Dolan: “We got burned” on gay marriage

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and bishops from around New York State headed to the state capitol today for their annual lobbying trip — and the cardinal offered some choice insight, and new information, to a reporter from the New York Daily News:

Cardinal Dolan revealed for the first time that the Catholic Church was caught flat-footed on last year’s gay marriage vote in New York — insisting it was “burned” by Senate Republicans who claimed it didn’t have a prayer.

“We got burned last year when we were told the redefinition of marriage didn’t have much of a chance — and of course it did,” Dolan told the Daily News as he  prepared for Monday’s annual Albany lobbying trip.

“Our Senate leaders, we highly appreciated them being with us all along,” he  explained. “When they kind of assured us it didn’t have much of a chance — not that we let up, but we probably would have been much more vigorous and even more  physically present if we knew there was a chance.”

In the week leading up to the vote, when protesters on both sides loudly filled the Capitol, many wondered why top Church leadership wasn’t there. Dolan was across the country at a conference.

“We got a little stung, and it could be as much our fault as anyone else’s,” Dolan said.

In the end, same-sex marriage passed the Senate 33-29, with four Republicans voting for it.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos had stressed at the time that while he opposed gay marriage, he was letting his members vote their consciences, a Skelos aide said.

While the two disagreed on the issue, Dolan said Cuomo was always upfront about his position.

While there are issues the Church still opposes lawmakers on, Dolan and the bishops plan to congratulate state leaders for what he deemed a new sense of  purpose and value in Albany.

“There’s a lot of areas where we agree,” he said. “When we go up, we’re always careful not to just be naysayers.”

A top priority for the Church this year is blocking a bill to strengthen abortion rights in New York.

It was a question about the unlikely chance of that bill passing the Republican-controlled Senate that got Dolan talking about the need for vigilance  after last year’s the gay marriage vote.

The cardinal gave measured support for Cuomo’s push for pension reform, noting that even the Church is considering trimming retirement benefits to deal with  tough fiscal realities.

“As long as it can be done without hurting the dignity and security that people have, given the huge deficit and economic strain the government is under, there might have to be some trimming,” he said.

Dolan also had positive things to say about Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s push to raise the minimum wage, though he wouldn’t delve specifically in how high it should go.

“The Church would say we are with you in principle, the cardinal said. “Anything to help the poor is going to be good.”

Read the rest.


  1. pagansister says:

    Why should the RCC worry about a law that allows gay marriage? No one requires them to marry same gender couples. IMO, there is an equal rights issue here, not a religious one.

  2. ron chandonia says:

    As always, Cardinal Dolan is relentlessly upbeat, but the same cannot be said of those who have chosen to comment on the story at the Daily News site. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage certainly brings out the haters, and they do not always confine their anger to words alone. A video has been making the rounds today of a British priest who found himself unable to read a letter from the local bishops on the topic because of a heckler who disrupted his homily. I suspect we are in for some of that over here as well. And I question whether it’s appropriate to welcome “a new sense of purpose and value” among those who gleefully align their political fortunes with such an evil cause.

  3. I’m glad the Cardinal explained he was caught “flat-footed” on the gay marriage fight. I will say I was terribly disappointed with Cardinal’s effort. I had even jumped to the conclusion he had tacitly supported it. We failed, but it was because we didn’t plan correctly, not because we didn’t care. Ok, I understand.

    Now then, how do reverse this idiocy? Or at least how do we stop it from spreading across the country?

  4. naturgesetz says:

    For starters:

    Beyond that, if, as you and others say, this is an equal rights issue, with courts and supporters saying it is similar to racial integration, how long do you think the promise that churches will be free to follow their own doctrines can survive unchallenged? Perhaps the first move to enforce the equal rights of gay couples will not be to force churches to perform gay weddings. More likely it will be the loss of tax exempt status and a refusal to recognize marriages performed by their clergy. Perhaps there would be a denial of benefits under various programs, such as student loans at church colleges, medicare at church hospitals, etc. But it would not surprise me if eventually these “bigots and haters” who deny gay people their supposed constitutionally guaranteed “equal rights” are made subject to fines or other monetary penalties. In short, the Catholic Church and others that refuse to perform gay marriages will be regarded as the segregationists of the 21st Century.

  5. Russell Lewis says:

    That’s a lot of speculation and maybe and could and perhaps and eventually and not one concrete item that is listed that has happened, just dire warnings. Chicken little had the same outlook.
    And the dripping disdain when talking of “equal rights” is quite obvious. However if a law is a law is a law, then those rights ARE guaranteed and until proven otherwise, they ARE constitutional.

  6. naturgesetz says:

    The reason for what you perceive as “dripping disdain” is because when the activists try to frame it as an equal rights issue, they are, at best, mistaken. It is not a question of equal rights, but of the actual definition of marriage. All people have always had an equal right to marry, regardless of orientation. But since gay people generally do not want to marry, they have sought to have marriage redefined by a legal fiction — from what it is by nature — so that they could claim to be married and so that they could obtain the benefits society confers on the married.

  7. Basically you’re arguing for “pre-emptive” self defense. You’re sure “they” are out to take your rights one day, so you’re going to beat them to it. The irony of course is that you’re setting yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy. A lot of gays who would have probably been content to live and let live will now carry a grudge for those who went out of their way to fight them.

  8. Build a time machine and travel back 40 years.

  9. I wouldn’t lay too much blame on Dolan. The bishops have certainly advocated their views on the issue for years. They’ve spent millions of dollars, tens of millions in conjunction with Mormons and others fighting the issue. Society’s views are changing on the issue and no amount of lobbying is going to turn that back.

  10. naturgesetz says:

    I think you’re oversimplifiying matters.

    The first question is, “Shall we redefine marriage, as a matter of civil law, to include same-sex relationships.”

    The answer is, “No. It misrepresents the reality of human nature to pretend that same-sex relationships are no different from male-female ones. Furthermore, it ignores the reason which justifies the state concerning itself with marriage to begin with, namely, that this is the institution which procreates the state’s next generation — and ideally socializes them.”

    Then the question is asked, “But if we keep it to civil marriage, why not let the state do whatever its people (or judges, or lobbyist- and contribution-influenced legislators) want?”

    The answer is, “It’s still a falsification of reality to put the two on a par. Confucius said that it was necessary to give things their right names, and to call same-sex relationships by the same name as the union of man and woman is to fail to give things their right names. What the long term result of this falsification will be on society as a whole we cannot know, just as we cannot know any other element of the future, but to deny the reality of human nature is bound to have unforeknowable bad consequences.” Then we add as a footnote, “When this radical change to the definition of marriage for civil purposes is based on the phony ground of equal rights, there is an inexorable logic which will lead to the de facto if not de jure outlawry of orthodox Christian churches and ecclesial communities, and this will in turn lead to real life adverse consequences.”

    As for “live and let live,” it has long since been abandoned by the activists, and they are finding so much support from friendly judges that trying to preserve it as a principle is, IMO, impossible. We need to be as clear as we can that our opposition to gay “marriage” is based on our understanding of the reality of true marriage, not on hatred for gay people. We must always strive to accept homosexuals “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” as the Catechism says at §2358, while insisting that acceptance does not require acquiescence to every request.

  11. @ pagansister.

    The RCC is worried about the law BECAUSE gay rights activists and Democrat politicians are trying very hard to strip away conscience clauses when it comes to abortion, birth control, and gay marriages.

    Cardinal Dolan has publicly stated that there are already attempts to force Catholic churches to perform gay weddings.

    You talk about equal rights but what about equal rights for Catholics that they may be secure in their freedom to practice their religion without government interference?

    It is intolerance and bigotry by the left and the LGBT community to force Catholics to betray their religion.

  12. Sorry George, that is a bit of a stretch. That said – I could be wrong, can you please point me to where Cardinal Dolan has said such things?

    As someone immersed in the life of the Church, I’m not seeing too many requests from gay couples to get married. And no one can force the church to marry anyone! The church freely declines the sacrament based on the couples who present themselves. Where are those lawsuits?

    The cry is so often to reduce government influence in our lives, unless of course it suits one’s own political purpose to have government regulating such things.

    Want to talk about what destroys families? Economics is a good place to start. Families who are under or unemployed implode regularly. Or if they do not, the values of the family are often lost when parents have to work multiple jobs, often low-wage part-time jobs, in order to stay afloat. Then the children are left untended, vows of marriage are weakened. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    How about military? Let’s not discuss the state of marriages of the many people who have been deployed and deployed and deployed again. God have mercy.

    How can LGBT people are such a threat, with approximately 10% of the population, give or take, being LGBT,? And not all of them wanting to marry.

    While I understand the teaching, I fail to understand the uproar and its volume in relation to reality.

  13. Richard M says:

    It’s little short of criminal that Cardinal Dolan convinced himself that there was no chance of gay marriage passing. Almost everyone in Albany knew it would pass. Cardinal Dolan might have been almost the only person of note in New York that *didn’t* think it would pass.

    But human beings have a remarkable capacity for believing what they want to believe. This sounds, unfortunately, like belated excuse-making by His Eminence. This is not one of his finer moments.

    The reality is that the bishops of New York handled this whole episode quite poorly. It’s understandable from extremely liberal bishops, such as Clark in Rochester and Hubbard in Albany, men who clearly would (and have) reduced much of the Church’s sexual teachings to a nullity, and plainly don’t see any real problem with full civil marriage for gays. But it’s been more surprising to see how sluggishly Archbishop Dolan responded.

  14. Richard M says:

    Because with marriage comes the full rights to adopt and otherwise have custody of children. And the Church can’t be indifferent to the fate of those children, whether they be Catholic or not.

  15. LOL, If I had my wish I’d go back 400 years. ;)

  16. Maybe Cardinal Dolan should reconsider his war against the New York Times and start reading non-Murdock newspapers again. He might be more in the loop as to what is going on in NYS.

  17. Yes, and God knows nothing bad ever happens to children in heterosexual, Catholic homes!

  18. Here you go Fran. Maybe you can call Cardinal Dolan a liar as well.

    Archbishop Dolan: Gays Threatening To Sue Church Over Marriage Denials

    “Dolan claims that priests across New York are being threatened with lawsuits for not allowing gay marriages”

  19. ron chandonia says:

    Your response here is not just dismissive but quite irrelevant to the issue at hand. Catholic teaching correctly insists that children deserve to be raised by mothers and fathers united in lifelong marriage. Placing gay couples who seek to adopt children on a par with married heterosexual couples needlessly jeopardizes the welfare of potential adoptees. And for what? To satisfy some PC sense that we must never hurt the feelings of adults, no matter what the potential risks to defenseless children.

  20. Richard Johnson says:

    “More likely it will be the loss of tax exempt status and a refusal to recognize marriages performed by their clergy.”

    If you can show me a church that has lost its tax exempt status because they refused to perform interracial marriages since the Loving decision, you have a legitimate argument. Otherwise, you are simply fear-mongering.

  21. Richard Johnson says:

    “Cardinal Dolan has publicly stated that there are already attempts to force Catholic churches to perform gay weddings.”

    Where, specifically, have these churches been pressed by the Federal or State government on this? Here in Iowa churches are specifically *exempted* from compliance with the state civil rights laws.

    Saying it does not make it so. Can you cite where Cardinal Dolan gave specific evidence of this?

  22. naturgesetz says:

    Show me a church that has refused to perform interracial marriages if requested since Loving.

  23. So Kenneth, if 40 years from now the momentum is in the opposite direction, you would be fine with that, right? Because we are all at the mercy of irresistible forces of history, which to oppose is folly, right? So when the day comes when your deeply held opinions are shunned by all, you as a confirmed relativist will happily fall in line, right?

  24. As a Catholic Fran, are you advocating for same sex marriage or giving it approval? I am confused if you are.

  25. they kind of assured us it didn’t have much of a chance

    Yeah — Charlie Brown and the football. They’ve only been doing this for like, what, 40 years? C’mon, Cardinal Tim. Time to stop being a chump. The GOP is not really with us on social issues. It’s just boob bait for the bubbas in the base. Does no one remember that Nixon’s the one who put Blackmun on the Court? That he had Kissinger produce a National Security Memorandum declaring human population to be a crisis and abortion “critical” to the “solution”? Forty years of phoning it in every January, and we think these people are our principled allies? Give me a frickin’ break.

  26. pagansister says:

    IMO, marriage is a word that has been taken over by the religious community. Marriage can be performed by those who have no connection to a faith, JP, Notaries etc. Why should same gender couples be denied the use of the word marriage? No law will, IMO, be issued that would force religious communities to marry same gender couples if it goes against their beliefs. The word shouldn’t be exclusive to the religious community. There is more that just the religious definition. IMO, a couple, no matter what the gender combination, is one that vows openly to live and love until “death do us part”. There are many heterosexual couples , Catholic and others, who take those vows and never live up to them. The combination of a married couple should make no difference, IMO. Again I say this is an equal rights issue.

  27. Lawmakers should have simply labeled the gay’s civil equivalence of “marriage” as “civil unions” and be done with it. Calling it marriage is stupid and inflammatory and frankly my sincere belief is that there is a big business in creating discord between people. It sells newspapers, gives talking heads something to talk about and sells banners and t shirts. I am cynical. For the last 50 plus years of my life on this earth with my tons of gay friends, I never recall any of them yearning for marriage until this garbage started in the last few years. Give Cesar his due. Marriage is a sacrament, period end of story.

  28. I am done playing your LGBT games, it’s just trollish behavior on your part.

    I gave a reference on Dolan’s claims. If you don’t believe the Cardinal, that’s your problem.

    When gays are called out on bigotry and intolerance for Catholic religious freedom, it is met with stony silence or refusal to believe the nation’s ranking Catholic cleric.

    That’s being a troll.

  29. pagansister says:

    It is an equal right— for the Catholic church that they do not have to perform same gender marriages. As I mentioned above, I cannnot see our country forcing churches to marry those they do not want to marry, no matter what the gender combination. As to the birth control and abortion issues—-they are part of the rights of women (and men in the case of some birth control) that should always be available in this country. The Church has the right to teach that both those things are wrong (except NFP which has the same reason as ABC) to it’s members. Some Catholics have chosen to use ABC, another right. Off subject. As much as I wish women would never choose to terminate a pregnancy, it is still their right. Catholics have the right to do as they please in their teachings of their members—but not the right to try and push those beliefs on others. As for health coverage including RX coverage for birth control? Is the Church going to ask each woman that works for them (if they aren’t Catholic) to not be given the same coverage that secular businesses offer? I know, a woman doesn’t have to work for a Catholic owned hospital, church, etc. I did teach in a Catholic school—but didn’t need their coverage, so didn’t have to worry about it, but some women do. Believe me, Catholic schools do not pay well. Equal coverage should be offered for all those who work for a Catholic business—school, hospital etc. IMO. They are not promoting anything—-only offering coverage—and what is done with that coverage is not the business of the employer.

  30. My issue is with this statement from Cardinal Dolan:

    Dolan also had positive things to say about Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s push to raise the minimum wage, though he wouldn’t delve specifically in how high it should go.

    “The Church would say we are with you in principle, the cardinal said. “Anything to help the poor is going to be good.”

    It doesn’t help the poor. The minimum wage is a starting wage and will NEVER be a living wage. It hurts the poor by pricing workers out of the market. It encourages off the books exploitation. It’s economics. It’s math.

  31. pagansister says:

    Richard M. The FATE of those children? What? All children raised in heterosexual marriages have NO problems, and are always treated with love and affection? I think not. How about children raised by single mothers and fathers? How about their FATE? Please—children raised by loving parents is the point—and not all families are the 1950′s Mom and Dad. In fact a lot of nastiness went on then—just no one ever talked about it. Life was not perfect in the “Father Knows Best” generations, no matter what faith they were raised in, including the Catholic Church.

  32. pagansister says:

    Kenneth: “Society’s views are changing on the issue and no amount of lobbying is going to turn that back”. I agree. That makes many sad, but it is what it is, IMO.

  33. pagansister says:

    Joanc57: “Marriage” is a word—and can apply in or out of a religious setting. What difference does it make where it is used–secular wedding or religious. You call it a sacrament—others don’t. The gay couples I know were very happy to be Married—not just have a “civil union”.

  34. It’s so bizarre to have spent much of my adult life in a culture where marriage was referred to as “just a piece of paper.” And I am serious, all of my gay friends (guys mostly) never ever ever expressed any yearning for marriage. When the issue first came up it really shocked me. I’m not a romantic so I really don’t get it. Once my husband’s prior marriage is annulled and I can take communion with the Church, the next order of business is to make my 20 year marriage sacramental. Trust me, there will be no hearts and flowers or dresses or parties, I’m just getting it right with the Church.

  35. pagansister says:

    Joanc57: I’m happy you will be having a sacramental marriage when you can. The gay couples I know are women, so didn’t get the male point of view. The women wanted marriage.

  36. Clare Krishan says:

    ditto Joanc57 – “Anything to help the poor is going to be good.” is a pretty loosely defined ‘principle’ of the common ‘we-are-with-you’ good. Some at HHS argue abortion, sterilization, and contraception will help the poor…we are NOT with them.
    The US Bishops need a crash course in economics as the economy crashes – the FED’s manipulation of the FIAT money supply has simply been used to inflate equities in the stock market — Apple’s stock value is now equivalent to ALL those in the entire domestic retail sector…?!@? does this make any sense, that one firm is ‘worth’ as much as all the commercial strips in the US put together? Of course not
    the REAL economy at home is in a stagflating spiral that will not end well…(Even the Vatican Bank head honcho has said as much, warning of unstable social forces that will be difficult to contain)

  37. Thank you for elaborating! So true, so correct!

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