National News

Cardinal Dolan Says Pope Was ‘Conservative, Orthodox’ With Abuse Survivor

By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent

NEW YORK – Pope Francis’ reported comment to a Chilean sexual abuse survivor, “That you are gay doesn’t matter,” has made major headlines in recent days – and on Tuesday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York affirmed Pope Francis’ comments, saying “Jesus would have said that.”

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York at the Vatican in 2015. (Photo: Catholic News Service/Paul Haring)

“Juan Carlos, that you are gay doesn’t matter,” Pope Francis reportedly told clerical sexual abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz.

“God made you like this and loves you like this and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you like this, you have to be happy with who you are.”

Cruz’s comments came in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais.  Cardinal Dolan’s remarks came during his weekly radio show on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel.

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While the cardinal noted that it was wise to “keep in mind we got it third-hand,” referring to Cruz’s comments, he also said he did not question the veracity of them.

“What he says is beautiful,” Cardinal Dolan said of Pope Francis’ comments.

“That sort of conservative, traditional, Catholic, orthodox teaching. The Catechism insists on that,” he added.

Cardinal Dolan, it seems, was primarily referring to the first part of the pope’s comments and went on to note that neither he – nor Pope Francis, he believed – would be qualified to weigh in on whether an individual was born gay.

“Even among professional circles, there’s an ongoing debate whether one is born that way or is it nature or nurture,” Cardinal Dolan said.

He went on to add that “while any sexual expression outside of a man and woman in marriage is contrary to God’s purpose, so is not treating anyone, including a gay person, with anything less than dignity and respect.”

In recent days, the pope’s remarks have been much discussed and praised in the LGBT community.

On Tuesday, Cardinal Dolan said the pontiff’s reported remarks were similar to his comments on a return flight from World Youth Day in Brazil in 2013 when Pope Francis famously said “Who am I to judge?” in response to a question about gay individuals in the Church.

“People thought this was revolutionary,” Cardinal Dolan recalled. “What he would say to do would be similar to what Jesus would say.”