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Francis supports the US bishops’ public stands, says Cardinal Dolan

By on Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cardinal Dolan meets Pope Francs on Monday (CNS)

Cardinal Dolan meets Pope Francs on Monday (CNS)

Pope Francis’s appeal for the Church not to focus exclusively on moral issues does not mean that the American bishops have to change their priorities in the public square, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has said.

Speaking to the American Catholic News Service, the president of the US bishops’ conference said: “What he’s saying is that if the perception of the Church is of a scold who’s always nagging and always negative and always fearful, we’re not going to make many converts, because nobody wants to join the Church out of fear or [join a] a paranoid group.

“If we emphasise the positive, the gracious, the embracing, the warm, inviting side of the Church, then we’re going to attract people,” he said. “And that, of course, is what Pope Francis is saying and doing on steroids.”

Cardinal Dolan met Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday, along with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, vice president of the US bishops’ conference, Mgr Ronny Jenkins, general secretary, and Mgr J Brian Bransfield, associate general secretary.

The cardinal said the group told the Pope about some of the US bishops’ “pastoral priorities”, including support for immigration reform and objections to the Affordable Care Act, “because it excludes the baby in the womb and the undocumented worker, and also because the implementation of it would place a severe burden on our religious convictions and our consciences” by mandating coverage of contraception in violation of Catholic moral teaching.

Pope Francis “was very attentive to that and he listened very closely”, Cardinal Dolan said.

According to Cardinal Dolan, the US bishops have a “lot of issues we’re hung up on, including immigration, the budget battle, proper health care, world peace, Syria, hunger and the HHS [contraception] mandates,” he said. But the “only one that ever seems to get attention would be any kind of controversial promotion that we would do in defence of life, in defence of marriage and in defence of religious freedom, because they tend to be the more combative issues of the day.”

In an interview published last month Pope Francis said that the Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods… We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

Cardinal Dolan said that “when the Holy Father suggested this new strategy, I don’t think he got a longer standing ovation from anybody than he did from the bishops in the United States. Because we’ve been saying for a long time: ‘Listen to everything we say, don’t just listen to us when we speak about your pet issue.’”

  • Harley

    “freshness and fragrance of the gospel”?
    I wonder what the gospel is, in the mind of these men.

  • Midwester

    The Church will attract souls when the Church speaks the Truth fearlessly. This “go along to get along” attitude of the US Hierarchy is a recipe for decline and dissolution. A holy priest once told me that, yes, the Church will be ultimately victorious over her enemies, but she can certainly lose the battle in any given age. The battle doesn’t seem to be going so well at this time, does it?

  • TommyD6of11

    I remember as a kid during the 1960′s / 1970′s Counter-Culture Revolution when the Church desperately tried to keep the young by being trendy, friendlier, and going along to get along (read Vatican II).

    Well, the Church failed miserably losing both the youth and the revolution.

    Ironically, it is the Church’s steadfast moral stand, especially when unpopular, that has bought me back to the Church. It is clear to me today that it is the Church that was
    right all along and not the New Age Thinkers who had, and still have, it horribly wrong. These New Age Thinkers (re-packaged Hippies) are now running our country. The damage done will last generations.

    It is a shame that so many of our clergy, starting with our NY Cardinal, some how miss the obvious lessons of history that Socialist regimes (read Obamacare, Social Justice, etc.)
    have no place for religion in society. Obama’s attacks on Catholics are no accident. When the government does away with God, then the government becomes god – which is exactly the goal of Obama and his Alinsky inspired enablers.

    Self-indulgent naïveté among leaders is gross negligence and morally sinful.

    Substitute “desire for popularity” for “pieces of silver” and it is very clear that many of our clergy can be bought very cheaply indeed.

  • TommyD6of11

    As an American, I sadly agree with you. Unfortunately, the plague of Liberal Moral Relativism has infected both sides of the Atlantic.

  • TommyD6of11

    Yes, but only if specific. There is nothing wrong with what our earthly Founding Fathers started.

  • Jordan Miller

    Pope Francis does not represent a step back to the 60s and 70s. He is asking us to squarely face the challenge of the present, which is evangelizing the West again after it has almost entirely closed its mind to Christ and to God.

    You are falling into the familiar ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’ fallacy with regard to Vatican II. It wasn’t V2 that was the problem; the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI would be inconceivable without V2 (Benedict helped to write the documents of V2; John Paul II cited V2 in virtually everything he ever wrote as Pope). The problem was that society was already going off the rails by the late 60s, and many heterodox theologians and priests and nuns tried to dismantle the faith in the name of V2.

    Pope Francis, like his predecessor Benedict, is continuing to implement V2. A major point of the Council was to reach out to non-believers and atheists, and that is precisely what he is doing. But he is also constantly talking about the devil, reminding us that we are locked in mortal combat with the forces of hell and that we cannot afford to lose this fight.

  • annmarie

    Cardinal Dolan is speaking without reference to the fsct thst the Church teaches that there are certain issues which are non-negotiable,e.g.marriage and abortion which should be pet issues for the bishops.
    The rest of the “non-moral” issues are negotiable and the bishops have no right to use Catholic money to advocste one approach. No wonder people are leaving. And confused.

  • Jackryan

    Disgraceful. Immigration ‘reform’ is not part of the ordinary magisterium. Catholics are not required to favor amnesty. This is getting craz y

  • Julian Lord

    You are falling into the familiar ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’ fallacy with regard to Vatican II

    No — he’s simply attributing falsely to Vatican II and the 60s and 70s the causes of a rot that began after WW1.

  • TommyD6of11

    Jordan and Julian,

    I freely acknowledge my limited understanding of V2. I am in an ongoing inquiry with regard to it. Based on many posts here, many other consider V2 a problem. For me ‘the jury is still out’. I am beginning to put my comments out there and I fully appreciate your feedback.

    Jordan, I would respond that if heterodox theologians, priests and nuns tried (with considerable success) to dismantle the faith in the name of V2, then perhaps V2 has serious flaws. That’s not to say that V2 is completely wrong, but, like a needlessly complex mathetical solution, it contains elements that are better left out.
    I have spoken with several people who have studied V2 thoroughly and strongly be propter hoc V2 is indeed a root cause of moral in the Church, and therefore society at large.
    I still remain in inquiry.

  • TommyD6of11

    Touche. I fear you are exactly correct and that our new pope is primarily concerned with promoting a Leftist agenda.

  • TommyD6of11

    Isn’t it an abdication of moral authority for our pope to advocate for immigration. Immigration (obviously meaning to the USA) is really a symptom of economic, moral, and civil rights failure in the other countries. Wouldn’t it make far more sense for the leader of our Catholic Church to focus on repairing those other broken societies, rather than demanding a relief value.
    Of course, the greatest irony is that our new pope seems to be espousing the same Leftist ideologies that are the true root cause of these failed societies. And, if and when the United States adopts these failed Leftist policies, to where will the huddled masses immigrate then?

  • Julian Lord

    Vatican II is about as problematic for the laity as Trent was in its time — the documents of the Council of Trent gained general acceptance among Catholics after around 100 years.