“I’ll tell you what I think God thinks of the
Affordable Care Act. It’s a big Amen!”
–Political Commentator Ed Schultz
It’s not uncommon for the left-wing MSNBC to lead the cheers for President Obama. But it’s all too common, and more than a bit unsettling, when a Catholic bishop joins in the jubilation – especially when he’s the most well-known Catholic leader in America.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has just finished a three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal Dolan is the most public face of the U.S. Church. He is amiable, often jovial, and occasionally candid in spite of himself.
When Cardinal Dolan appeared on Meet the Press the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the host, David Gregory, got right to the point, asking about Pope Francis:
“He said, ‘We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods.’ He talked about there being too much obsession within the church about talking about those issues. You have said there’s nobody to the right of you on some of these doctrinal issues. Is that a problem for you, that he believes that?”
Cardinal Dolan’s answer is revealing: “Not at all,” he said. “I gave him a standing ovation when he said that…. I don’t know if it’s so much the church is obsessed with that, it’s the world that’s obsessed with those things… They’re always asking us about it. I look at myself, David, in my almost 37 years as a priest, rare would be the times that I preached about those issues.”
Pause to read that again. Rarely in his priestly life has the most prominent Catholic prelate in America preached about the objective evil of abortion, homosexual acts, or contraception. And he brags about it!
Cardinal Dolan is not alone. For years, many priests and bishops of his generation have avoided teaching the moral truths of the faith – as he himself attests.
In March 2012, Cardinal Dolan told the Wall Street Journal that for nearly half a century – “since the mid- and late ‘60s” – bishops had been “gun shy” regarding the Church’s teaching on chastity and sexual morality.
The faithful are hungry for it, especially the young, but “We’ve had ‘laryngitis,’” he says.
Well, the results in. Today, it’s hard to see any difference between Catholics and non-Catholics in the statistics on divorce, contraception – even on abortion.
The Bishops on the Bus
Here another question arises: what have the bishops been doing, then, if they haven’t been teaching the fundamental truths of the faith regarding sex, marriage, and the family, as articulated so beautifully in Humanae Vitae?
Fortunately, Mr. Gregory addressed that.
But unfortunately, the answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: instead of teaching tough, unpopular moral truths to a society that is sunken in prurience and perversion, the bishops have been preaching partisan politics.
When Gregory asked Cardinal Dolan about Obamacare, Dolan sounded somewhat indignant.
“We, the bishops of the United States, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal healthcare,” he said.
So what’s wrong with Obamacare?
It doesn’t cover illegal aliens, said the His Eminence. And the HHS Contraception Mandate violates the conscience rights of Catholics.
Everything else in the bill is fine, he implied.
“So,” he continues, “So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, ‘Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders.’”
Cheerleaders? Our bishops want to be “strong” cheerleaders for the most pro-abortion president in history?
Cardinal Dolan didn’t tell the rest of the story. He didn’t explain that it was also around 1919 that Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore and President Woodrow Wilson forged an airtight alliance between the Catholic bishops and the Democrat Party that has lasted to this day.
Cheering all the way.
Cardinal Dolan and his brother bishops might not have been preaching about fundamental morality for the past 50 years, but they have brayed nonstop in their support of the Democrat party’s welfare-state agenda.
(Of course, it would have been just as bad if they’d allied with the GOP. Lumen Gentium says that political particulars are the laity’s concern – period).
Yes, the bishops have been powerful Democrat cheerleaders – in spite of that party’s fundamental requirement that every Democrat everywhere support abortion rights.
(A Caveat: many priests I know considered Cardinal Dolan’s remark about their “laryngitis” to be an insult. “I’ve been teaching and preaching Humanae Vitae for the twenty years I’ve been a priest,” one says. God bless him!)
My priest friend is not afraid to be unpopular, and he is not alone.
But Cardinal Dolan is very popular. And so is Obama – especially among many bishops. Bishop Wilton Gregory, Dolan’s predecessor as president of the conference, lauded Obama’s election in 2008 as “a great step forward for humanity.”
Minus the unborn humanity, we assume.
In the run-up to the 2012 election, Cardinal Dolan welcomed Obama to the prestigious Al Smith Dinner in New York. Diocesan Catholic papers nationwide carried the picture of the cardinal, laughing it up with the most anti-Catholic president in history. Not a discouraging word was heard.
Well, maybe lapdogs aren’t supposed to bite.
Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon has remarked that, since the abuse-and-coverup-scandals, the credibility of the bishops has been “shredded.”
Well, popularity and credibility aside, isn’t Fortitude a Cardinal (ahem!) Virtue?
Perhaps Cardinal Dolan and his brother bishops can take a cue from a saint.
In 1994, Mother Teresa spoke to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Bill and Hillary Clinton were there, looking very uncomfortable.
She didn’t try to get a laugh out of them.
“What does God say to us,” she asked.
He says: ‘Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand.’
We are carved in the palm of His hand; that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God from conception and is called by God to love and to be loved, not only now in this life, but forever. God can never forget us.
I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption – by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: “Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.” So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: “Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.” And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child – but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said. ‘Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.’ By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.
Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.
Go ahead, Your Eminence. There’s your new speechwriter.
Plagiarize her! In public – especially when you get together with all your political chums!
Even cheerleaders don’t have to be jovial glad-handers all the time.
Perhaps you can make up for those decades of silence.
True Charity Is Christ Incarnate
Not all the nuns are on the bus, financed by anti-Catholics and cheerleading for the welfare state. In fact, only two of them are, fawning in media adoration.
Meanwhile, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity are quietly serving the poor in over one hundred countries.
They don’t have a fancy tour bus. They walk.
Mother Teresa was once asked, whether her sisters were social workers.
No, she replied. We adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for hours every morning, and then we go out all day to find Him in the gutters of Calcutta. Social workers can’t do that.
Neither can Obamacare, Your Eminence. Please hang up the megaphone.