Archbishop Timothy Dolan Defends His Halfhearted Fight Against Marriage Equality in New York

NEW YORK - JUNE 06: Archbishop Timothy Dolan appears on stage for the curtain call of "Irena's Vow" at Walter Kerr Theatre on June 6, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) Photo: Neilson Barnard/2009 Getty Images

In his excellent behind-the-scenes wrap-up on everything that happened to lead up to New York's passage of Andrew Cuomo's Marriage Equality Act, the New York Times' Michael Barbaro noted that "the Catholic Church, arguably the only institution with the authority and reach to derail same-sex marriage, seemed to shrink from the fight." In the crazed week leading up to the vote, Archbishop Timothy Dolan skipped town for a meeting of bishops in Seattle rather than heading to Albany. A Catholic bishop eventually did go to Albany, but by then it was too late. Although the Church has a well-organized state network (through, well, its churches), it wasn't mobilized to compete with the field teams of the unified gay-advocacy groups. "We were outgunned," conceded a Catholic leader.

Dolan, in a blog post today decrying the legalization of same-sex marriages in New York, is a bit defensive on this front:

The Church neither has nor wants political “clout.” As Cardinal John O’Connor commented, “The only ‘clout’ the Church really has is God’s Truth, the assurance of His grace, and the simple yet sincere conviction of our people.” Blessed John Paul II again reminds us that “The Church never imposes, she only proposes.” And as our current Holy Father has often observed, all the Church wants is its freedom to serve humanity by bringing the light of the gospel to the world.

That said, Dolan has a lot to say about the chaos that is about to be wrought upon us by this change in the law. Specifically, that everyone is going to follow the advice of a gay sex columnist in Seattle:

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. If you think I’m exaggerating, within days of the passage of this bill, one major newspaper ran a flattering profile of a proponent of what was called “nonmonogamy.” Apparently, “nonmonogamy” is the idea that society is unrealistic to think that one man and one woman should remain faithful in marriage, and that openness to some infidelity should be the norm!

Because the New York Times writing about a philosophy definitely means it's going to take over the world, you see. Good news, Scientologists!

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