Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York said Sunday that Pope Francis has not endorsed same-sex civil unions, but rather he called for a dialogue to see why it's gaining in popularity.
"If I saw the reports accurately, he didn't come right out and say he was for them," Mr. Dolan told NBC News' David Gregory.
"Once again, in an extraordinarily sincere, open, nuanced way, he said, 'I know that some people in some states have chosen this. We need to think about that and look into it and see the reasons that have driven them.' It wasn't as if he came out and approved them. But he just, in the sensitivity that has won the heart of the world, he said rather than quickly condemn them, let's see if — let's just ask the questions as to why that is appealing to certain people."
Mr. Dolan was asked if the Catholic Church's endorsement of gay civil unions would make him "uncomfortable."
"It would in a way," he said. "Marriage, between one man and one woman forever leading to life and love, that's not something that's just a religious sacramental concern — you bet it is that, and that's how god has elevated it to making a sacrament — but it's also the building block of society and culture. So it belongs to culture. If we water down that sacred meaning of marriage in any way, I worry that not only the church would suffer, I worry that culture and society would."
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published Wednesday, the pope said that "matrimony is between a man and a woman," but moves to "regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care," according to a translation by Catholic News Service.
"It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety," the pope said.
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