NEW YORK (EWTN News/CNA)—Clergy and Church employees may not participate in the solemnization of a civil same-sex “marriage,” nor may the property and facilities of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of New York be used for such events, Archbishop Timothy Dolan said in a recent decree.
“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,” the archbishop said in an Oct. 18 decree. “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.”
A New York state law recognizing same-sex “marriages” took effect on July 24.
The archbishop stated that no member of the clergy incardinated or assisting in his archdiocese, or any person acting as an employee of the Church, may participate in “the civil solemnization or celebration of a same-sex ‘marriage.’”
This includes providing “services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for such events.”
The ecclesiastical solemnization or celebration of same-sex “marriages” is “expressly forbidden by canon law,” he added.
Under the decree, no Catholic facility or property, such as parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls or any place dedicated, consecrated or used for Catholic worship may be used for the solemnization or consecration of same-sex “marriages.” No Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions or benevolent orders may be used for such purposes.
The decree also bars items dedicated, consecrated or used for the celebration of Catholic liturgy from being used in such ceremonies. The items include sacred vessels, vestments and liturgical books.
Archbishop Dolan said that 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.”
The New York Legislature’s new law is “irreconcilable with the nature and the definition of marriage as established by Divine law,” the archbishop said.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”