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Meet the Press

Cardinal Dolan: Pope Francis Wants Church to Study Gay Unions

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said Sunday that Pope Francis believes the Catholic Church needs to examine why some states are choosing to legalize civil unions of gay couples. But the pontiff has not expressed approval of such unions, Dolan said.

“He didn't come right out and say he was for them,” Dolan said in an exclusive interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. What the pope has said, according to Dolan, is that church leaders need to “look into it and see the reasons that have driven them…. Rather than quickly condemn them… let's just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people…."

Dolan said he himself believes that marriage between one man and one woman is “not something that's just a religious, sacramental concern…it's also the building block of society and culture. So it belongs to culture. And if we water down that sacred meaning of marriage in any way, I worry that not only the church would suffer, I worry that culture and society would.”

On the pontiff’s views on capitalism and disparities of wealth, Dolan said it was “terrible hyperbole” for commentator Rush Limbaugh to refer to Pope Francis as a Marxist.

The Catholic Church is “always concerned about excesses on the left, which is collectivism, socialism, communism, and excesses on the right, which is unfettered, cut-throat capitalism,” Dolan said. “Somewhere in between is the via media, which will come to a fair, equitable, just, economic system.”

Pope John Paul II, having lived under a Communist regime in Poland, “was a bit more sensitive to the excesses on the left. Francis, he's a bit more sensitive about the excesses to the right.” As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis lived under right-wing regimes in Argentina for much of his life.

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