Cardinal Timothy Dolan attempted to soften the excitement caused by Pope Francis’ comments on accepting gay priests on Tuesday, clarifying that his opinion did not signal a change in Catholic Church doctrine.
“While certain acts may be wrong, we will always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity,” Dolan told Charlie Rose during a CBS News interview.
When asked if the Church would ever change its attitude about regarding homosexuality as a sin, Dolan said that the change would probably be impossible. He clarified that while homosexuality is not a sin, homosexual acts are.
Dolan noted that just as homosexual acts are sinful, so are heterosexual acts outside of marriage. He also pointed out that a pope can’t decide on what is considered sinful and what is not.
Dolan also told CBS that while the Pope’s opinion was unsurprising, the general response was not, considering the words of Jesus command Catholics not to judge people.
“Don’t forget there’s another element to God’s teaching,” Dolan said, summarizing Pope Francis’ opinion. “That we treat everybody with dignity and respect, that we don’t judge their heart.”
Dolan has been known to make anti-gay statements, saying once in an interview with ABC that gay Catholics are entitled to friendships, but not relationships. During the Democratic National Convention last year, the cardinal was accused of praying for the end of acceptance regarding marriage equality.