Archbishop Dolan hits the ground running in NYC

From The New York Post

My emphases and comments:

‘TAMPER WITH MARRIAGE & WE’RE IN BIG TROUBLE’

By DAN MANGAN

April 23, 2009 –

Archbishop Timothy Dolan yesterday said advocates of gay marriage "are asking for trouble," arguing that traditional, one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA. [Sounds like a way of saying "natural law" or "image of God" without using the terms.]

"There’s an in-built code of right and wrong that’s embedded in the human DNA," Dolan told The Post in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview, a week after becoming the New York Archdiocese’s new leader.

"Hard-wired into us is a dictionary, and the dictionary defines marriage as between one man, one woman for life, please God, leading to the procreation of human life.

"And if we begin to tamper with the very definition of marriage, then we’re going to be in big trouble. We’re not anti-gay — we’re pro the most basic definition of marriage." [A good way to frame it.  I think more and more we must make the right distinctions.  We are not against Democrats by being against awards being given at Catholic Universities to pro-abortion Democrat politicians. We are for life.  We are not against homosexuals, we are for God's image in us.]

Dolan’s remarks come a week after Gov. Paterson held a press conference to announce his push for legislation allowing gay marriage, a move critics viewed as a provocative insult to the former Milwaukee archbishop on the eve of his installation at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. [Archbp. D has hit the ground running!]

Dolan, who has spoken with Paterson, said, "He does not strike me as the kind of man who would insult anybody, so, no, I would not interpret that as such."

A burly Irishman who has charmed Gotham with his jokes and penchant for beer, cigars and baseball, Dolan yesterday firmly defended traditional Catholic values, even while arguing that "we can’t allow ourselves to give ammo to our enemies who want to picture us as just this stern, mean, naysaying church."

For example, while calling abortion "intrinsically evil," Dolan cited the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities arm for advancing a "pro-life" message by operating a nursery for babies born to inmates at the Bedford Hills women’s prison in Westchester County, which he visited this week.

"That’s pro-life at its best, and that’s where we gain credibility for our message — if we are giving the kind of creative, life-giving alternative to what we call the ‘culture of death,’ " Dolan said. "So it’s not just that we’re constantly condemning something, it’s that we’re proposing an alternative.[As I said, above.]

Dolan and other bishops have criticized the University of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama — who supports abortion rights — to give this year’s commencement speech at the iconic Catholic school and accept an honorary degree.

But Dolan acknowledged he did not speak out against Notre Dame when President George W. Bush received the same invitation in 2001, despite Bush being an avid supporter of the death penalty and, later, of the Iraq War — two positions that deeply conflicted with then-Pope John Paul II’s views.  [Watch what happens with this...]

"On those two hot-button issues that I’d be uncomfortable with, namely the war and capital punishment, I would have to give [Bush] the benefit of the doubt, to say that those two issues are open to some discussion, and are not intrinsically evil," Dolan said. "In the Catholic mindset . . . that would not apply to abortion."  [Exactly.  The Church upholds that there are conditions in which capital punishment is justified and in which war may be waged.  There is no such latitutude with abortion.]

Asked about allowing Roman Catholic priests to marry — which is currently forbidden — Dolan said, "I would be on the side of saying I don’t think it should change, and I don’t think it will happen, but I have no fear talking about it." 

The archbishop said he has learned that the Episcopal, Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox Christian denominations are "still having a vocation crisis" — a shortage of priests — "even though those priests are married."

"Marriage is not the answer to all these problems," he said.

Dolan said the church — aong with other social institutions — for years held the "tragically wrong" belief that child molesters could be "cured" and be allowed to resume work with kids.

"But I think sometimes we forget that the leaders of the Catholic Church [weren't] the only group in the world that unfortunately had that mistaken approach," he said.  [You wouldn't know it from the press coverage in the MSM.]

And now, Dolan said, the policy the American bishops adopted to deal with molester priests on the heels of a nationwide scandal in 2002 is something that other groups should consider emulating.  [Again... the positive approach.]

Asked what he has to say to Catholics alienated from the church by that scandal — or for other reasons — Dolan said, "I would say, ‘Don’t let past hurts, or don’t let preconceived notions, cloud the beauty, the truth, the warmth, the joy, the liberation of being Catholic. Give her another chance. She is your family.’  [Amen and amen.]

"Just like we go through with our own family — I did with mine — on periods when I get ticked off with them, I get tired of them, where I don’t care to go to Sunday dinner because I’m mad at my brother or sister and my mom and dad. I recovered from it, and I say there might be some things that I’m angry about in my family. There might be some hurts that I’m nursing. But my family’s all I’ve got."  [Which is even truer for the Church, and on a deeper, eternal level.]

dan.mangan@nypost.com

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23 Responses to Archbishop Dolan hits the ground running in NYC

  1. Boko says:

    Someone’s gonna have to clean up the mess JPII left (created) re the Church’s teaching on capital punishment. And then tell Abp. Chaput.

  2. Laura Lowder says:

    I’m so pleased how closely the written article adheres to what Abp. Dolan actually said in the taped interview. His remarks were positive, orthodox, unapologetic, upbeat – As Fr. Z said of his installation homily, Archbishop Dolan has hit another Home Run.

  3. Laura Lowder says:

    My problem with alternatives to capital punishment is that they, too, are far from fool-proof. Let’s assume a mass murderer gets Life Without Parole in lieu of the Death Penalty for his crimes. Do we have any guarantee that, at some point, some sentimental, unthinking politician is not going to come in and change that rule from “without Parole” to “with” because “Without Parole” is too harsh, unfair, and unreasonable? In the current political climate, I think we can bank on it.

  4. TNCath says:

    Koko wrote: “Someone’s gonna have to clean up the mess JPII left (created) re the Church’s teaching on capital punishment. And then tell Abp. Chaput.”

    Pope John Paul II did not leave nor create a mess. If there is indeed a mess, blame the media for its inaccurate portrayal of the Church’s teaching on capital punishment.

    In an age of spin, designated spokespersons, and media releases, Archbishop Dolan’s refreshingly clear and plain spoken manner of communicating orthodox Church teachings is just what the doctor ordered for our ailing Church here in the United States.

  5. Tod says:

    Thank you, Father, for always bringing us the good stuff! I look forward to your blog with it’s red comments every morning :-) I hope your superior (is that the correct term?) knows how appreciative all of us are of you!

    God bless,
    Tod

  6. joe says:

    Well, it seems like it will be the same old line of choosing what bests suits the ears of the one you are speaking to. I wonder if he spoke of innocent life and that we must do all in our power to preserve it-from before the cradle to the end of life by natural causes-while he was participating in an interfaith Passover Seder being held by the Anti Defamation League in New York. http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ChJew_31/5510_31.htm The ADL supports abortion whole heartedly, joining with other groups to make sure it stays as the law of the land. They, with other groups, have submitted to the Supreme Court on several cases as friends of the court to keep abortion legal, as a right. There are many other problems with this group and others like it.
    If the new archbishop of New York is willing to sit with the likes of Foxman, and not try to convert them, then he should not be there. This alone should tell you about the character of the man. Being Catholic is not about being liked. It is about witnessing to the truthes of the faith in their entirety with charity and compassion, but not by compromising the principles of the faith. The fact that interfaith practices exist is a whole other problem. Such gatherings cannot be taken part in.
    Archbishop Dolan can’t share all the blame here, though. He is probably just towing the line and following whatever precedent has been set by his predecessors. One only has to look at the fact that Rabbi Leon Klenicki, ADL Interfaith Affairs Director Emeritus and how he was named a Papal Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Benedict XVI. What message does Rome send to the faithful by bestowing such an award on an individual who believes it is okay to go against the natural law-which direct abortion is. All this information can be found on the Adl’s own site. Don’t just gloss this over.

    Joe

  7. I think it is so important to stress, in all areas of Church teaching, that every “no” is a “yes” to something else. We live in a very permissive culture where people hate to be told “no.” We need to perhaps emphasize more what we are saying “yes” to.

    I agree with Father Z: “Amen and amen”! I think Archbishop Dolan is just what the Church in America needs!

  8. Timbot says:

    “Asked about allowing Roman Catholic priests to marry—which is currently forbidden—Dolan said, “I would be on the side of saying I don’t think it should change, and I don’t think it will happen, but I have no fear talking about it.”

    The archbishop said he has learned that the Episcopal, Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox Christian denominations are “still having a vocation crisis”—a shortage of priests—”even though those priests are married.”

    “Marriage is not the answer to all these problems,” he said.”

    I wish, just once, a journalist would get this right, Eastern Catholic and Orthodox priests CANNOT MARRY, they do ordain already-married men however. Bishops of course, are celibate. Why is this distinction so hard for people to grasp. Even I, low-grade moron that I am, can grasp this.

  9. Jacques says:

    “Traditional, one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA”

    One may add that the gay marriages are a dead end in Darwin’s theory of Evolution.

  10. Ohhhhh – he missed an opportunity, with this part:

    Asked what he has to say to Catholics alienated from the church by that scandal—or for other reasons—Dolan said, “I would say, ‘Don’t let past hurts, or don’t let preconceived notions, cloud the beauty, the truth, the warmth, the joy, the liberation of being Catholic. Give her another chance. She is your family.’

    What many do not realize is that Judas was a priest, called by Christ, who used his free will to commit sin. His example shows us that we will always have among us, some who will commit gravely sinful acts. What that disciples would have left the Church due to the example of Judas, rather than remain due to the examples provided by the other 11.

    While there are exceptions, often times when I have encountered Catholics who use the priest-scandal as an excuse to shift away from the Church, they were already distant because they could not accept certain teachings. The scandal only masks that.

    As I said, there are always exceptions.

  11. JohnK says:

    While I am grateful for Archbishop Dolan’s remarks, and especially for his “hitting the ground running,” we are all aware that the “hard-wired dictionary” argument is so well known to enemies of what the Church teaches that they themselves use it: “Hard-wired, you say? Well, hard-wired into me is … [same-sex attraction, or fornication, or polygamy, polyamory, incest....]”

    Nor can we forget that the day may be coming when what is “hard-wired” into us could be selected at conception by powerful technology, or even changed later.

    It would seem hopeless to persuade in such a climate, until I recall that in the early centuries of the Church, the plain behavior of many in the Roman Empire demonstrated a “hard-wiring” perhaps even less unambiguously observable than in modern times. Yet somehow, the dignity of women increased, homosexuality and other vices became instances of shame rather than of cynical acceptance, and marriage and children became “obvious” rather than problematic.

    It’s not really up to us. As Mother Teresa often said (in paraphrase), when it comes down to it, Archbishop Dolan doesn’t have to be successful. He just has to be faithful.

  12. Girgadis says:

    I don’t think the Episcopal church is having a crisis in the number of vocations
    but rather in the lack of moral standing that has seen the ordaination of
    gays and the declaration by at least one Episcopal divinity school dean that
    abortion is something for which to give thanks to God. For some time I served
    as a volunteer in a soup kitchen run by an Episcopal church. I had to leave
    when a debate took place, among the clergy no less, as to whether or not the men could say grace before their meal. These examples are but a few of the reasons why mainstream
    Protestant denominations are seeing their numbers dwindle – because people
    really do seek moral clarity from their church. I hope Archbishop Dolan will
    reach out not only to lapsed Catholics but to those belonging to other
    denominations who no longer recognize their churches.

  13. Boko says:

    Notice how Abp. Dolan describes Bush’s support of capital punishment and the Iraq war as “two positions that deeply conflicted with then Pope John Paul II’s views.” Bush’s support does NOT conflict with Church teaching. We’re just confusing things when we talk about the “views” of JPII, Chaput, the USCCB, et al. Why don’t we just stick to Church teaching for a while until we get a culture of life going again and then we can talk about your favorite colors, guys.

  14. ckdexterhaven says:

    Diane, Abp Dolan didn’t miss an opportunity at all. He specifically invited people to come home, to their loving family of the Catholic Church. That’s like looking at a rose in the dark, and declaring it ugly, because you won’t turn the light on. Let’s thank the Good Lord that he has given us the right man at the right time, in the right place.

  15. Gregory says:

    In response to this post:

    ““Traditional, one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA”
    One may add that the gay marriages are a dead end in Darwin’s theory of Evolution.”

    I can understand the natural law arguments against recognizing “marriage” between two members of the same sex. However, how is it that giving legal rights to such unions is going to legitimately harm anyone else? People who would be entering into a same-sex union are not going to decide to have a traditional marriage one morning to someone of the opposite sex. Hence, I do not see how your comment about Darwin’s theory of Evolution makes any sense. Whether or not “marriage” is offered to same-sex couples is not going to affect their attractions. Actually, denying that legal privilege, in my view, just fosters more instability in an environment (the current gay culture) that too often is littered with moral decay. Contrary to what some who read this blog may think, gay people (or, if you prefer, people with same-sex attraction) are not that different from the rest of the population. I’m fairly confident that most readers have someone close to them (family member, friend) who is “gay”, but you just don’t know about it because they’re living in a shadowy world of fear and self-disgust.

    After reading Archbishop’s Dolans words here and in other places recently, at least it shows through that he strives to teach his flock with love. Such a ‘positive’ attitude reaches people better than a “no no no” approach.

    I am a huge fan of this blog, Father. I read it almost daily, and it has actually led to another good friend’s journey towards Truth. I intend no disrespect with this post. I am only voicing my frustration with some of the comments and phrases people throw out with regard to this debate. I just wish people would place themselves in the other person’s shoes before they write. Christ would want us to speak with compassion.

  16. Paladin says:

    I suspect that this is getting close to “rabbit hole” territory, but: Gregory wrote:

    I can understand the natural law arguments against recognizing “marriage” between two members of the same sex. However, how is it that giving legal rights to such unions is going to legitimately harm anyone else?

    To borrow a phrase from a friend of mine: “How is my counterfeiting going to ‘harm’ the ‘real’ money in your pocket?” We must be very careful to keep this (and all other) discussions of morality on a CATHOLIC foundation–not out of a sense of “provincial myopia”, but flowing from the clear and objective fact that Catholic doctrine is, in fact, TRUE. If we start talking as if the secular worldview is true (and complete), then we’ll throw away everything we know about the Communion of Saints, and the fact that the sins of one will weaken and sicken the entire Body of Christ! This isn’t even mentioning the manifold ways that we have a good deal of moral responsibility for those around us (as opposed to turning a blind eye as they destroy themselves); remember the spiritual works of mercy, “admonish the sinner” and “instruct the ignorant?”

    People who would be entering into a same-sex union are not going to decide to have a traditional marriage one morning to someone of the opposite sex. Hence, I do not see how your comment about Darwin’s theory of Evolution makes any sense.

    Forgive me, but your own comment makes very little sense (to me, at any rate): can you not see that homosexual “couplings” of ANY sort are evolutionarily destructive, since they close off all chance of passing on the traits/practices in question (even if we assume the dubious premise that all homosexual tendencies are biologically “hard-wired”)?

    Whether or not “marriage” is offered to same-sex couples is not going to affect their attractions.

    No? I would rather think that it would; the removal of restrictions against evils has a nasty habit of encouraging them (cf. abortion since Roe v. Wade, etc.). But even if it did not, do you not see the problem in calling evil “good”? Since sin will go on with or without our remonstrations and admonishments, should we despair, pronounce it all “morally licit”, and spare the moral theologians the headache of discerning good from evil?

    Actually, denying that legal privilege, in my view, just fosters more instability in an environment (the current gay culture) that too often is littered with moral decay.

    You do realize that your argument could be adapted to support the legalization of prostitution (wouldn’t it be “more stable” if it were treated and regulated as a legitimate profession?), the legalization of abortion worldwide (to prevent those “unsanitary and unsafe back-alley abortions”), and the like? Your position seems to be based on moral relativism… which, with all due respect, is quite wrong.

    Contrary to what some who read this blog may think, gay people (or, if you prefer, people with same-sex attraction) are not that different from the rest of the population.

    Oh, come now…! Aside from this being a mere appeal to the gallery (which is a fallacy, last time I checked), you’re largely attacking a straw man (which is yet another fallacy) by insinuating that “some who read this blog” fight homosexual activity out of mere craven fear and raw, unreasoning bigotry. Balderdash, sir. It’s absolutely true that those who are truly afflicted with same-sex attraction disorder (sometimes more inaccurately called “homosexuality”–a title which misleads many into thinking that it somehow describes the very nature of such a person) have the same dignity as does any child of God. But you do wrongly to equivocate that dignity with a sort of grandiose and sweeping “plea for tolerance” which would also excuse their sinful behaviour and the intrinsically disordered nature of their condition.

    I’m fairly confident that most readers have someone close to them (family member, friend) who is “gay”, but you just don’t know about it because they’re living in a shadowy world of fear and self-disgust.

    I’m also fairly confident that most readers (including you) have someone close to them with cancer, as well; but would you then seek to “redefine” cancer as “an alternate biological version of ‘normal’”…perhaps out of a well-intentioned (though misguided) desire to protect their dignity? Just as we’re called to distinguish the sin from the sinner, we’re called to distinguish the suffering from the sufferer. Disorder is disorder, sir, and disease is disease; and you do no good at all when you seek to, as C.S. Lewis put it, “call blue yellow to please those who insist on still having jaundice [cf. The Great Divorce]“. I (as a cancer patient myself) would not thank anyone who sought (even innocently and with good intentions) to deny the fact that cancer is a disease (and evil), and tried to set up social constructs to “legitimize, tolerate, and even celebrate the gift of cancer”. God, in His infinite providence, can turn the evil of cancer to an even greater good [cf. Romans 8:28, Colossians 1:24] (and make it a sort of “gift” thereby); but man cannot do so. I beg you to stop trying.

  17. Gregory says:

    Paladin, thank you for your respectful response.

  18. joe says:

    Well, I guess no one wants to comment on the Archbishop Dolan’s admiration of the Anti Defamation League. Lip service and a standing ovation at St Patrick’s may make one feel good, but actions speak louder than words. He gives a scandalous impression by going to the ADL dinner and saying he admires their work. Now if someone says they don’t like what he did, or can understand why he did, do speak up. This is not a rabbitt hole. What exactly does hitting the ground running mean? Running to stay aside a group that is against the Catholic faith, like that could be a good thing?

    Joe

  19. Girgadis says:

    Joe

    I could not comment because I have no direct knowledge of the ADL and its
    stand on abortion. However, a quick visit to their website would seem to
    support what you say. In fact, the ADL released a statement expressing
    disappointment in the USSC for upholding a ban on partial birth abortion.
    I did not know anything about Pope Benedict naming Rabbi Klenicki a papal
    knight, either. I do not know the reasons why such an anti-Christian
    organization should merit such honor except perhaps overcompensation for the
    perception that, at least at one time, the church was viewed as anti-Semitic.
    Not saying the perception was accurate, nor would I condone honoring
    this organization or any of its leadership, any more than I would Father
    Jenkins awarding Barack Obama an honorary degree from Notre Dame.

  20. Joe says:

    Girgadis,
    I understand that none of us can be up on it all. That is why it is convenient to have all these different sources available to us now on the internet. Like you said, honorary awards/knighthood/degrees do not belong to those who are so against what the Catholic Church has always stood for. If it smells like a fish, it probably is a fish. Do a little more research on these types of inconsistencies. There is much to examine concerning the acts of the Vatican since Vatican II. It is not just diocesan bishops doing being weak or doing/saying things against the faith(look at the Archbishop of Freiburg, Germany, Robert Zollitsch who on Holy Saturday denied that Christ died for the atonement for our sins. http://en.gloria.tv/?media=25210 ) Listen to some sermons here for true Catholic preaching http://www.traditionalcatholicsermons.org You can comment to me on my just started blog, if you like.

    Joe

  21. MAJ Tony says:

    So that was the archbishop of my ancestral parish(es) (one of them, St. Romanus, Schuttertal-Schweighausen) who preached heresy. Great **rolleyes** what’s the world coming to?

  22. Bookworm says:

    I think the phrase “in built code of right and wrong that’s hard wired into our DNA” is simply an apt and easily graspable metaphor for what is more formally known as “natural law.” Most people nowadays have never heard of “natural law” or if they do, they think it refers to “nature” in the physical sense only (e.g. gravity, heredity). However, nearly everyone knows what DNA is, and understands the concept of “hard wiring” something. I don’t think the good Archbishop meant this in an absolutely literal sense.

    As for the notion that he was compromising his pro-life stand by taking part in an interfaith event sponsored by ADL — well, I dunno what to make of that. The focus of this event was not abortion or public policy debate of any kind but a recreation of the Passover Seder meal — which has special meaning for Catholics, and indeed for all Christians, because the Last Supper itself was a Seder meal. It was in effect the “ancestor” of our Mass. Maybe he committed himself to attending before he had a chance to research ADL’s pro-abortion stand. Perhaps he will be more careful next time.

    We should always be careful not to give unnecessary scandal (the Notre Dame/Obama mess is a prime example of what to avoid), but neither do we want to end up like the Pharisees either. We should not go out of our way to endorse or honor persons or groups who are clearly pro-abortion; but to rigorously avoid ANY contact or participation in any event, however worthy, that includes an individual or group who supports abortion would mean we’d have to go hide in a cave somewhere.

  23. Joe says:

    Bookworm,

    The idea that he did not know about the ADL’s stance on issues doesn’t say much. Even if, for the sake of arguement, he himself did not know, surely a secretary, aid, etc who has been around would know this and have said something to him. Besides that, he is not, by his own admission, unfamiliar with this group. He has stated that he has admired their work for a long time. What work is he referring to? Is he compartmentalising his belief system?
    As for the Seder Supper, I have to tell you, Catholics of any stripe should not be going to them. They went out when Christ started a his Church, which took over from Judaism as the way to salvation. It is, amongst other things, giving the false impression and being very unchartitable to the Jews by giving credence to them for still holding these Seder Suppers. They are not pleasing to God. These undertakings are offensive to Him, especially when it is sanctioned by the presence by people who profess to be Catholic, for they should know better. I doubt assisting at the supper will help anyone to convert to the faith. It may facilitate some people to lose their faith.

    Joe