.- Archbishop Timothy Dolan predicts that the recent redefinition of marriage in New York will have a “big impact” on future attempts by young people to build up Catholic family life.
“That’s a good example of how our young people find, very often, the culture of our society to be at odds with what they treasure as Catholics,” the Archbishop of New York told CNA on Aug. 17 prior to an evening prayer service for hundreds of young New Yorkers at World Youth Day.
Gay “marriage” became legal in New York State last month following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in the state legislature by 33 votes to 29. The approved bill was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo the same day.
Archbishop Dolan says the most effective thing that young Catholics can now do to defend marriage is “to model happy, faithful, life-giving marriage. That’s the best thing we can do.”
But he also stressed that young Catholics will have to be prepared to “never to shy away from the prophetic part of speaking the truth” in “letting people know that the defense of traditional marriage is not just some weird, superstitious, medieval Catholic cause.” Instead, it “is at the heart of the common good - namely providing the healthiest, most wholesome environment for children.”
Archbishop Dolan believes that events such as World Youth Day play a crucial role in equipping young people to defend the family. On Wednesday evening he led over 400 young pilgrims in evening prayer and benediction where, he said, they could be “united in prayer before Our Lord.”
“That’s what young people will tell me is so liberating and uplifting and enlightening and inspirational about this event,” observed Archbishop Dolan.
“It’s that they are with a million young people who share their values, who love the faith and are committed Catholics who are struggling day-in and day-out to live the kind of life that Jesus and his Church expect.”
World Youth Day is a week-long series of events culminating in Mass with Pope Benedict XVI at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos Airport on Sunday. The Pope arrives in Spain on Thursday.
World Youth Day is “a real boost to them because, for at least five days, they’re in a culture of support and encouragement,” said Archbishop Dolan.
“And that arms them for the counter-cultural aspect of the faith which Blessed John Paul II spoke about always - that the faith is also counter-cultural.”