Newsflash to Dolan: Catholics lead on gay equality

Some of you may have stopped to cringe when Archbishop Dolan, in a segment of his interview webcast on 60 Mintues Overtime, compared the strong desire of a gay couple to be married to his strong desire to play shortstop for the Yankees.

The punch line: “I may have a desire to play short stop, but that doesn’t mean I have a right to it because I don’t have what it takes. And that would be what the church would say about marriage.”

But if you cringed too long (or were distracted by sudden, unusual thoughts of Derek Jeter), you may have missed his following, remarkable statement.

Before I reveal it, I must note that Dolan never once utters the words gay, lesbian or homosexual during his comments on marriage. He consistently uses vague language, as you’ll note in the quote below. This in and of itself is intriguing. But then, while pontificating about who has a right to marriage, he says this:

“It is a right for those who can live up to those expectations that are encoded in that definition. It’s not a right to those who can’t. We will stand up for other rights for you. We will treat you with love and reverence. But we cannot ever tamper with the necessary attributes of what we consider to be a pillar of society.”

Do you hear what I hear?

Did Dolan just make a promise to stand up for “other rights” for gays and lesbians? Did he vow to treat us with “love and reverence”?

Sadly, the vow must have been one of those rare, temporary ones. Just a few sentences later, Dolan argues that “tampering” with marriage in one instance, like gay marriage, would only open up a Pandora’s box that might eventually lead to Dolan’s being able to marry his mother.

Wait. What?

“Where would the tampering stop?” Dolan asks. “I love my mom, but I don’t have a right to marry her.”

Ironically, just two days after Dolan embarrassed the Catholic intellectual tradition by comparing same-sex relationships to incest (not to mention baseball positions), a new study on Catholic opinions of same-sex marriage was published.

According to a national study, Catholics are more supportive of legal recognition of same-sex relationships than any other Christian group. They are also more supportive than Americans overall. The study, released on March 22, by the Public Religion Research Institute, shows that 74 percent of American Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry or form civil unions.

Now that you’ve heard the sensus fidelium, Archbishop Dolan, perhaps it’s time to reflect a little more deeply on that “love and reverence” idea you mentioned.

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