Friday, August 5, 2011

EWTN's Arroyo interviews Archbishop Dolan

For a bishop, as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.
 – Titus 1:7-9

Archbishop Dolan receives staff from Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi

Raymond Arroyo, the host of EWTN's World Over Live, was finally able to corner Archbishop Timothy Dolan at the Knights of Columbus convention in Denver and get him to sit down for an interview. It's been more than a month since the passage of "homosexual marriage" in New York, but questions about the role of the bishops in the process were still on Arroyo's mind.

Arroyo asked all the tough questions and the Archbishop in his charming and evasive way deflected them all. At times it seemed like the Archbishop just rambled on in an attempt to dominate the interview and burn up the time allotted. At the end there was a perceptible sense of relief that the ordeal was finally over. At least, those are my impressions.

Here are my pseudo-live notes from the 24 minute interview:

27:15 -- Raymond Arroyo's interview of Archbishop Timothy Dolan begins. I skip the first part and pick it up where the discussion on the issue of marriage starts.

34:10 -- Abp. Dolan: "We want to help other states." So-o-o, the battle in New York is over? Raise the white flag and surrender?

35:00 -- Abp. Dolan  mentions support for a referendum to overturn the "homosexual marriage" law. In the words of the secular hero John Lennon, "You say you want a revolution? We'd all love to hear the plan..."

35:10 -- Dolan speaks of the need for "the protection of religious liberty." Is this the "plan"? Give up on the definition of marriage and create a little fenced-in safe area that is free from the tyranny of secularism. Sort of like a virtual Christian reservation, like the American Indians were promised. And then they watched the borders of the reservation get smaller and smaller. Is that the plan? Do we get to build bingo parlors? (Sorry, I couldn't help that last one.)

35:50 -- Arroyo drops a bomb on the Archbishops lap when he asks, "What did you think was going to happen? You have lobbyists in the legislature. What were you being told?" Ooops. Raymond let slip the dirty little secret that the Church has lobbyists in the legislature. Presumably very well paid lobbyists. Is there any other kind? The Archbishop doesn't deny it.

36:10 -- Dolan says, "We fell for the assurances of people that were political allies that this wasn't going to go anywhere." This is really the heart of the interview. Here is where Dolan offers his excuses as to why the Church failed. He admits that the Church could have done more but didn't. Why? According to the Archbishop because they underestimated the enemy. Hard to believe, I know, given that Governor Cuomo had guaranteed that the bill would pass. And surely they could not have been unaware of the pressure (and money) from out-of-state billionaire Republican homosexual activists. Although, Dolan would have us believe that they were caught totally by surprise. Maybe we need a new general in command of the troops.

37:00 -- Dolan says, "We learned not to trust politicians." Is our leadership really that naive? Given the heavyweight politics that goes on within the Church itself... sorry, I'm not buying it.

38:00 - At this point we get into the more softball questions regarding the repercussions of the passage of "homosexual marriage".

38:50 - Did he really use the word "cleavage"? Yes, it can mean a "split", but that's not the way it is most commonly used. I'm being trivial. I know.

40:00 - Raymond asks for Dolan's reaction on the promotion of homosexual culture in the schools, etc.

41:00 - Abp. Dolan replies that the danger is that the secularists "want to takeover" and are not satisfied with a "morally neutral" solution as they claim. So Dolan sees what is happening, but he is not prepared to go on the offensive. Instead he takes a defensive and -- dare I say -- defeatist attitude.

42:15 - The Archbishop returns to his blog argument that this is akin to what happens in North Korea or China. This was not a winning argument and in fact was ridiculed. We need an effective PR campaign to combat the homosexual agenda. This is a Psy-Ops war and is being fought through propaganda. We need to have an effective propaganda offensive to counteract that attack. This is done with modern public relations techniques. These are the methods of modern politics and these are the tools and weapons that the Church needs to adopt to be successful. Sorry Archbishop, but a few blog articles just aren't going to make a dent. That is like attacking an enemy tank with toy guns.

43:00 - Arroyo gives a great example of intolerance in action. He recently observed a waiter refuse to serve a priest and his family (presumably parents or siblings) calling them "homophobic".

43:25 -- The Archbishop starts off with an apology for those who oppose "homosexual marriage" because they are anti-homosexual. Generally speaking this is appropriate, but when do we hear the other side apologizing for being anti-Catholic?

44:30 -- Raymond tries to ask the million dollar question about denying communion to Catholic politicians who actively oppose Church teachings. Abp. Dolan cuts him off and doesn't even allow him to finish the question. He turns it into a question about coming to "chicken dinners" sponsored by the Church. This is -- in my opinion -- the absolute low point of the interview.  The Archbishop totally dodges the real question that Raymond is asking and which he asked point blank to Bishop DiMarzio when he was on the show.

45:40 -- Abp. Dolan says we need better catechesis. I say that the fact that the Church does not take any visible action towards Catholic politicians that totally undermine Church teaching through government actions is a much more powerful catechesis than any homily preached from the pulpit or any finger wagging by the Archbishop during this interview. People learn by example. Christ taught by His own example. The bishops need to start leading and teaching by example.

47:00 -- Dolan complains about church-goers that don't follow Catholic teachings. Some of us in the pews are wondering if some of the bishops really believe what the Church teaches.

48:00 -- Raymond brings up the issue of health plans being forced to subsidize contraception and sterilization. Dolan is correct in saying this is a "big alarm clock". In other words a wake-up call. We certainly have plenty of issues that the Church could use to rally support around. Seen any rallies?

49:00 -- Raymond does an excellent job of outlining how the Church has been cornered into a defensive position by attacks from the opposition calling it bigoted and using the issue of the sex abuse scandal to weaken the Church's moral position. This is exactly the oppositions strategy. This is the psychological warfare campaign that I was referring to earlier which is executed through a relentless barrage of articles in the media. And also through negative portrayals in TV, movies and music videos.

49:15 -- Dolan acknowledges that Arroyo is correct.  He says, "Those who are against us... want to caricature us as these antiquarian, medieval, oppressive, authoritarian, patriarchal people." At least we can all agree on the strategy being used by the opposition. What's our strategy?

49:40 -- Dolan evokes the civil rights struggle and the role of the Catholic Church in support of desegregation. The problem with this argument is that it is the same argument used by the homosexual activists to justify "homosexual marriage". They say it is a question of "equality". If the Archbishop is going to bring up this defense then he has to be very clear in explaining how the current campaign by homosexuals is anti-equality. It turns Christians into second class citizens and discriminates against us. If this point is not clearly and aggressively expressed then this whole "civil rights" argument is easily turned on its head and is used against the Church.

50:45 -- Dolan brings up the issue of Bishop Baker and the Church in Alabama offering assistance to illegal immigrants. This puts Raymond in a rather awkward position because he has not always been in support of this type of assistance for immigrants from the Church. My personal opinion is that there is a lot of hypocrisy on this issue because the US economy benefits greatly by the cheap labor supplied by these immigrants and yet refuses to recognize their contribution. The way that Dolan poses the question makes it appear that he is in sympathy with those who have leftist leanings within the Church. Is he trying to bargain with the dissenters within the Church on social justice issues in order to gain their support on issues of homosexuality? If he is, this is a very faulty strategy. The left will just accept the victory on social justice issues and then continue to press on homosexual issues. How can anyone not see that pattern by now?

51:15 -- The interview wraps up with a touching remembrance of Archbishop Pietro Sambi the former Papal Nuncio to the United States who recently passed away. God rest his soul.

UPDATE (Aug 5):

I had just finished publishing this post when I saw the following article on LifeSiteNews. (I have included the full text.)
Vatican officials encouraging push to stop communion for pro-abort pols

Top officials at the Vatican are throwing their support behind pro-life Catholic leaders campaigning against dioceses allowing pro-abortion politicians receive Holy Communion, says one such leader.

American Life League President Judie Brown spoke with LifeSiteNews yesterday about her recent trip to Rome, where she spoke with Vatican officials about Communion for pro-abortion politicians and the changing pro-life landscape in America.

Cardinal Raymond Burke told Brown to be “persistent” in her campaign to have Canon 915 enforced, she said.

Canon 915 states: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Brown also noted that Burke encouraged her to make use of the numerous articles he himself has written on the subject.

“He encouraged us to be persistent, to use his articles and not to back down from our position which is the same as his,” she said. “It’s not arbitrary it’s a matter of the law of the church which needs to be enforced.”

Cardinal Burke, she noted, spoke of applying the sanction called for in canon 915 as “therapeutic” in terms of helping people come back in line with the church.

The fact that many bishops are “not comfortable” about it, said Brown, doesn’t matter.

Brown also addressed at the meeting how intentional distortions of official Church statements have confused Catholics on the abortion issue.

“In America, conception is defined as implantation, so when the Church makes a statement - Dignitas Personae is the most recent example - our enemies turn around and say even the Church doesn’t believe there’s life before implantation,” Brown explained to Zenit news.

“Church officials must be clear that when the word conception is used, it means the ‘biological beginning of a person.’”

While in Rome, Brown covered a wide range of topics including America’s growing pro-life youth movement, ad hominem attacks on pro-life Catholics, and the ramifications of a “culture-of-death president.”

“Cardinal Burke is the primary example of being targeted by the media,” she told “The reason for that is that he won’t back down. He tells Catholics all the time, including me, to continue to persist in the faith, and he does it.”

“We have every reason to be optimistic. But, all Catholics must stand up and be Catholic even when it’s uncomfortable,” she concluded.


  1. UPDATE: I added to this post the text of the article "Vatican officials encouraging push to stop communion for pro-abort pols". How about starting with Governor Cuomo of New York? Canon Lawyer Ed Peters has already made the case.

  2. 44:30 was a low point in my opinion as well. Total copout. Before that I was Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for your analysis.

  3. Anon. Thanks for your comment. When I re-watched that segment, I decided that it's not exactly true that Dolan cut him off. But he knew what the real question that Arroyo wanted to ask was. Arroyo's been very consistent and courageous in continually asking this question ever since the "homosexual marriage" issue came up in New York.

    The question is of course denial of Communion for public officials that consistently oppose clear Catholic teaching. This was one of those points in the interview where Dolan seems to go on and on, volunteering lots of irrelevant information and seeming to be indignant. But when you distill everything he had to say, it amounts to nothing.

    And yet there are lots of Catholic commentators who hear this kind of response from Archbishop Dolan and give him credit for taking a hard stance in favor of the Church's teaching. I think we should expect more from our Church leaders than a few empty words.

    This is not some minor side issue. This is *marriage*. This is a huge domino and if we don't take a stand here, then we will be crushed by the cascade of falling dominos that will follow. The whole litany of dissenters issues will be nailed up on the doors of St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Church won't have a leg to stand on. Belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ will become a crime punishable by law.

    Oh well, then it will be easy to achieve martyrdom for the Faith.