Oh yes, a bishop rep. will come out and say words to appease us as if something is being done but in reality it’s meaningless drool, having no affect as who can or will take it seriously any longer. To me this has the effect of NEUTERING the Church for what it stands for and believes in causing many to fall away. John the Baptist who King Herod did behead was not afraid to face or tell the evil power over him “Send your brother’s wife home”. You ask can any more be done. Yes, stand up, Bishop Dolan lead and shake the dust of these scandalous politicians off the Holy Church. In your article you constantly apologize, it’s not needed and it seems you fear the media and what they say more than anything. You finish your statement bringing up Thomas Moore, who also lost his head for the faith. Well dear Bishop you are in a sense Bishop/leader/general lead us, we beg you, lead us, even if it means some martyrdom.

  • Angelo
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    What if the secular State stopped being in the business of defining what “marriage” is? I think the whole problem starts because the Church has given, and continues to give, the secular State the power to define “marriage”

    Of course if two or more consenting adults want to enter into a private contract to legally define their “relationship” that should be allowed…but that should not bring any tax-payer funded privileges, like “marriage” brings now.

    “Marriage” should be left to the Churches and if there’s a Church willing to marry two persons of the same sex (I’m sure there’ll be plenty mainline Protestant Churches willing to do so) then so be it – they will have to answer to God in the end.

    I really wish the Catholic Church spent more time trying to educate Catholics and less time empowering and lobbying politicians. Jesus never told his Apostles to go lobby Pilate – He saw His movement as completely separate from the secular State. He went for the hearts and minds of his disciples, not for drafting laws…

  • Steve
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    So many protestors, even here, and maybe thankfully here. And yet Archbishop Dolan is ABSOLUTELY correct. How can one even deny the self evident facts of what has happened to families, and marriage in the past 50 years. As the Archbishop correctly notes, the dilution of marriage has always been something that the Church stood against – as the Church has stood against evil throughout its history, and done much to help those who were persecuted. It is baffling that one even references WWII and the Nazis – do your research – and also look at the facts, look at what Nazis did to Catholics throughout Europe and particularly in Poland.

    Marriage is under attack, and it has been badly damaged, and this is one more hit against marriage in Western society. If you doubt it, simply ask yourself the question of how as a society are we truly better off now than 50 years ago? Or 40 years ago? Or 30 years ago? Are we more peaceful? Are children better educated, living in less violent environments? Are women being treated with greater respect and love? Are children?

    Fact is, mankind has usually failed to respond to God’s teaching, and to embrace his brother with love. The Archbishop points this out, and his points are really self evident, that mankinds disregard for true marriage manifests itself in so many ways: poverty, violence and the greatest sufferers from this are women and children. Simply look at single parent households (largely women), the violence within our cities, drop out rates, particularly among minorities and children coming from non-nucelar families. The evidence is self-evident simply by driving through your local city, but if in doubt, go to government websites (such as HUD) and the research bears it all out.

    Thanks be to God that the Archbishop speaks the truth, not all of us have his capacity to respond with patience and grace, but he is a shining example to us all, on how to respond with love. For all of you attack him, may you be blessed with greater wisdom and compassion.

  • Ryan Ayala
    July 9, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan,

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I am a lay Catholic in Phoenix, AZ, please know that we are praying for you.

    In Jesus Christ,

    Ryan Ayala

  • Paul H
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    “…why didn’t New York’s bishops allocate equivalent resources to fighting New York’s adoption of no-fault divorce last year?”

    I don’t know what level of “resources” were devoted last year against no-fault divorce, or this year in defense of the opposite-sex nature of marriage, but the New York bishops *did* oppose no-fault divorce in New York:

  • David E. Dowd
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop Dolan, for your eloquent and fearless defense of the holy sacrament of marriage. As a young man, I lived through a divorce and, later in life, passed through the trials brought about in my own life by my own divorce. Our Church has responded with love and compassion for myself and family members involved. We see the same compassionate response in this column, Archbishop Dolan, for those who seek the social acceptance of an institution infused by Christ when He imbued the institution of marriage with the designation of a sacrament, which we know is defined as an outward sign Christ instituted to give grace. IF there is anything parents need, in this day and age, to raise children, it is grace. And, being a flawed soul whose own weak and pitiful human nature is inescapably culpable in the demise of my own marriage, I can also attest to the experience of healing and the discovery of God’s love for me through regular receipt of graces from the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of reconciliation. For Holy Mother Church’s challenge to flawed souls like mine is not to give in to control by my passions but to seek control of my passions by use of the tools used in time immemorial by those who’ve come before us. The Catholic tools of prayer, sacrifice, receipt of the sacraments and fearless but gentle practice of virtue, starting with the humility to admit my sinfulness. Archbishop Dolan, thank you and your brother Shepherds for the sacrifices you’ve made to provide us leadership and direction as we pass through these challenging times.

  • Kathy Jankowski
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop Dolan. My mom used to say “If everyone is jumping off of that bridge would you do it too?” when she was trying to point out the folly of someone else’s ideas. I bet she didn’t know she has something in common with St. Augustine. I will share your column with her, and as many people as I can.

  • Mike
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    For the secularist who replied earlier, think of it this way: The man’s “business” is to manage the people of New York according to his “owner”. If he did not reply in the manner he did, he would not be doing his job. I think many in management or public relations would agree he replied quite well. For the believers: It is unfortuate the northeast United States thinks they set the moral compass of the rest of our country, our society (and the world!). There is a much larger world, my liberal NY friends, including our Muslim brethern, who destest this and will indeed resist it. Sorry, winning over a few corrupt NY legislators to pass this sham of a law is not really a victory. Pass this law in Saudi Arabia and I will be the first to congratulate you.
    Keep up the fight, your Excellency! There are BILLIONS on your side.

  • Caeli Francisco
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    To Doug I want to say, please read in the Holy Bible, Jude verses 4,7+8.

    What this Archbishop has done was the RIGHT thing!

  • Dr Craig Lowe
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Dear Bishop Dolan,
    I am proud of you for standing up and not being afraid to speak the truth in love. Homosexuality is a sin and was a disease not many years ago. You are correct that we should love our homosexual brothers and sisters and realize Sin is Sin. We are all guilty of Sin. We are to live our lives in accordance to the Word of God. Homosexuality is against nature. It should not be taught in schools as a developing norm. I am fearful, secular politicians will force the Church to mandate Gay and Lesbian marriages or face severe consequences. If we looked deep within our soul, with prayer as a guide, we will come to the conclusion that homosexuality is wrong as is abortion. We will all be held accountable by the Lord. Dr Craig Lowe (retired physician)

  • Luciano
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    It’s time to proclaim the truths of the faith from the pulpit in such a way that people may know clearly what we truly believe and take away any room for excuses for the compromises with the ways of the world and the worldly. Bring out for people the Creed of Pope Paul the VI for all to recite. The need is great.

  • Christine Zainer, M.D.
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan asks, “Is there anything left to say?”


    The act of contraception is wrong. The act of contraception is immoral. The act of contraception is intrinsically evil. Yes, evil, because it goes against the intrinsic goods of marital love and life.

    “Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).” CCC 2399

  • Bai Macfarlane
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    No-fault divorce cheapened marriage such that marriage is only a temporary sharing lasting until either partner feels like withdrawing. Contraception made sex have nothing to do with children. I’m not surprised that gays can get in on the routine.

    If the bishops fought no-fault divorce sixty years ago, I don’t see any traces of it now.

    Ask children of no-fault divorce if there was any priest telling the abandoning spouse that he/she has an obligation to maintain a common life for the children. Too often, we hear “the Church is not opposed to divorce, only to remarriage without an annulment.” Then we see publicity from tribunals about their healing process. I don’t see the U.S. Catholic Church upholding and defending marriage amongst its own flock.

    If Archbishop Dolan is consistent about upholding marriage, we should see him doing something to prevent the scandal caused by Catholic lawyers profiting in the divorce industry. Catholic no-fault divorce lawyers break apart families when there is no morally legitimate reason for marital separation; everyone disregards Catholic canon law specifying that no civil divorce or separation decree can be obtained contrary to divine law (canon 1151-1155, 1692) or without the Bishop’s permission.

    I don’t expect the Catholic Church to be responsible for the votes of the civil legislators. However, I’m saddened that it remains uninvolved bystanders for each of the millions of Catholic spouses abandoning marriage and forcing children into broken homes.

  • Pam T
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    Thank you. Thank you for answering the call to be a priest. Thank you for living your vocation so well. Thank you for standing up for right and true. Thank you for being an outstanding spokesman for Christ, Holy Mother Church and for Catholics. May God grant you many happy, healthy blessed years as you continue to serve Him and His Church.

  • Steve
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan,
    I have to agree with Ben Anderson’s comments that “….the teaching of the Church is very cloudy here in Rochester.”
    Regarding gay marriage, my large family attends between four & five churches on
    a given weekend–both city & suburben. In the months & weeks leading up to the gay
    marriage vote, there was no mention in sermons or in the bullitins about the issue.
    Nor was there a letter writing proposal advanced. Nor were there postcards to sign in the back of the church as with other moral issues. If other dioceases responded in the same manner,then perhaps this lack of cohesiveness contributed to the passage of the law.

  • ciao
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency,
    I know that it is difficult these days to stand up clearly and state your Catholic opinion when so many others make it there business to oppose you, even within the Church.
    Our priests need a strong and courageous Prelate, who will guide them, with paternal love, gentleness, strength, wisdom and prudence, many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger, if they don’t have this leadership.
    The Catholic faithful are with you Bishop. I appreciate your courage. Please don’t be silent, ever. Our Lady help you and Our Precious Lord keep you.

  • Armand Carpentier
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    doug says:
    July 8, 2011 at 12:06 am
    “Mr. Dolan, you don’t have a clue. When you’re ‘pro’ something you’re ‘anti’ something as well.”
    Wow! An unbelievably irrational statement! Poor doug – what a shallow personality with false reasoning even in his first sentence. Little minds always attack brilliant minds. The claptrap which follows this first statement is not worth reading – but I guess we have to, to see what deviant thinking there is in our midst !

  • Deborah
    July 10, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency said:

    “…the Church has always stood-up for marriage — one man and one woman, united in lifelong and faithful love, leading to new life in children – whenever and wherever it was in danger.”

    I wish the Church leadership, all its bishops and priests, would live up to this statement, as it is just not the reality. One of the greatest dangers to marriage and marriage stability has been and continues to be the ease with which annulments are granted. This simply cannot be denied. Both John Paul II and Pope Benedict have tried to correct this problem for years in their yearly addresses to the Roman Rota, which I encourage every faithful Catholic to read. Yet it has continued for decades unabated. If Bishops really cared about marriage and its stability, why are they not paying attention to what is going on in their tribunals? Do they know how many of their parish priests encourage divorce and annulment rather than reconciliation or that they take sides when spouses come to them for help? Why have they stopped warning souls that they will be condemned? Is hell filled up? Willful divorce condemns, like adultery, and yes sodomy! This is TRUTH that the Church did not make up, but that comes from God, Himself. If we really love those in these states, whether gay or straight, we must warn them of the danger. This is true LOVE!

    The very happy marriage of no-fault divorce and Catholic annulment for the past 40-plus years has prepared the perfect soil for same sex-marriage. The lack of strong leadership in the Church has played a very big hand in this and it would be nice to see them admit their part. If those in the Church really did their jobs like St. John the Baptist, divorce and annulment would never have become so rampant. My prayer is that Edward Cardinal Egan, who knows better than any canon lawyer what the problems are in the U. S. Church tribunals, who understands that incorrect criteria is being used to judge marriage cases, will be outspoken and help correct these errors.

    This is the big hole in the marriage boat. We will never bail ourselves out of this same-sex marriage dilemma, or stabilize Catholic marriage until we plug this gaping hole and begin to steady the boat.

    Jesus did not apologize for speaking the TRUTH.

  • Khrys
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    I’ve always been fascinated by the power of the simple arm band saying WWJD
    And can’t help but wonder what would honestly happen here…

    A Question of Marriage?
    I am more than willing to admit that I find the whole issue farcial because:

    1) People are experiencing preventable suffering while ‘we’ (the gay and lesbian communities, the secular civil rights community, church groups and groups of concerned citizens- all are equally guilty) throw cash at an issue which really pales in comparison to the rates of child sexual abuse, homicide, homelessness and domestic violence (preventable, identifiable evils in our own communities)

    2) I think what we really need to consider is- Are our actions are in line with our beliefs?

    I don’t blame Catholicism- of which I am a confirmed member- for the horrendous abuses caused by individuals (or for the process the Vatican used for dealing with these monsters) any more than I blame Islam for the actions of terrorists who used it as an excuse to harm innocent people- I DON’T believe that these actions are part of the core beliefs of either of these religions.

    I left the church, but not my faith, obediently when asked to do so based on my refusal to do penance for loving a person of the same sex- not SEX… but love (the feeling in my heart that this person inspires me to be a better person who I wanted to spend the rest of my life.)

    Upon leaving the Church I realised that a priest is only a human trained by other humans about how to interpret the word of God- and I came to understand that on the day of judgement I will need to account for not only my actions but my thoughts and MOTIVES. In this I reached an understanding that for me marriage is not a necessity as long as my relationship remains firmly motivated by pure love, not a feeling of obligation, helplessness or ownership.

    If Love is the word of God then Hate is its exact opposite and I feel that many (on both sides) need to consider whether the placards we are holding, the chants we are chanting and the MOTIVES of our actions are those of Love and therefore God or are they based on fear and hatred.

    An issue of Love, not lust
    In a modern world I think that we approach the Christ as a half mirror-half headmaster, vaguely similar to us but as a corrective/punitive figure rather than as a shining example of how to behave.

    Through our VERY human interpretation of divine words and lessons we seem to have forgotten that Christ made mistakes, lost his temper and started a very real social revolution. Although slightly different (more so if you consider the linguistic shift from the old languages into modern English) between gospels we see a consistent message of the human son of God- which is love.

    I think that in a modern world, where sex is so openly discussed, people sometimes find it hard remember that there is a difference between a physical act and that heart/soul based compassion which is an unconditional love for all things.

    I’d be lying if I said that the community which same sex attracted people have created for themselves didn’t focus STRONGLY on sexual activities but lets consider what outcomes you might ‘reasonably’ (not ‘rightly’ or ‘morally’- because WE ALL make horrendous decisions some times) expect the outcome to be when:
    • you are told that the person you are is abhorrent from a young age (and I was a VERY notably effeminate child);
    • you are told that “you can’t be part of our community”; and
    • you aren’t protected by a society.

    The results are fairly standard (not just in terms of sexuality) you:
    • avoid and remove yourself from harm (often resulting in a fear or hatred of organisations that the individuals identify as causing the lack of safety;
    • seek to create a safe space/community of your own with like people who share like values which creates a very DIFFERENT set of social norms

    I’m not arguing that this is correct/right action; simply that history demonstrates that it is a predictable pattern (‘religious’ groups have done this across many religions and cultures through out history with the same success/failure ratios and VARYING levels of ‘crazy/nutso’ subgroups)

    What would Jesus do?
    I’m in no way asking for people to act against their conscience (which I consider to be God’s way of keeping divine law a living thing), but I’d like for people to take some quiet time to REALLY consider:
    1) whether Christ was the defender of conservative values and tradition in his time or was he the one to denounce traditions which inhibited the lesson that he brought to the world, that of God’s UNCONDITIONAL love and boundless forgiveness (as long as it is asked for?); and
    2) Did Jesus die to end sin, or so that our sins may be forgiven/ did he ever tell someone how they MUST act or simply provide them with both the instructions should they wish to reach heaven and the shining example of his self sacrifice for the world?

    With all the love in my heart,


  • Tim
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop, for your words about the Church not being anti-gay and your apology to those who found some statements hurtful. With the assurance of my prayers.

  • vi melendez
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    Dear Bishop Dolan,

    You are certainly correct. Gay marriage is wrong because they will not be able to produce or multiply, bringing forth children which is a gift from God…nser

    In answer to some of the comments:
    The reason why people are given the option, is because, God gave us FREE WILL. A Free Will to choose right from wrong. Choose God or choose evil.

    Our Lord said, “It is by their fruits that you will know that they belong to me.”

    Our actions in this life will reflect on the next life.

    My prayers are with you Bishop Dolan.

  • Sheryl
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    John, July 8th at 2:09 a.m. says that the bishops did little or nothing to fight no-fault divorce; however, John adds that he’s curious to know “if Catholic Charities New York refuses to place children with couples where one or both potential parents have been divorced without benefit of an annulment.”

    Annulment is the Catholic form of no-fault divorce, and Cardinal Egan, retired in New York City, has argued brilliantly that most marriages are valid.

    The annulment process is so abused (and the children that they affect), that to argue that most marriages are invalid, which is what tribunalists do, is to support divorce/remarriage of Catholics and marriage becomes so undermined that many Catholics don’t bother with a Church wedding anymore.

    When all is lost, and Catholic teaching is gone because the bishops don’t teach it. people grasp for what little happiness they can have for the moment and we are, therefore, losing the argument that homosexual marriage is wrong.

  • Mary
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    Thank you, Archbishop Dolan.

    As to your statement about the “Church standing up to contraception, ” yes, officially the Church stood up to contraception–we have so much here for which to thank Blessed John Paul II—but on the practical level a recent study shows the opposite of Archbishop Dolan’s words are true when it comes to reality about “Catholics and standing up to contraception.”

    Published in April by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) on contraceptive use by Catholic and Protestant women using data from the 2006-2008 National Survey on Family Growth, study findings showed:

    “98 % of Catholic women (of reproductive age 15-44) have used artificial contraception; 68 % of women have used highly effective methods including sterilization and the pill; 46 % see religion as very important in their lives.” The study found that “only 3 % of married Catholic women who do not want to become pregnant use Natural Family Planning.” Study authors “suggest that the perception of strongly held religious beliefs and contraceptive use are antithetical is wrong–in fact, . . . the two may be highly compatible.”

    Much discussion should be generated from this study and plans to adequately reeducate the faithful should be examined as this study’s findings are pertinent to the confusion about marriage, and related to the attacks on marriage today. For example, that many of today’s “church-going” Catholic women are cohabiting and contracepting reflects Planned Parenthood’s enormous negative influence on society. That “only 3 % of married Catholic women use modern methods of natural family planning” is shocking, given that Natural Family Planning (NFP) teaching programs have been in circulation for 40 years and are in every US Catholic Diocese and given that modern methods of NFP are effective, free from adverse health effects, and marriage-building. In fact, divorce rates among NFP users hover around 3 % compared to the almost 50 % divorce rate among Catholics and other denominations who use artificial contraception.

    However, on closer examination, these discrepancies are not so surprising. They point to what might be termed serious “communication gaps” in getting authentic teaching to Catholic “church-goers.” It is rare for a church-going Catholic to hear a homilist preach on the Church’s authentic teaching on artificial contraception from the pulpit on Sunday Mass (I can only remember two such homilies in the last 30 years). Nor do Catholics hear at Mass about the importance of the Catholic “pro marriage” vision for individuals and wider society as put forth in the Catechism and Papal Encyclicals. While it may be obvious, it is worth pointing out that, in today’s world, where Catholic women and men have been bombarded with Planned Parenthood’s distorted view of sexuality and relationships for a long time, it is probably only at Church that one will hear this message.

    Attacks on the Church’s”pro marriage” stance in forms of divorce, cohabitation, illegitimacy and of late, gay-marriage, can be traced back to the widespread acceptance and practice of contraception over the last 40 years along with the Church’s failure to adequately communicate to the faithful.

    One action plan to “renew the face of the earth,” with the Church’s “pro-marriage” message should focus on the practical level by having our clergy frequently(!) delivering the “good news” to us Catholics literally when we are “in the pews.”

  • JonZ
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    Bishop Dolan, Thank you for taking a stand. It’s just a matter of time until the government allow individuals to define whatever marriage configuration they seem to like at their moment of pleasure. It’s rather disgusting and certainly not Biblical. Thanks again.

  • irishsmile
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    “our goal was pro-marriage, never anti-gay.”
    Please, a clearification… I have always understood that ‘Gay’ referred to the antive homosexual lifestyle. I understand that the church is not anti-homosexual referring to inclination but one has to be very careful when the term ‘gay’ is used.
    Anti simply means against… not in favor of. Christians should be against murder, adultery, rape, etc.

  • Ray Yank
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    Thank you “Father” Archbishop Dolan for continuing to be a real man. We love you.

  • Jaybird
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    For Vi Mendelez (above), who asserts, using the most faulty logic ever witnessed in Christendom, that gay marriages will not be able to produce children, I would just like to point out that plenty of straight couples get married and choose never to have children. Equally, plenty of widowed people who have already had children get re-married well past the age when they would bear children. Are you going to forbid them from marrying as well?

    I would also like to point out something that is BLEEDIN’ OBVIOUS to those of us not wearing the blinders of irrational faith: last time anyone checked, this dying planet of ours was groaning under the weight of more than 7 billion people, with more than 11 billion expected by the end of this decade. Trust me on this, the Biblical imperative to “be fruitful and multiply” has been more than adequately fulfilled, about 3 billion people ago. Maybe Vi you should ask your precious church officials to start looking after the millions of abandoned and orphaned children in this world (instead of using them as non-consenting sex toys, as they have an all-too-well documented track record of having done to-date).

    The English language is both highly elastic and agglomerative. That is how it has survived and dominated as a primary language on Earth. The word “marriage” can easily survive the minor adjustment inclusion of committed same-sex couples without insult or injury.

  • Florin
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency, I am so grateful that you are speaking into this issue. We need to realize that if we don’t draw a line in the sand, this is going to get worse. People ask how is it that Catholic politicians who promote same-sex marriage are permitted to receive the Eucharist and I ask how Catholic politicians such as Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, Daschle, Dodd, Kennedy, etc.,can continue to receive the Eucharist when they not only stand against life, but Joe Biden went to Africa and promised if they would permit abortion in their new constitution the money would flow. These Catholic pols aggressively push for the killing of unborn babies and are often granted huge sums of money from Planned Parenthood. We are talking about the killing of babies who are already kicking in the womb. To permit these Catholic politicians who publicly promote abortion, same sex marriage agendas to receive the Eucharist says to the public and to those Catholic politicians themselves: “You are Catholics in good standing despite the fact that you support and encourage the massive killing of human babies.” and allowing them to do this denies them the catalyst for conversion because Nancy Pelosi once said that if she had been told she could not receive the Eucharist she would have been ‘devastated’ – and that surely would have caused her to reflect and perhaps convert. Would we say to those who admit they molest children or those who support such behavior to receive the Eucharist? Child molestation is horrendous but at least that child would have the possibility of healing and of living a good life. The babe in the womb once killed has no such option. May God have mercy on us all. As you say, your Excellency. permitting same-sex marriage will lead to other forms of ‘marriage’; and I say that permitting the slaughter of human babies in the womb will lead to legalizing the killing of babies outside the womb. May Our Lady help us all.

  • Simon L
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    How many more gay people does God have to create in order to show that gay marriage is natural?

  • O.A Manno
    July 11, 2011 Reply

    The Free Masonic order is doing a fine job of trying to wash the tenets of the Church away and bringing into law that which is against God. I have read that those in power decided that the abortion clinics should be in the black and Spanish neighborhoods because they–those who made the decision– think these people are not worth propagating.
    In the past, what?–50 years–maybe less– this nation has been subjected to a horror of sins of the flesh–and the results thereof. Abortion–50,000 at last count in the US alone, the pill that women take to avoid pregnancy, couple living together out of wed-lock-free love, dope of any kind, corruption from high places right down to the nitty gritty individual.
    If you read your scripture when the Jews were corrupt from top to bottom, the Lord wiped the slate clean and He left an aniwim. I think we’re headed in the same direction.
    Thre has to be a change –a direction that leads to the Lord. if not, Heaven help us all.

  • The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS
    July 12, 2011 Reply

    Thank you very much, Archbishop Dolan, for this message — especially your reminder that marriage is “at the very foundation of civilization, which the state has the duty to defend and protect, not to mutate.” As a Evangelical Lutheran pastor (in Illinois), I am sad to say that our own Bishops are blind the catastrophe our society, with the assistance of many who are in our churches (including, alas, our ELCA Bishops in New York), has been courting. Please know that I am praying that you remain strong in your proclamation of the Truth.

  • Joe
    July 12, 2011 Reply

    “Five, though, if we did hurt anybody in our defense of marriage, I apologize ” — this is just wrong.

  • joe lowrey
    July 12, 2011 Reply

    The governor & the other so-called Catholics who voted for the new marriage law should be excommunicated by Archbishop Dolan. Anathema sint!
    The longer that the Archbishop waits to apply this remedy to them they will be branches dying on the vine and affecting the health of the whole Church.

  • David Gerhardt
    July 12, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for your message of love and inclusion. Gay marriage is a Civil Rights issue, not a religious one. Religious bigotry is a blight on our society. I don’t need to be married in the Catholic Church in which I was raised. A justice of the Peace or Lutheran pastor will do just fine.

  • Kusal M
    July 13, 2011 Reply

    A sarcastic answer to the sarcastic and demeaning question of “what would Jesus do about a homosexual, would be “he would cure him”. But my argument is not a religious one.

    I think that people do many things in the name of pleasure (some are quite unhealthy and adds to the burden of cost of health care). Homosexuality is a behavior (orientation or choice) like any other and that evolutionary dead end activity is one’s private business. When it has become a political force, that is what is criticized and fought against. People thinking that they are so advanced in their humanity and thought, because they are so called OK with people getting pleasure (I won’t be crude here) which is a evolutionary dead end, is laughable. Gov’t and courts shouldn’t be in the business of encouraging evolutionary dead end behavior. That activity doesn’t lead to diversity of the gene pool. So the question is what is the evolutionary benefit of homosexuality? If we are in a quest to find cures for many things that affect us, why not a quest to find a cure for the ultimate evolutionary dead end condition/behavior. After all people do research to find cures for many spectrum diseases (as sexual orientation is categorized now). Also, sexual behavior (biological or cultural) has a choice such as some choose not to have sex or some choosing to have sex with X.

    Also, a civil right exists or granted (by the creator or society) to the betterment through the diversity of people. As homosexuality doesn’t lead to diversification, the civil right argument is a flawed one. Courts must be made to realize that.

  • Michael Cummings
    July 13, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency:

    What is truly “haunting” is that you talk a good talk now, but only after the fight is lost and after having failed to put up a real fight or take any effective action to stop this abomination. Your deafness to those who criticize you on this point and your insistence on defending your lack of action is even more haunting. It is almost Orwellian. As a faithful Catholic, when the persecutions come, I know I cannot count on you.

  • Peter
    July 13, 2011 Reply

    Marriage is a personal and religious act. The problem is that the state has no business defining religious acts. America is not a theocracy. But it has done just that, centuries ago. America grants rights and privileges to married people. The gay marriage issue, at least to me, is more of a criticism of the state’s theocratic tendencies over the protection of America’s concept of freedom. In politics, I prefer a freedom of religion rather than enforcing my own religion on anyone. I think Jesus would have thought the same, given the persecution he felt for pursuing his own religion. Love and tolerance are for me profoundly important catholic traits. State’s laws should protect people, not prevent them from making choices that have no impact on others around them. And if choices that relate to moral character are stipulated by laws rather than free will, how can moral character be established to begin with? To be a moral person, one must make moral choices. Thus there has to be freedom of choice.

    Love, as I understand it within catholicism, has no rules in terms of gender. It is only sexual acts that cause moral problems with catholic faith. However unlikely, true married heterosexual catholics will only have sex when attempting to procreate. It is also unlikely, but entirely possible that a gay couple in love may never have sex. And thus, their love would not be sinful in the eyes of the catholic church, at least as I understand it. I understand the problematic nature of calling a relationship like this “marriage” within catholicism. However, for most people in this state, marriage is not defined by catholicism, but rather by the state. It is more often than not a legal document, not a religious one, which is unfortunate, but it has been that way for centuries.

    I am not a lauded scholar of catholicism and its history, but I have grown up in its community and have studied much of it in school, and I have gained a great respect for catholicism, despite the horrific happenings of late and in its history. In addition and somewhat tangentially to my thoughts on gay marriage, I would also like to express my increasing sadness of seeing the majority of catholics aligning themselves with the political right. Certainly issues like abortion drive these decisions for many catholics, and I understand this argument very clearly. But what of the poor? What of the unfortunate? What of the role of catholics to take care of the needy, the sick, to fight for the underprivileged? For me charity outweighs the issue of abortion. The right has aligned religion with promoting the wealthy at the cost of the poor. And I find it deplorable that catholics choose to align themselves with these voices. It is a horrible truth to democracy that many go overlooked because of majority statistics. But even still, the thought of maintaining social programs to help the less fortunate, the sick, and raising thousands upon thousands of poor people out of poverty into happy lives and protecting many from slipping into these afflictions outweighs the unlikely possibility of overturning roe vs. wade.

  • Laura
    July 13, 2011 Reply

    From today’s New York Times:
    Irish Report Finds Abuse Persisting in Catholic Church


    The church has lost all moral authority. Its bigotry knows no bounds. I am ashamed to have been born into this church, but grateful to be able to leave it with my faith in Christ intact.

  • Renee
    July 13, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan:

    Your blog posted was incredibly self-absorbed and defensive. Despite all sorts of attempts to “blow smoke” (as we say here on the East Coast), none of your arguments addressed the simple question: why do non-Catholics have to abide by the Catholic definition of marriage? I am not a Catholic; my religion allows me to marry under its auspices. So, answer that one question for me – why am I subject to your doctrines?

    Of course, I could go on and on, but others already have.

    I just have two more points to make. First, if you are so all-fired serious about defending “marriage,” why is it possible for any Catholic with $10,000 (maybe it’s higher nowadays) to receive an “annulment” of his or her marriage? I was there when my brother fell in love, got engaged, married and had two lovely children with his wife. After 25 years, they suddenly “weren’t validly married.” If you were so serious about defending marriage, why don’t you make these people suffer for the rest of their lives?

    Second, no thanks to you, my lover and I will be marrying about 22 years of loving partnership. “Marriage” means a lot in society, and we are thrilled to be able to participate in this important social and legal relationship.

    P.S., we are being married by a Christian minister.

  • Rene M
    July 13, 2011 Reply

    God ordained marriage between one man and one woman and the Church will always defend the truth.

    Lets look at the natural law for a moment. Where would society be 150 years from today if every single person in the world immediately embraced the gay lifestyle today. Men with Men and Women with Women.


    It is time for everyone to defend the truth but we also need to be charitable and teach the truth to those who incorrectly believe that there is nothing wrong with being gay. We need to help them and pray for them as their immortal souls are at stake.

  • Donna Jorgenson Farrell
    July 14, 2011 Reply


    I feel so sad that your faith somehow depends on the actions of others. Jesus established our Church and told us that he would be with us until the end of time. Nothing can change that. I find great encouragement within the Church community, because we all struggle with sin, whether of the horrific nature of the abuse scandal or in speaking unkind words to others. I was not born into this Church, I chose it for the fact that it is the one true Church that Jesus established and carried through the centuries by His dying for all our sins.

  • fr. roberto leoni
    July 14, 2011 Reply

    Your Eminence, I am fr. Roberto Leoni, chancellor of the roman suburbican diocese of Porto – S. Rufina (the diocese where the International airport of Rome Fiumicino is located), and in charge as well of our diocesan website:

    We want to express you our most convinced appreciation for the passionate “afterthought” that you wrote on your own blog about the defence of marriage and family, a defence that is by now to be carried on in Europe as well.

    We had it translated yesterday, posted in the item “Approfondimenti” and sent to other Catholic Italian blogs, sure that it will be read by a lot of people.

    I will post later on today your latest column you wrote about “The gift of our Holy Father”, which I find impressive and noteworthy to be spread around like the first.

    Thank you again for your teaching and your example.

    Yours in Christ,

    fr. Roberto Leoni

  • Deborah
    July 14, 2011 Reply

    I would like for the leadership in the Church to explain its defense of marriage when they themselves make divorce a REQUIREMENT in order to petition for nullity. How many faithful Catholics are aware of this? There is no canon law–NONE–that even suggests this as a necessity. How could there be? How is it that the Church here in the U.S. defies God by requiring a divorce–something He hates–in order to look into the possibility of nullity? Without divorce, there is a stronger possibility of reconciliation of spouses. With it, you can kiss the chances good-bye. Over 40 years and hundreds of thousands of annulments granted and counting. One would have to be totally naïve or gullible to believe that all those marriages are invalid.

    As far as scandals go, this one tops them all in terms of size. I am speaking in 1000% percent defense of the Church and her teaching that I love with my entire being. Many of those inside it have betrayed her teachings. This too, needs to be investigated.

  • Jim B
    July 14, 2011 Reply

    Your Excellency: With utmost respect I challenge your approach to this devasting situation. As a recognized Church leader, you are called upon to more that just prophecy. Your role as Church Leader requires you to LEAD. Where is your passionate plea to the clery to lead the laity and for the lay people to be called to take ACTION, in the streets, if necessary, to protest the moral decay which is engulfing our country/society. Persecution may come as you predict, but where is the call to all Catholics & good Christians to stand against EVIL.

    Shame on you failing in your responsibilities as SHEPHERD….to lead the sheep!

  • Deacon Paul Rooney
    July 14, 2011 Reply

    Your Eminence, you quote St. Augustine in your “Afterthoughts.”
    However, no one seems to be able to come up with a precise source for that alleged-Augustinian quote.
    Could you kindly provide your source?

    Deacon Paul Rooney

  • Deacon Paul Rooney
    July 14, 2011 Reply

    Regarding your “Afterthoughts,” I am now advised that the quote from St. Augustine is really attributed to William Penn:
    “if something is wrong, even if everybody else is doing it, it’s still wrong; and, if something is right, even if nobody else is doing it anymore, it’s still right.”

    Deacon Paul Rooney

  • Erin Archer
    July 15, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan:

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. You are a light for us around this country and throughout the world! God bless you and keep you!

    Yours in Christ through His Blessed Mother,


  • John A. Fountain
    July 15, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan.
    All one has to do is take a look at history.The Greek culture and country declined, and Roman culture and country declined, simply because of their permiscuous way of life.When morals go, so does society and the country.
    While reading the history books, one also needs to read the Bible since the Bible is history. Whenever the Jews, who were God’s chosen people broke His laws, they lost battles.If this country doesn’t wake up we too are on a collision course with disaster.
    It’s not our job to judge, thats God’s job, but there is nothing wrong with
    people who value the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman for the overall sake of this country. Yes, if this kind of mentality
    continues, we as a society, people and nation will go down the tube.
    We need more defenders and outspoken clergy like Archbishop Dolan.
    John Fountain

  • Cathy Miller
    July 15, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,
    Thank you for your courage and your leadership. The young people in this world are being bombarded with false infomation and they need us to stand for the truth. It is going to take everyone of us to stand for the truth even if it is life threating. I would rather die for the truth than live a lie that offends our Wonderful GOD. WE are the church and we need to defend it and the truth. God bless the priests and Nuns that are standing up for God’s Word. Thank You so much for your stand. Cathy

  • Anthony
    July 15, 2011 Reply

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    I would like to know if as a “Catholic”, Gov. Como has automatically excommunicated himself from the church by his actions.

    Will he be allowed to receive communion?

    I believe he should NOT be permitted to receive communion until he demonstrates repentance in a public venue to atone for the immense damage he has unleashed.

    Please your Eminence, speak to this issue.


    James 1:14-15

    14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

  • Cristino Xirau
    July 15, 2011 Reply

    The Roman Catholic Church is the largest church in the U.S.
    Lapsed Catholics form the second largest religious group in the U.S.

    Has the hierarchy ever stopped to ponder why?

  • P. Edward Murray
    July 15, 2011 Reply

    Your Eminence,

    I like your definition that the problem is not “homophobia” but Theophobia which is the hatred by some of God, faith, religion, and the Church!

    But it is more than that….

    Today, these folks scream and holler for “their civil right to marry” while at least 14 Million of us are Unemployed and over 24 Million of us can’t find a full time job! Not to forget that CBS Evening News reported a few weeks ago that the number of chronically unemployed is equal to the number chronically unemployed during The Great Depression!

    In my mind, that means that we are now in another Great Depression and these people have the audacity to worry about getting married?

    This can mean only one thing:

    That all these advocates of same sex marriage are NOT concerned with the rest of us because they are either wealthy or they already have good paying jobs!

    If anything else this means they are truly bigoted against those who have less, the poor and the unemployed:(

    May Jesus help us and our nation!

    P. Edward Murray
    Yardley, PA.

  • Maria Verde
    July 16, 2011 Reply

    Nobody is stopping the gay lifestyle. The more gays clamor for gay rights–the more they cut their own throats. Do you not see what is happening in Canada and Europe? They are now wrestling with the question of polygamy. You do the math, which religions believe in polygamy? In just a matter of years who do you think will have overpopulated those countries? What did the Iranian president say, “we have no gays in our country.” So you think living in a Christian country is difficult? Wait until you live in a country of extreme Mormanism and extreme Islam.

  • JeffG
    July 17, 2011 Reply

    “Let me say it again. None of this is anti-anybody, but simply pro marriage.”

    Unfortunately claiming something doesn’t make it so. As a Californian, thanks primarily to funding by the LDS and RCC, my own constitution has been reforged into a weapon to deny me over 1300 civil rights, as well as the fundamental human right to marriage.

    What I don’t understand is, the Church has an easy out on this issue. Last I checked the RCC sacrament is not and never has been “marriage”. The sacrament is called Holy Matrimony. So offer this as a separate service (only opposite-sex couples invited), and our First Amendment will protect your right to run these services however you wish.

    In my view the current RCC position on homosexuality is not only anti-gay, it’s emotionally dishonest. Tell a heterosexual man that it’s ok to be attracted to women but not to actually have sex with them. What’s astonishing is that so many heterosexuals sincerely believe this makes any more sense to gay people than it does to them. Gay bashing comes in different flavors and this kind of emotional bashing is among the worst imo.

  • Charles Derry
    July 17, 2011 Reply

    On your blog you write: Like St. Thomas More, we’re willing to take the heat and even lose our head from following a conscience properly formed by God’s revelation.

    If this were indeed, true, there would thousands of headless prelates taking a moral stand on the priestly abuse of minors. instead of thousands of Catholic adults broken into pieces by abuse. There are no such headless prelates. The hypocrisy of the church is astounding.

    Christ himself said nothing about homosexuality. The church, following its persecution of Galileo, continues to fight science; at some future, the persecution of gay Catholics will be another historical stain the Church will have to admit.

  • Paul
    July 19, 2011 Reply

    You said: “Tell a heterosexual man that it’s ok to be attracted to women but not to actually have sex with them.”

    The Church does that all the time. The moral laws demands that sex be unitive and procreative. As an unmarried man, it is not okay for me to have sex with my fiancee. Even as a married man, when I have sex it must be open to life and for the good of my spouse. The moral law makes strict demands on everyone, not just individuals with homosexual inclinations.

  • JohnD
    July 20, 2011 Reply

    The bottom line is that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution demands all citizens be accorded equal application and protection of our civil laws. Therefore the state has only two legally viable options: it must either provide equal civil rights for gay people, or it must recriminalize homosexuality and base marriage and other human and civil rights restrictions on these new laws.

    The RCC will need to accept and adapt to one of these two options, because anything in between them is legally indefensible, at least in our country. Withholding Communion and refusing donations isn’t going to change that fact, or change the position it puts our Catholic politicians in. You’d think the RCC would be intelligent and non-reactionary enough to understand this.

  • Paul
    July 20, 2011 Reply


    Are you making the claim that marriage is a “civil right”? Please demonstrate how A. one has the “right” to get married and B. how that “right” originates from the state.

  • JohnD
    July 22, 2011 Reply

    Fundamentally it’s a spiritual commitment between two people. Any two people, including two people of the same gender, have always had the right to marry. The issue at hand is legal recognition of these marriages.

    Legal “marriage” is a set of over 1000 civil rights and responsibilities which originate from the state. They cover every aspect of life: housing, employment, taxes, inheritance, adoption, immigration, insurance, hospital and prison visitation and on and on. In my experience not many people have taken the time to review this list and learn how, and especially to what extent, the current legal and civil discrimination affects gay people. If for nothing other than the sake of fairness I think people owe it to their consciences to at least know what the current policy is doing to couples and entire families. The irony of the terms “family values” and “defense of marriage” quickly becomes apparent.

    The word marriage has separate civil and religious meanings, and the two appear to conflict only because of sloppy terminology. As a civil institution the right of the state is limited to issuing civil union licenses, not “marriage licenses”. Meanwhile no religion has the right to dictate restrictions or terms for civil union rights. In America our rights are granted according to our constitutions and civil laws, regardless of religious recognition or approval, occasionally exclusive even of majority support from the American people. E.g. when minorities were formally integrated into our armed services in 1948 polls indicated 80% of the public (and 85% of servicemen) were against it. Within just 40 years Colin Powell was Chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff and even the concept of discriminating based on race in our armed services was considered ridiculous.

  • Randy McDonald
    July 31, 2011 Reply

    Rene M:

    “Where would society be 150 years from today if every single person in the world immediately embraced the gay lifestyle today. Men with Men and Women with Women.”

    Where would society be 150 years from today if every single person in the world immediately embraced RC clerical lifestyles, men becoming celibate priests and brothers and the like and women becoming nuns? There’d be a non-trivial likelihood of extinction, too. Does it follow that the Roman Catholic Church must be shut down or something?

  • Randy McDonald
    July 31, 2011 Reply

    Maria Verde:

    There is a long body of evidence suggesting that polygamy as such doesn’t have a significant positive effect on fertility, since the sorts of women who enter polygamous unions differ from the sorts of women who don’t. See Somalia in the 1980s for one example.

    It might even have a _negative_ effect. Don’t forget that many men, too, don’t get married in a polygamous culture: if there are equal numbers of men and women, and the sex ratio remains constant while some men monopolize the population of women, how will all men get married?

    “[S]cientists have now uncovered an odd fact about 19th-century Mormons: the more women in a household, the lower the average birthrate. In other words, the more sister-wives a Mormon woman had, the fewer children she was likely to produce.

    “Although it is great in terms of numbers of children for successful males to have harems, the data show that, for every new woman added to a male’s household, the number of children that each wife produced goes down by one,” said biologist Dr Michael Wade, of Indiana University.

    The result is intriguing, because this is the first time scientists have observed humans being affected by what is known as the Bateman gradient, a phenomenon that gets its name from the geneticist who first observed it in fruit flies. The more sexual partners the male fruit fly had, the lower was the fecundity of each of those partners, the 20th-century geneticist Angus Bateman noted.”

  • Tara Sz.
    August 4, 2011 Reply

    Archbishop Dolan:

    Thank you for your bravery in defending marriage – God calls us to be faithful, even we aren’t successful. My heart is really hurting that so many people, especially Catholics, believe the lie that marriage is just about ‘two people who love each other.’ Marriage is so much more than that, and now we see how contraception has ruined our vision. I am fighting with you and praying for the re-strengthening of the family.

  • Scribbler2099
    August 27, 2011 Reply

    Definitions of Marriage are as fluid as the society from which they spring. Having multiple wives is now frowned upon, while the no-fault divorce has freed women from the confines of domestic servitude.

    What infuriates me, is that instead of serving soup kitchens, helping undocumented immigrants, or helping to organize unions, the Church is attacking gay and lesbians couples’ civil rights. Like, get a life. Or better yet, turn some of your pedophile priests into the civil authorities. Your confessions, dogma, and cannon law is not a separate and higher form of law than that of the people.

    Every time I hear the Church blame pedophilia on homosexuality, I really have to wonder about all the opposite sex pedophile priests out there, and how an adult abusing a child without their consent has anything to do with what consenting adults do.

    Notice how the Church doesn’t have a single non-faith based argument against gay and lesbian civil rights. It’s a good thing that our government is based on the will of the people, and not on superstition and the beliefs of long dead civilizations.


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