Rebecca Hamilton has an article on Cardinal Dolan’s interview in the context of Pope Francis’ remarks on “civil unions.”
Cardinal Dolan gave another interview, and, again according to reports I’ve read, he agreed that the Holy Father is favoring civil unions.
All this is a real show-stopper for Catholics who depend on the Church to not compromise on the basic teachings of the faith.
I guess that depends on how you define “show-stopper.” Cardinal Dolan characterizes Pope Francis’ style sort of as a “show-stopping” tactic toward getting people interested in actually debating this issue. There’s good reason for that. After all, “gay marriage” as a legally protected civil institution (cops with guns and handcuffs, and judges with fines and jails) is itself about silencing the dissent of those who oppose it. In this, it is an attack on a Catholic’s freedom of conscience. The problem is that with Pope Francis not clearly stating the Catholic position in that debate, he comes out smelling like a rose while the man on the street suffers for the Faith. While the Holy Father’s goal may be to get people talking in an atmosphere where debate is being stifled, a worthy goal, his failure to be crystal clear makes it more difficult for those of us who want people to understand how serious are the implications wherever these laws are forced on unwilling populations.
People may get the impression that Catholics, myself included, would not be willing to go to jail, or to suffer other punishments, for the Faith, if Pope Francis is not more clear. They may get the impression that I might obey a police officer or a judge who commands me to either commit a sin or to suffer punishment for not doing so. I would rather accept the punishment from an earthly judge than to commit a sin and face God with that guilt. People need to understand that many will practice civil disobedience rather than offend God. We don’t want a situation (do we?) where a pope is sitting by as the most popular person in the world while another Joan of Arc is being burned somewhere by a kangaroo court, or another Thomas More is being carted off to jail by a politician who doesn’t like his opinion. Having said that, this could be what is in store for us, so do be spiritually prepared for it.
I do get that the papacy cannot be a bully pulpit. Bishop Thomas Morlino who is often characterized as a conservative bishop rightly defended Pope Francis, as did Cardinal Dolan. But let’s be clear about what is happening here so that people will not be led to despair when they must suffer while a pope is being “pastoral.” Let everyone know what is at stake here. People do have to choose between obeying God and obeying the civil authorities wherever “gay marriage” is law. If they make the wrong choice, they will be held accountable for that on The Day, though they may be as popular in this life, in their particular social bubble, as Pope Francis is with his “pastoral style.”