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Cardinal Dolan On Colbert

Well, here it is (Part I)

I have mixed feelings about this. Still working through my thoughts so I will hold for now.

Here ya go.


The Colbert Report
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*subhead*Comedy.*subhead*

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23 comments:

John C. said...

Well Geez.... The USCCB president in cahoots with the Democratic Party Of Death?? What a big surprise....

I'm so confused with the USCCB's actions that I dont know where to start. As a revert back into my faith, Dolan's chummyness with Obama (remember, God bless Planned Parenthood)and mixed signals on Obamacare, CCHD, CRS, etc makes me rethink taking the USCCB-omnibus serious with anything!

Paul said...

Thanks for posting this. Here is a link to the entire episode, with better video quality:

http://www.colbertnation.com/full-episodes/tue-september-3-2013-timothy-cardinal-dolan

John C. said...

I also love how he doesnt mention a Catholic (Cobert) needs to even go to Mass. This modernist "we are all the same and Catholicism is just some "ther religeon - Do what you want) is NAUSEATING!!

Aged parent said...

http://theeye-witness.blogspot.com/2013/07/cardinals-abbott-and-costello.html

I believe Cardinal Dolan needs to step down and enter a monastery where hopefully he can take stock of himself and the Church.

KCKim said...

If our clergy are going to go on the media circuit, they need to take lessons from Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Fr. Michael said...

I see an awful lot of judging and precious little evidence here. We could all learn a lesson or two from Archbishop Sheen. Humility, for instance. How do you know that Colbert doesn't go to church on Sunday, every Sunday? And, "Dolan's chumminess with Obama"??? Puhleez! And, finally, as someone who knows his eminence, while I don't understand every move he has or has not made, I'd put his understanding of the Church and his personal holiness over anybody in the American blogosphere. There's a reason he was created a cardinal by non other than Pope Benedict XVI.

Toby said...

Fr. Michael-
I agree with you, and I look at Cardinal Dolan in much the same way. I met him personlly on a couple ocassions - what you see is what you get.
As for Colbert - politically, I probably have more in common with his character than with him, but in real life, he DOES go to mass, teaches religious ed., and loves his faith. All you have to do is hear him speak about his mother (who recently died)and its clear. She raised him after the deaths of his father/brother in a plane crash. Perhaps, we could say a prayer for him. He's closer to Mother Church than most so called "Catholics" and uses his friendship with Dolan and the Cardinal's heasy going humor as a way of plugging the church every chance he gets. Most of is viewers probaly find themselves responding positively. Not a bad deal.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Fr. Michael, since you know his eminence, please explain to us why he allowed Vice President Biden to receive the Eucharist despite his support for legalized abortion.

Besides, the about-to-be-canonized Pope John Paul II made Roger Mahony, Bernard Law and Rembert Weakland cardinals, and look what great examples of morality, fidelity and orthodoxy they turned out to be.

I'm sorry, Father, but some of us don't take the argument-from-blind-adherence-to-authority model seriously, anymore.

Stephen said...

Joseph,

It is certainly the opinion of some (but certainly not all) non-ordained canon lawyers that the code of canon law requires that ministers of Holy Communion deny the sacrament to politicians who support legalized abortion. The vast majority of actual priests and bishops will not do so though because their understanding of canon law suggests that the primary responsibility for determining worthiness to receive Holy Communion lies with the individual presenting himself or herself and that to deny the faithful the Sacrament when it is not justified to do so is to violate canon law in an equally serious manner as it is to give the Sacrament to someone who is unworthy. You are certainly free to disagree on this point, but the actual practice of - again - the vast majority of clergy not just in the United States but in the whole of the Western world does not reflect the position of, say, a Cardinal Burke or a Mr. peters on this question. If Cardinal Dolan is a sinner in this matter then he is a sinner in very broad company indeed.

And while Vice President Biden is of course a very notable example of a politician who supports legalized abortion, we could expand this inquiry substantially. Catholic teaching is clear that abortion is an evil that should not be legal in any circumstances. Thus under the same interpretation of canon law that would say that Cardinal Dolan (or anyone else) is duty-bound to deny the Sacrament to Joseph Biden one would need to also conclude that the Cardinal (or anyone else) is duty-bound to deny the Sacrament to anyone who supports a policy of making abortion illegal except in cases of rape or incest. This group includes of course almost every nominally pro-life member of the Republican Party. A perfectly reasonable and consistent position - but the only tenable position for those who think that Mr. Biden should be refused Communion. And for that matter, Catholic teaching would call for a legal ban on IVF. So now we'd need to expand the circle of politicians who must be denied Communion always and everywhere to those who would not support legislation that would outlaw this practice. There MIGHT be a half dozen folks left in the House and Senate would would still qualify to receive Communion under this standard (providing of course that they favored a legal ban on all forms of torture).

BTW: Rembert Weakland wasn't made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II. He was in fact never made a Cardinal. And he was appointed Archbishop of Milwaukee by Pope Paul VI.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

The vast majority of actual priests and bishops will not do so though because their understanding of canon law suggests that the primary responsibility for determining worthiness to receive Holy Communion lies with the individual presenting himself or herself and that to deny the faithful the Sacrament when it is not justified to do so is to violate canon law in an equally serious manner as it is to give the Sacrament to someone who is unworthy.

That, to me, sounds like a cop out. Given human nature and the lax standards within Catholicism these days, do you seriously expect an "unworthy" candidate to present himself as such before a priest? Anyone viewing himself as "unworthy" would not bother receiving in the first place.

Besides, your argument could well be used (and most likely has been used) by bishops to palm responsibility in such off to other bishops. It's a convenient rhetorical trick that merely covers episcopal backsides.

Thus under the same interpretation of canon law that would say that Cardinal Dolan (or anyone else) is duty-bound to deny the Sacrament to Joseph Biden one would need to also conclude that the Cardinal (or anyone else) is duty-bound to deny the Sacrament to anyone who supports a policy of making abortion illegal except in cases of rape or incest. This group includes of course almost every nominally pro-life member of the Republican Party.

While it's impossible for priests and bishops to read minds, it's not impossible to make judgments based on public knowledge. Besides, you're essentially arguing that, since we can't catch everybody, we won't catch anybody. If law enforcement acted like that, the crime rate would skyrocket thousands of innocent people would be traumatized beyond repair.

BTW: Rembert Weakland wasn't made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II. He was in fact never made a Cardinal. And he was appointed Archbishop of Milwaukee by Pope Paul VI.

I stand corrected. Nevertheless, my factual error doesn't deny how pathetic he was morally, spiritually and theologically. Nor does it deny the Vatican's irresponsibility in failing to supervise him.

Fr. Michael said...

Well, Joseph, I guess I can only say that things were a LOT more black and white before I was a pastor than after. What's more, I'd point out that the first pope was St. Peter (the plodder), not James and John (the Sons of Thunder), nor Paul (who could drop a bit of thunder himself). Blessings to all and God's mercy on us as we continue to make our way on this pilgrimage of faith.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Stephen, you write "their understanding of canon law suggests that the primary responsibility for determining worthiness to receive Holy Communion lies with the individual presenting himself or herself"

That's true of Canon 916, but the main question is of Canon 915. It states that one who publicly and obstinately persists in mortal sin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion. Who does the "admitting"? It's the minister of Holy Communion, not the recipient. Moreover, Canon 915 speaks not one whit about the recipient's "heart", but his/her very obvious actions. The minister of Holy Communion cannot turn a blind eye to those actions, lest he facilitate yet another mortal sin, that of sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion.

Stephen said...

Restore:

1) "Obstinately" requires a degree of judgment. One may conclude that a given politician, while sinning, and indeed publicly sinning (by sinning in his or her capacity as a public official) is nonetheless not "obstinate" in said sin. For a sin to be mortal it must 1) concern a grave matter and be 2) committed with full knowledge of its sinfulness and 3) full consent of the will. A given clergyman may legitimately conclude that he does not have a sufficient understanding of the state of a given Catholic's mind and heart to know whether all three criteria are met - especially #2 and #3. The person receiving Communion can presumably assess these criteria for himself or herself and is obligated to not present himself or herself for Communion if indeed a state of Grace is not present, but the minister of the Sacrament does not have perfect knowledge in this matter.

2) A clergyman cannot typically know, at the time of administering the Sacrament, whether the person presenting himself or herself for Communion has recently repented of theirs sins. Let's say Joe Biden has a Damascus Road moment, repents of his support for abortion, confesses his sins, and then goes to Mass. To deny him - a Baptized Catholic who is at the moment fully right with God - Holy Communion would itself be a grave violation of canon law.

3) People do sometimes mistake one person for another. There are after all other people in the world that look a lot like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.

Now, I have no beef against a clergyman who decides in his considered judgment to deny Communion to a pro-choice politician. But I also don't presume to judge a clergyman who decides in his judgment to provide Communion to such a person.

Cassandra said...

Stephen,

In regard to public manifest sin, the penitent is going to have to repair the damage they did which will a require a public renunciation of their public errors. Otherwise, public return to the Eucharist without any hint of public repentance still creates scandal among the faithful.

If anyone would read ++Burke's piece on Canon 915, you find that the conclusion is that bishops do NOT have the authority to dispense the communion minister from applying Canon 915. That is, it is up to each person acting as a communion minister no matter what the local bishop says about it. Failure to prevent a profanation of the sacrament under 915 is a mortal sin on the part of the COMMUNION MINISTER.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

What's more, I'd point out that the first pope was St. Peter (the plodder), not James and John (the Sons of Thunder), nor Paul (who could drop a bit of thunder himself).

First, so what? Second, have you forgotten that Jesus Himself twice cleared the Temple of moneychangers who were charged by the Pharisees to rip off those making pilgrimages to Jerusalem? What do you think He'd do at the Vatican, let alone at the chancery in New York?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Patrick, do you want to know why Catholicism is becoming Woody Allenesque, to borrow your phrase? Just look at Stephen's and Fr. Michael's responses, which are merely useless rhetoric to cover for the ecclesiastical institution. Or, look at Cdl. Dolan's jovial refusal to implement canon law. Or, look at Cdl. Wuerl's refusal to do the same. Or, look at the Magisterium arbitrarily changing Catholic teaching on capital punishment simply because a popular Pope wanted it changed. Or, look at how Rome refuses to discipline bishops who commit theological or moral malfeasance.

Jesus had another description besides "Woody Allen Catholicism." It was being "lukewarm." He used it to describe the church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:16). That description fits the Catholic Church to a "T."

Read Rev. 3:17, as well. It's an even more accurate description. I'll let you do your own research on that one....

Stephen said...

Cassandra,

If a public sinner repents and validly confesses his sin, and receive sacramental absolution, then he is fully forgiven. He is then well within his rights under canon law to receive Communion. And canon law forbids confessors from assigning public penances.

One can only give scandal in committing a sin (the scandal thereby compounding the gravity of the underlying sin). One cannot give scandal in committing an act that is not sinful (and indeed - in the case of an absolved sinner receiving Communion - positively glorious). When a sinner repents, receives absolution, and then approaches the minister of Holy Communion, he is not committing a sin. He is a forgiven sinner in a state of Grace and well within his rights as a Catholic to receive Communion.

Cardinal Burke is indeed a very smart and learned man. But he is not the only smart and learned canon lawyer in the world and there are others who sincerely and honestly interpret the canons differently from him. He is not the pope, and as such cannot speak ex cathedra to bind the consciences of the faithful on matters that have not yet been explicated by the Church.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

So, Stephen, if what you say to Cassandra is true, then what's the point of having canon law? For that matter, what's the point of having hierarchical governance, since every bishop can interpret it for himself and apply it as he wishes?

The more I read such nonsense as you've offered, Stephen, the more I view Catholicism as nothing but a clique for episcopal careerists with monarchist pretensions, pseudo-intellectuals and their respective sycophants. Any connection with Christ appears truly incidental, despite Catholic claims to the contrary.

After all, who are you going to believe, a self-serving Magisterium or your own eyes?

susan said...

speechless...utterly, utterly speechless.

We are in BIG trouble.

Cassandra said...

Stephen,

Your understanding of the requirements of absolution in confession is sorely lacking.
Where possible, the sinner must show repentance by *undoing* the harm done. In many sins, this is not possible.

Some sins, however, require more than just saying you're sorry. If you steal something, you cannot be absolved unless you return the item. Being repentant for stealing--a condition of absolution--requires returning the property (if at all possible). You cannot profit by sin.

As Joseph pointed out, you're spewing a lot of nonsense. In reply to your critique of ++Burke, I'd like to point out that just because you can type, doesn't make your words true. And just because *you* have an opinion, doesn't mean it isn't erroneous.

Gal. Emp. Palpatine, D.L.S., Esq. said...

Stephen, you're right to leave the door open to the possibility that ++Dolan and others are not committing a grave evil by allowing public abortionists to come forward to communion. Their interpretation of Canon 915, although it is (in my opinion) sorely strained both as a matter of canon law and as a matter of Christian virtue in light of the Good News, has not yet been formally anathematized, and it is not utterly implausible.

However, I think you make an error in your interpretation of "obstinancy." The canon calls on ministers to deny the sacrament to those who "obstinately persevere in manifest grave evil." You are right to say that there is a possibility that pro-abortion politicians are committing a venial sin, rather than a mortal sin; we do not know their hearts, and so we can NEVER condemn them as mortal sins. Yet the canon does not require ministers to convict them of mortal sins, committed with the unknowable quantities of full knowledge and full consent. The canon merely demands that ministers defend the Sacrament from those who "persevere in manifest grave evil."

We can all agree, I think, that supporting legal abortion is a manifest grave evil. In particular cases, it may not be a mortal sin, because of the extenuating circumstances of knowledge and consent. But it is always a grave evil, isn't it? These politicians, moreover, have been firmly corrected on numerous occasions by legitimate authorities, and remained obstinate. That they do not recognize those authorities is immaterial; Pharaoh's obstinancy against Moses was not lessened by the fact that he did not recognize Moses's authority.

I hold out hope for the salvation of pro-abort politicians, by both ordinary and extraordinary means. I hold out hope, indeed, that not one pro-abort politician has committed a mortal sin! But I do not see how we can spare them the penalty of Canon 915, which is written to constrain those who persist in any manifest grave evils, not just those who have done so with enough understanding of it to condemn them to Hell. In this way, Canon 915 both protects the Sacrament and serves as a powerful teaching tool short of formal excommuniation.

What am I missing here?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Stephen and Gal. Emp. Palpatine, stands and actions have consequences. At some point, "leaving the door open" has to give way to holding people accountable. If that means making one politician an example, so be it. Biden's and Pelosi's stands on abortion, for example, not only are public but well-known. If their stands do not fit the description of obstinately persevering in manifest grave evil, then what does?

Frankly, I doubt that Cdl. Dolan is not acting the way he is because of the arguments you cite. I think he's doing so to preserve his influence and prestige -- which is all bishops have valued for a long, long, long time.

You two symbolize one of the many reasons why Catholicism is losing credibility. Catholic thinkers over-intellectualize subjects to the point of moral paralysis. At some point, action must be taken. Then again, the Catholic Church has valued words more than action for far, far too long.

Wreaklamation said...

My goodness. You would never know this is a Catholic website. The level of anger and dissension on this subject is terribly shaming to me as a Catholic. I saw Cardinal Dolan's interview and thought it was brilliant. Think about it -- he is not preaching to YOU, the converted, the believing, the practicing. He is spreading the joy of the Gospel message to people who watch the Colbert Report, for crying out loud. And the message of the Gospel IS joy, IS relationship with Jesus Christ, first, last, and always. Everyone should have the opportunity to know that joy, even if the first look at it they get is on the Colbert Report. Don't want to keep it from them. Don't be like the Elder Brother in the story of the Prodigal Son.

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