Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan is apparently in a flop sweat over the new reality that a majority of Catholics support the right of same-sex couples to marry. In the wake of the marriage equality law passing in New York — with the help of the state’s Roman Catholic Governor and legislators — Dolan has issued a decree (.pdf) which includes threats of “canonical sanctions”. That he even felt the need to issue this speaks volumes about where he recognizes the hearts and minds of New York Catholics to be on marriage equality. An excerpt:
Recognizing my responsibility as a Diocesan Bishop to guide the Faithful by clearly teaching the truths of the Faith with charity and without compromise, I hereby decree the following diocesan policy regarding same-sex civil marriages. This policy is to be followed by all persons whose activities are subject to my moral authority as Archbishop of New York. It is intended to provide instruction for the activities of these persons and for the use of the property and facilities of the Church and Catholic-affiliated entities within the canonical boundaries of this Archdiocese.
Accordingly, it is the policy of the Archdiocese of New York that:
1. No member of the clergy (priest or deacon) incardinated or assisting in the Archdiocese of New York, or any person while acting as an employee of the Church, may participate in the civil solemnization or celebration of a same-sex marriage, which includes but is not limited to providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privilege for such event. Ecclesiastical solemnization or celebration of same-sex marriages is expressly forbidden by Canon law.
2. No Catholic facility or property, including but not limited to parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health, or charitable institutions or benevolent orders, or any place dedicated, consecrated, or used for Catholic worship may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.
3. No items dedicated, consecrated, or used for the celebration of Catholic liturgy or sacred worship, including but not limited to sacred vessels, vestments, liturgical books or other items may be used for the solemnization or celebration of a same-sex marriage.
4. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in the imposition of canonical sanctions.