Questions Answered by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
In pursuit of the truth - www.cinopsbegoneblogspot.com - Thursday, April 12, 2012
We focus on a classic book titled, A People of Hope, Archbishop Timothy Dolan in Conversation with John L. Allen Jr. Image Books, New York, 2012. It is about the mind and heart of now Cardinal Dolan. We dedicate these series of letters from the book to Catholic-in-name-only politicians (CINOP) and their supporters. I want them to know the Cardinal. Listen, try to change, & follow his great leadership of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Give me the affirmative-orthodoxy argument for celibacy.
The best anecdote for me is from my friend Sister Rosario. Forty years ago, if not longer, I was in college seminary and probably questioning celibacy. She was a young sister at Holy Infant at the time. She an excellent first-grade teacher, very effective.
One day she kept a little girl after school to help her with her reading, knowing that the girl came from a very troubled and dysfunctional family. She noticed that the girl kept looking at her, and so finally she asked, “Haley, why do you keep looking at me?” The girl said, “Sister, are you married?” This is a little first-grader, and Sister Rosario replied, “No, I’m not married.”
The girl said, “Oh, good, they you belong to all of us.” I have never forgotten that story. In a very beautiful way, the story offers an icon of what celibacy is all about. It’s a liberating ability to belong to everybody.
I’ve never been much for the pragmatic arguments, and I think we make a bit mistake when we go there immediately - you know that celibacy allows more time, it frees you up. First of all, I think that’s an insult to marriage, second, God knows we’ve got enough examples of celibates who aren’t freed up.
I know some theologians think it is very outdated, but for me the spousal imagery says everything. Celibacy allows us to have a passionate, personal, unfettered commitment to Jesus Christ and his church, which perhaps might not be as evident or as easy if we were married… There is a certain amount of mystique, otherness, transcendental characteristic of the priesthood because of celibacy. Which I think is very didactic and has tremendous positive repercussions. There is a sense of belonging somewhere else that I think is very powerful and cannot be underestimated. I think Catholic people sense that in their gut, even if they’re unable to articulate. 73-74
Where do you stand on denying Communion to Catholic politicians who have a pro-choice voting record?
I always say that I don’t know why this topic only seems to come up with regard to abortion, and I don’t know why it is only directed to politicians. I give the example, which tends to mute liberal audiences, of when I was in Milwaukee and the Klu Klux Klan showed up at the courthouse to demonstrate.
They did in on Friday, and on Saturday we had an ecumenical cleansing of the courthouse steps. I helped lead the ceremony, so I brought holy water and the Book of Blessings. At one point a reporter said to me, “Archbishop Dolan, if any of these Klan members were to show up at the cathedral tomorrow for Holy Communion, would you give it to them?” I said, “No I wouldn’t.” Of course the Liberals applauded that -- “How prophetic, how bold!” Yet they wouldn’t apply the same logic to the abortion question.
That said, in general, I think Communion bans are counterproductive. Unless the defiance of
Church teaching is extraordinary blatant, unless it’s really scandalous, then I would be very reluctant to turn anybody away. I suppose if you had a Catholic legislator who’s almost saying, “I don’t regret abortion, and I’m not working to control it. I’m actually going to promote it & expand it & try to make it virtuous. I think it’s a great thing,” then I would probably feel obligated to step in.
That’s quite different, however, than a politician who is honestly struggling with the issue. For that reason & many others, imposing Communion bans would not be my ordinary modus operandi. 88-90
George H. Kubeck - In one of the chapters Dolan is referred to as a John Paul Pope.