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Archbishop Dolan explains why 60 percent of American Catholics are out of touch with the Church

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 60 percent of American Catholics feel the Church is "out of touch" with their views. George Stephanopoulos asked Archbishop Timothy Dolan about these numbers, and Dolan explained his feelings on the issue.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On an interview for "This Week" George Stephanopoulos asked Archbishop Dolan about why 60 percent of American Catholics say the Church is out of touch with their concerns.

"Sometimes by nature," Dolan explained, "the Church has got to be out of touch with concerns, because we're always supposed to be thinking of the beyond, the eternal, the changeless. Our major challenge is to continue in a credible way to present the eternal concerns to people in a timeless attractive way. And sometimes there is a disconnect - between what they're going through and what Jesus and his Church is teaching. And that's a challenge for us."

Ultimately, the Church, and all of creation for that matter, is not about the individual. However, rampant individualism has many Americans feeling that their concerns and their momentary desires are what matters most.

Dolan explained, "What I'm afraid is that that's afflicting society in general. That's afflicting families. That's afflicting - communities. People want privacy. People crave isolation. We're hearing parents say that they can't even get their kids to talk anymore. They're - they're tweeting one another. So, this - kind of, this craving of individualism, being alone, be - aloofness, that's afflicting all of culture, all of society. We're feeling it in the Church, too, because we're not about 'me.' We're about 'us.' We're about the 'our.' We say 'Our Father.' But society is saying, 'It's me, myself and I.'"

Stephanopoulos also asked Dolan to responds to criticism about the Catholic Church's opinion on what he called "gay marriage," and  what Dolan would say to proponents.

"Well, the first thing I'd say to them is, 'I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God's image and likeness. And - and we - we want your happiness. But - and you're entitled to friendship.' But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that - especially when it comes to sexual love - that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally. We got to be - we got to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven't been too good at that. We try our darndest to make sure we're not an anti-anybody."

Archbishop Dolan has made an excellent point. As Catholics, we are Christian creatures of God first. We are so before we are Republican or Democrat, before we are single or married, and regardless of our sexuality, economic standing, or anything else. As such, our first and primary allegiance is to God. Our goal is salvation and communion with God for ourselves, and for others. Beyond that, our obligation is to one another, and to ensure the world is a better place because of our being in it.

How we accomplish these things is subject to wide discretion, but on the teachings of the Church, there can be no deviation. No matter our personal inclinations, God is still our Lord, and His positions as explained through the magisterial instruction of the Church, are permanent,  changeless, and unflinchingly binding.

Therefore, it is we who are out of touch with God and Church, not the other way around.

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