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Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks
Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Rome before the conclave in Rome that elected Pope Francis.
July 31st, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) - The nation's leading Roman Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Pope Francis was "on a high" from his first international trip as pontiff when he said "Who am I to judge?" gays and lesbians.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who traveled last week to Brazil with the pope for World Youth Day, said the massive turnout - estimates ran as high as 3 million - and ecstatic crowds likely gave Francis hope that he would "revive the church on his home continent of Latin America."

Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina from 1998 until his papal election in March.

"The pope was visibly `on a high' from his first international pastoral visit in Rio," Dolan said. "Understandably so. Because I was there with him, I can verify that the superlatives being used — `oceanic' crowds, `frenzied' welcomes, `inspirational, heartfelt' words — are not exaggerations at all."

On the plane from Brazil back to Rome on Monday, the pope gave an 80-minute press conference in which he addressed a number of controversial issues for the Catholic Church, including homosexuality, the ordination of women and scandals involving a so-called "gay lobby" at the Vatican.

Regarding gay priests, Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

READ MORE: Pope Francis on gays: `Who am I to judge?'

The remarks were read by some as a rejection of previous church policy, including a 2005 directive that barred men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from the priesthood.

Not so, Dolan said on Wednesday in a blog post.

"No change in church teaching here . . . or no intended `correction' to a more `dour' approach by his predecessors," said Dolan.

In fact, the archbishop continued, Francis does not have the power to change church doctrine.

"Catholics know that the pope, like all of us, is a servant of the truth of the Gospel, not a crafter. Doctrine is a given; it is settled, inherited, faithfully passed on. That’s his duty, and he’s sure doing it well."

As archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dolan is widely considered the most powerful Catholic official in the country. He was also part of the conclave that elected Francis.

Since the pope's comments on Monday, conservatives have framed them as a change in tone, not substance, noting that Francis quoted from the Catholic Catechism and would hardly announced a change in doctrine during an impromptu press conference.

CNN Vatican analyst John Allen noted, however, that "at a certain point, tone becomes substance if it’s seen as revitalizing the prospects of the church."

READ MORE: How Pope Francis is revolutionizing the church

Rather than a change in doctrine, the pope's "brief remarks were about mercy," Dolan said.

"The church considers unjust discrimination against any homosexual a sin," the archbishop said, adding that "homosexual acts, which are contrary to Revelation...can always be healed by God's mercy."

"And when God’s mercy is sought, it is always given, the sin wiped away and forgotten; because of this, nobody — not the Pope, not a bishop, not a priest — can judge another!"

Other church-watchers noted, however, that Francis himself cited a previous pope while dismissing the possibility of women's ordination during the same airplane press conference.

"By saying that John Paul II had `definitively…closed the door to women priests,' Francis was himself pointing to the fact that popes determine church law," wrote blogger Mark Silk at Religion News Service. 

Dolan closed his blog post by lamenting that so much media coverage has concentrated on "these weary issues" rather than "the noble themes that ran through Copacabana Beach," where World Youth Day was held.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. piesha

    Dolan is just one of many stupid old white men who will soon be ash. Good riddance.

    August 1, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  2. Phelix Unger

    Me thinks Dolan forgets his own teachings, as the Pope closest to god, as was the first Pope Peter. I believe that Francis is the biggest breath of fresh air the church has has since Pope John Paul, not the second one, but the first one that was assinated by his own followers. So let me the first to say don't be surprised if Francis suddenly passes away from heart failure. I like this guy, and I'm a fallen catholic, the reason is really a simple one, rather then god telling everyone on the planet, he choose just a few and made them shove their believes down people's throats for 2000 years. Any god could tell the whole earth of his plans, scripture is being used as the basis of Isreal's claim that Palestine is in fact Isreal's and that why they can get away with murder. Books were written by men, gods would have no use for such subtle tools, after all he or she is god. As long as civilization continues to be hoodwinked by you who choose to follow man made scriptures and that is of all faiths who proclaim to know this special beings words. Its okay to practice any faith you want, but in the words of a ten year old, your not the boss of me.

    August 1, 2013 at 12:22 am |
  3. ron

    "these weary issues" So that's what marginalization of gays is? A "weary issue." I beg to differ. This is about human beings.

    August 1, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  4. Richard Hicks

    Pope and all of his cronies are hallucinating. No such thing as ghosts, goblins, gods, leprechans etc.

    August 1, 2013 at 12:04 am |
  5. slopeshoulder

    Dolan is the one who is high, and the Pope should give him smackdown.

    August 1, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  6. Just Jules

    Bootyfunk

    BAAAAAA. HAAAAAA you made my day!

    July 31, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  7. Jim Bob Jones

    Dolan is spot on. The problem many have is that they view permissiveness as loving and any restriction on behavior as hateful. I guess every parent is hateful then.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Jim Bob Jones

      You said, "The problem many have is that they view permissiveness as loving and any restriction on behavior as hateful."
      No, placing restrictions on other people based on your infantile beliefs is hateful. If you think that your imaginary friend doesn't want you to engage in homosexuality, than you better not engage in it, but your fairy tales only apply to you.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
      • Jim Bob Jones

        First: Permissiveness does not equal loving.

        Second: It is reasonable to believe in God. Empirical evidence supports this. Look up the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

        Third: I did not make fun of anyone's beliefs, belittle or act intentionally insulting toward anyone in my original post. I would respectfully ask you to show me the same courtesy and consideration.

        Thank you.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:20 am |
        • Brad

          There is zero empirical evidence of a divine creator. Secondly, your philosophical argument is deep-rooted in theology. It has nothing to do with science and is only spouted off by mostly christian followers. Try again.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:37 am |
        • Jim Bob Jones

          Brad. The argument I presented is rooted in science and does not contradict anything we know about the physical universe. I've never seen something spontaneously created from nothing. If that type of thing happened, don't you think it would be observable in nature?

          August 1, 2013 at 12:42 am |
        • LinCA

          @Jim Bob Jones

          You said, "It is reasonable to believe in God. Empirical evidence supports this. Look up the Kalam Cosmological Argument."
          Bullshit. It is just as reasonable to believe in gods as it is to believe in the Tooth Fairy. The cosmological argument is bunk. You are still free to hold those beliefs, but they are yours alone.

          You said, "I did not make fun of anyone's beliefs, belittle or act intentionally insulting toward anyone in my original post."
          You implied that it is acceptable to discriminate against gays based on your delusion. It isn't.

          You said, "I would respectfully ask you to show me the same courtesy and consideration."
          Infantile beliefs deserve no respect. I'll respect your right to hold them, though. Fair enough?

          August 1, 2013 at 12:45 am |
      • k

        Oh, come now. Society places restrictions on all sorts of behavior that it deems inappropriate, as it should. Your problem is that you don't believe in God and, as a result, you don't think other people should have the right to make decisions (or contribute to the larger societal conversation) based on their deeply held personal convictions/beliefs. Your rude response is evidence aplenty. Moreover, your attempt to belittle the poster underscores the fact that you don't really have a substantive argument to make ... so instead you attempt to slap him down, in the hope that the ferocity of your comment will make him go away. My vote is to put away the vitriol and have a civil discourse. But I suppose my opinion doesn't matter because it's based on the Christian notion that every person deserves a baseline level of respect (since we're created in God's image). And, as you've already pointed out, making judgements based on Christian beliefs is not acceptable behavior in your opinion.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:21 am |
        • Michael

          Oh come on now. We live in the Information Age and there's an abundance of verifiable facts out there about how the original text of the Bible doesn't condemn gay people.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:42 am |
        • LinCA

          @k

          You said, "Oh, come now. Society places restrictions on all sorts of behavior that it deems inappropriate, as it should."
          If it's based on a fairy tale, it shouldn't.

          You said, "Your problem is that you don't believe in God and, as a result, you don't think other people should have the right to make decisions (or contribute to the larger societal conversation) based on their deeply held personal convictions/beliefs."
          You are free to hold your infantile beliefs, just keep them to yourself. Discrimination based on them doesn't belong in a civilized society.

          You said, "Your rude response is evidence aplenty. Moreover, your attempt to belittle the poster underscores the fact that you don't really have a substantive argument to make"
          If you keep your delusions to yourself, I wouldn't have to get in your face. And it isn't my argument to make, other than to point out that religious beliefs should be considered baloney until believers come up with some evidence for their imaginary friend.

          You said, "... so instead you attempt to slap him down, in the hope that the ferocity of your comment will make him go away."
          Only ridicule is appropriate for ridiculous beliefs.

          You said, "My vote is to put away the vitriol and have a civil discourse."
          Fine. Start by substantiating your silly beliefs. Provide evidence for your god.

          You said, "But I suppose my opinion doesn't matter because it's based on the Christian notion that every person deserves a baseline level of respect (since we're created in God's image)."
          Then why are you defending a bigot that does nothing of the sort?

          You said, "And, as you've already pointed out, making judgements based on Christian beliefs is not acceptable behavior in your opinion."
          They're about as valid as making them based on a belief in the Easter Bunny. That doesn't mean that they are inherently wrong.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:52 am |
  8. jim sawyer

    Dolan is feeling ballsy. A Bush-era appointed judge just said he can get away with enormous fraud!

    July 31, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  9. Roseanne

    Love the sinner hate the sins, Catholics support his, protestants or non catholic Christians do not....They say hate the sinner and the sin...which is biblical?

    July 31, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • Logsdon

      This comment is absurd. The phrase "Love the sinner, hate the sin" is horrific theology–it's snide, patronizing, and demeaning. Most people who use this cliche do not love the person to whom they are speaking. Secondly, as a Protestant, I am about love. I do not judge others, but I do love them.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Jarvis

      I don't believe that to be true for most non-Catholic Christians. Some, but not most. Love the sinner and hate the sin is a commonly used phrase in Protestant circles. There certainly has been insensitivity though, and that applies to many different issues, not just one.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:12 am |
      • Mike the Massacred

        Sounds like a lot of miscommunication between Protestants and Catholics...

        August 1, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  10. Exodus

    Catholics aren't real Christians anyway, so none of what they say matters to us.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • CapitanJusticia

      Catholics are the original and authentic Christians. All other Christian religions are an offshoot of Catholicism, hence they are not real.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
      • Sonya

        Church full of pedophiles.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • Mark

          A US Marine was just convicted of opening fire and killing women and children in an Afghan village. I suppose that makes ALL Marines child killers? Assigning to an entire group the sins of its worst members is to fall prey to bigotry.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Roseanne

      Catholics say love the sinner hate the sin, they distinguish between the sinner and the sin and even acknowledge that by saying this they are not saying they are not sinners ( whatever the sin) , protestants or non catholic Christians ( some e.g a Christ embassy church friend of mine ) would never agree to this especially when applied to gays . He says he hates both the sinner and the sin -and would never pray for them – Which is more Christian?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
      • Jarvis

        That just isn't true.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:13 am |
      • Michael

        Telling a gay person, "I love you but hate your sin" is like telling a black person, "I love you but hate your skin color."

        It's the most obnoxious statement possible.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • Karl

          Just as a note Michael, you set up a false analogy here. The sin is not located in being gay, but in willfully acting upon the motivation which is itself inherent. Thus the analogy created between the inherent skin color and the inherent orientation is innacurate and your assertion fails. There are good arguements to be made here , but this is not one of them.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:08 am |
    • chuck

      Thats ok though. None of it really matters anyway. In the end they're all just imaginary friends. How about putting your energy into something that positively affects life now? Stop hating other people because their ghost story is a little bit different from yours.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Jesse

      "NONE OF WHAT THEY SAY MATTERS TO US". FYI: Modern science was born in the Catholic Church. Catholic priest developed the idea of the free-market economics five hundred years before Adam Smith. The Catholic Church invented the university. "Even though some thirty-five craters on the moon are named for Jesuit scientists and mathematicians, the Church's contributions to astronomy are all but unknown to the average educated American" (How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, pg.4). All these from a church that does not "matter to us".

      August 1, 2013 at 12:09 am |
      • Brad

        Sure, science was "born" in the Church because religion controlled everything during the time period. Religion also controlled the results. All Classical scientists, inventors, and discovers followed the Church because it meant one thing - funding. To produce results contrary to the belief system of the Church wasn't a pleasant experience.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:40 am |
      • Brad

        Additionally, the lovely author you quote is a racist and publishes "historical" books with a huge political slant. Not to be trusted.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:44 am |
        • Karl

          I think your understanding here is a bit off. How about trying Arthur Koestler's "The Sleepwalkers." The mentality that all scientists had to comport to the established theories is patently false (Kepler, Copernicus, Brahe, etc.). Koestler treats this well in his collective history of the conversation between religion and physics.

          August 1, 2013 at 4:11 am |
  11. Jonathan

    Newsflash to Cardinal Dolan: There is nothing wrong, sinful, or immoral about being gay or gay acts. It is normal and natural for humans to be bi, gay, or straight. People are born gay. It is innate, God given, beautiful part of a person. You are sending a terrible message to our young gay kids....and to straight kids. It's 2013 and I can't believe people are still uneducated in Christianity to know that it is a man created mythology.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Sonya

      Read Romans 1:18; God says it's unnatural...

      July 31, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
      • Auro

        That from Paul...You might need to read your bible, take a closer look at Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. Jesus did not have any problem with Roman centurion who was gay and was willing to heal the soldier's lover. In fact, Jesus praise the Roman gay centurion's faith as one of the greatest in Israel. It shows that Jesus approved of their relationship, otherwise he would have condemned him.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
      • Michael

        You don't even know what Romans is talking about nor condemning.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  12. Peter

    Dolan just needs to shut up. He is part of the hate the church teaches. Immediately trying to control what the Pope says and obviously making a power grab and encouraging factions and polarization of the church. Francis is working to share universal love, care of the poor and personal humility with a true Christ-like demeanor. Obviously Dolan doesn't share any of those values.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Ness

      What are you even talking about? Did you read Dolan's remarks?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  13. Michael

    People who say the Bible doesn't condone gay relationships really need to figure out what the most obvious heated, passionate romance in the Bible is between two people.

    Unless, of course, you can find another instance of two men alone together where one takes off all his clothes and gives them to the other as a sign of his devotion. Or maybe even find another story of man holding, weeping and kissing another man while he tells him his love for him is greater than that of any woman.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Joe

      Michael, you have do great violence to the scripture to come out with that view. To put it bluntly, you're a liar and you simply made it say what YOU wanted it to say because you love your sin. Period, end of story.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
      • Gypsy Love

        It's a known fact that jesus had unholy relations with 12 men.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
        • Ness

          Well I guess that's settled then...

          July 31, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
        • Mike the Massacred

          It's a known fact that Jesus is a protagonist in a story book.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:31 am |
      • Michael

        Joe, which part did I lie about???

        Did David NOT take off his robe, and thus was totally nude, and give Jonathan his clothes as a sign of devotion? Did they not hold each other, weep, kiss while David told Jonathan his love for him was greater than that of any woman?

        Give it up.

        August 1, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  14. Bootyfunk

    the bishop wants everyone to know the pope didn't mean to be tolerant to g.ays
    he was in Rio partying and took 2 hits of Ecstasy
    the DJ was dropping some fat beats
    the pope was just enjoying a great hand massage and light show
    and he just wasn't feeling h.omophobic at the time

    July 31, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  15. jayman419

    So when the pope is "on a high" ... feeling great because of a positive recent experience... he doesn't feel angry at gay people any more.

    So maybe we should start putting Paxil in the Vatican water supply?

    July 31, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Gypsy Love

      It'll go good with his viagra fueled bath house all-male fine oil massage parties. I heard he doesn't even pull out.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
      • Ness

        Right. I assume this is also a "known fact."

        July 31, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  16. StuporDave

    Too bad the pope, bishops and priests are not yet servants of THE TRUTH. Dolan pretty much confirms that words in the Bible were authored by fallible men, not the infallible God that supports, but not directs, my life.

    July 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Gypsy Love

      Which god is that?

      July 31, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
      • Jonathan

        The Creator of the Universe or Universal Consciousness.........but certainly not the fictional, childish, primitive, mythological God of Christianity.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • k

          It's pretty evident by this comment that you don't understand what we mean when we refer to God.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  17. Bruce

    Would some of cardinals and Vatican bureaucrats stop apologizing for the pope. I find Francis a breathe of fresh air. Maybe a Jesuit was needed some time ago.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      he didn't change policy in any way. he didn't say g.ays should be allowed to marry in catholic churches or openly join the priesthood. zero points.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  18. M

    The more the church changes, the more it remains the same.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      especially when it doesn't change at all.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  19. Meffis Stoffalees

    So, the Cardinals are disrespecting what the Pope says.

    I guess that really blows a big hole in the idea that the Pope is infallible...

    Wow... Wow... and Again, Wow!

    July 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      These small-minded men love their power far too much to accept the thought that their leader might actually be a decent human being.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        expecially when his comments didn't mean s.h.i.t. he didn't say g.ays should be treated the same as everyone else, allowed to marry in catholic churches and that the priesthood would be open to h.omos.exual priests. no points.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        especially when his comments didn't mean a thing. he didn't say g.ays should be treated the same as everyone else, allowed to marry in catholic churches and that the priesthood would be open to h.omos.exual priests. no points.

        July 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  20. Bootyfunk

    hey look, a picture of a guy no one in their right mind would leave their child alone with...
    and he's coming out to do damage control and tell everyone the pope had taken a fattie hit off the hookah
    so his comments, while ambiguous at best, are not to be misconstrued as tolerance toward g.ays
    dolan wants to make sure everyone knows the church is not in any way joining the modern world
    he wants to assure his cult members they are not living past the 18th century
    the church still says no to g.ay love

    stay classy, catholic church

    July 31, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Gypsy Love

      Maybe the pope's been getting in on a little all-male bath house action. All those fine oils, sweat and slippery ass sex real hard right in the butt. Sounds like he's got himself a new hobby and wants everyone to enjoy it.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.