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'I love you, too': Cardinal Dolan says Catholic Church must embrace gays and lesbians

Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images file

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan attends a mass at the St Peter's basilica before the papal conclave in this March 2013 file photo.

 

Prominent U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan acknowledged Easter Sunday that the Catholic Church needs to forge a better relationship with the gay and lesbian community.

“We gotta do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people,” Dolan said. “And I admit, we haven’t been too good about that. We try our darndest to make sure we’re not anti-anybody.”

Dolan, the charismatic Archbishop of New York, made his comments on ABC’s “This Week” nearly one week after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban, and the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that blocks federal recognition of gay marriages.

Dolan called for a more conciliatory approach to gay and lesbian Catholics who may feel alienated by Church doctrine, which is traditionally opposed to homosexuality.

“The first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too, and God loves you, and we want your happiness,’” he said.

But Dolan added that he wasn’t sure how Catholic leaders should conduct better outreach to homosexuals.

“I don’t know. We’re still trying. We’re trying our best to do it. We got to listen to people,” Dolan said. “Jesus died on the cross for them as much as he did for me.”

Despite the appeal for inclusiveness, Dolan said the Church is unlikely to reverse their position on same-sex marriage.

“Sexual love … is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally,” he said.