New York’ Archbishop Timothy Dolan has issued a strong directive about same-sex marriage in his archdiocese.

Clergy and Church employees may not participate in the solemnization of a civil same-sex “marriage,” nor may the property and facilities of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of New York be used for such events, Archbishop Timothy Dolan said in his recent decree.

“Jesus Christ affirmed the privileged place of marriage in human and Christian society by raising this union to the dignity of a sacrament when entered into by two baptized persons,” the archbishop said in his Oct. 18 decree. “Consequently, the Church has the authority and the serious obligation to affirm the authentic teaching on marriage and to preserve and foster the supremely sacred value of the married state.”

Archbishop Dolan further stated that no member of the clergy incardinated or assisting in his archdiocese, or any person acting as an employee of the Church, may participate in “the civil solemnization or celebration of a same-sex ‘marriage.’” This covers just about all human activity since it includes providing: “services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for such events.”

Under the New York Archbishops’s decree, no Catholic facility or property, such as parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls or any place dedicated, consecrated or used for Catholic worship may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex “marriages.” No Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions or benevolent orders may be used for such purposes.


As a traditional Roman Catholic theologian, i.e. a theologian well-grounded in Catholic teaching and tradition, I have some concerns.

(1) The Archbishop needs remedial theological education. The historical Jesus DID NOT raise hetero-sexual marriage to the level of a sacrament. In fact the Roman Catholic Church itself DID NOT recognize such a marriage as a sacrament until the eleventh century.

(2) I don’t mind archbishops making statements about marriage. I do mind their making statements that are patently ignorant and incorrect.

(3) The Archbishop will impose serious “sanctions” on anyone who defies his decree. I wonder if this is really the most effective way to behave as an adult in an adult church.

(4) And why such immediate vehemence?

(5) Is the Archbishop gearing up for the next (conservative Catholic anti-Obama) presidential campaign?