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.”
Exactly, there is a big difference. You often hear the term about a church being “open” when they actually mean that the church openly sees some sin as acceptable. You also hear so much that Jesus ate with sinners as a justification for accepting sin. The Catholic Church is truth open in that it is truly open to everyone and certainly wants all to go to Mass. Even those who receive the medicinal penalty of excommunication are still able to go to Mass, but just can’t participate in the sacraments until they have repented and gone to sacramental confession. Those that are pro-abortion or who are pro-homosexual acts also are invited to Mass, they just can’t participate in the sacramental aspects of the Church until they also repent. Yes, Jesus ate with sinners and the sinners he attracted were the one who admitted their sins and were on the road of conversion. Less frequently mentioned is that Jesus also ate with Pharisees who he would rebuke. Fellowship with others does not mean that sin must be ignored – it is a spiritual act of mercy to rebuke the sinner – just make sure you have deforested the logs in your own eyes.
“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.”
Well said. It seems to me that many other bishops are more worried about being seen as “headline grabbers” or being perceived as acting politically instead of being a teacher – a true shepherd. Jesus called truth a sword and one that divides. Preaching the truth must be in season and out of season.
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.[reference]“
Archbishop Dolan has that nice personality balance the evicts a cheerful orthodoxy. He is able to declare the truth without seeming mean-spirited. Though his critics will often see otherwise. But again the Archbishop makes great points. The Church says yes to all of the great truths. It is the secular culture that says no constantly to the truth and yes to sin.
I like that expression. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it.