CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK, SAYS POPE FRANCIS’ COMMENTS ON HOMOSEXUALITY COULD SIGNAL “A CHANGE IN TONE OR EMPHASIS” IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND WEIGHS IN ON NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL RACE – ON “CBS THIS MORNING”
DOLAN TELLS CO-HOSTS CHARLIE ROSE AND GAYLE KING “HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A SIN, HOMOSEXUAL ACTS ARE - JUST LIKE HETEROSEXUALITY IS NOT A SIN, ALTHOUGH HETEROSEXUAL ACTS OUTSIDE A MARRIAGE, LIFE-LONG, LIFE-GIVING MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN, THAT WOULD BE SINFUL”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said that Pope Francis's recent comments on homosexuality may signal a "change in tone or emphasis" for the Catholic Church, in an interview that was broadcast today, July 30, 2013, on CBS THIS MORNING (7:00-9:00 AM) on the CBS Television Network.
“A person’s identity, respect, the dignity and love that he or she deserves, does not depend on anything, not sexual orientation, how much money we’ve got, if we’ve got a green card or immigration papers, or a stock portfolio,” Dolan told co-hosts Charlie Rose and Gayle King.
“Homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual acts are,” Dolan explained. “Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside a marriage, life-long, life-giving marriage between a man and a woman, that would be sinful.”
Dolan also weighed in the New York City mayoral race and Anthony Weiner's recent revelations about texting sexual messages to women outside of his marriage, saying that although he is new to the story, “I think redemption is always possible and always God’s preference.”
Excerpts from the interview are below.
CHARLIE ROSE: What was the Pope saying, and why did he say it now?
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: What he’s trying to say, Charlie, to answer your question, is he’s articulating well, in a beautifully tender way, the traditional teaching of the Church. That while certain acts may be wrong, we would always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity.
ROSE: Are you saying he’s saying, love the sinner, hate the sin?
DOLAN: That’s a classical expression of it. The better expression of it would be Jesus, when he met the woman who was going to be stoned to death for adultery, and he threw all the people off and he said, “I don’t condemn you, but don’t sin anymore.” In other words, I love you and respect you, but I’m calling you to virtue and perfection.
GAYLE KING: It does not appear to be a change in doctrine, but it certainly is a change in tone, is it not?
DOLAN: You might have a good point there, Gayle. People are always saying, can we expect now changes in church teaching? Of course Pope Francis would be the first to say, my job isn’t to change church teaching, my job is to present it as clearly as possible. But you’re onto something, Gayle, when you say it could be a change in tone or emphasis. So what have we got? You might say two levels or two points of church teaching. One would be the immorality, in God’s view, of any sexual expression outside of the relationship between a man and a woman in life-long, life-giving faithful marriage. That’s one point of church teaching. The other point of church teaching is that a person’s identity, respect, the dignity and love that he or she deserves, does not depend on anything, not sexual orientation, how much money we’ve got, if we’ve got a green card or immigration papers, or a stock portfolio. It does not depend on anything other than that we are a child of God made in his image and likeness.
ROSE: What would it take for the Church to change its attitude about homosexuality being a sin?
DOLAN: That probably is not possible. Pardon me for saying this, Charlie, I don’t think you expressed it right. Homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual acts are. Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside a marriage, life-long, life-giving marriage between a man and a woman, that would be sinful. A pope couldn’t do that. You see a pope inherits certain revelation and it’s his job to guard that and pass that on. That comes not from him, the church doesn’t make that up. We inherit that from God’s revelation in the Bible, in natural law, so we couldn’t change that if we wanted to.
ROSE: Let me quote The New York Times. “But the fact that he made such comments and used the word ‘gay’ was nevertheless revolutionary and likely to generate significant discussion in local dioceses.” Revolutionary.
DOLAN: That gets back to Gayle’s point. I think we’ve got a question of emphasis and tone. A gentle, merciful, understanding, compassionate tone. That may be something people find new and refreshing. I for one don’t think it is and I hate to see previous popes caricatured as not having that.
KING: So were you surprised when you heard he had said that?
DOLAN: No, Gayle, what surprises me is that people are surprised. Charlie, wasn’t it with you, I was on at Easter time, and I got tons of mail - you asked me, you put me on the spot, I’m glad you did, thanks. What would you say to a gay couple that came to you and said what does the Church say to us. I said the Church says to you, “we love you, we need you, come on in, you’re welcome.” People thought that was revolutionary. What surprises me, Gayle, is that people are still surprised. The Church is always, maybe we haven’t done it well, in fact, I said it that morning, we need to do it better. And this is going to go a long way in showing that while we are rather cogent in our teaching we’re equally compelling in the mercy, the graciousness, the respect with which we say it. I welcome it as a chance to kind of bring to the floor that other aspect, the style, the tone.
KING: I’m curious about your thoughts about the New York mayor’s race and Anthony Weiner’s recent revelations?
DOLAN: I’ve been watching closely. I’m new to this, so maybe I ought to take a page from Pope Francis and say I want to be as compassionate and merciful as possible and I don’t want to judge anybody.
KING: Do you believe in redemption?
DOLAN: Oh, do I ever. I hope so, because I need it.
KING: In this particular case do you believe in redemption?
DOLAN: I think redemption is always possible and always God’s preference.
ROSE: More than once?
DOLAN: You better believe it.
Click here to watch the clip.
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Chris Licht is the Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.
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