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By Kathleen Gilbert

MANHATTAN, New York, April 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The day before his installation as the next archbishop of New York – one of the most influential sees in the American Catholic Church – Milwaukee’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan told the Associated Press that as archbishop he will challenge the idea that the Catholic Church’s teaching on same-sex “marriage” and abortion is unenlightened.

Dolan said his top priority would be to re-inspire pride in Catholic identity, and that he would encourage Catholics to battle bias against the Catholic Church in American society.

“One would hope that through education and through the joy that we give by our lives that people will begin to see that these fears and this skepticism we have about the Church are unwarranted,” Dolan said.  “Periodically, we Catholics have to stand up and say, `Enough,’” he said. “The church as a whole still calls out to what is noble in us.”

Dolan emphasized the legitimate role of Catholics in spreading the message of life in America. 

“It’s not that we’re trying to impose Catholic values on the rest of the country, as much as to remind America of its birthright: that we are a nation found on certain inalienable rights, as Thomas Jefferson said, and then went on to list them – the first one being life,” he said.  “It’s at the core of the American experiment that every human life would enjoy the full protection of the law.”

Referring to the Church’s attitude to homosexuals, Dolan said that “we love them” and “would defend their rights,” but nonetheless marriage must remain between a man and a woman.

“If we let that definition of marriage go and begin to include other relationships, it will be to a detriment to the civilization,” he said.

The celebration of Dolan’s April 15 installation begins with a vespers service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral tonight.  Dolan succeeds New York Cardinal Edward Egan.

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