Archbp. Dolan on Notre Shame: engage but don’t honor

CNA has the scoop on what Archbp. Dolan, now of New York, has to say about Notre Shame.

Archbishop Dolan says Notre Dame’s Obama invite sent wrong signal

New York City, N.Y., Apr 14, 2009 / 09:34 pm (CNA).- Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan on Monday spoke with the Associated Press about the challenges he and the Catholic Church in New York face. Though saying that the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama was a mistake, he insisted that Catholics should engage with abortion rights supporters and politicians. [By all means ENGAGE.  But we shouldn’t HONOR.] By inviting President Obama to deliver the commencement address and to receive an honorary degree, Notre Dame wrongly signaled to students “we hold him up as a model to you,” Archbishop Dolan told the Associated Press.

He said the president could have been invited to Notre Dame to speak without honoring him. [exactly]

"The word we have to keep using is engagement," the archbishop said.

Archbishop Dolan said he wants to restore pride in being Catholic, [EXCELLENT. Interestingly I heard on a Catholic radio program the other day Bp. Sheridan speaking to the issue of our Catholic identity.  As I have been saying, Pope Benedict’s pontificate is focused on a revitalization of our Catholic identity.] especially following the scandals arising from clerical sexual abuse, which he described as a continuing source of shame.

Archbishop Dolan also spoke about the need for Catholics to defend their faith.

"Periodically, we Catholics have to stand up and say, `Enough’," Archbishop Dolan told the Associated Press. "The church as a whole still calls out to what is noble in us."

Appealing to fallen-away Catholics, [OH YES!  FINALLY someone else!  Another we simply have to do is reach out to the HUGE group of Catholics who have fallen away.] he said he plans to tell them “We need you. We love you. The Church is your family… Please come back. We miss you. We’re sorry if we hurt you. We’ll listen to you. It’s not the same without you.”

With numerous news reports saying that New York Governor David Paterson will introduce a bill in the state legislature on Thursday, the archbishop said he would challenge any efforts to recognize homosexual “marriage.” Speaking of homosexuals, he also said, “We love them… we would defend their rights.”

Archbishop Dolan told the Associated Press that the pioneering television evangelist Archbishop Fulton Sheen is among his heroes, and that he prays every day with a rosary used by Archbishop Sheen.

Addressing his anxiety about taking over the Archdiocese of New York, he closed his Monday interview by saying, “I hope at my core, I hear Jesus say, `Timothy be not afraid’.

At his installation as Archbishop of New York on Tuesday evening, he became the leader of some 2.5 million Catholics in the archdiocese.

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  1. Ron says:

    Just a question on this part:

    “Appealing to fallen-away Catholics, [OH YES! FINALLY someone else! Another we simply have to do is reach out to the HUGE group of Catholics who have fallen away.] he said he plans to tell them “We need you. We love you. The Church is your family… Please come back. We miss you. We’re sorry if we hurt you. We’ll listen to you. It’s not the same without you.””

    If we plead with them to return and cry out how much we miss them, when they shrug their shoulders and say “okay well it does seem like a nice thing to do” will they really return to the Church for the right reason?

    By all means we need fallen away Catholics to return to the Faith but at the same time we need them to have true conversions to the Faith. It seems we have enough people dissenting, disagreeing and not believing the whole of the Faith. The last thing we need is to bring in people who aren’t truly converted.

    That’s just my few cents. It just seems like appealing to emotions instead of the glories of the Faith seems problematic. They need the Faith of the Church.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  2. Scott says:

    I agree Ron but people are also emotional creatures and why not appeal to those as well? The Church in her wisdom through the centuries has appealed to peoples emotions through music and art. The post reformation following the Council of Trent was a period when the Church purposely brought beauty to the Churches buildings and liturgy ect in order to appeal to emotions and to make the connection between faith and reality. Emotions although not to be considered fact are themselves a reality.
    I hope that makes sense, I was confusing myself there
    But go Archbishop Dolan, If only we here in New Zealand had a bishop like him

  3. TNCath says:

    I have been impressed with Archbishop Dolan since his days as rector of Kenrick-Glennon seminary in St. Louis. He was appointed by then-Archbishop John L. May improve the quality of formation there after the Vincentians left. He has always been a cheerful man who is rock-solid orthodox. If you get a chance, check out the beautiful Vespers available at

    It was an extremely well done vespers, and it was obvious that Archbishop Dolan is already winning the hearts of his new flock.

  4. Ron says:

    Scott, you said:

    “I agree Ron but people are also emotional creatures and why not appeal to those as well? The Church in her wisdom through the centuries has appealed to peoples emotions through music and art. The post reformation following the Council of Trent was a period when the Church purposely brought beauty to the Churches buildings and liturgy ect in order to appeal to emotions and to make the connection between faith and reality. Emotions although not to be considered fact are themselves a reality.”

    I would say music and art appeal to beauty, corresponding to realities. They convey truth. They are not mere emotional appeals although I\’d argue modern music is an appeal to emotions which is way so much of it is empty. Traditional music is not simply emotional but is a beautiful way to convey truth. Man is a rational being. The highest faculties in man is reason and will. Emotions can draw the mind and the will all over the place so an appeal to emotions only, it seems to me, doesn\’t necessary mean that much. What is needed is the assent of reason and the decision of the will to the Faith.

    I am just saying we need to make sure people are truly converted, with or without emotions following. In the early church you had to be tested for a time to show you were really converted to the Faith. They did not just simply accept everyone no matter what. Today it seems you can do anything, return to the Church or convert, go through RCIA, all the while rejecting major Church teaching.

    The more Catholics we have in the fold who reject the Truth, the more problems we have. It means more Catholics voting for pro-death candidates. It means more Catholics supporting same-sex marriage. That, it seems to me, problematic.

    Like I said, by all means call all souls to the Church but bring them in truth and reality – not just more bodies in the pews, some of which don\’t like what the Church believes.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  5. roxanne says:

    I heard Archbishop Dolan’s homily last night at his installation on EWTN. He spoke with mid-western style that was simple, straightforward, and yet profound. His analogy of Jesus standing and knocking at the door was beautiful. May God bless Archbishop Dolan and the work he will do in NY.

  6. Mom2three says:

    I’ve continually observed that fallen away Catholics left the Church based on emotional conclusions rather than reasonable conclusions. Appeal to their emotions, then educate their reason. (That’s my $0.02 for Ron and Scott.) :-)
    Love this blog, Fr. Z. :-)

  7. Mitchell NY says:

    When he refers to those who “have been hurt”, is it a reference to Catholics who have fallen away due to the liturgical chaos that occurred and was forced on them? Does the ArchBishop plan to address the Pope’s MP and foster a reintegration of the UA Mass into the Diocease as a way of healing some of the hurt that he refers too? In a city with 2.5 million Catholics it seems shortsighted that about 6 Churches have a UA Mass. This hardly seems enough to accomplish the goal of integrating the 1962 Missal back into the spiritual life of the Church and parishes. Perhaps it being on the Mass schedule in most Churches week after week, maybe some of the NO folks would drift over and check it out. And in that process discover its’ beauty and importance. With that they may stay and attend once in a while or return to the NO Mass with a whole new insight and maybe effect some of that gravitational pull. But if it is not out there to explore but of 5 or 6 Churches I doubt people will stumble across its’ beauty and mystery.

  8. Nathan says:

    Ron, you raise an interesting point. Conversions do indeed need to be genuine. However, I know that those of us who have continued to practice our Faith during the upheavals of the past forty years have a real temptation–one which I must fight with personally–to a degree of Donatism when fallen away Catholics start to return.

    Conversion often (unless God gives extraordinary graces as He did to St Paul) takes years. Shouldn’t we, especially as laymen, welcome those who take the first step back in the same manner that the father in the parable received the prodigal son?

    The Cardinal Archbishop of Bordeaux just gave a wonderful example, in inviting the dean of the SSPX in Bordeaux to dine with all the priests of the archdiocese at the Cardinal’s table. Regardless of our opinions in the debate on the canonical status of SSPX priests, the act was one of reaching out in the same way I hope we can to fallen-away Catholics who take the first steps to return to the practice of the Faith. I think we (as laity, pastors have a different job) can help by treating everyone who desires a return with the dignity of all the baptized.

    Kudos to Archbishop Dolan for saying this.

    Happy Easter–

    In Christ,

  9. Banjo pickin' girl says:

    Mitchell, most of the 40 or so fallen away Catholics I know left because they either didn’t agree with the Church teachings or they were hurt by somebody in the Church, like an abusive pastor. I think the reference to being hurt covers a lot of things.

  10. Ron says:


    I agree but let’s use an example. Tony Blair obviously rejects the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Should he be received into the Church while he rejects this teaching?

    Pax Christi tecum

  11. Scott says:

    I agree with what you say , and perhaps I was being to kind on the Archbishop. I think his language is typical of the novus ordo where its very mother hood and apple pie and it leaves us all confused as to what he actually means (hence this).
    I was abit disturbed when reading the article that he says he will defend the rights of Homosexuals. Perhaps Im being cynical but what rights do they have that other people dont enjoy?

  12. Lirioroja says:

    Scott, I took that to mean that he would defend homosexuals’ rights as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. They have the same rights as everyone else. They can even marry if they wish, provided they marry someone of the opposite sex (there’s no such thing as same sex “marriage”.) That’s what I read. Sadly, there are people out there who see homosexuals as a sub-human species. Unfortunately I can count relatives on mine in that group.

  13. Ron says:

    There is no such thing, technically speaking, as a homosexual. We are all human beings who do certain acts. This group of individuals may commit certain acts or have a temptation to do so but that does not mean they should be labeled. Regardless, being that they are human beings they should be afford the same rights as every other human being. There’s no issue here and I think that was what Scott was saying: “Perhaps Im being cynical but what rights do they have that other people dont enjoy?” I agree with Scott.

    The only reason, it seems to me, to refer to the “right of homosexuals” is to afford them rights pertaining to their disorder desires. What else would a “homosexual right” be if not gay marriage and the acceptance of those specific disordered acts? I’m just askin. I see no other reason to speak of such rights unless you are going to afford protection to what makes them different from the rest of us.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  14. Banjo pickin' girl says:

    Perhaps the reference to the rights of homosexuals is referring to the right to not be beat up by us banjo pickin’ redneck types. (though I wouldn’t do that, some of my friends are homosexual and I respect their personhood though not their lifestyle). I myself belong to a “visible minority” and have on occasion been physically and verbally attacked so we all need to be nice to people as people (not necessarily enabling bad things they do of course).

  15. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    Invite them to return! At my first parish I noticed an elderly man would always come to church at the same time every Sunday but he would never go in.He would just sit outside.After several years this began to annoy me so I asked my assistant to find out why he never went in to Mass.It seemed many years ago a priest berated him so he stopped going to mass-but not to church.My assistant heard him out and invited him in to mass.He went in and did so every week after.

  16. Jason Keener says:

    Mitchell NY,

    Archbishop Dolan is a good bishop in many ways, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up about Archbishop Dolan doing any vigorous promotion of the Extraordinary Form.

    Here in Milwaukee, Archbishop Dolan invited the Institute of Christ the King Sov. Priest to staff a parish. That was about it. Archbishop Dolan does not celebrate the Extraordinary Form himself and has admitted he doesn’t know how to.

    I was also a bit letdown here in Milwaukee that the Archbishop did little to foster a reform of how the Novus Ordo is celebrated. There was no talk of ad orientem worship or integrating some Latin into the Mass, etc. There was no promotion of Gregorian Chant from Archbishop Dolan’s office or the Archdiocesan Office of Worship. [It might be good to think about what Archbp. Dolan inherited… and from whom… ]

    My impression is that while Archbishop Dolan is holy and orthodox, he believes the typical celebration of the Novus Ordo found in today’s American parish is just fine.

  17. Hallvard says:

    I would like to echo what Nathan has said
    concerning the conversion process: it does take
    years (for many people) during which time one is often
    participating with and then leaving the Church over
    and over again (unfortunately). As far as full
    participation is concerned (Communion), I’ll
    leave that up to the ecclesiastical authority to decide.
    But I do believe that people grow in their faith
    and because of this their understanding of truth
    is purified as heretical ideas clung to in the past are purged
    away. Whether inviting people to Mass without allowing them to share int he Eucharist is the best way to usher them in is something I can’t answer.

  18. John Penta says:

    Is it odd to say that Abp. Dolan is the first among the US episcopate I find myself immediately drawn to?

    Regardless, it’s the truth; in watching the Church from my semi-lapsed point of view, I’ve found a few bishops that I’ll come to like seeing come up…but it takes a while. With Dolan, though, I immediately get the sense that ‘this guy is the real thing’; someone who really does come across as just a pastoral, holy bishop…who, not the most *common* thing for bishops, shines through with a sense of humor and a sense that he honestly loves and understands people. (It probably helps that his doctorate is in history, not theology, I think; don’t ask me *why* that would make a difference, but it seems to.)

    I definitely find myself agreeing with His Excellency(? His Grace? What’s the proper style for a US Archbishop?) and Father Z in regards to “fallen away” Catholics: It’s good to see someone in a position of note remembering us, not presuming we’re a lost cause.

    If I Were On His Staff, what I’d recommend:

    1. Do something on the website so you can input your address and find your territorial parish; I can’t be the only lapsed Catholic who…remembers that’s important, but couldn’t locate my local parish if my life depended on it. I may be in a different diocese (Trenton, if you must know), but the point remains.

    2. Encourage real outreach to lapsed Catholics – use the web, use radio, use YouTube, use the media whose heart you sit in.

    3. Sometimes, finding a priest to talk to over the phone or face-to-face is impractical or intimidating. It gets worse if, like me, you have privacy over the net, but not really for a phone call, and getting to someplace without help can be difficult. So why not find some young, tech-savvy priests to man one-on-one chat rooms (something the tech can easily do!) on a volunteer basis at some time during the week? Not for anything like an Internet Confessional, but to explain to a person what, in his unique case, should happen for him to return to the Church, to settle fears, to really *begin* the conversation about returning. Perhaps, for a really clued-in operation, have the opt-in capability to “refer our conversation to a priest in my parish for further contact”; something that sends a transcript to a priest in the person’s territorial parish (if known) for further contact and, basically, follow-up.

    4. Broadcast the Mass at St. Patrick’s over the web. Not hard, in fact I’m surprised they don’t do it already. A lot of people, especially younger people, get drawn in (or back) by the “smells and bells” of the Mass – and Dolan has the advantage of having a cathedral which is *excellent* for that, whether the Mass is Extraordinary Form or Ordinary Form.

    5. Blog. Not a staffer blogging, but the Archbishop himself. It’s not *too* much different from the column every bishop seems to write for their diocesan newspaper, and in Dolan’s case, it plays to his strengths.

  19. Nathan says:

    Ron, an excellent example. IMO, Mr. Blair should not be received into the Church if he has public reservations with the Church’s teaching. The determination, however, is not the competency of the laity, except for us who may be advising him personally during his instruction or to inform his pastor or bishop if he continues to publicly deny the Church’s teaching. The case of public offficials or politicians has issues of scandal that set them apart from most of the fallen-away Catholics.

    I think that much closer to home would be the example of a hypothetical “Mrs. O’Shaugnessy” down the street who may be on her third marriage, just became disillusioned with her fellow travelers in the local NOW chapter, and who hasn’t darkened a church door since 1975. If she expresses an interest and takes the first steps to coming back to the practice of the Faith, goes to Confession and strongly desires to live as a faithful Catholic, are we to tell her to go away because she may be struggling with fully accepting the moral authority of the Church? Are we laymen to be the arbiters on whether or not her conversion is genuine, or whether her marital status is an impediment?

    The temptation to Donatism that I struggle with is the one to give her the “hairy eyeball” and to doubt her intentions until I’m sufficiently convinced that she’s as “ideologically pure” as I am. May Our Blessed Lord grant me humility and charity!

    In Christ,

  20. Michael J says:


    How do you suppose Mrs. O’Shaugnessy will react when she finds out that she has been lied to? How would you respond when she comes to you with great indignation and states “You told me that I could be a Catholic and still believe that contraception is acceptable”?

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with what you write. I am simply trying to point out that there is a fine line between accepting a sinner and accepting sinful behavior. All too often, serious differences are glossed over, hidden, and even denied in the name of charity, leading many to wonder if the Church is proclaiming the truth, or laying a trap.

  21. Nathan says:

    Michael J, another excellent point. I would hope for the grace to prudently employ the Spiritual Works of Mercy when that ocurrred, especially instructing the ignorant. The real difficulty would be if Father or Sister Parish Administrator was the one to tell her that contraception is acceptable.

    I strongly agree with your assessment on the fine line between accepting a sinner and accepting sinful behavior. My argument was intended to be directed more at often well-intended, misplaced zeal that may come across as hostility, as well as the temptation among laymen with strong opinions to assume we know what is in another’s heart.

    In Christ,

  22. Kevin says:

    I missed the memo. The Church no longer accepts the sinner? Man I’m in deep you know what. The whole reason I came back to the Church was because I need to get away from my sinning ways. I’m not there yet, I have some way to go yet (TRUTH BE TOLD, ALONG WAY TO GO). So I truly hope and pray that the Church will continue to accept me and those like me who have not reached that “ideologically pure” state that some apparently enjoy.
    Please pray for me and those like me who are struggling.

  23. Brendan says:

    Oooo! I want a rosary used by Archbishop Sheen!

  24. Paul says:

    >60 million in South America alone during the post-conciliar era;
    Due in large part to Dignitis Humanae and substantial funding of protestant evangelical missionaries to carry on in the wake of HD.

  25. Maureen says:

    If it were up to me to win all the souls in the world into the Church, every church in the world would be empty. I am glad to see someone who can be a people person doing his best to invite people to come home. Once you get people inside the door, then you can start binding their wounds without worrying about new dirt getting into them. You can start teaching them the truth without having to fight all the noise on the street. You can do a lot of things a lot easier inside the Church than outside.

    The early Christians didn’t even spill the beasn about the _meaning_ of the Sacraments until you’d already been baptized, Confirmed, and had received your first Holy Communion. We’re not talking about throwing newbies into the deep end that much!

    The archbishop is just saying people should come back, and they should talk to somebody about why they left, and that they will get help and someone will listen. Is that really promising so much? Wouldn’t the Church do that much for a stray dog or cat, without anybody r going all worried about it?

  26. Michael J says:


    Do you want acceptance or Salvation? The Church offers both, but cannot offer one at the expense of the other.

  27. Ron says:

    Nathan mentioned: “My argument was intended to be directed more at often well-intended, misplaced zeal that may come across as hostility, as well as the temptation among laymen with strong opinions to assume we know what is in another’s heart.”

    I’m not talking about temptation or what is hidden in someone’s heart. I am talking about plain old explicit rejection of Church teaching. If Mr. Smith accepts church teaching on contraception but is terrible at practicing it, that is one thing, but when Mr. Smith says “I’ll return to the Church but I will never accept Humanae Vitae” then I think that’s a problem. It’s one thing to give assent but struggle in application and a whole other thing to flat out reject Church teaching.

    I don’t think the truth should be glossed over. People should be made known what the Church Faith teaches and what is expected. If they refuse to assent, then they shouldn’t return to the Church until they can give assent to the Faith.

    Yes we’re sinners. I’m not saying we should all be perfect but we should at least have the intention of believing the Faith…if not then what’s the point? Why join or return if you don’t agree with us?

    Pax Christi tecum

  28. Ron says:

    I struggle too. I’m a sinner too. I’m not talking about that. In all of my struggles and sinfulness, I give full assent that what the Church teaches is true. I fail to live up to it but I believe it is true. All I am saying is we shouldn’t be quick to receive people who do not think the entire Faith is true because then we end up with more of these Catholics who vote for Obama, think contraception is the cure for AIDS, and who think homosexuality is acceptable.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  29. Jason Keener says:

    John Penta,

    In Milwaukee, Archbishop Dolan was wonderful with doing outreach to fallen away Catholics and Catholics in general. The Archbishop himself even did numerous radio ads on regular radio stations asking people to come back to Sunday Mass, etc. The Archbishop was also tireless in making pastoral visits to hospitals, nursing homes, Catholic school events, and parish events.

    Father Z,

    I agree that Archbishop Dolan inherited quite a mess here in Milwaukee, but after some seven years, I was hoping to at least see a little bit of movement towards Gregorian Chant, Latin, or ad orientem worship. Maybe I’m just too impatient.

    I think all of our American bishops could do a better job individually and as a conference with liturgical reform. I know of hardly any bishops in the U.S. who are using their skills of persuasion to actively promote the things essential to a reform of the Novus Ordo like Gregorian Chant, ad orientem worship, and some Latin in the Liturgy. I’m also curious as to why the USCCB’s Committee for Divine Worship never promotes these things.

    In any event, best wishes to Archbishop Dolan. New York City is lucky to have him.

  30. teresa says:

    -Paul, you wrote:”60 million in South America alone during the post-conciliar era; Due in large part to Dignitis Humanae and substantial funding of protestant evangelical missionaries to carry on in the wake of HD”.

    why, if you believe firmly in the superiority of our Confession, which is the Catholicism, so why do you say such words which lack of confidence? Why do we want a secular power to keep people from falling away, if you can use the force of love and understanding to persuade them to stay, and persuade even more to come and rejoice in our Lord?

    To believe means to assent with your mind and heart to the Truth of our religion, and it is only real faith if it is done with the free will so the secular power can only keep people doing things required outwardly, but it won’t keep them from error or falling away from the faith inwardly.

    I don’t think the HD was the cause that so many people falls away, perhaps we have done too little to keep them home?

  31. Nathan says:

    Ron, I think we’re largely in agreement, and are making points about two different things. I agree with you that the truth shouldn’t be glossed over and that lapsed Catholics would need to assent to the truth of the Church’s teaching as a condition of returning to the full practice of the Faith. IMO, the place for a lapsed Catholic to do that is in the Confessional and, if necessary, with one’s pastor or bishop (depending on the public nature of the lapse).

    I tried to focus on our (not being either Confessors or Pastors) being patient with those who are making a bona fide effort to return to the fullness of the Faith and are struggling with living it or even understanding it all. Clearly, willful rejection of Humanae Vitae separates one from the life of grace. But if Mr. Smith says “I want to return to the Church but I’m having trouble understanding why I should obey Humanae Vitae,” or “I want to return to the Church but I’m going to have trouble living by Humanae Vitae even though I accept the Church’s authority,” what do you think we should do?

    BTW, I’m enjoying this discussion. You are making me think!

    In Christ,

  32. Ron says:


    Yes, I agree, we’re very similar in what we’re saying. I tend to think that if Mr. Smith cannot affirm the Church’s teaching on some dogma then he should wait to return or join the Church.

    The same happened to me. I was Protestant for awhile. I wasn’t sure what I thought about Marian devotion or the Papacy. Some of it I could assent to but some I could not. So instead of running right to the Church and joining, I waited and struggled through it. It wasn’t until I could say, “Yes I assent to Catholic teaching on these issues” that I thought I could enter (actually return) to the Church. I could not, in good conscience, join the Church if I could not assent to all of the Faith.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  33. Ron says:

    And, to piggy-back my last comment, it would have seemed wrong to me to return to the Church while I had these doubts and while I could fully assent. I mean, why join or return in that case? I wouldn’t go join the local Reformed Protestants if I rejected some of what they believed.

    Pax Christi tecum

  34. Rose says:

    Seems to me a great many Catholics leave and stay away from the Church over the cohabitation or divorce or remarriage issue. If many of these Catholics were to heed the call and wish to return to Sunday Mass, what would a parish priest counsel with regard to the taking of Holy Communion?

  35. Kevin says:

    Michael J-
    “Do you want acceptance or Salvation? The Church offers both, but cannot offer one at the expense of the other.”

    The idea of Salvation with out acceptance is an interesting one. How would that work exactly? I would become acceptable to Christ but not to you? So be it. I came back to the church to glorify God and work towards the salvation of my soul. Not to meet some expectation you or any one else has. The Church is not some Ivy league Country Club where you have to measure up to belong. As I understand it even the worst of us can join.
    This is not to say that it wouldn’t be nice to be welcomed back and accepted warts and all.

    I apologize if I tweaked your nose with the “ideologically pure” jab, that was uncalled for. I will not apologize for belonging to the Church and expecting to be at least tolerated in a civil manner during my struggles to be worthy of Salvation.

  36. Mary says:

    He said the president could have been invited to Notre Dame to speak without honoring him. [exactly]

    This isn’t where discussion has been, but I’m a little curious about the argument that no one would have minded if Obama had only been invited to speak and not to receive an honorary degree.

    My gut reaction was “Obama’s invited to Notre Dame!?” not “They’re giving him an honorary degree!?” Was that too strict then? Do you guys think that if he had only been invited to speak, there would have been no uproar?

  37. TNCath says:

    Mary wrote: “This isn’t where discussion has been, but I’m a little curious about the argument that no one would have minded if Obama had only been invited to speak and not to receive an honorary degree.”

    I think he meant “could have been invited to Notre Dame to speak without honoring him” didn’t necessarily mean a commencement, but some other event.

  38. MAJ Tony says:

    Tune to the Catholic Channel, Sirius 159 or XM 117 (if you have it) @ 0800 M-F (Sa/Sun?) for daily Mass, and Card. Egan was giving a talk/discussion at 0900 Sun on the Catholic Channel, which is an apostolate of the NYC Archdiocese.

  39. Once God takes temporarily away mammon (market, economy) and freedom (Obama, and new definitions of terrorists, “hate-crimes”, etc), then people will be much more receptive to hearing God’s Word, both fallen away Catholics and everyone else. The “no atheists in foxholes” effect. All you practicing Catholics should be ready to teach them.

  40. michigancatholic says:

    Scott, that’s the mistake. People aren’t only emotional creatures. In fact, they aren’t primarily emotional creatures. Each person has faculties and a soul which are more central to his being, even though the popular culture denies this. And while it may be true that total immersion in the modern life causes all but the emotional part of man to shrivel and suffer, that doesn’t change the nature of man as a whole. It doesn’t have that kind of power.

    People who come back must choose honestly to come back, or they won’t stay. In some people, the decision to return will look exteriorly rather simple and be very sincere; in others it may look quite different. Likewise those who resist will do it on a number of levels & with different appearances. Only God really knows a man’s soul and knows how this has to work with each individual. To assume it will always be emotionally laden or driven is an error and a presumption.

    A purely emotional appeal to each one will not work because it will not address what is often the location of the real problem/s. And for many people, it won’t provide the reason to stay.

  41. Emilio III says:

    Kevin: “I missed the memo. The Church no longer accepts the sinner?”

    Oscar Wilde: “The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people the Anglican Church will do.”

  42. Paul says:

    Teresa, please permit me to quote the following from
    Quanta Cura by Pope Pius IX (December 8, 1864):

    “Contrary to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, of the Church, and of the holy Fathers, these persons do not hesitate to assert that ‘the best condition of human society is that wherein no duty is recognized by the government of correcting, by enacted penalties, the violators of the Catholic religion, except when the maintenance of the public peace requires it.’ From this totally false notion of social government, they fear not to uphold that erroneous opinion most pernicious to the Catholic Church, and to the salvation of souls, which was called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI (lately quoted) the insanity (deliramentum): namely, ‘that the liberty of conscience and of worship is the peculiar (or inalienable) right of every man, which should be proclaimed by law, and that citizens have the right to all kinds of liberty, to be restrained by no law, whether ecclesiastical or civil, by which they may be enabled to manifest openly and publicly their ideas, by word of mouth, through the press, or by any other means.’”

    Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani brilliantly summarized the positon on this issue in regards to Religious Toleration not to be confused with religious liberty.

    Religious toleration means that the government permits religious practices of other sects and does not persecute believers in other faiths, but suppresses public manifestations of non-Catholic religions when possible for the sake of the comman good.

  43. Michael J says:


    I apologize, but you misunderstand what I was saying. Your post seemed to imply that you wanted to be “accepted” without being expected to honestly try to conform your behavior and beliefs to what the Church teaches.
    Nobody is demanding perfection, but if you enter the Church (or any organization, for that matter) and state “The Church teaches “X”, but She is wrong because I believe “Y””, expect to be rebuked.

  44. michigancatholic says:

    It’s always interesting to hear people explain why they want to become Catholic. There are good reasons and there are not-so-good reasons, it turns out.

  45. Regina says:

    Expect to be rebuked? Rebuked by whom? I don’t think we’d be so sanctimonious if Kevin were standing face-to-face with us.We would give him a hug and work with him and support him.
    And, Kevin, you just come back. Come back and listen and learn.
    We are all disappointed in our personal failures, but to God, failure is never final.

  46. michigancatholic says:

    That’s true, Regina, to God failure is never final. Refusals do happen but they’re always on the human side, and they’re internal and personal first–a secret between the soul and God.

  47. Kevin says:

    Michael J
    Peace Brother, I think we are speaking at each other and not to each other.
    Lets agree that we meet here in good faith and mean to help, not hinder our common goal to glorify God and seek his mercy.

  48. Steven says:

    “Archbishop Dolan said he wants to restore pride in being Catholic,…”

    I believe that the Holy Father and the bishops of the Latin Church could best do so by…

    1. Return to the TLM…(beginning with His Holiness as that is the Mass that he was ordained to offer. His Holiness must set the liturgical example for his brother bishops).

    2. Return to the ancient tradition of refusing to pray and/or worship with non-Catholics. When His Holiness and our bishops pray and/or worship with Eastern Orthodox and Protestants and pray inside synagogues and mosques, they send confusing messages to the Faithful regarding the awesome nature of the Catholic Religion, which is the true God-pleasing Religion.

    3. When they return to the Latin Church’s awesome Traditional Mass, His Holiness and our bishops should also return to the true model of Traditional Liturgy, which is the sung Mass. His Holiness (as Josef Cardinal Ratzinger) has criticized the Low Mass. We need sung TLMs in the Latin Church.

    Implement the above reforms and “pride in being Catholic,” (Latin Church Catholic) will return to the Church.

  49. Phil says:

    I read comments about supposedly restoring “Catholic pride and identity.” Many traditionalists don’t think that the “Novus Ordo” Mass can accomplish that. I’ll give you the typical Mass that I’ve found in my diocese, and I have found this to be the case in my travels to other diocese in America.

    The Mass has no Latin. Pianos, drums and guitars are used far more often than pipe organs. The Mass is never sung. About 10 to 12 lay Catholics help give Communion. The priest and people face each other.

    The church is not highly decorated. Everyone receives Communion standing. Almost everyone receives Communion in the hand.

    In the summer months, at least here, many people come to church wearing shorts and t-shirts.

    The Mass is radically different from the Mass the traditionalists say we need to “restore” Catholic identity.

    But the pews are packed each weekend. Saturday night Mass is packed. And the Sunday Masses are packed with people.

    So despite what traditionalists say, the churches are filled with Catholics who obviously want to be at Mass and totally disagree with the argument that they don’t have a strong sense of being Catholic.

    That’s the way most Masses are celebrated today. We have no strong movement among bishops, priests and laity to return to the Latin Mass.

    So what’s the gripe that traditionalists have with what we’re doing in today’s church? What’s the problem?

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