An American Catholic newspaper has criticized a New York Cardinal's view that the church has been "out-marketed" on the gay marriage issue, saying that the church has failed to listen to its flock.
Referring to Cardinal Timothy Dolan's appearance on an NBC Sunday-morning talk show, during which he made the statement, the National Catholic Reporter notes that the cardinal lives "within walking distance of some of the best marketers the world has ever known." But, the editorial continues, poor marketing is not the problem. Rather, American bishops have not paid attention to what their congregations have been saying about same-sex marriage, not to mention contraception and divorce.
"The church's teaching on sexuality is unpersuasive because the church advances teachings that actually reduce human sexuality and sexual activity to its most banal, utilitarian and mechanistic level, detaching it from the deepest possibilities of genuine human intimacy."
The Dec 16 opinion piece continues, "Among Catholic parents who know their children as all manner of things — curious, funny, loving, mischievous, talented, gracious, annoying, musical, athletic — all the things that parents revel in and come to love, some are also coming to know their children as gay. Thank God that today most parents are not cowering before a catechism characterization of their children and sending them off in a panic to a Courage meeting to be remade into something more acceptable.
"We dare suggest that some of the Catholic faithful, particularly the family and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons, might be a bit further down the road in loving as God would have us love, that they might understand Pope Francis' teaching about encounter to a greater degree than many of us."
The editorial notes the new pope's answer to questions about gay priests and whether he approves of homosexuality. In response to the latter question, Francis replied, "Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person."
Noting that Dolan has signalled his intention to continue opposing gay marriage, the National Capital Reporter suggests that the cardinal meet with, and "really listen" to, gay Catholics and their parents.