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Creative Minority Reader

Scandalized: Cardinal Dolan & Cuomo

**I originally wrote this a week ago for another publication.

This past Pentecost Sunday, I sat in my pew and listened to the reading. I heard how the Apostles, our first Bishops, after receiving the Holy Spirit preached to the multitudes gathered in Jerusalem. I heard how each person, no matter their language, could clearly understand everything said. I thought to myself, what a great miracle. Some of our Bishops speak the same language as I do, but I don't understand what they are saying at all.

Last week, during a radio interview, Cardinal Dolan was asked several questions about Governor Cuomo's proposed legislation that would actively promote and further legally entrench abortion in New York State. Cardinal Dolan rightly criticized the legislation. When the interviewer asked if Governor Cuomo could still consider himself a Catholic in good standing while also promoting abortion legislation, Cardinal Dolan responded, “That’s something that I talk turkey with him about.”

A short time after the interview, Cardinal Dolan sent out his spokesman Joseph Zwilling to say the Cardinal did not mean to suggest that Cuomo would not be a Catholic in good standing if he went forward with the bill.

In response Governor Cuomo, now publicly declared a Catholic in good standing, said of abortion, Cardinal Dolan, and Church teaching "We agree to disagree, respectfully, and that is where we are.”

Yes, that is where we are.

I find it very difficult to understand Cardinal Dolan. How can Governor Cuomo, a man who has moved beyond vague support for a pro-choice position to the active promotion and legal entrenchment of abortion, a divorced man who very publicly lives with his girlfriend, and a man who obstinately and publicly disputes Church teaching with his 'agree to disagree' statements still be considered a Catholic in good standing? And why would a Cardinal of the Church go out of his way to make this clear?

In my mind, this moves way beyond any reasonable 'pastoral' approach toward the Governor and can only lead to confusion among the faithful and to further imperil the Governor's soul. To publicly declare such a man to be a Catholic in good standing, which the Cardinal's spokesman has clearly done by rejecting the opposite assertion, is the very definition of scandal.

The Gospel reading on Pentecost speaks of Jesus appearing to the Apostles in the upper room where he breathed on them saying, "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

After hearing the words of Cardinal Dolan last week, an ordinary Catholic could surely wonder, if a man can actively promote abortion and a married man can publicly live with his girlfriend and be publicly declared a Catholic in good standing by the leading Bishop in the U.S., exactly what has not been loosed on earth?


*subhead*Loosed.*subhead*

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27 comments:

Jay Anderson said...

I've said it here before, and I'll say it again:

Cardinal Dolan ... the kept prelate of the political class.

Viva Cristo Rey said...

How could Dolan say Cuomo is not a good Catholic for promoting abortions when Dolan himself is paying for them.
http://prolifecorner.com/%ef%bb%bfdolan-hypocrisy-and-the-murder-of-the-innocent/

Agnes B. Bullock said...

CArdianl Dolan- the Chuck Shumer of the USCCB. he needs to step down NOW

Agnes B. Bullock said...

AND, as usual, Cardinal Dolan put the needs of the DNC first over the teachings of Holy Mother Church

Jay Anderson said...

Another thing I've said before, and which I will say again:

For our Bishops to behave in this manner, as if one so openly and notoriously at odds with the Church's teachings might possibly be a "Catholic in good standing", one must almost conclude that either (a) our Bishops don't really believe abortion to be what they claim it to be, or (b) our Bishops don't really believe the Eucharist to be who they claim it to be, or (c) both.

I suppose their is a fourth alternative: (d) they do believe abortion to be what they claim it to be and believe the Eucharist to be who they claim it to be, but they fear the earthly consequences of taking action to protect the unborn and the Eucharist more than they fear the eternal consequences if they don't. The "pastoral approach" is Bishop-speak for afraid to take an action that might be unpopular with the cool kids.

George @ Convert Journal said...

Positions like this directly give rise to cafeteria Catholicism (a/k/a relativism). Apparently, almost nothing that one does, no matter how publicly and how loudly, impacts your standing with the Church or imperils your soul. You are merely disagreeing in interpretation with your bishop (and the rest of the Magisterium), which is quite OK. You remain a very public example, despite your positions, of a Catholic in "good standing".

Wendell said...

Someone needs to say it plainly—Governor Cuomo is not a Catholic.

If a Catholic is someone who loves the Lord and strives to keep His commandments (John 14:21), and repents when he fails to keep the Lord's commandments, then how does Cuomo's obstinacy qualify him to remain in the Church? Cuomo's behaviour mocks the martyrs who suffered persecution and death for keeping the Faith.

Magdalene said...

Continued scandal as our clerical leaders refuse to stand up for Truth which is Christ Himself and His Gospel teachings. Very serious before the Lord.

No amount of jolly entertaining will ever make up for this serious lack of leadership.

Yet there is nothing new under the sun. The NY archdiocese already has insurance in place to pay for contraceptives. I expect only a whimper from our bishops as HHS mandate goes through. How to violate the conscience? Hold the nose and do it I suppose. When England went Protestant only St. John Fisher stood up and the other bishops caved in. I expect only a few of our holy bishops to stand firm and take the consequences.

NY bishops looked the other way as the gay 'marriage' thing went in. I guess they thought it would just go away so they did not have to go on record. C. Dolan is a poor leader.

Wine in the Water said...

"Catholic in good standing" is such a worthless term.

A person is Catholic or not. A person is excommunicated or interdicted or not. These terms have meaning and, for the most part, can be determined from the outside.

A Catholic is in a state of grace or not. This term has meaning as well, but cannot always be determined from the outside.

But what does "Catholic in good standing" mean? Does it mean not excommunicated or interdicted? Then why not just use those terms? They don't apply to all that many people. Does it mean in a state of grace? Well, how do we know whether or not someone is in a state of grace? and is it really spiritually fruitful to be speculating?

Catholicism is not a club in which we have good standing. Use terms that mean something in Catholicism. Cuomo is a Catholic whose public actions have encapsulated a rejection of Catholic teaching and become a source of scandal to the faithful. He should certainly refrain from receiving Communion of his own accord, and perhaps his ordinary should deny him Communion if he will not. But whether he is a "Catholic in good standing" is meaningless.

Lori said...

As I explained previously (I guess no one was listening), Cardinal Dolan doesn't have the right to say that Cuomo isn't a Catholic in good standing because he's not his bishop. Only his bishop, the bishop of Albany, as it happens, has the right to excommunicate him or apply any canonical penalty to him.

Patrick, to keep stating this is to create scandal where none should be. You should at least acknowledge this point in your articles, and stop trying to imply that any bishop can and should enforce Canon 915 on any random Catholic. It doesn't work that way. Even the most prominent Catholic in the U.S. can't do that without canonical standing.

As for the Archdiocese having to cover contraception, yes, the state of New York mandated this over a decade ago, and the Church lost the legal fight. It was all over the news and discussed thoroughly, when Obamacare was being debated three years ago. The bishops are not hypocritical for fighting the national mandate now. They are trying to win redress. If they can get the federal mandate to be declared unconstitutional, the state mandates will fall as well.

But go on everyone, just keep yammering cluelessly.

Lori said...

I meant the most prominent *bishop* of course.

Lori said...

And no, Cardinal Dolan didn't "declare the governor to be a Catholic in good standing," as if he were offering Cuomo a personal imprimatur. He was merely stating a fact. He's a Catholic in good standing unless his own bishop declares that he isn't.

bill bannon said...

Lori,
You're position makes sense but Dolan bragged of talking turkey with Cuomo which implies authority with him and IF your theory is what he was thinking at all, Dolan implied authority with his talking turkey comment and he did not express what you expressed...you saw it as understood by him but not expressed. Now imagine yourself as any of thousands of young girls in the Bronx etc. with spotty Catholic catechesis hearing the fragment that was expressed
on the news....simply a retraction of not in good standing. Many may now be under the impression that abortion is bad but you're still in good standing...whereas the girl who does it is excommunicated but from Dolan's retraction in context of his talking turkey, she does not know of excommunication but of being in good standing.

Patrick Archbold said...

Lori
You are completely missing the point. Cdl. Dolan went out of his way to make the statement. That speaks for itself.

Unknown said...

Lori - I don't need a bishop or a cardinal to tell me if someone is in good standing with the Catholic Church. I have two good eyes and I could just swear that someone told me once, "Actions speak louder than words." You can quibble over words and jargonese, but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are, it's a duck and Cuomo, by his political actions alone, is not in good standing with the Church.

Rick said...

Dolan's archdiocese has been paying for health care plans that subsidizes contraception - for years now. http://divine-ripples.blogspot.com/2013/05/ny-archdiocese-pays-for-health-plan.html

So, this man has lost his salt and light in the hustle of the big apple and contracted the Stockholm syndrome. He needs to be reshuffled out of there and have a real bishop like Chaput come in and witness to God for a change.

Subvet said...

The man either adheres to the teachings of the Church or he doesn't. If he doesn't I don't understand why that point can't be made, no matter who might be making it. IMHO Cardinal Dolan only needs the right celebrity butt to kiss to stay happy. I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt during the furor over the Al Smith Dinner, but if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and sounds like a duck then it's a duck!

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

I suppose their is a fourth alternative: (d) they do believe abortion to be what they claim it to be and believe the Eucharist to be who they claim it to be, but they fear the earthly consequences of taking action to protect the unborn and the Eucharist more than they fear the eternal consequences if they don't.

Bingo, Jay.

Only his bishop, the bishop of Albany, as it happens, has the right to excommunicate him or apply any canonical penalty to him.

Well, Lori, then why doesn't the Bishop of Albany do so?

He needs to be reshuffled out of there and have a real bishop like Chaput come in and witness to God for a change.

Chaput is a careerist and a moral idiot. I lost all respect for him when he equated Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to Frances Kissling, the founder and president of the pro-abortion Catholics For A Free Choice, for publicly questioning the Catholic Church's revisionist, abolitionist stance on capital punishment for murder. He did that in First Things magazine several years ago.

The fundamental reason why I no longer consider myself Catholic is that the church's moral compass not only is broken, but shattered into microscopic pieces. How else can bishops essentially defend murderers yet fail to defend the victims of clerical sex abuse?

Actually, there is another answer to that question. The bishops have become so used to power, wealth, secular prestige and political influence that they will do nothing to risk any of that.

That's not solely a Catholic problem, of course. Just look at mainline Protestantism or any established church in Europe. Moreover, that problem reflects human nature far more than theological identity.

Read Ezekiel 34 and 1 Samuel 2:12-36 to find out how God feels about those who misuse the authority He gave them to serve themselves. I assure you, it ain't pretty.

Katalina said...

I would like to point out that the Church is a Divine Church with HUMAN leaders who don't always live up to their office. However, one should not leave the Church or no longer consider themselves as Catholic over things like these. Once you are Baptized and Confirmed it leaves a permanent imprint on your soul. So "Once a Catholic Always a Catholic" according to Pope Benedict a few years back. Jesus is the focus Point for Catholics

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

So, Katalina, why should anybody follow religious "leadership" that has a broken moral compass -- especially "leadership" that claims to derive from Christ but behaves as if it never made such claims, in the first place?

If Jesus is the "focus point for Catholics," then why do so many Catholic leaders behave as if He is anything but?

I'm sick and tired of this garbage that the church's leaders are merely human. God demands righteousness, especially from those who claim authority in His name. Otherwise, those leaders effectively drag that name through the mud. You don't think God is noticing, Katalina? Do you seriously think He's amused -- especially with Catholics like you who constantly make excuses for such "leaders"?

Lori said...

"Lori

You are completely missing the point. Cdl. Dolan went out of his way to make the statement. That speaks for itself."

Patrick,

Yes, he did so if I remember correctly, because the newspaper in which the first report about "talking turkey" appeared misquoted him saying he wouldn't e a Catholic in good standing. Apparently that is the reason he had to make a statement clarifying things. Are you saying he shouldn't have made any clarification if he was misquoted?

Cardinal Dolan should keep Cuomo's feet to the fire about the wrongness of the legislation and the need to stop it. He is definitely within his rights to argue with him admonish him and even lecture him. But he doesn't have any right to level any canonical penalties against him or act as if this was a given thing if he continued. That's not under his jurisdiction.

Not to consider this part of the matter in your article is to gravely misrepresent things.

Unknown said...

Well.. then why doesn't the Bishop of Albany do so?

Howard Hubbard is one of the remnants of the Jean Jadot era of bishops. His retirement is this year.

I'm sick and tired of this garbage that the church's leaders are merely human. God demands righteousness, especially from those who claim authority in His name. Otherwise, those leaders effectively drag that name through the mud.

Most of the priests I know are men dedicated to their flocks or (in the case of my monastic friends) their way of life. They stretch themselves thin to make themselves available to their parishoners. I don't know if you saw the CBS News segment on the priest shortage, but it featured my pastor, who, with the assistance of one other priest, covers four parishes and seven church sites. He's as dedicated as they get.

Does this excuse those who are stinkers? No, and believe me, I've known a few (I'm from Milwaukee. Guess who I had to put up with for nearly 25 long years). But the ones who are faithful servants (and there are a few bishops who qualify) make it worth it. I'll give you an example in your neighborhood: have you checked out the Norbertines at St. Michael's Abbey?

I'll also say this much: while Dolan did undo some of the damage done by his predecessor here in Milwaukee (the mess will take quite some time to completely clean up), I'm distressed by his actions in New York. It's sad to see someone go native...

Dave (disclosing my identity, as my Google ID puts me down as "unknown". I have no idea why, and I have no wish to deceive you or anyone else as to who I am. I did leave you a reply on the Gosnell thread, if you wish to read it.)

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Dave, I looked up the thread in question and saw your response. Thanks so much for your kind words.

Unknown said...

Joe:

You're welcome. You and I may often disagree, but it need not be personal. And if you want to escape your socialist one-party state...the weather's not so nice, but some stuff is finally getting done around here in Wisconsin, both in the Church and in the secular realm...and you must make your pilgrimage to Green Bay, the Holy Land of Football...

Dave

Unknown said...

Joe:

Thanks for the correction on the other thread. My memory can get a bit fuzzy at times. I forgot where I found the article, but I know I enjoyed it very much.

JM said...

Lori,

You are the one yammering. Talk about semantics. Cuomo is living with his girlfriend and pushing anti-Catholic legislation. ANY bishop should be able to address that without waffling, period. The fact that is in the least bit in question says everything you need to know about "leadership" in our failing church today.

Lori said...

JM, who says Dolan isn't addressing it? He has criticized Cuomo quite heavily on the anti-Catholic legislation. He can criticize as any citizen can, and admonish as a leader of the Church. But once again, he doesn't have the right to level or threaten canonical penalties on someone not a member of his diocese in regard to his public or private sins. You don't like the situation, fine. But it is the situation. That you don't have a logical answer of any kind is obvious.

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