Cardinal Dolan Praises Knights' Marriages

Calls Them to Continue to Be ‘Metaphors of God’s Love’

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ANAHEIM, California, AUG. 8, 2012 ( Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday addressed the supreme convention of the Knights of Columbus, taking the occasion to praise the knights and their wives for the way they live the sacrament of marriage.

The archbishop of New York gave an address — sprinkled with the humor that characterizes him — which he described as a salute to marriage.

«We Catholics are hopeless romantics, you know, when it comes to married love,» the cardinal reflected. «Against all odds, we still believe that, when a man and woman vow that they’ll love and honor each other, ‘for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until death do us part,’ they really do mean it.

«We still hold fast to the teaching of the Bible that God so esteems marriage that He compared His personal, passionate, eternal love for Israel to that between a husband and a wife; that Saint Paul tells us that the love of Jesus for us, His Church, is just like that of a groom for His bride.»

Cardinal Dolan described the love between a husband and a wife as having the same characteristics as God’s love for us: «it is faithful; it is forever; it brings about new life in children.»

«We are such hopeless romantics that we contend the best way to get a hint of how God loves us now, and in eternity, is to look at how you, married couples, love one another,» he stated.

In trials

Cardinal Dolan acknowledged that «this romantic, poetic, lofty, divine lustre of marriage can at times be tarnished a bit in the day-in-day-out challenges of lifelong, life-giving, faithful love.»

But, comparing the tensions and turmoils to the water Jesus turned to wine, the New York archbishop said that Our Lord makes those «choppy waters of tension, trial, temptation and turmoil into a vintage wine of tried-and-true-trust in marriage.»

The cardinal thanked the knights and their wives for being «metaphors of God’s love.» 

«And I exhort you, please,» he said, «to continue, now, more than ever, to be so.»

More than ever

Cardinal Dolan explained the timeliness of his message, noting the need for strong families to nourish the seeds of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

«‘For an increase in vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, and the Sacrament of Marriage’ should perhaps become the new phrasing for a prayer of the faithful at every Mass, as we are sobered by the gloomy statistics that only 51% of our young people are approaching that sacrament, a piece of data you all somberly see verified even among your own children and grandchildren,» he reflected.

The cardinal also pointed out the efforts to redefine marriage, saying its very definition is «in peril, with a well-choreographed, well-oiled crusade to conform marriage to the whims of the day instead of conforming our urges to God’s design, as revealed in the Bible, nature, and reflective reason.»

Finally, the cardinal stressed, marriages are key for the civilization of love.

«See,» he said, «it’s not just saints, pontiffs, or theologians who predicate marriage and family as the central, love-promoting cell of the human project, but historians, sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists. They demonstrate that, when the normative relationship for a man and woman’s existence is that of a husband, wife, father, and mother, well, then, home, industry, finance, culture, society, and governing structures are more easily directed to virtue, responsibility, and the restraining of the primitive lust and selfishness that destroy civilization.»

«The most effective guarantee of a civilization of love rather than the survival of the fittest; the culture of life over the culture of death; the law of the gift rather than the law of the ‘get,’ solidarity rather than selfishness, is precisely the preservation of traditional marriage and family,» Cardinal Dolan affirmed. «When that goes, we all go.»

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