The Dolan Decree: no same-sex ‘marriages’ in Catholic churches

From California Catholic Daily

New York archbishop lays down the law on same-sex marriages


The intimate partnership of life and love that constitutes the married state was established by God and endowed by Him with its own proper nature and laws. According to Divine Law, the nature of marriage is defined as a covenant between one man and one woman by which they establish a partnership of the whole life, which is ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. Jesus Christ affirmed the privileged place of marriage in human and Christian society by raising this union to the dignity of a Sacrament when entered into by two baptized persons. Consequently, the Church has the authority and the serious obligation to affirm the authentic teaching on marriage, and to preserve and foster the supremely sacred value of the married state.

For millennia, civil authority recognized the true nature of marriage. The marital union between one man and one woman was universally accepted by civil law as a constitutive element of human society, which is vital to the human family and to the continuation of the human race. In a reversal of this tradition, the New York State Legislature recently enacted a law that recognizes same-sex unions as marriages in the State of New York. This law is irreconcilable with the nature and the definition of marriage as established by Divine Law.

Recognizing my responsibility as 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 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, good or privileges for such events. 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 civil solemnization of a same-sex marriage.

(4) Failure to adhere to this policy may result in the imposition of canonical sanctions.

The terms of this policy shall take effect within the canonical boundaries of the Archdiocese of New York as of the date of this Decree.

Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Given at New York, New York this 18th day of October, 2011.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Dolan Decree: no same-sex ‘marriages’ in Catholic churches

  1. toadspittle says:


    “For millennia, civil authority recognized the true nature of marriage.” intones the Most Reverend One.
    For millennia*, civil authorities recognised, and upheld, the death penalty, often not only for murder, but for theft, heresy or blasphemy.
    Things can change.

    *Toad would prefer ‘millenniums,’ personally. That’s how we “English” make plurals, as opposed to the Greeks or Romans.
    (Both of whom are now cascading down the financial Swannee. Spain next, no doubt.)


  2. Lazarus says:

    Some things can change. Other things can’t. Things that can’t change include marriage which is ‘by its very nature above human law. It was instituted by God, is subject to the Divine law, and cannot for that reason be rescinded by human law’ (Catholic Encyclopedia The state recognises (but does not create) the relationship of marriage. The death penalty is not something that pre-exists the existence of the state but is an action of the state.

    And why shouldn’t the ‘Most Reverend One’ intone? Isn’t it his job as a bishop to articulate the teaching of the church?


  3. toadspittle says:

    Indeed, asLazarus shrewdly points out – it is a bishop’s function to intone.
    It’s what they do best.
    When it comes to intoning, bishops have no peers.
    Nothing to argue about there.


  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Well, it’s finally come to this — Church versus State.

    Naturally, the Archbishop and the Church have my full support on this one ; and it is extremely irresponsible of the various States and Nations involved that this sort of completely avoidable conflict now exists in our societies.


  5. toadspittle says:


    “Well, it’s finally come to this — Church versus State.” says Jabba.

    Toad doesn’t see this, from the evidence of the above piece.

    Isn’t Dolan simply affirming that the Catholic Church (in New York, at least) will not marry ‘gays’? Which it, and he, has a perfect right to do.

    Is the State of New York forcing the Church to conduct ‘gay’ marriages – even if it doesn’t want to?


  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    For mi…mil..millen…..millenia-ums……..for thousands of years various religions of the world have involved themselves in the rituals of marriage, which is of course society’s blessing/approval of the union of a man and a woman with the purpose of producing offspring, which is for the benefit of society (it does exist despite the denial by Herr Thatcher) and the reason for that marriage. The involvement of society/community also helped avoid inbreeding. (Dare I say, could this be an expression of Mr Dawkins’ ‘Selfish Gene’? )

    The above has nothing to do with couples who don’t have children. That is rightly their business; I mean only the general idea of marriage.

    So, to paraphrase a ’70s adage, “A man needs a husband like a fish needs a bicycle”.

    Religious organisations have (haven’t they?) the right to refuse to marry same sex couples, and so should the State. But T is right – the State does not compel the Church to do these marriages.

    There’s no point in getting all in a tizzy about it. It’s all daft and will fade away as such things tend to do. It’s a part of the lemming process as we all head for the cliff, indulging in chatter and nonsense as we go.


  7. JabbaPapa says:

    Is the State of New York forcing the Church to conduct ‘gay’ marriages – even if it doesn’t want to?

    The legislation is very clearly moving in a direction whereby anyone conducting marriage ceremonies refusing to do so for people of the same or similar sex or gender might be found guilty of sexual discrimination.

    But my point was actually that Church Law is now in a state of direct conflict with Civil Law, due to the actions of the civil legislators…


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s