Cardinal Dolan to Lesbian and Gay Catholics: “I love you, too. And God loves you.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

George Stephanopoulos

George Stephanopoulos

Thanks to GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) for making available a transcript of today’s interview between ABC-TV’s George Stephanopoulus and New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan on This Week with George Stephanopoulus in which Dolan speaks positively of gay and lesbian people.  The entire section on gay and lesbian people is available here.  The following is an important excerpt:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And you know, especially this week – because it’s been at the top of the news – for many gay and lesbian Americans –

CARDINAL DOLAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: – gay and lesbian Catholics, they feel unwelcome –

CARDINAL DOLAN: They do.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: – in the Church. And what do you say as a minister, as a pastor – to a gay couple that comes to you and say, “We love God. We love the Church. But we also love each other, and we –

CARDINAL DOLAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: – want to raise a family in faith.”

CARDINAL DOLAN: Sure.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you say to them?

CARDINAL DOLAN: Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally.

We gotta be – we gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that. We try our darndest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody. We’re in the defense of what God has taught us about – about marriage. And it’s one man, one woman, forever, to bring about new life. We gotta do better to try to dis – take that away from being anti-anybody. And – and I admit –

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you do that?

CARDINAL DOLAN: We haven’t been too good –

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, how do you do that?

CARDINAL DOLAN: Well, I don’t know. We’re still – we’re – we’re tryin’. We’re tryin’ our best to do it. We gotta listen to people, like the couple that you just described – that say, “We don’t feel comfortable here.”

Jesus died on the cross for them as much as he did for me. But you got a point. Sometimes we’re not as successful or as effective as we can be in translating that warm embrace into also teaching what God has told us about the way He wants us –

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And that challenge –

CARDINAL DOLAN: – to live.

Congratulations to Mr. Stephanopoulos for asking these tough questions and eliciting such a positive response.  Thank you to Cardinal Dolan for finally speaking positively about gay and lesbian Catholics and admitting that the church can do better in their regard.  Many thanks to GLAAD for making this transcript available.

This is the first time that the cardinal has made such a positive statement about God’s love for lesbian and gay people.  Such a statement is a refreshing change from the usual harsh rhetoric that the church hierarchy uses when discussing LGBT issues.  It is a significant sign of welcome and outreach.  Cardinal Dolan’s statement is nothing short of an Easter miracle.

Cardinal Dolan now has to back up these words with actions.  Later in the interview he said that church leaders “gotta listen to people,” referring to lesbian and gay persons.  If Dolan meant what he said, he should open a dialogue with lesbian and gay people, especially Catholics, to learn more about their pain and struggle , but also about their joy and faith.  New Ways Ministry stands ready to help Dolan identify people with whom he can begin to dialogue.

It is no accident that such a positive message comes with the beginning of the new papacy of Pope Francis.  He has set a new tone of humility and reconciliation in the church which did not exist under Benedict XVI.  We hope and pray that the new pope’s example will continue to inspire other church leaders to seek out those on the margins and welcome them into the fold.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

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12 Responses to Cardinal Dolan to Lesbian and Gay Catholics: “I love you, too. And God loves you.”

  1. pjnugent says:

    I’ve noticed that the American (that’s USA) bishops who were pretty mouthy before the election of Pope Francis have been noticably quiet since. I suspect they are reeling and trying to figure out just how to respond to his model. They could start by losing the red dresses and being real about welcoming all people. It will be interesting to see if Dolan follows up on this.

  2. Stephen says:

    I’m not sure how positive this is when Cardinal Dolan is still saying that marriage and sexual love is only for a man and woman and to produce children! That is a very dated, ignorant, uneducated and sad message to be sending out there. Yes, the interveiw could have been worse, but this still is not acceptable.

  3. cminca says:

    Here’s one gay man’s response–

    “I don’t believe you”

    The bishops lost the ssm argument and they know it. Dolan’s just doing damage control.

  4. Stephen says:

    By telling someone that their love and expression of that love is not ok, you are basically telling them they are not welcomed there. It’s just a lost cause in my opinion when dealing with these higher ups who love to play dress up and preach fabricated messages that are not gospel.

  5. [...] Yesterday, we reported on New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan message of pastoral outreach to lesbian and gay Catholics. We urged him to open a dialogue with lesbian and gay people as the way to follow through with his suggestion that church leaders need to listen better to those who feel alienated from the church.  Cardinal Dolan also took the opportunity to defend the hierarchy’s view that marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples. [...]

  6. [...] Cardinal Dolan to Lesbian and Gay Catholics: “I love you, too. And God loves you.” (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com) [...]

  7. [...] Sunday, Cardinal Dolan spoke to the need for improved Catholic outreach to the LGBT community. Many Catholics questioned his [...]

  8. [...] week began with Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s statement of pastoral outreach to lesbian and gay people, and the commentary and analysis of his remarks still hasn’t [...]

  9. [...]  to Cardinal Dolan’s Easter Sunday comments keep pouring in.   If nothing else, it shows how his comments struck nerves, both positively and [...]

  10. Concerned catholic says:

    So people who love one another And have a love for god are not accepted by the church- yet the church covers up pedifile priests and that’s ok? I think Jesus would have a problem with this line of thinking

  11. [...] has started his own petition at change.org3, encouraging Cardinal Timothy Dolan to act on his highly publicized statements4 to George Stephanopoulos on Easter morning. In the ABC News interview, Dolan said while the [...]

  12. […] comments about LGBT people within Catholicism, including remarks by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Easter and several Vatican officials endorsing civil […]

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