Skip to comments.A few “bloopers” (Cardinal Dolan addresses misunderstandings about the papacy)
Posted on 03/10/2013 2:55:44 PM PDT by NYer
We cardinals here in Rome along with all our brothers in the Sacrament of Holy Orders take our task of teachers of the faith very seriously.
These days in the Eternal City offer us a welcome occasion to do that. I sure have enjoyed my meetings with people here, especially the journalists, who give me the chance to teach.
Its clear to me that there are quite a few misconceptions out there about the church. Let me mention a few to you.
One would be that the Pope has a divine status in the Church. True, while Catholics love the Holy Father, and consider loyalty to him a virtue, we hardly consider him divine! He is the Successor of St. Peter, whom we believe Jesus appointed earthly pastor of His Church (Mt. 16). And anyone familiar with St. Peter, as shown in the New Testament, knows that he was far from divine! In fact, our first Pope was a big sinner. He denied even knowing Jesus at the very time the Lord needed his friend Peter the most.
An inquirer even used the word worshiper when referring to us Catholics in relation to the Pope. Thats malarkey! We can only worship the one true God, not any mere mortal, no matter how revered his office may be, or we violate the first commandment.
A second common misperception is that a new Pope can change doctrine. That, of course, is impossible. Catholicism is a revealed religion, meaning we believe that God has told us about Himself and about the meaning of life, primarily by sending us His Son as the Word made flesh.
To preserve this truth, to pass on the faith to our children, is at the very essence of the Church, and the job description of the Pope. He cannot change the deposit of faith.
Some have the impression that we are electing a man who has a platform, who can decide new policies for the Church. We are not.
Yes, a new Pope can develop fresh, new strategies to better, and more effectively, teach the doctrines of the faith. In fact, this is a big part of what we call the New Evangelization: to express the timeless truths of the faith especially the message and mystery of the Person who called himself the Truth, Jesus in a timely, radiant, more compelling way.
Remember the way Good Pope John explained it on the eve of the opening of the Second Vatican Council? The faith of the Church is a gift that cannot be altered, he remarked. But, the way this gift is wrapped can! That is always a challenge for a Pope.
In other words, the how of our teaching can change; the what of it cannot.
Because, as Billy Graham used to say, the aim of life is to change our lives to conform to Gods will, not to change Gods will to match ours. We let God re-create us in His image; we do not attempt to create God in our image!
Finally, some tease me that we are here to elect a new boss. Yes, while I look forward to pledging my obedience to our new Holy Father, I also recognize that his ancient title is servant of the servants of God. Following Jesus, he will be elected to serve, not to be served.
And, he will hardly be a boss who tells us what to do, but a shepherd who invites us to walk with him on a journey to eternal life in company with Jesus and His Church. As Blessed John Paul II observed, The Church proposes, not imposes.
There you have a view of the misunderstandings.
Keep us in prayer, please. Lets hope we get home soon Im running out of socks!
Thank you, Professor Timothy Cardinal Dolan!
Somebody needs to put this in front of that idiot Piers Morgan and the others who continually say the church needs to change and adapt to todays culture.
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Very simple and understandable, nice.
LOL! Among others. MANY others...
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Dolan sounds like a decent fellow. It would be amazing to see an American Pope. Probably won’t happen, but would be interesting on lots of levels.
If it is an American I would like Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke.
Cardinal Dolan’s younger brother is a friend of mine and a former radio talk show host. Every time I read one of these pieces about him, I think of the vignette his brother revealed about Cardinal Dolan’s childhood. His favorite “game” when he was about 6, or 8, was to play “church”. He’d set up an “altar” in the garage and convince the entire family (mother, father, siblings) to sit as parishioners while he “said Mass”. Little brother, Bob, had to take up the collection.
We love that childhood image and we love Cardinal Dolan in Milwaukee where he was our Archbishop before he was transferred to NY. Bob promised us that when Archbp. Dolan was coming here from St. Louis that his sermons would be short, memorable, and have a message. He was right. We really miss him.
My 5 year old love to play Mass. My sister even made him a chasuble. I hope he enjoys the idea of being a priest and not just eating a Necco wafer as a “eucharist”.
Eating a Necco wafer as eucharist? What is he, Episcopalian? (HHOK! Sounds wonderful. Looking forward to when my 8-month-old can start doing stuff like that.)