With tensions between the Church and the Obama Administration at an all time high, President Barack Obama is said to have met “quietly” with New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan last week in an effort to “reach out” to faith leaders in advance of the 2012 election.
According to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), Obama and Dolan met on Nov. 8 at the White House to discuss a wide range of issues. It’s no secret that the Church and the Administration are at odds on everything from same-sex marriage to the new birth control mandate in ObamaCare, but no specifics about what was said during the meeting have been released. A White House official would only confirm that the meeting took place and that it was part of the Administration’s new efforts to reach out to faith leaders.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which Dolan is the president, has thus far refused to either confirm or deny that the meeting took place.
Whatever might have been discussed during the meeting, Archbishop Dolan has given no indication of backing down on any of the issues that are causing friction between the Church and the Administration.
For instance, under his direction, members of the clergy in the Archdiocese of New York recently received a directive from him forbidding any priest, deacon or employee of the Church to participate in either the solemnization or celebration of same-sex marriages. This directive includes “providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for such events.”
The same directive also informs parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls, schools and health care facilities that no “place dedicated, consecrated, or used for Catholic worship may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex marriages.” Dolan is also forbidding the use of any consecrated items, including sacred vessels, vestments and liturgical books to be used in these “marriages.”
The statement concludes: “Failure to adhere to this policy may result in the imposition of canonical sanctions.”
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