Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop
of the Catholic Archdiocese of New
While Catholic Church leaders are meeting at the Vatican to discuss the role of the family in an increasingly secular world, the head of the Catholic archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said there is a "new minority" in the Church that includes married "couples who welcome God's gift of many babies," gays who want to be chaste, and wives who give up careers "to stay at home and raise their children."
Cardinal Dolan, who is attending the Vatican synod (meeting) on the family, added that this new minority often feels "excluded," gets no support from the dominant culture, and looks to the Church for support, which must be provided.
There is a lot of talk at the synod about people who are supposedly excluded from the Church, said Dolan, such as "the single, those with same-sex attraction, those divorced, widowed, or recently arrived in a new country," among others. The Church loves them and welcomes them, he said, in an Oct. 12 statement.
But "[c]an I suggest as well that there is now a new minority in the world and even in the Church?" said Carrdinal Dolan, whose diocese is the second largest in the United States with 2.6 million Catholics.
"I am thinking of those who, relying on God’s grace and mercy, strive for virtue and fidelity," he said. "Couples who — given the fact that, at least in North America, only half of our people even enter the sacrament of matrimony– approach the Church for the sacrament; couples who, inspired by the Church’s teaching that marriage is forever, have persevered through trials; couples who welcome God’s gifts of many babies; a young man and woman who have chosen not to live together until marriage."
He went on to add to the excluded "a gay man or woman who wants to be chaste" and "a couple who has decided that the wife would sacrifice a promising professional career to stay at home and raise their children."
"[T]hese wonderful people today often feel themselves a minority, certainly in culture, but even, at times in the Church!" said Cardinal Dolan. "I believe there are many more of them than we think, but, given today’s pressure, they often feel excluded."
"Where do they receive support and encouragement?" he continued. "From TV? From magazines or newspapers? From movies? From Broadway? From their peers? Forget it!"
"They are looking to the Church, and to us, for support and encouragement, a warm sense of inclusion," said the cardinal. "We cannot let them down!"
Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Pope
The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is the sacramental union between one mand and one woman for life and that it is ordered towards the creation of children. "By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory," states the Catholic Catechism in paragraph 1652.
"Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves," reads the Catechism. "God himself said: 'It is not good that man should be alone,' and 'from the beginning [he] made them male and female'; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: 'Be fruitful and multiply.' Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day."
As for same-sex attraction, the Church teaches, "homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."