The True Meaning of Marriage

The stampede is on.  Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.

The media, mainly sympathetic to this rush to tamper with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good, reports annoyance on the part of some senators that those in defense of traditional marriage just don’t see the light, as we persist in opposing this enlightened, progressive, cause.

But, really, shouldn’t we be more upset – and worried – about this perilous presumption of the state to re-invent the very definition of an undeniable truth – one man, one woman, united in lifelong love and fidelity, hoping for children – that has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start?

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea.  In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law.  There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

But, please, not here!  Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government, and certain noble values – life, home, family, marriage, children, faith – that are protected, not re-defined, by a state presuming omnipotence.

Please, not here!  We cherish true freedom, not as the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought; we acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a “right.”  And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?

Our beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people.  The Church affirms the basic human rights of gay men and women, and the state has rightly changed many laws to offer these men and women hospital visitation rights, bereavement leave, death benefits, insurance benefits, and the like.  This is not about denying rights. It is about upholding a truth about the human condition.  Marriage is not simply a mechanism for delivering benefits:  It is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children.  Please don’t vote to change that.  If you do, you are claiming the power to change what is not into what is, simply because you say so.  This is false, it is wrong, and it defies logic and common sense.

Yes, I admit, I come at this as a believer, who, along with other citizens of a diversity of creeds believe that God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.  We believers worry not only about what this new intrusion will do to our common good, but also that we will be coerced to violate our deepest beliefs to accommodate the newest state decree.  (If you think this paranoia, just ask believers in Canada and England what’s going on there to justify our apprehensions.)

But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values.

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404 Responses to “The True Meaning of Marriage”

  1. Gabrielle Mauel says:

    There is no right to something that does not exist. Marriage is inherently male and
    female by natural law. This is not an issue of liberty. People who are not married
    have more freedom then people who do marry. I never will accept the so called
    concept of homosexual marriage. I suppose that will make me an outlaw in this
    country. In fact, as a Catholic, I no longer have any patriotism for the USA. It is
    becoming an anti-Catholic country. Also, I am losing hope in the Church because it
    refuses to stand up for it’s beliefs.

    The Church should not accept marriage licenses from the State of New York if it
    imposes so called homosexual marriage on its people. What the State of New York
    calls marriage will no longer mean the same thing that the Church calls marriage. It
    would be hypocritical to accept these New York non-marriage licenses, but I do not
    believe the Church has the courage to do this unfortunately.

    The Vatican could step in and issue marriage licenses as a sovereign nation to
    Catholics living in the US. Catholics could be married in consulates centers
    around the USA. This would give me some hope that all is not lost.
    America is a failing country do not let it bring the Church down with it.

  2. Annette Jalsevac says:

    Archbishop Dolan,

    I am a Canadian Catholic who wants to thank you for being a true Shepherd. It’s a sad thing to acknowledge that what you wrote actually took courage; but as western society has so rapidly embraced the irrational theory that homosexual relationships are no different from heterosexual unions thus compelling our legislators to bestow a right for gay people to marry, it is indeed a courageous thing for you to have so clearly communicated the truth. It is a comfort for me to be witness to a church leader who loves the faithful and humanity so much, that he will risk ridicule and perhaps even harm to his well-being in order to encourage his community to see and live the truth of our sexual natures as designed by God. I have nothing but compassion for those who struggle with their sexual identities, as I have for those who struggle with other psycholigical issues, but I do get annoyed with those who seek to dramatically alter society to adapt to the lifestyle they may eventually choose as a result of their
    struggles. Their is no automatic right to marriage; a man may not marry his daughter, nor may he marry his wife AND her sister at the same time. There have always been laws in place to safeguard the family so that, as the foundation of any civilization, it will always provide the best environment in which to nurture children. It’s a simple fact that communist regimes have always attempted to destroy the traditional family structure in order to force citizens to be beholden to no one but the State. We now know how well that worked. I know Archbishop, that your words will provoke some hateful responses, (which simply indicate profound and unresolved feelings of guilt by those who spout them), so I will pray for continued strength for you and I will pray for those who don’t believe you have a right to teach the Catholic faith openly and for those whom upon reading the truth, become filled with an irrational anger that is never healthy for anyone to live with. God bless you Archbishop Dolan.

  3. Kaeldra says:

    The fundamental flaw in Dolan’s arguments is that he mixes church and state.

    No one is seeking to redefine your values Mr. Dolan or the values of your holy subjects. The people only want to be free of having their values subjugated by yours, as they have been for so long.

    If you’d like to continue bigotry in your private religious club, by all means go right ahead. But it is not acceptable by natural law or by the Constitution for religious curiosities to drive secular government policy.

  4. Concerned Catholic says:

    First let me say that I am proud that Archbishop Dolan has the courage and fortitude to stand for the church’s teachings and truths. I’m not going to try and lecture on the difference between homophobia and concern for one’s soul, it’s been beaten to death. If you don’t understand marriage as the Archbishop and any self respecting Catholic does, you don’t much care about your soul anyways.

    For those of you saying that it isn’t any of his business, you quite simply are wrong. It is the bishop’s job to guide their flock don’t the path of truth, not “popular”, “progressive”, insert other “enlightened” word here opinion.

    For those of you calling yourself “Christian” or saying you are ashamed to be Catholic because of this, you clearly don’t understand your faith very well. The bible teaches this type of activity, along with any other desires of the flesh outside of marriage, are immoral and a Grave sin. To my Catholic brothers and sisters, find your way to the confessional my friends and take that act of contrition seriously.

    Finally for those of your who were born gay, this is your cross to bare; we all have them. Rather than attempting to glorify or justify this life, celibacy may be a life style to embrace.

  5. Donald says:

    “But I also come at this as an American citizen, who reads our formative principles as limiting government, not unleashing it to tamper with life’s most basic values.”

    Then you obviously flunked American History.

    American founding principles were a rejection of Hereditary and Divine right forms of government. It was a clean break from the previous models that allowed an elite unelected body to preside over them. There’s nothing limiting about the constitution. It guarantees a representative form of government. We are a republic. It’s a document that over time has expanded the rights of its citizens through amendments. The very essence of the constitution is that it can be changed when the needs of society change.

  6. Nancy D. says:

    “To preserve individual morality, regardless of it’s unpopularity”, is to recognize the self-evident Truth, that Love exists in relationship, and to deny the unalienable Right of every human individual to be treated with dignity and respect by engaging in or condoning homosexual sexual acts or any sexual act that demeans our inherent dignity as human persons, is to deny the unalienable Civil Right of all persons to be treated with dignity and respect.

  7. Robert Grave says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    I have seen you speak to the parish community at St. Francis Xavier. You were visibly joyful to be welcomed by the parish. I do not believe your out-spoken opposition to same-sex marriage is coming from your heart. I also do not believe that your well-educated, critical mind agrees with the rationale you’ve deployed to defend Canon law. On the one hand, you are “doing your job” as an agent of the Holy See and a counsel of its canon laws. I understand. On the other hand, you are betraying your own heart, your own mind and the true meaning of Christ’s church. I’m sorry for you. I fear you may be driven by ambition – perhaps aspiring for a Cardinal appointment – rather than by a courageous, unwavering commitment to social justice. Is it true that you are turning your back on the LGBT community against your own conscience and out of personal ambition? Ask yourself that question.

  8. Martin says:

    We understand that your beliefs should not be viewed as discrimination against homosexual people. But we have a simple suggestion.

    Don’t allow or recognize gay marriages in the Catholic church. End of story.

    At one point, you cite the differences between New York and Korea and China.

    It’s also true that we’re not living in a theocracy – like Iran – where the clergy is allowed to determine the rule of law.

    Thank God!

  9. Mary says:

    “Five arguments against gay marriage: Society must brace for corrosive change”. in Thursday’s (today) NY Daily News. Gay marriage is going to impact everybody.

  10. Nancy D. says:

    It is a self-evident Truth and not just a Catholic belief that to engage in or condone demeaning sexual acts is to deny the unalienable Right of every human individual to be treated with dignity and respect.

  11. Jerry Colby says:

    As I have said to some, I will say to all. Under threat from lawmakers to take away the Church’s TAX EXEMPT STATUS the BISHOPS HAVE GIVEN AWAY OUR RIGHTS TO PRACTICE OUR FAITH. I say TAKE OUR TAX EXEMPT STATUS AWAY and we will do what we can with what we have and the STATES will have to do, what we have done from the beginning for a lot less and a lot better, you can imagine the outcry when they can’t!!
    So they threaten to remove STATUE of LIMITATIONS on the Priest/Clergy or any Catholic employee regarding sex abuse scandal, go ahead, they have already ruined every person accused to date and they show no signs of stopping. The Bishops are scared of publicity. so they allow the torture of their PRIESTS to go on. SOME Bishops have become traitors and they will answer for this. BUT what are we doing? soon enough if they lock all the priests up, maybe those of us that care about mass and receiving communion will be upset when there is no priest to consecrate or to bury us!!
    EVERY PRIEST should stop saying mass NOW for all these reason or even just one of them. The state will have to deal with some angry constituents. We will always have the poor amongst us our lord said, but he asked us to make a difference in his name, now is the time. I will not be happy about no communion, but I will be elated to know we will not allow the politicians to tell us how we have to live and practice our faith.

    ASK your Priests and Bishops to speak the truth about what is going on in the world (wrongly accused Priests, Gay Marriage, adoption, population control, school of choice,abortion and many more issues) and stand with them when the government comes to stop them!! Otherwise we will continue the slow bleed and lose any resemblance of the teaching of our faith.

    My Thoughts

  12. Ryan says:

    This is the EXACT reason why most Catholics I know broke free from the church and follow their own way of the Lord… The church needs to accept more people and not allow people to break free from it.
    For Example…The first man into heaven was next to Jesus on the cross after committing murder, yet he was sorry for what he did and was allowed into the kingdom of heaven. So Jesus allowed him into heaven but will fend of all homosexuals? I don’t think so. It is not up to any religious leader or follower to condemn on their own, and to say what God will say NO ONE IS GOD and allowing yourself to think that you have authority like God is perhaps a bigger sin than murder and or homosexuality. So don’t give me leviticus nonsense or any other condemnation about homosexuality in the ‘bible’ because the Bible was written by man and it is proven that from the past man has taken time to change and modernize…
    Think what you want about being gay thats fine, no one cares what you think, but dont speak for God because I guarantee up there, there’s a lot of gays living eternity amongst the rest of the the good world.

  13. Otto S. says:

    Interesting that the communists are defining natural law according to Dolan.
    Wasn’t it the Catholics who drummed and still is to this day the six day story in which earth was created, the word was flat for long and everybody is dammed including children from birth on, and blacks descended from cursed Hem.
    If anybody preached ignorance then price goes to the R.C Church and unfortunately it found many copycats including Mormons and many other storyteller. This blog is speaking volumes and reflects the backward thinking in the R.C Church.

  14. Joanne says:

    just heard they passed the bill–how sad for New York State and Catholics. I feel a directive should of been given to all churches to inundate legislators with phonecalls and signed petitions against this law. I feel priests should be directed to speak at the pulpit on any and all issues contrary to Catholic teachings and encourage the congregation to be proactive in defeating such legislation. Catholics need to be more vocal. The next major issue is standing up for Israel, the only democracy in the mideast, our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and as Catholics we need to support Israel. Father Pfleger in Chicago directs his congregation on political issues, some of which are contrary to Catholic teaching and the government leaves him alone, so why shouldn’t those who uphold Catholic teachings be afraid to speak up?

  15. Suzanne Reynolds says:

    Wow. 31 years of *faithful* marriage? :) Remarkable, Peggy!

    “Peggy says:
    June 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Archbishop Dolan, I am involved in Adult Education in the Diocese of Rockvile Centre for a good number of years. Due to the fact that my brother is homosexual and has had a lifelong battle in his relationship with the Church and objective Truth, I have had to pour myself into every aspect of this issue. Thankyou for this well articulated piece. It is a gift to all of us who are striving to be more effective in the public square. It is incumbant on all devout Catholics to become increasingly capable of articulating critical issues effectively. I am happy to be able to refer others to your treatment of the defense of marriage. I ask you to keep my brother in your prayers, that Our Mother may lead him back fully into the Church. [FYI,today, June 14th, my husband and I celebrate 31 years to the vocation of marriage.] In profound gratitude for your leadership.”

    Really? lol

  16. Robert says:

    I do hope you read this sir. Why your thoughts on this subject run counter to many you have (as have far to many in the states) forgot one basic truth.

    The USA which I proudly served and would have died for in my younger days was founded on not just freedom of church but freedom of rights. Equal rights. That means equal rights for all. For the church which I respect to so arrogantly forget this basic principle of which this country stands for is not just a black eye for you personally, but for the church.

    Never forget that so many have died to protect the basic rights of freedom and equality for all. From the American Revolution to the Civil War to recent conflicts. So many have cast themselves proudly and without thought of consequence to stand up for the freedom and equal rights of all. No one has the right to take that away based on race nor sexual preference. Equal and fair for even the church teaches us that and you good sir have totally forgotten that very basic principal of why we are proud to be Americans.

    I for one am now ashamed to say I am Catholic and it is due to this very subject. I am an American first and very proud of what my ancestors sacrificed to make this a free country. That means free of religious persecution, freedom of mind and most of all free of thought. The church has totally failed in my eyes on this and thus I am now more disillusioned than ever before. To show support to those who may have molested children in a holy place to to take this stance is just hypocrisy at it’s absolute worst. I believe God will see the truth and he said never judge your fellow man. You judged. You broke the spirit and holiness of the very book you teach. It is a bad day for you but a great day for all Americans who choose freedom over anything. Good day and God forgive your sin’s of hypocrisy not mine.

  17. Michael says:

    The Archbishop just doesn’t understand why attendance is down and revenues to the church are WAY under budget . . . . with the passage of Gay marriage in the great State of NY . . . maybe you will know understand! You, Archbishop Dolan are your own worst enemy . . . knew you in St. Louis and unfortunately know you in Manhattan!

  18. Alan Aversa says:

    A commenter writes: “The fundamental flaw in Dolan’s arguments is that he mixes church and state.”

    Separation of Church and State taken to the extreme results in the disappearance of Church, which will never occur. We Catholics and especially this courageous bishop realize that Christ is King now and forever. In other words, the Church and State will always have mutual influence on each other because Christ still rules it!

  19. Gary Martyn says:

    Why on earth are people quoting natural law? It is a subjective conceptual entity and as such can not be proven to be absolute when it comes to a definition of what marriage is. To base any belief on ‘natural law’ is fine for an individual but exceptionally weak grounds on which to seek to apply meaning to others.
    As for government in China and North Korea presuming to redefine rights on a daily basis. At best that is a gross generalisation, at worst casual racism.

    Shameful behaviour.

  20. Alan Aversa says:

    For an excellent defense of of true Catholic teaching regarding same-sex “marriage,” see this excellent video by Fr. Rodriguez.

  21. kayle skellie says:

    the true nature of any race is to change, to grow and to expand. that isnt to say there is a nessecity to cast aside the old traditions but to pick them up and dust them off, to look at them under the light in which we now live under and see them for what they really are instead of holding fast to them and learning to embrace our brothers and sister after all we must love thy neighbor. the truth is, i have no faith but there are many humble people that are close to me that do believe and i find that the compasion and understanding they have for such things as gay marriage is a breathe of fresh air in what can be an oppressive loveless world i was once told and once belived that god loved all his childeren and i suppose that it was learning of HIS \true\ ideals that turned my head away so fast. HE gave us all free will so why not love who we will?

  22. John says:

    You lost, and I am overjoyed today. Your faith-based intolerance and misinformation finally, thankfully, has been nullified. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for understanding what it means to be a true Catholic. It is shameful that the most powerful Archbishop in the United States continues to misguide and misinform. Catholicism, an organization with the power to heal and love, breeds lies and castigates those who understand the truth about love, acceptance, and understanding. A truly shameful day for the Catholic church. But a day of overwhelming joy for those who believe in full equality.

  23. Kevin Davis says:

    This is in regard to your statements concerning the LAW that was passed in your state of New York. I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic, went to Catholic Grade School, High School and also Catholic University, and your statements are appalling to say the least. It is because of those like yourself that many faithful Roman Catholics are shunned and “chased away” from the Roman Catholic church. How dare you take the role of lawmaker, it would be suggested that you would take a step back and take a look at the reality of life, especially withing the Roman Catholic Church. How hypocritical you are, as well as all other “hierarchy” in your absolute primal statements that do NOT reflect the majority of life as it is today. I was an alter boy growing up, and I was molested by one of the priests that was protected by the Roman Catholic church. I do NOT want to hear any more negative comments by you about this matter, I have my rights to believe in what I want to, and NOT to have YOUR beliefs shoved down my throat any longer.
    With the voting into law the Equal Rights for Same sex Couples to marry in the state of New York last evening, it is absolutely clear what are basic human rights are finally being granted to God loving children of HIS, and have so much to offer, given any chance. However you and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church choose to live with absolutely outdated, barbaric theories at times, and absolutely not in touch with reality in today’s time. While I understand and respect that you have an opinion, you are merely a puppet of Rome, as well as I and thousands and thousands of us that were raised as Good Roman Catholics, staying as true to the faith as possible, but when the church is so discriminatory in it’s outdated and antiquated beliefs, have our own God loving beliefs as well, and are legally entitled to these opinions, whether you and Rome agree or now. It is absolutely no wonder why so many have left the church, no question whatsoever. Now you must deal with the reality of Law in the State of New York, I realize that it is Civil Law and not Cannon Law, however we are all entitled to basic human rights to live the person that we do, and to live the best life that we can, and whether you and Rome can understand, realize or believe this, we all can survive, flourish, and still enter the Kingdom that God has waiting for EVERYONE, and not the stipulated few that you and the Roman Catholic church allows under your outdated and out of touch with reality doctrines and teachings. Have a blessed life.

  24. Will says:

    I hope you take a long look at the joyful faces on the covers of today’s newspapers. Like commenter Robert Grave, it is hard for me to believe you believe what you write and say on this topic, and are merely acting as a political functionary. Whatever the case, I hope you come to some peace with this new reality that will change the lives of many in this state.

    One of the most unsettling lines that you and others recite in your opposition is that greater acceptance of homosexuality in our culture is somehow part of a destructive “trend,” implying that we are surrendering our consciences to some fleeting fashion. The implication is clear. It’s a denial of homosexuality’s history (as old as mankind) and an affirmation of some idealized past, where homosexuality was designated a disorder. It is easy to say our culture is in decline–that stump speech is also as old as mankind. It is much more difficult to look at our past, acknowledge that it was insufficient, even immoral, and admit that we have been held hostage by it.

  25. Mac B. says:

    “The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled,” according to the New York’s Catholic bishops. “Humanity” once believed that the earth was at the center of the solar system and I’m sure that the Catholic bishops were deeply disappointed and troubled as well when Galileo corrected the error altering radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of the solar system. Sometimes change, tolerance, and understanding is a virtue.

  26. max says:

    There is no standing in the way of progress. Each year more and more churches and catholic schools close. People are leaving the church in droves. I would love if you people of God would spend more time showing charity, compassion, and love and not so much hate oppression and bigotry. Equality is the future and the future is NOW!!!

  27. D B says:

    Bless you Archbishop Dolan for speaking the truth, “in season and out of season”!

  28. David says:

    Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT)
    For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Romans 13:8-10 (NLT)
    Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

    So… which shows more love for their neighbor? The gay couple who are fully committed to each other and raising a stable, Christ-centered family? Or the Pharisee who tries to convince others that their relationship is second-class?

    Just a thought.

  29. Michael K. Halloran says:

    I’m a Roman Catholic, and I’m proud this day to be a New Yorker. I’m thrilled for my gay friends here in New York, who’s civil rights have finally been recognized. I’m on my way to mass at St. Malachy’s, and I’ll thank God for yesterday’s legislative results. Archbishop Dolan, you are relatively new to New York. We are a very tolerant bunch, and we are happy to have you here. By any measure, we are the most integrated, heterogeneous city on the planet. We get along with each other. We respect each other. We love each other. We don’t judge each other. We respect the law. The passage of this law is the essence of what New York is all about. Let’s get together for lunch to discuss gays and gay marriage, and to discuss New York City, and what makes it tick, and what makes it special. I’ll buy. I’m quite serious about my offer. Mike Halloran, New York City.

  30. Lou says:

    Our faith as Catholics teaches us hate sin not the sinner. The very people claiming God laws don’t apply to them will one day be dealing with the next group that wants their personal desires fulfilled. How will they deny those adults who wish to marry a child, or those who wish to marry their brother or sister, or even their pets in their pursuit of personal happiness? Seem absurd, really? Once you open Pandora’s Box the sky is the limit. You are sadly mistaken if you believe the Catholic Church will not be persecuted for refusing to marry same sex couples. Look at those in government who tried to pass (and is still actively trying to send thru the back door) a bill called “Freedom of Choice Act” forcing any medical professional who refused to perform an abortion for religious, moral or ethical beliefs could be removed from their position, basically a career ender for the individual and a head on clash with the Catholic Hospitals that have generously helped the poor and the needy. With the legalization of abortion in 1973, who would have thought the very people who fought for choice of one group rights, 33 years later they would be forcing the their view on all. Who would have thought 35 years ago legalizing abortion for the happiness of the few today we would be witnessing 80% of minorities aborting their own children and 1,300,000 abortions per year in the USA. Talk about genocide. Yes the family is being attacked from all sides. All the way back to the first recorded histories of mankind in the Bible or ancient writings we witness the same calamity over and over again, collapse of those societies that seek their personal desires over the word of God.

  31. Dominic Joseph Radanovich says:

    Archbishop Timothy:
    I respect you as the Latin Rite Bishop of New York, as I did when you were here in Milwaukee. But straight is straight and gay is gay. Gay people do not recruit straights to become gay. Why do straight people try to “convert” gays then? Gay people don’t have kids that they don’t want. Gay people don’t crowd the courts with divorces. Gay people don’t have children out of wedlock. Gay people don’t have abortions. So why put all the crap of the straight world on the backs of gay people? It’s sort of like the Christians (Catholics included) bringing all their crap from Europe and subjugating all the Natives here to European “values”. Why can’t people, especially americans, just mind their own business and live and let live?

  32. Katherine says:

    God bless you, Your Excellency. You are a true shepherd and I pray daily for you, that Our Lord will continue to give you strength.

  33. Toby A. says:

    Dear Concerned Catholic,

    I believe it is you who truly doesn’t understand, instead of accepting everything the church demands, you should study the the origins of all religions and understand they are a manifestation of man’s lack of knowledge and understanding about life on earth. Study the bible, the inconsistencies alone should tell you that this isn’t the literal “word of god.” In fact the human authorship attributed to many of the books is in question. The miracle of virgin birth isn’t new or unique to Jesus birth. Many of the older religions had gods that were born of virgins; the same is true of the resurrection after three days. Then there is this idea of communion. This is ritual cannabalism, “god-eating” and is not new or unique to christianity or catholicism, either. So it is really impossible for me to understand how any thinking person can give themself over to all of the dictates of this or any religion.

    Your admonition that “The bible teaches this type of activity, along with any other desires of the flesh outside of marriage, are immoral and a Grave sin.” Is as absurd as the immorality of wearing mixed thread cloth, eating shellfish, or pork, which as stated in the bible are “abominations.” Should children who dishonor their parents be put to death or a women who is not a virgin on her wedding night? This is all in the bible. Should this practice be maintained today as well? Where do you draw the line as to what you will follow and what you won’t?

    Its time for rational, thoughtful discussion instead of blind adherence.

    Some may think because of these statements that I am an atheist; not true. The fact is that I don’t know if there is a god. There may be one. It is unknowable as is the will of god. The existance of our immortal souls is also unknowable. The bible has some excellent ideas; don’t steal, murder or covet the neighbors spouse or property. (I think the ten commandments would have been better if it had more rules about truthfulness and honesty in all aspects of life especially business.) But the golden rule, “do unto others…” is really the one that all should follow. Think about what the world would be like if we all treated our fellows as we would want to be treated. It would truly change the world. I doubt there would have been the rancor in the recent fight over the new healthcare law. If “Do unto others…” was the case then there would be universal health coverage now.

    I just want to make one last point. The belief in an immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving god as presented by the christian religions; while comforting, can only be a myth. This world would be a much different place and my love for my partner would be irrelevant in the grand scheme if it was true.

    Following statements made by Concerned Catholic – June 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    “For those of you calling yourself “Christian” or saying you are ashamed to be Catholic because of this, you clearly don’t understand your faith very well. The bible teaches this type of activity, along with any other desires of the flesh outside of marriage, are immoral and a Grave sin. To my Catholic brothers and sisters, find your way to the confessional my friends and take that act of contrition seriously.

    Finally for those of your who were born gay, this is your cross to bare; we all have them. Rather than attempting to glorify or justify this life, celibacy may be a life style to embrace.

  34. mark s. fenice says:

    Too little, too late. The hierachy of the Catholic Curch in America ceded the moral battlefield to proponents of abortion, gay marriage, etc., when they soldthe Church’s Soul to the democrat party in exchange for the almighty dollar. The failure to declare to politicians such as Kennedy, Pelosi, Durbin etc ad nauseam outside the Church and to denounce “theologians” such as Curran and perfumed princes such as Hesburgh and Drinan and the like who gave cover to the progressives and liberals of the 6-‘s and 70’s was nothing short of astounding. The Church is in great need of Bishops who have the spirit of the eary martyrs of the Church. Unfortunately Bishop Dolans expression on the Today Show of his leadership vision for the Archdiocese gives me no cause for clebration. More of the same, i am afraid. Keep giving Holy Communion to Cuomo. Maybe he will send another social service contract your way.

  35. Nancy says:

    There are provisions of the state constituion dealing with the jurisdiction of the family court that give it jurisdiction over children “other than in divorce” proceedings and in actions with respect to one’s “spouse”.

    It certainly seems to me that New York’s legislature are working an “end run” around the state constitution by changing the jurisdiction of the courts by simply changing a law other than the state constitution. If they wished the constitution to reflect “divorce” as meaning a divorce of same sex couples or if they wanted the jurisdiction of the family court to include same-sex couples, then there was a way to do that: Amend the state constitution, which would have required a statewide referendum.

    Look for this matter to go before the courts and for the same-sex marriage law to be declared unconstitutional under the state constitution because the legislature and the governor overstepped their authority and assumed powers (i.e., to amend the state constitution) that they did not have.

  36. David Amato says:

    In America, marriage is primarily a government institution. You can not get married in America without the permission of the government. You do not have to be married in a church. You can be married by the justice of peace, a government employee, or if you choose, in a church. If you get a divorce, you must get the government’s permission, not the church.

    Since marriage is controlled by the government, it is only a matter of time that permission to get married will be granted to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
    The Supreme Court can rule no other way. Under our Constitution, everyone must be treated equally.


  37. jetpmoran says:

    I just need some clarity. I understand the belief that marriage is meant for a man & a woman joined together with the hope to pro-create, however there are several problems with this belief. First, does this mean that a man & a woman who know they can not pro-create can not get married?? I am referring to a couple who know before they take their vows, such a senior citizens who have found love a 2nd (or even a first) time. Are they not allowed to be married because they are unable to have children?? We know that is not even an issue because it is a heterosexual relationship. Also, there is adoption, when a married couple can adopt a child in need of a loving home. This is an important issue in the gay community. They can adopt as a couple if they are married.
    I would love for someone to truly explain to me why same sex marriage is wrong in the eyes of God & Jesus. I am a very faithful person & want to understand it, but the rhetoric doesn’t really hold up. I am not looking to argue, just to truly understand in a way that Christ would say it. Thank you.

  38. danny says:

    And…in this democracy, majority rules. It is quite clear that a majority of New Yorkers have opinions that differ, including many Catholics like me. I’m quite glad that my Senator voted yes thereby representing the views of the majority.

  39. Steven Swarts says:

    Given the recent events in New York and the approval of the gravest of sins by a governing body, it is time for the Catholic bishops and clergy to act decisively and quickly to prevent further scandal. It is time to show that God’s laws are not to be ignored. It is time to take a stand and show that politicians (and others) who “profess” to be Catholic and yet blatantly disregard God’s law by upholding the abomination of homosexual unions and carnal behaviors, living together as man and woman outside of matrimony, to promote the killing of unborn children, etc. must be held accountable. How can we continue to allow these individuals to share in the unity of the Catholic faith by allowing these individuals to receive Holy Communion?? This is not only scandalous it is a sacrilege, adding yet another wound to the crucified Lord. (in times past individuals who blatantly adhered to grave sins such as these were excommunicated because of the scandal it brought to the community.) There must be a stand taken to show marriage is true vocation and paramount as the basis of any society, not just an empty act. To do otherwise insures the further erosion of the vocation and sacrament of marriage, and subsequent decline of our society into carnal anarchy.

  40. James says:

    I like reading how so many people are bashing a wonderful person for writing what he believes. I’m ashamed to live in New York.
    There is a time when we just have to say enough is enough. Why must we give everyone everything they want? It’s not right. We’re treating “rights” as if everyone has a right to everything. Let’s stop this nonsense, America.
    And all these trolls who point out that homosexual tendencies were present in Rome and Greece, guess what! That happened right before the collapse of those empires. I kid you not. Look it up. If you actually read in to your “facts”, you would see that they hurt you more than help you.
    And to those who say this is a genetic adaptation, answer this. When in the history of nature has a species successfully taken on an adaptation that prevents reproduction? Answer: never.
    And to jetpmoran, God bless you for asking. That’s a good point you make there, but you must understand that even an old couple has the potential to rear their own children. A sterile couple still has the potential. A gay couple does not have that potential, and they never will due to biological laws. That’s the difference. Adoption is something that should be taken up by functioning families, not by gay couples. There is a difference when there is no father or mother in the equation. I am not even twenty yet, so I have peers who were raised by gay couples. They turned out to be a mess, and they let their emotions get the better of them all the time. There are also some adopted by functioning families. While not all turn out well, most of them have.

  41. Donald Panella says:

    What the state defines as marriage is and should be separate from what the Catholic Church defines as marriage. The Church is performing a sacrament which is one of several legal ways to obtain a marriage license in NY. Some religions perform same sex marriages and some do not. It is not the government’s job or right to decide which religions are right and which are wrong. The NY state government passed a law primarily to make inheritance, medical decisions, health insurance, and other similar benefits fairer for same sex couples. This has nothing to do with religion. Given the exemptions for religious organizations and their charities in the NY Marriage Equality Bill, civil marriage is really none of the Catholic Church’s business, whether it is between a man and a woman or two people of the same gender. Marriage is not necessarily a religious ceremony and the Catholic Church does not have the right to tell other religions how to perform their sacraments.

  42. Donald Panella says:

    Dear Steven Swarts,

    By what criteria are you judging civil marriage equality to be the “gravest of sins?” Wouldn’t murder, rape, or the sexual abuse of children trump two people who love each other promising to stand by each other for the rest of their lives? I know we clearly come from different perspectives, but I mean this as a serious question.

    In terms of the natural law arguments that seem to dominate modern Catholic policies, how do we get to pick only the examples from nature that serve our argument. There are well documented cases of homosexual animals. Did God just make a mistake when they were born, or gay people for that matter?

  43. B. Hoban says:

    Look out into the pews of every church in NYC, there are more seats empty than full. When will the church get the message? I am afraid when it is too late. As a gay catholic, it saddens me to no end. I attend a small church that welcomes us, but the Church at large does not. I was educated by your priests and sisters, an experience that was full of love and true Christianity. So sad that the Churches upper management just doesn’t get it.

    So sad, simply so sad. You are turning your back on good people, their friends and families who love them. We are not asking you to marry us in your churches, simply to accept that the state will.

  44. Kate says:

    Interesting stance from a man who is neither allowed to marry, nor to have sex, and who is in a religious institution sullied by decades of sexual abuse of children.

    Basically what you’re saying is that children who were created – and subsequently abandoned or failed by their heterosexual parents – should never have the stability of a loving set of parents… if those parents happen to be gay. Better to be raised by the state orphanage? Really?

    I would direct your attention to Dan Savage’s book, “The Kid,” which chronicles his and his partner’s adoption of their son. It’s a powerfully moving account and I hope it will instruct you in the myriad ways love manifests on earth.

  45. Monica says:

    Hey, guys…

    What does ‘rule of law’ mean?

    Oh, and bonus question: What’s a ‘theocracy’? And why does America NOT have one?

    (If you’re feeling REALLY smart, how about telling me what could happen if you actually succeed. Gay marriage is forbidden, we all do it in missionary position…but suddenly America’s majority is Satanist. What’s your plan then, genius?)

  46. Madison says:

    While I disagree with the majority of this article, I’d like to address one statement in particular-

    “It [marriage] is the union of a man and a woman in a loving, permanent, life-giving union to pro-create children”

    That is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever read. For starters, more than half of man-woman marriages aren’t permanent, so knock that off the list. There’s also plenty of man-woman marriages that could hardly be classified as loving. And, if the purpose is to pro-create, then should the infertile and the elderly be forbidden from marriage? And, I think that it’s pretty safe to say that homosexual marriages could be every single thing you described, aside from the obvious ‘man and woman’. They can certainly be loving and permanent, and they can also be life-giving, via artificial insemintion and adoption.

    And, against the argument that being gay is unnatural/the natural order of things is man and woman that I’ve seen, I’d just like to remind everyone that there are many, many examples of homosexuality occuring naturally in nature, humans just being one of them.

  47. Daniel says:

    I found this to be an interesting read.

    Having been involved with a Church a long time ago (thankfully, no longer), I have come across all of these sentiments before. I have always (and will always) support everyone’s right to their own opinion, freedom of expression and freedom of religious association. It seems that all humans need to hold onto some kind of hope, be it religious or not.

    However, trouble starts when people begin to feel like everyone must believe the same thing as them, and that their values and ideals are the only ones with any worth. The Christian Church itself is riddled with disagreement, and each denomination believes that *it alone* knows the truth, knows what God would want given any situation (homosexual marriage, abortion, cohabitation etc) According to the Bible, all anyone needs to do is accept Jesus into their lives to be considered a Christian. I had this line thrown at me so many times, yet as time went on, i *wasn’t allowed* to be a homosexual. My mother was thrown out of the Church for being in a relationship with a non-Christian man. Now please, before I get the standard abuse, please don’t think I am saying ALL Christians are like that. I already know. I’m just saying, when a Church can’t even seem to decide for itself what is right and what is wrong, what gives it the right to actively try and stop the progress of society, when this progress is based on love and the right to express love? Surely love is at the heart of Christianity!

    I do not know if I will ever marry, for me the decision rests on the same issues as for heterosexuals – if I find someone I love, and believe I will love forever, and want to start a family with, then I will marry them. However, regardless of whether I choose to use this right, I will forever support the rights of anyone to marry anyone. Heterosexual marriages are rarely perfect, and neither, I doubt, will homosexual marriages. But I believe the most noble thing we can do as human beings is to love, be loved, and accept the love other people share.

    Please people. Just be reasonable about this. Think to yourself – in what way will this affect me? Next time you see a gay couple in the street, before you jump to prejudice, just try and see how happy they are, and accept their bravery to express their love publicly. And then, if you choose to go back to your prejudices, then please just keep them personal to you. There is no reason to hurt people you don’t even know, if they are causing you no harm.

  48. Paula Sisco says:

    I am flabbergasted by the negative comments to Archbishop Dolan’s blog, and the lack of knowledge of the Church by those who say they are Catholic. Lack of proper formation? Maybe. But I was not raised Catholic, and had minimal instruction before I became Catholic. It has been in the last 20 years, through my own study, prayer and worship that I have learned the true faith. It has been my COMPLETE acceptance of the Church’s teaching that has given me peace and joy. How I wish I had faithfully followed Mother Church’s teaching earlier!! And to the one who said people are fleeing the Catholic Church because of, basically, her consistent and firm adherence to the faith for the last 2000+ years, people are also flocking to the Church for the same reason! Popular belief and popular culture, thank God, do NOT determine Truth. I mean, really – how silly!

  49. Marie says:


    I applaud and thank Archbishop Dolan for his courage to speak out on this matter.
    I choose grace. I choose to be obedient to those who are wiser then I because I know
    they can help me get to heaven. So I thank Archbishop Dolan for sharing his wisdom with me and helping me to get to heaven. If you don’t want to avail yourself of the gifts this holy man has to offer, then live on in your filth until you are no longer recognizable as a human person, created in the image and likeness of God. If you participate in a sin driven life, whether homosexual of heterosexual, you belong to the world which belongs to Satan. Therefore you belong to Satan. If you wish to choose grace you may do so. While you wallow in your filth I will beg God to forgive, enlighten, and raise you up to become the saint you were created to be. This is only possible by the grace of God, but sin separates you from God’s grace……..
    Our good shepherd, Archbishop Dolan is trying to educate us so we can find God in
    this miserable world. Instead of gratitude he gets insults. Maybe those who sling these harmful darts would have spit in the face of Jesus as well.
    I choose grace. You can to.

  50. hammy says:

    Unfreakin believable… :)

    I mean… It just boggles the mind how people can’t realize how bigoted they are being… Blatantly judging gay people, judging on their fight to have the same rights and previleges that the majority of the country take for granted… and STILL believing you are speaking from a moral high ground. To actually victimize and STILL believe you’re the victim… Wow.

    I am Christian, and I am straight. But I realized years ago that you cannot be moral and just until and unless you support other viewpoints and other people’s basic rights from an objective viewpoint, whether or not you personally share the view.

    You cannot preach equality and justice while condemning viewpoints simply because you don’t understand them. A fair, balanced viewpoint is the previlege of a democracy… In a theistic country, the church would have gotten its way. But this has less to do with the church and more to do with justice.

    Legalization of gay marriage is going to affect the straight people’s marriage? Seriously? The typical housewife of America is just waiting for the ruling so that she can run over to Mindy next door? Live and let live. They’re not condemning straight marriage… Straight marriage will survive. In time, it may evolve to accommodate a just viewpoint of the gay couple next door, but they’re not threatened.

    It is called progressive because it DOES mean progress… positive change… Change from being shackled into a loveless, baseless, biological betrayal of a marriage, change for the surplus of orphans who now have a better chance of getting adopted (oh, kid all you want, but gay couples are just as good parents, sometimes even better), change from relegating a group of people into second class citizens. All in all, this bitter turmoil will change… People will eventually start to understand that they’re people too. Change is coming… Slowly, but surely. Gay marriage is an important step.