Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York delivered a controversial sermon on sexual immorality on Sunday, urging parishioners not to give into pop culture’s acceptance of premarital sex.
“I’m going to preach about sex,” Dolan said in the beginning of his sermon, the New York Daily News reported. “Now I’ve got your attention.”
Dolan spoke to St. Patrick’s about the way society promotes carnal pleasures and punishes others who take the biblical stance on sexual intimacy.
“The one who, with God’s grace and mercy, tries his or her best to be pure and chaste is often thought of not as a hero, not a saint, but as a freak in our culture today,” Dolan said, according to the Daily News.
“The biblical teaching on sexual responsibility is counter-cultural,” he added. “Anyone who tries his or her best to live it can expect a lot of temptation and even ridicule and criticism.”
Dolan also said that practicing Catholics are falsely regarded as holier than thou outcasts for following the church’s teachings on sexual relations.
“I know how difficult it can be for Catholics to live their faith fully,” Andy Ferraro, 38, told the Daily News. “If you have a desire to be more devout, there could be friends or family who mock or don’t understand.”
Ferraro thinks that Dolan will be a good moral leader for Catholics, both young and old, when he is made a cardinal next month. “He can really communicate what our religion is about and help us stay focused,” Ferraro told the paper.
“The church has at times in the past, sadly, come across as some naysaying, puritanical nag, always giving a big ‘No, no, no’ to one of life’s greatest joys,” Dolan said in his sermon, linking “sexual immorality” with violence, disease, sex crimes, and broken families.
According to Dolan’s homily, today’s society reduces sex to “animal rutting” or its “most popular contact sport,” he said.
Dolan didn’t mention any particular celebrity or show, but some felt he was alluding to MTV’s hit reality show “The Jersey Shore.” “Truth be told, it is chastity and purity that liberates us, while immorality enslaves us,” Dolan said, according to the Daily News.
Pope Benedict XVI announced earlier this week that he will elevate 22 new prelates, including Archbishop Dolan, to cardinals in an official ceremony on Feb. 18.