(CNSNews.com) -- The office of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the Catholic archdiocese of New York, said the archbishop is “fully supportive” of the Church’s teaching on “homosexual activity, “particularly as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
The Catechism says that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” are “contrary to natural law,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357)
On Sunday, Mar. 9, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory interviewed Cardinal Dolan and asked him about football player Michael Sam, who recently came out as an open homosexual, and who likely will be drafted by the NFL this fall. “How do you view it?” said Gregory.
Cardinal Dolan said, “Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless you. I don’t think – look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtue of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage, also tells us not to judge people. So, I would say bravo.”
Gregory noted that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had praised Michael Sam’s coming out as a courageous step.
Although Sam’s announcement on ESPN on Feb. 9 generated a lot of media coverage, the New York Times reported on Feb. 12 that Sam’s homosexuality “was an open secret” at the University of Missouri; that Sam had attended the SoCo Club, “a nightclub and cabaret that hosts regular drag shows,” and that two years ago during Christmas “Sam brought home a friend from the swimming team, a man. His second family, the Purls, did not ask any questions.”
In his Feb. 9 interview on ESPN, Michael Sam said, “I actually dated someone in college. I wasn’t hiding it … I wasn’t hiding my relationship with him. … That was my first time dating a guy. It felt right. I know what I want. I know that I can have a relationship now with a man. We went out in public. We had dinners together, movies, holding hands. I felt comfortable. I felt right.”
When ESPN asked about what his coming out as a gay man would mean to “players in grade school or high school or college who’ve been afraid to make the kind of announcement you’re making today,” Sam said, “They shouldn’t be afraid. They shouldn’t be afraid of who they are.”
In an e-mail to Cardinal Dolan’s office, CNSNews.com quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357) that says “’homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
CNSNews.com asked the Cardinal, 1) “Do you agree with the Catechism (2357) that says “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved”?” and 2) “Do you believe that Michael Sam, an openly homosexual football player and public figure, is a good role model for young men or is Sam's open homosexuality scandalous?”
In an e-mail response, the archdiocese’s director of communications, Joseph Zwilling, said, “You can quote me about the Cardinal’s appearance on Meet the Press as follows:
“I believe that the Cardinal’s intention was clear, when he said that the same Bible that teaches us about chastity and fidelity also teaches us not to judge. We are called to love one another.
“At the same time, the Cardinal is a very strong supporter of Courage, the Church’s ministry to those with same-sex attraction who are trying to follow the Church’s teaching. He understands, however, that the Church can only extend the invitation, and that, in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, the Church can only propose, it cannot impose.
“It would therefore be wrong for anyone to say, or even imply, that the Cardinal’s words on Meet the Press meant that he was unconcerned about Church teaching on homosexual activity (or any other immoral behavior), or that he was not fully supportive of that teaching, particularly as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
The response from the archdiocese did not address the question of whether the openly homosexual Michael Sam is a good role model for young men or whether it is scandalous.
The Catechism defines scandal as “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.” (2284)
The Catholic Church’s Courage ministry, with more than 100 chapters worldwide, was founded by one of the former leaders of the archdiocese of New York, the late Terence Cardinal Cooke. Courage is partially financed by the New York archdiocese.
Among the primary goals of Courage is to help homosexual men and women “live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality,” and “to live lives that may serve as good examples to others.”