That Awkward Moment . . . When You Realize That the Cardinal Dolan Meme Does not Apply Only to the Other Guy

In response to Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s closing prayers at the Democrat and Republican National Conventions the following viral  image is making the rounds on facebook:

Now, since Cardinal Dolan said the closing prayer for both conventions and the above image does not specify which one that it is talking about interpretation is left to the viewer and, because most of my friends are conservative Catholics, everyone I know has interpreted it as directed towards the Democrats. And they are right; After all, Cardinal Dolan’s closing prayer at the DNC included the following

“Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected.”

However, what many conservative Catholics don’t seem to consider is that this meme applies to the Republican party as well. When Cardinal Dolan prayed, “We ask for the grace to stand in solidarity with all those who suffer. May we strive to include your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, in the production and prosperity of a people so richly blessed.” He denounced Romney’s long history of acting on political expedience and leaving the disenfranchised out in the cold while helping the rich and powerful first just as much as he denounced Obama’s pro-abortion platform.

Catholic Republicans would do well to remember that the Democratic Party is not the root of all evil and that the Republican Party is not without blemish. Cardinal Dolan is not secretly on Romney and Ryan’s side or the side of the GOP. He is very publicly on the side of the Catholic Church and as Catholics we are called to follow our Cardinal’s example and do the same.

Cardinal Dolan is not a partisan Catholic who is “taking one for the team” in order to stick it to the Democrats. He is not trying to “beat Obama at all costs” like many Republican Catholics have demanded that I do without even stopping to consider what those costs might be. He is a non-partisan Catholic who stands up for life, liberty and virtue despite both parties’ rejection of all three in their own particular way. Cardinal Dolan sets an excellent example of being in the world of politics but not of it and it is an example that we as lay Catholics are called to follow.


NBC Wouldn’t Show Cardinal Dolan’s Closing Prayer at the DNC so I Will

Also, here is Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s closing prayer at the RNC:

We don’t need partisan Catholics who “take one for the team” or who concern themselves with furthering the “good of the party.” What we do need are non-partisan Catholics who can stand up for life, liberty and virtue without getting sucked into party special interests. Cardinal Dolan sets an excellent example of being in the world of politics but not of it.

Give Me a Break

Cardinal Dolan did not betray the Church by inviting Obama and Romney to a Al Smith Dinner.

Read Cardinal Dolan’s explanation in his own words before crying “scandal!” and gnashing your teeth. Here’s a small excerpt but I encourage you to read the whole thing:

Three, the teaching of the Church, so radiant in the Second Vatican Council, is that the posture of the Church towards culture, society, and government is that of engagement and dialogue. In other words, it’s better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one. Our recent popes have been examples of this principle, receiving dozens of leaders with whom on some points they have serious disagreements. Thus did our present Holy Father graciously receive our current President of the United States. And, in the current climate, we bishops have maintained that we are open to dialogue with the administration to try and resolve our differences. What message would I send if I refused to meet with the President?

[. . .]

In the end, I’m encouraged by the example of Jesus, who was blistered by his critics for dining with those some considered sinners; and by the recognition that, if I only sat down with people who agreed with me, and I with them, or with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone.

The real betrayal of faith comes from those who respond to Dolan’s attempt at maintaining a civil dialogue between the church and our country’s leaders with hate and despair:

I can’t wait to hear obama crack his one-liners…how about starting off with how he forced the Catholic Church to shut down the adoption services to prevent homosexuals from adopting children and teaching them their perverse lifestyle…or how about how in his next term he’ll force the Catholic Church to marry same-sex deviates…and if that don’t get the religious laughing out loud how about ending it with how he can hear the screams of the little children in the womb screaming as they are ripped apart in their pro-choice mothers womb……WOE TO THOSE THAT CAUSE SCANDAL IN THE CHURCH……………….have a nice laugh Cardinal Dolan, Satan can just sit back and watch as Christ own representatives can do his dirty work for him.

Comboxes are full of such wailing and sneering from Catholic laity who Know Better Than The Pope, doncha know. Such hubris is poison in the well and does far more damage than a few photos of Cardinal Dolan and President Obama sitting at the same table ever could. Cardinal Dolan, I think, says it best when he states that to refuse to associate with sinners means eating all of our meals alone. That is contrary to charity, it is contrary to solidarity and it is contrary to hope. It is not Christian, because it is not Christlike. We are not called to lock ourselves away from the world, to draw a line between Us and Them and never cross it. We are them; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and we are all made in God’s image. Christ gave himself to those who needed it most: he didn’t lock himself away behind the temple walls only to associate with the Pharisees; he went out into the world and dined with his enemies, even Judas, the very man whom he knew would betray him. Are we not called to follow Christ’s example?

So, to anyone troubled by Cardinal Dolan’s decision to break bread with President Obama: do not despair. Forget your wounded pride and continue to fight the real fight: the fight in defense of the unborn, the weak, the needy. Be virtuous – and don’t abandon those who aren’t.

Archbishop Dolan Elevated to Cardinal

Congratulations to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan on his elevation to Cardinal.

Now-Cardinal Dolan has received much media attention recently for speaking out against the current HHS mandate as president of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). In response to the mandate, Cardinal Dolan wrote the following:

Americans are nothing if not fair.

We share with those who are down and out. We salute excellence and the honest effort to achieve it. And something in our character draws us to the underdog.

That’s why the new federal edict mandating sterilization and contraception coverage in all health care plans has set off alarm bells around the country. And for the record, the contraceptives mandated as “preventive services” will include abortifacients.

Critics charge that this is an attack on the cornerstone First Amendment freedom that is the very foundation of our democracy. It is. Others assert that it threatens a violation of conscience for millions of Americans. It does. And still others insist it will force an unprecedented choice for many employers to either subsidize what they believe to be immoral, or withdraw health care coverage for their own families and those of their employees. It will.

But the new Health and Human Services ruling is wrong for another reason.

It is egregiously unfair, and as such, it cuts against the grain of what it means to be American.

The great and historic 236-year American achievement has been built on a broadly accepted social understanding. Working Americans pay taxes on what they earn. In return, their government protects them from external dangers, and from threats to the rights that our Declaration of Independence held to be God-given.

In a word, Americans expect government to be fair in how it governs, with respect for the exercise of the liberties and rights guaranteed all citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

Indeed, this basic American notion of fairness, the principle of equality under the law, was the animating force behind the great Civil Rights movement and the expanded recognition of rights for women and minorities in this past century. Americans, when presented with all the facts, support what is fair.

Which is precisely why the Obama administration’s decision to force Catholic and other religious employers to violate their conscience will not stand. Americans will recognize it for the unconstitutional detour that it is, and urge their elected representatives to repeal it.

I believe the trigger for this will be a very simple question. Americans will ask themselves: If this, what next?

What other constitutionally protected freedoms might an increasingly powerful federal government revoke? What other mandated violations of conscience lie ahead for other groups of American citizens, in pursuit of what their government declares is in the common interest? For whom doth the bell toll next?

There are many reasons to decry this HHS mandate. But perhaps the most important reason is that it is simply un-American.