Saturday, July 2, 2011

Archbishop Dolan's omission

"Lord, to whom shall we go?"
John 6:68
The coat of arms of Archbishop Dolan.
The Catholic Church teaches us that there are sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are the obvious ones in which we do something wrong. Sins of omission are when we fail to do something good.

Archbishop Dolan of New York has failed in his duty to defend the faith. Not because he was unsuccessful in leading the fight against "homosexual marriage" in New York, but specifically because he has failed repeatedly to put an end to the most notorious public scandal in his archdiocese.

I'm using the word "scandal" as it is used within the context of Catholic teaching. It is a scandal that the Catholic Governor of New York has not been specifically condemned for his public support of abortion, "homosexual marriage" and contraception. It is a scandal that Governor Andrew Cuomo presents himself for communion while maintaining a very public non-marital sexual relationship.

What kind of examples do these set for the rest of the Catholics in New York? What does this tell the average Catholic about how we should practice our religion, and about how seriously we should take the teachings of the Catholic faith?

It is Archbishop Dolan's duty and responsibility to make clear the state of mortal sin of Governor Cuomo. Other bishops throughout the country have withheld communion to high-level officials under such circumstances, but Dolan has not taken any public action against Cuomo. His silence on this topic is deafening. And the message it sends to the faithful is poisonous. The message is that there is nothing wrong with publicly opposing some of the most fundamental moral teachings of the Church, while at the same time claiming to be a full-fledged member of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Dolan is the gatekeeper; he holds the key. If he refuses to publicly use the power of his office to demonstrate his disapproval of Cuomo's actions, then what right do the rest of us have to speak out? He is the figure of authority appointed by the Church to specifically address such issues.

In this video from a local New York TV station we see Archbishop Dolan apologizing to the "gay community". Why does he need to apologize to homosexuals? Is he saying that the Catholic teaching is wrong with regards to homosexuality? The ones he needs to apologize to are faithful Catholics for not defending the Church's teachings as forcefully as he should.

Associate Press religion writer Rachel Zoll (who is known to delight in attacking conservatives within the Church) made this comment in an article titled "Bishops' message blunted in NY gay marriage vote".
New York bishops are generally more moderate, which partly explains their strategies in recent months. While Dolan has spoken out forcefully on marriage, abortion and other issues, he has never joined U.S. bishops who have publicly denied Holy Communion to dissenting Catholic lawmakers in their own dioceses.

Dolan prefers to maintain a dialogue with the legislators. There is no indication he has changed his position since the vote.
Joan Frawley Desmond of the National Catholic Register writes:
[Governor Andrew Cuomo's] open defiance of Church authority incurred no loss of political capital or moral credibility.... A denial of Communion might prompt a reassessment of this calculation, but the bishops of New York have signaled their discomfort with this approach.
"To whom shall we go?" If Archbishop Dolan of New York is "uncomfortable" with doing what is demanded by Church doctrine, then perhaps the best thing for him to do is to resign and let Rome appoint someone that is "comfortable" with doing the job entrusted to him by God and the Church. Let the chips fall where they may. Let the dogs of the media howl. But don't compromise the Catholic Church. And if this results in a huge exodus from the Church. Then so be it. Then at least we will know where people stand.


  1. Thank you for being a witness with your posts on current events.

    Keep up the good work. May God bless you.

  2. Dear anonymous. Thank you for your words of support. I always say to myself that if just one person reads something I've written here and it provides that person with a reason to continue on their earthly pilgrimage, then it is worth it. I don't want to criticize the bishops. I want to be obedient. Thank God for Pope Benedict. He is such a shining light. If only the bishops would follow his lead....

  3. very well said. I also appreciated your article on Bishop Clark. Keep up the good work.

  4. Dear Ben. Thank you.

    Do you know about Father John Minkler? His voice seems to be speaking from the grave with all the nationwide publicity focused on the Archdiocese of New York.