Skip to comments.NY Archbishop on Outspoken Abortion Teaching: I'm Just Doing My Job
Posted on 02/27/2010 3:34:54 PM PST by NYer
NEW YORK, February 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Following a period of relative silence since his installation last year, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan eagerly took an opportunity to set forth Church teaching on controversial points, including the forbidding of public honors for pro-abortion politicians, in a recent interview with NY1. The bishop also asserted that his outspokenness on such issues was simply part of his job as shepherd and teacher of the faith.
When NY1 News reporter Roma Torre asked whether a pro-abortion Catholic should be invited to a "Catholic event" such as the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Dolan's response was unequivocal.
"Actually, Roma, I don't think we should invite anybody that would take a stance [in favor of] abortion, because this is not a Catholic issue," he replied.
The archbishop later clarified that his answer pertained to giving public honors to such persons.
"In our mind, being opposed to abortion, is a civil rights issue, it's a natural law issue, it's not a Catholic issue," Dolan continued. "We'd be uncomfortable in anybody that would, say, promote a stand that would be for bigotry, or against civil rights, because that's contrary not only to the teaching of the Church but to what we would call civil rights and the natural law."
The archbishop said that a pro-abortion Catholic such as New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would be "welcome" to a Catholic event - but "there's a difference between everybody being welcome, and providing somebody who is dramatically, radically, publically at odds with the Church on a particularly given issue to have a place of prominence and to receive an award."
When the University of Notre Dame announced last year that the pro-abortion President Obama would offer the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree at the school, the New York archbishop condemned the invitation as a "big mistake."
Dolan, who has earned a reputation for outspokenness promoting Catholic orthodoxy on life and family issues, explained that his goal is not to "look for headlines." It was because of his office as teacher, he said, that he "won't duck the tough issues."
"It's not like I sit down and say: How can I grab some headlines, how can I really cause a splash," Dolan said. "You just try to do your work, and sometimes things get attention. ...
"If people ask me, I feel obliged as a teacher, as the official teacher of the Archdiocese of New York, to try my best to give the Church's wisdom here."
Dolan noted that he was "grateful" that the New York legislature struck down a same-sex "marriage" bill last year. He also affirmed that the St. Patrick's Day Parade should continue disallowing a gay pride banner, which would conflict with the parade's "strong Christian identity."
But, he said, it would be a mistake to understand the Church's stance against such matters as mere naysaying.
Instead, he said: "the Church in a way is one big yes: one big yes to human life, one big yes to anything that advances, lifts up, enlightens, liberates legitimate human identity. We're in the 'yes' business, not the 'no' business.
"So I get frustrated sometimes, when that's interpreted as being 'anti-gay,' that's where we kinda cringe," he continued, "because believe it or not, we get attacked from the other extreme for defending the rights of gays and for the strong Church teaching that every single human being ... is a child of God, deserving of dignity and respect."
Dolan called the late John Cardinal O'Connor of New York, who was outspokenly pro-life, his "hero" - and acknowledged that his office calls for a "prophetic" voice, although he prefers using a persuasive tone when possible.
"There's always a little bit of tension between those two," said Dolan. "But occasions might call that I'll have to be prophetic. I'm sure there's gonna be times ... that I'm gonna have to be a bit of a pitbull. In general, I like to be an Irish Setter."
See the complete video of the NY1 television interview here
Thank you Pope Benedict XVI for the appointment of Dolan as Archbishop of New York!
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He’s a relatively strong bishop. But he did invite Obama, along with McCain, to the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner.
I don’t know where you draw the line. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable having that extreme abortion supporter at a Catholic dinner.
Yes, but was Jesus not at the place of honour? There’s a difference and this is what the Archbishop is trying to say. It’s one thing to have someone who’s pro choice invited to a dinner, quite another to have someone who is pro choice speaking.
You’re right. He was appointed February 23, 2009.
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Good, Cardinal O’Connor didn’t allow it either.
I thought that took place under Egan.
Yes, see the exchange above. It was Egan. I knew Egan a bit earlier when he was bishop of Bridgeport. He was an impressive guy, published sound theological columns in the diocesan newspaper, but seemed to let a lot of funny stuff go on in his diocese. Same in NYC, I think.
He loved Cardinal O'Connor like a father.
I got the impression that although he found Cardinal Egan a very intelligent man, the same spirit was not there.
O'Connor was outspoken on some of the most 'controversial' Catholic issues even when his fellow bishops were silent. O'Connor adhered to the traditional Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are contrary to natural law, intrinsically immoral and therefore never permissible, while homosexual desires are intrinsically disordered but not in themselves sinful. He resisted attempts within the Church to modify that traditional understandin and was frequently at odds with New York's gay community during his tenure as Archbishop. O'Connor vigorously and actively opposed City and State legislation guaranteeing the civil rights of homosexual persons, including legislation (supported by then-Mayors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani) prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations and employment.
The Cardinal opposed condom distribution as an AIDS-prevention measure, viewing it as being contrary to the Church's teaching that contraception is immoral and its use a sin. O'Connor rejected the argument that condoms distributed to gay men are not contraceptives. O'Connor's response was that using an "evil act" was not justified by good intentions, and that the Church should not be seen as encouraging sinful acts among others (other fertile heterosexual couples who might wrongly interpret his narrow support as license for their own contraception). He also claimed that sexual abstinence is a sure way to prevent infection, claiming condoms were only 50% effective against HIV transmission. HIV activist group ACT-UP was appalled by the Cardinal's apparent opinion that it was sinful for an HIV positive person to use a condom to prevent transmission of HIV to his HIV negative partner, an opinion they believe would translate directly into more deaths. This caused many of the confrontations between the group and the Cardinal.
Cardinal O'Connor considered himself very supportive of those who were infected with AIDS and HIV. Early on in the AIDS epidemic, he approved the opening of a specialized AIDS unit to provide medical care for the sick and dying in St. Clare's Hospital in Manhattan, the first of its kind in the state. He often nurtured and ministered to dying AIDS patients, many of whom were homosexual. Even though he frequently condemned homosexuals (some members of ACT-UP had protested in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in O'Connor's absence, to protest, holding placards such as "Cardinal O'Connor Loves Gay People...If They Are Dying of AIDS", when O'Connor had been appointed to Reagan's AIDS commission, he would not allow his moral differences to interfere with ministering to them. As USA Today reported, he "washed the hair and emptied bedpans of dying AIDS patients, some too sick to know who he was." Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo once said "No place in the country are they working more aggressively to help AIDS patients than in the archdiocese."
Cardinal O'Connor was unabashedly Pro Life. In May 2000, he succumbed to cancer. The funeral, broadcast live nationwide, was attended by then President Clinton and VP Gore, their wives and numerous dignitaries including the mayor of New York City. At one point in the sermon, O'Connor's hand picked homilist said, "What a great legacy he has left us in his constant reminder that the Church must always be unambiguously pro- life."
There was a beat and then applause broke out. It grew louder, increasing as the cameras fixed on the Clinton-Gore party showing them on screens throughout the cathedral. Cardinal Law attempted to quiet the crowd with his hand, when suddenly the congregation began to stand up, applauding in a wave that moved from the back of the church to the front. If it hadn't been a funeral they would have cheered. It was a defiant, pivotal moment.
Then the bishops and cardinals in the sanctuary stood up. The elder George Bush stood up applauding, as did his son somewhere off camera. The camera panned back to the Clinton- Gore party who looked bemused and bewildered. Having no water glasses to reach for as they did in 1994 when Mother Teresa received a thunderous ovation for telling the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington that there could be no peace as long as a mother could kill the child in her womb, Clinton leaned back and started whispering in Hillary's ear. Gore's face was as blank, flat and white as a sheet of paper. Behind them another abortion "rights" supporter, Rudy Giuliani, began to applaud, albeit weakly, and stood. And lest they be the only ones left seated, the Clintons and Gores lamely stood up but refrained from applauding.
It was not Cardinal Law's intent to embarrass anyone. He was merely doing his job and honoring his friend. The vehement applause came from the people. That Cardinal O'Connor is Archbishop Dolan's hero, speaks volumes.
No question, Cardinal O’Connor was a great man.
The Clinton's were shamed into standing.
The fact that Cardinal O'Connor and Clinton did not get along well was no secret.
Cardinal O'Connor had to be dead for the Clinton's to get into St Patrick's.
..and perhaps a Saint.
Well said, Archbishop Dolan! The Church teaches us to love the sinner, but hate the sin. Folks find that hard to understand, but the Archbishop has it right that the Church should stand fast against sinful behavior, but always invite repentance on the part of the sinner.
Folks had a hard time understanding that concept when it came straight from Jesus, in person! I think it's because many people don't like the idea that we are *all* sinners in need of repentance. It's easier to pretend that only those who do what we personally find distasteful are sinners, while we, personally, are just fine thank you.
By the time a man rises to a major see, the expectation is that he will get along with those he sees as his peers - mayors, governors, law firm partners, etc.
Most of them do. Some, however, like Dolan, are disciples.
You can always tell the difference, usually right away.
On EWTN radio NOW! (11:47 PST Sunday)
You keep saying things like this, Your Excellency. Remember the "mother bear" comment?
Sure hope you mean it, 'cause as of this writing, I'm not a buyer.
So did Cardinal Egan.
Anyway, he's also repeated the mantra that "we've wanted healtcare forever" -- meaning universal healthcare, that is. At least, it was printed with quotes around it in an article about him in, I think, Catholic New York.
I do have a visceral reservation about this guy. Maybe because my nemesis was a fat irish guy who happened to be my father-in-law at one time.
But maybe it's just because I'm waiting to see more than a big jovial smiling face saying all the right things.
LOL! Oh, so true!