Commenting on Pope Francis's remarks to a clergy-abuse victim that it does not matter that "you are gay" because "God made you like that and loves you like that," U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the report was third hand and, therefore, "one would want to get a clarification."
He added that he does not think the Pope "would feel competent to speak" on whether one is born a homosexual.
Pope Francis's remarks, first reported on Sunday, May 20, have sparked coverage worldwide and the Vatican has not issued a clarification. Also, the Pope has not said that his comments were misconstrued or misreported, just like he did not deny in March his reported remarks that "there is no Hell" and that condemned souls just "disappear."
On the May 22 edition of "Conversation with Cardinal Dolan," host Carolyn Erstad said, "A little more serious, the Pope also making headlines over some reported comments that he made to, uh, survivors of the Chile abuse scandal. It’s all over the news.”
Cardinal Dolan, who heads the archdiocese of New York, said, “Oh, I saw that. Thanks for asking. T’is, t’is. And that sort of gives one a little bit at the beginning, a little bit of wait and see here, let’s find out exactly what the Holy Father said."
"Not doubting this man’s veracity," said Dolan. "He seems like an extraordinarily perceptive, sensitive young man. So, I would say he’s on to something here in reporting what the Holy Father said."
"Keep in mind we got it third hand," said the cardinal, "so what the Pope said to him, he said to the press. So, one would want to get a clarification.”
Although there has been no clarification, Cardinal Dolan went on to say, “But what he says is beautiful. Don’t you think that the Holy Father says to this young man, when he says to him, ‘By the way, Holy Father, I’m gay,’ and he says, ‘God loves you and so do I.’ Jesus would have said that. That’s sort of conservative, traditional, orthodox Catholic teaching, and the Catechism insists on that."
Dolan continued, "Yes, while any sexual expression outside of a man and a woman in marriage is contrary to God’s purpose, so is not treating anyone, including a gay person, with anything less than dignity and respect. That’s in the Catechism, okay? So, the Holy Father was repeating that."
Shortly thereafter, Erstad remarked, “The thing that everyone’s focusing on is that this man says … he says, the Pope said God made you this way."
Dolan replied, “I’ve heard, even among professional circles there’s an ongoing debate is one born that way, or is it nature or nurture to use the two. So, I don’t know what – that’s an area one would want – I don’t think the Holy Father would feel competent to speak on that."
A little later in the interview, Dolan said, "I think he [Pope Francis] takes risks, and one of the risks is that you may be misquoted or misinterpreted, but you say, ‘well, darn it, I have to get the message out. If I’m batting .990, that’s not bad.’ If sometimes, there are misperceptions, clarifications needed, bring it on. Let me try to fix it up. In general, he’s kind of captured the imagination of the world."
It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that persons with same-sex attractions must be treated with the same dignity and respect accorded to all people, but that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and homosexuals should seek to live a life of chastity. The Church also offers a program, Courage, to help homosexuals live chastely and, in some cases, return to heterosexuality, marry, and have a family.
The Catholic Church does not teach that God made certain people homosexual. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that same-sex attraction "has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained."
St. Bernardine of Siena, often referred to as the Apostle of Italy, said of homosexual acts: “This sin has always been detested by all those who live according to God.… Deviant passion is close to madness; [it] brings the mind down from great thoughts to the lowliest…. They become blind and, when their thoughts should soar to high and great things, they are broken down and reduced to vile and useless and putrid things, which could never make them happy....
"Just as people participate in the glory of God in different degrees, so also in Hell some suffer more than others. He who lived with this vice of sodomy suffers more than another, for this is the greatest sin."
St. Albert the Great, a Doctor of the Church, gave four reasons as to why sodomy is sinful: “They are born from an ardent frenzy; they are disgustingly foul; those who become addicted to them are seldom freed from that vice; they are as contagious as disease, passing quickly from one person to another.”