Questions Answered # 3 by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
In pursuit of the truth - www.cinopsbegoneblogspot.com - Wednesday, April 18, 2012
1.) You were among the bishops critical of Notre Dame for inviting Obama to deliver the commencement address and for giving him an honorary doctorate. What went wrong?…
This was a time when the Catholic voice in the U.S. needed to be united, when were in a wait-and-see attitude about a president who both inspires and scares us…. We needed a coherent voice, and yet Notre Dame, which is arguable one of the most symbolic Catholic voices in the U.S., instead said it’s time to canonize this guy. I don’t know if that served the Church well. To use the language of Bishop John D’Arcy [of South Bend, Indiana] and the Notre Dame theologian John Cavadin, I don’t know if that was “ecclesially responsible.” 95
2.) I know you had the opportunity to meet President Obama. Are you impressed by him?
YES, HE’S VERY SHREWD, INCLUDING HIS APPROACH TO RELIGION. ONE OF MY FELLOW BISHOPS WORRIES THAT IN OBAMA WE NOW HAVE A “THEOLOGIAN-IN-CHIEF, A NEW NATIONAL PASTOR, AND A NEW PATRIACH OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AMERICA. HE’S DECIDING CATHOLIC TEACHING, RATHER THAN THE BISHOPS.” Obviously, for the bishop who was telling me this, it wasn’t intended as a compliment, but more as complaint that Obama has managed very successfully to divide the Catholic voice in America. That may be pushing it a little bit, but we have a very clever president…. [Please memorize the above!]
3.) Concretely, is there something Notre Dame, or any other Catholic university, could do that would signal its desire for good relations with the bishops? 98-99
A Catholic university needs to be of service to the bishops… if a bishop needs something - perhaps some advice legally, for instance in government of school matters, … That’s something Notre Dame could do… asking bishops, “What do you need? You’re facing some pretty sharp religious liberty issues coming up … How can we help? … These are areas where our Catholic universities ought to be helping us. They ought to have some data, some studies here, and that’s where I think a Catholic university can reclaim a sense of ecclesial service…
4.) You referred to a divided Catholic voice in America. One example came in the debate over health care reform, where the bishops were opposed on the grounds that the legislation could open the door to new federal funding of abortion. The Catholic Health Association, the main resource and advocacy group for the country’s more than 600 Catholic hospitals and 61 Catholic health care systems, and NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby in which women’s religious orders are heavily involved, came out in favor. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind?
Yes, it makes the point very well. When we bishops tried to press legislators to vote against the reform bill unless it included a clear bar on federal funding for abortion, you couldn’t call a senator or member of Congress who wouldn’t say back to you - not in a “gotcha’ way, but sincerely - “Archbishop, you’re telling me that Catholics oppose this, but I’m looking at what the SISTERS just said.” The two things they would quote more often were the NETWORK statement, which was signed by a number of sisters, and the CATHOLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION. Obama is a skilled politician, and he knows the classic way to succeed is by dividing your enemy. 100
George H. Kubeck -
If the SISTERS were conservative, they would have been excommunicated. Thus far liberal Catholic magazines like America, Commonweal and U.S. Catholic have not come forward to explain in detail the Obama assault on religious freedom and religious beliefs and keep the narrative up to date. In fact, you may also want to check the official Catholic newspaper in your diocese. I am still waiting for the Official Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, “Orange County Catholic” to start and educate their readers on what’s going on and what needs to be done. I don’t want Catholics to become second-class American citizens after Nov. 6th.