Monday, March 10, 2014

Dolan Reconsidered

Inappropriately Non-Judgmental Cardinal
I have been thinking about Cardinal Dolan's gaffe on homosexuality. Maybe it is the positive experience today with the Rite of Election and Bishop Braxton, but I want to step back from the ledge.

Cardinal Dolan is the cardinal who is perpetually running for mayor in an imaginary election. Which is to say he has the instincts of a glad-handing politician. When asked about the homosexual athlete on Meet the Press he was faced with a question he should have prepared for, but didn't.

He was so anxious to avoid the cultural third rail of "homophobia" on television, he followed Pope Francis' "Who am I to judge?" lead. Unfortunately, it came out in Dolan-speak as outright approval. In other words, I don't think Dolan changed bedrock moral teaching. I think he was merely careless, and appears to have valued the opinion of men over the moral witness of the Church. If you've heard Dolan before, he's all about being the jolliest, nicest guy in the room.

What we really need are cardinals who are clever enough to dodge their Church's moral teachings without enthusiastically denying them. I'm optimistic that, with a little preparation, we can do this. That way, they get to be not criticized in the press, and we get to not be startled by cardinals apparently endorsing sins that cry out to Heaven.


  1. Limbo works for me, 95-year-old aunt (the next-to-most-senior of the family atheist/agnostics) has recently come to live with us, and I'm finding available time for commenting dramatically reduced. Perfect Lenten timing.

    Happily, though, time for reading is a different story (thanks to the acquisition of a smartphone). Please keep on keepin' on, Bear. Your blog is restorative to the flagging spirits of discouraged Catholics.

  2. Good to hear from you. That must be very taxing. Hopefully your aunt may derive some benefit by living with you. If not, just torment her by reading to her from St. Corbinian's Bear. She probably can't get away very easily. I try to keep my sense of humor most of the time. But it is distressing that one issue has to intrude over and over because our Church is so inept in the PR department that it cannot simply decide in advance how certain provacative questions are going to be handled. This is a failure that started with Pope Francis, and has not been corrected. Maybe they think they're handling it brilliantly. I suppose I could just ignore it.

  3. Good post. Socially conservative pols have the same problem of learning to avoid these media traps.

    Jane. I will pray for you and your aunt. I am glad she missed most of this awful winter here.

  4. Corbinian's Bear- This is a good piece. This issue is indeed troubling. I agree with you. Yes, the Cardinals and indeed everyone in the Church from the parish level all the way to Rome should be prepared for these questions BEFORE they are asked. Great article btw. Positive piece. Keep up the good work!

  5. It goes back to the real Francis effect. They would be easier to shrug off if we knew what Francis really thought and how far he is willing to go in pursuing whatever vision it is that he has for the Church. Note that what we really really need are cardinals who will boldly witness to the truth without fear of man's opinion. Pretty sad the best we can hope for are better dissemblers.


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