Catholic World News

Cardinal Dolan: Pope Francis hasn’t changed Church teaching on homosexuality

July 31, 2013

In an interview with a CBS news program, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that Pope Francis’s recent comments on gay priests do not represent a change in Church teaching on homosexuality.

“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,” said Cardinal Dolan in response to a question from Gayle King. “But you’re onto something, Gayle, when you say it could be a change in tone or emphasis.”

He continued:

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 lifelong, 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.

“Homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual acts are,” Cardinal Dolan added. “Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside a marriage, lifelong, life-giving marriage between a man and a woman, that would be sinful.”

“A pope couldn’t do that [change that teaching],” he stated. “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.”

Cardinal Dolan emphasized that previous popes had a pastoral tone similar to that of Pope Francis.

“I think we’ve got a question of emphasis and tone,” he said. “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.”


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  • Posted by: - Jul. 31, 2013 9:12 PM ET USA

    M- Mary: I notice the same thing. I bring my Bible to Mass, get there 20 - 30 minutes early and read the Lectionary readings, plus the whole chapter of each one for context. As a rule, anything about sin, God's righteous anger, chastisement or judgment will be bingo, right where the cut was made. Just reading 2 verses before, and 2 verses after the day's reading, usually gives you an eye-opener. Who edits these readings, anyway? Somebody who wants to not offend certain, um, constituencies?

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jul. 31, 2013 7:50 PM ET USA

    Last Sunday we had the reading from Genesis about Sodom and Gomorrah. But it ended with Abraham's pleading with God instead of continuing on with the story of what happened when the angels stayed at Lot's house and the telling of what the sin was that made God angry enough to destroy the whole place. Why does the Catholic Church stop short on the readings. Romans 1 where Paul talks explicitly about homosexuality never gets read either. Is it any wonder Catholics voted for Gay marriage?