Archbishop Dolan has been getting grief from Left and Right for his leadership role in the same-sex marriage debate in New York. He does not need my defense, but since much of the criticism I hear from the Right strikes me as unfair, I make a plea for an end to that blame game here.
And on the Archdiocese of New York website, the archbishop blogs:
for us in the Church, not much changes. We continue to hold fast to the God-given definition of marriage, and acknowledge that no unfortunate legislative attempt can alter reality and morality. Yes, we have a big catechetical challenge, in that we have to admit that quite a few people no longer hold to this timeless moral truth. (Although I still believe most people do; thus the fear of areferendum on the issue by those who still claim this is a “grassroots movement” sweeping the nation.) Yes, we do have our work cut out for us, as even some Catholics, and, scandalously, even political leaders who claim to be Catholic, tell us the Church is “out of it,” and has no claim on truth.
So, we try our best to witness to the truth, encouraging our married couples and their kids to be loving, radiant, “lights to the world.” We acknowledge that, as St. Augustine taught, if something is wrong, even if everybody else is doing it, it’s still wrong; and, if something is right, even if nobody else is doing it anymore, it’s still right. Like St. Thomas More, we’re willing to take the heat and even lose our head from following a conscience properly formed by God’s revelation and the teaching of His Church, even if it is politically incorrect, and clashes with the King’s demands to re-define marriage.
But there is more, so please read it all.
And for some further reading, the archbishop cites Robert P. George in a recent interview with me over at National Review Online. Here is the exchange:
LOPEZ: Why should anyone care about this debate anymore? A man and a man can legally get married in New York. The die is cast. Besides, who wants to be an intolerant anti-civil-rights bigot — or so my inbox has called me all weekend, again.
GEORGE: Well, people should care because the whole edifice of sexual-liberationist ideology is built on damaging and dehumanizing falsehoods. It has already done enormous harm — harm that falls on everybody, but disproportionately on those in the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of our society. If you doubt that, have a look at Myron Magnet’s great book The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass, or some of the writings of Kay Hymowitz and other serious people who have examined the social consequences for the poor of the embrace of sexual liberalism by celebrities and other cultural elites. Marriage is a profound human and social good; its weakening and loss is a tragedy from which affluent people can be distracted (and protected) by their affluence for only so long. The institution of marriage has already been deeply wounded by divorce at nearly plague levels, widespread non-marital sexual cohabitation, and other damaging factors. To redefine it out of existence in law is to make it much more difficult to restore a sound understanding of marriage on which a healthy marriage culture can be rebuilt for the good of all. It is to sacrifice the needs of the poor, who are hurt the most when a sound public understanding of marriage and sexual morality collapses. It is to give up on the truth that children need both a father and mother, and benefit from the security of their love for each other.
So people are calling you “intolerant” and an “anti-civil-rights bigot”? Well, for those who have absorbed the premises of sexual liberation and embraced its dogmas so fanatically that they can’t fathom the possibility that any reasonable person of goodwill could dissent from them, that’s what people like you and me seem to be. Like overly impassioned believers at all times and in all places, these folks suppose that anyone who doubts the tenets of their faith must have malign motives. Dissenters from what they regard as an unquestionable orthodoxy must be “haters” (the modern word for “heretics”). It’s ironic — and amusing — that these folks regard themselves as urbane, sophisticated people — critical thinkers — who are much smarter and better informed (not to mention more “tolerant” and “open-minded”) than their opponents. In truth, they rarely have the foggiest notion of what the arguments are in support of the view they reject or what the intellectual challenges are for the view they hold. They already know the truth, and that’s that! So what need is there for reflection, study, deliberation, and debate? Why argue with “intolerant, anti-civil-rights bigots”? To the barricades!
Of course, there is an astonishing degree of ignorance on display in all this, especially when considered in proportion to the certitude and moral passion of sexual liberalism’s true believers. Perhaps it is too much to ask of them, but for those who might (perhaps secretly, when no “sophisticated,” “urbane” friends are looking) want to know why those of us on the other side dissent, and who might be wiling to consider what we believe are the damning intellectual challenges that same-sex “marriage” advocates have not met and cannot meet, here again is the link to “What is Marriage?”
Read that conversation here.
And on the homophobia concern, please read George Weigel.
On religious freedom, please read Tom Messner.