Cardinal Timothy Dolan: Church can’t be ‘anti-anybody’

Updated
US cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan attends a mass at the St Peter's basilica before the conclave on March 12, 2013 at the Vatican. Cardinals moved into the...
US cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan attends a mass at the St Peter's basilica before the conclave on March 12, 2013 at the Vatican. Cardinals moved into the...
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

The Catholic church needs to do “better” to see that the defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people, Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.

“I admit we haven’t been too good at that. We try our darndest. We’re not an anti-anybody. We’re in the defense of what God has taught us about marriage, that it’s one man, one woman forever to bring about new life,” Dolan told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. “We’ve got to do better to try to take that away from being anti-anybody.”

The church needs to listen to people when they say they don’t feel comfortable, the archbishop said. The warm embrace and the teaching of the ways God wants his followers to live should translate to all Catholics.

If a gay couple told Dolan they love God, the church, and each other, but want to raise a family, he said he would reply: “I love you, too, and God loves you, and you were made in God’s image and likeness. We want your happiness…the way to happiness…is intended only for a man and woman in marriage where children can come about naturally.”

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 60% of Americans say the church is “out of touch” with views of American Catholics. As a result, the pope’s biggest challenge is to reconnect Jesus and his church, Dolan said.

The archbishop’s charismatic personality helped him into contention for the papacy earlier this month. Pope Francis was elected as the first Jesuit pope on March 13 after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation.

The pope reminds his followers that religion is not only about faith, Dolan said, but it is also about how Christians live.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan: Church can't be 'anti-anybody'

Updated