May 142013

New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan made it clear this morning that if Gov. Cuomo proceeds with his plans to strengthen state abortion laws, he will face the wrath of the Catholic Bishops.

“I am going to hope that the better natures prevail here, but boy if you come out you can expect us to be as vociferous and rigorous as possible in our opposition to this,” Dolan said during an interview with an Albany radio station Tuesday. “I hope we don’t go there.”

Dolan went so far as to suggest that Cuomo might not be considered a Catholic in good standing if goes forward.

“I don’t mind telling you that’s one of the things the governor and I talk about,” Dolan said.

“Look, he and I have very grave differences, and this is one of them… That’s something that we talk about and that’s something that I talk turkey with him about.”

This story was later updated:

UPDATED – Dolan spokesman Joe Zwilling just emailed a note clarifying Dolan’s comments on the radio, saying “Cardinal Dolan would not and did not suggest the governor might not be a Catholic in good standing going forward. The subject he ‘talks turkey’ about was abortion.”

Dolan’s comment’s came in a response to a question that asked how Cuomo “could be a leader on an issue that the church so fundamentally feels strongly about, opposes, abortion, and still be considered a Catholic in good standing.” (source)

One thing I have wondered about just exactly what does the term “Catholic in good standing” mean anyway? If Pelosi, Biden, and Cuomo can use those terms concerning themselves it doesn’t mean very much. Does the term have any actual definition from the Church? I’ve heard the term bandied about and while the definition of it seems common sensical. The Knights of Columbus use this term in regards to membership. The practical application of the term seems to mean someone not formally excommunicated and so ends up not meaning very much at all. Somehow I feel that after I die, telling Jesus “I was a Catholic in good standing” won’t be very helpful.

“Cardinal Dolan would not and did not suggest the governor might not be a Catholic in good standing going forward.”

If Gov. Cuomo who supports multiple intrinsic evils in his political life and commits adultery with his live-in girlfriend can be considered a “Catholic in good standing” then talk about mixed-messages.

Now I can understand pastoral sensitivities, but I don’t understand the sensitivity about this term which I believe has no canonical weight. Certainly I am frustrated by my internal feeling that “Catholic in good standing” actually means “Bishop unwilling to act.” I know that is more hyperbole than truth, but I keep waiting for a Bishop/Politician interaction where the dialogue and the dissent does not just keep going on and on. But as usual whining about Bishops is much easier than praying for them and for those “Catholics in good standing.”

  10 Responses to “Catholic in good standing”

  1. The intentions may be pastoral, but publicly declaring infamous pro-abortion, anti-family Cuomo to be a “Catholic in good standing” scandalizes the faithful.

  2. It seems to me the common sense definition of a Catholic “in good standing” would be a person baptized and in a state of grace without unconfessed mortal sin on their conscience. We are all sinners, and I think it perfectly appropriate to admit that I am not “in good standing” if I haven’t confessed my mortal sins.

  3. Cardinal Dolan has been a disappointment in his dealings with pro-abortion and pro-gay rights politicians. He really doesn’t see what a bafoon he looks like when he does things like this. He aught to be talking excommunication in the “Book, Bell, Candle” tradition. Name these politicians anathema.

  4. That phrase calls to mind that brilliant statement by Chesterton which sounds like a paraphrase of Aquinas:

    “No Catholic thinks he is a good Catholic; or he would by that thought become a bad Catholic.”
    [GKC The Well and the Shallows CW3:450]

    Or, to put it in the words of the first Pope:

    “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.” (see Lk 5:8)

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  6. Business as usual.

  7. Thank you once again Dr. Thursday. Does the regular pew sitting Catholic EVER think he is “in good standing”? I certainly don’t….neither does St. Paul: “…I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord”

  8. (((Certainly I am frustrated by my internal feeling that “Catholic in good standing” actually means “Bishop unwilling to act.” )))

    What! What! What does he mean Victor when YA say that all of U>S cat licks, “I” mean Catholics must walk the walk and not simply just talk the talk NOW? Who’s going to marry you with your secretary when she decides to stop running around with the Curt Jester’s clowns, “I” mean cloned cells NOW?

    Go Figure! The Holy Spirit sinner vic? 🙂

    Butt Victor! Not funny NOW 🙁



  9. When I joined the Church I proclaimed before God and the members of the Church present: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” If one believes, professes, teaches or proclaims something otherwise, they aren’t a Catholic “in good standing.” Period. End of conversation. On the other hand, if the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims that God has revealed the case to be otherwise as regards the standing of the Catholic in question, then I’m wrong and I stand corrected. Period. End of conversation.

  10. I don’t understand the point of this article regarding the Cardinal: Mixed Messages are being sent out and yet the average Catholic in the pews who is “frustrated” with the actions are not to be “whiners” or “complainers” All we have to do is pray pay and obey. EXCUSE ME? That sounds like good old fashioned Clericalism where the word is ” they are above reproach- do not ever complain about them” Well we have being doing just this for over 4 decades now and many have just got fed up with the wishy washiness and just left. We have as lay people not only a right but a duty to complain. Stop making excuses for this or any other prelate’s actions. I myself pray every day for all in the Church but we must also ACT when it is needed. The 1983 Code Of Canon Law provides for this.

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