This red hat is for Governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership on the gay marriage legislation in New York State. It is given for his work on a long overdue issue of fairness and justice. It recognizes the continuing struggle for GLBT rights in this country. It is offered by all those gay and lesbian Catholics who have been marginalized by the institutional catholic church in the last generation.
Archbishop Dolan who acts much like an aged parent trying to arrange a suitable partner for his offspring will find himself a relic of a former age. For Dolan the time is long gone, at least in the USA when a parent, usually the father would try to provide a suitable spouse for his child. Finally gay and lesbian people are free to choose to marry the partner they love, not the one daddy would provide.
The archbishop of New York was sounding contrite on the Feast of Corpus Christi after the vote to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian people in New York. He said he loved the people in the gay community and if he ever did anything to offend them, he was deeply sorry. Even as he was speaking these words, members of Dignity were outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York asking for just a word, a conversation, a dialogue with the archbishop and his church. Members of Dignity have been waiting outside this cathedral every year since 1987. For the last twenty-four years gay Catholics, members of Dignity, have asked to have their stories heard by the Catholic Church. Archbishop Dolan if he is really serious about understanding how he may have offended gay and lesbian people might accept the invitation to talk to real live gay and lesbian people about their hopes, their struggles, and their love.
It may be too late for the archbishop. So many people have walked away from the institutional catholic church. Many of those people are gay and lesbian Catholics. In his new book, The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox argues that the hard line of the Vatican under JPII and Benedict for the last thirty years has driven that exodus of many from the church. In its place, some suggest, a new secularism has emerged. The passage of the legislation approving gay marriage in New York State is indicative of the maturing of the secular order. The German theologians said as much in their recent statement when they wrote: “When it comes to acknowledgement of each person’s freedom, maturity, and responsibility, modern society surpasses the church in many respects.” Archbishop Dolan is more suited for medieval or even feudal times. For Governor Cuomo, even if it is something out of another world and another time, he deserves this red cardinal's hat.