Cardinal Dolan and America’s troubled Catholic Church

By Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo

Cardinal Dolan, president of the USCCB, says he needs an “attractive, articulate, intelligent” woman as his personal spokesperson, claiming that “the days of fat, balding Irish bishops are over.” He has chosen Kim Daniels, a long-time effective advocate of conservative causes, and ex-personal domestic policy czar to Sarah Palin. Might one say that Daniels has gone “from Sarah Palin’s brain to Cardinal Dolan’s voice?” But her promotion also signals that the cardinal as head of the USCCB has had more failures than successes.

dolanThis is not to deny Dolan’s talents. Seldom has Catholic America had a prelate so effective with media. He uses lunch-pail comparisons to explain even the most complex of church teachings. He stood up to inquisitorial Catholic right-wingers and invited President Obama to the annual Al Smith Dinner. But I believe an honest appraisal would show that influence and respect for the USCCB is lower now than when Dolan assumed the office. These are moments when I think his leadership struck out.

Strike one was in allowing division between Catholic America’s religious sisters and the bishops. Perhaps he could not have controlled a Vatican investigation into the LCWR, but surely he could have influenced Rome’s maladroit handling. Moreover, the Nuns-On-the-Bus tour turned into a symbolic civil war with the sisters on one side and the bishops on the other. Dolan should have known his side would lose because the nuns have always held the warmest spot in Catholic hearts.

Strike two was in silence after the over-the-top comparisons by clerics like the Bishop of Peoria. who compared President Obama to Hitler and by laypersons like the Knights of Columbus’ Supreme Knight Carl Anderson who promoted Catholic resistance to Obama in the spirit of the Mexican Cristeros. The latter group of Catholics, it will be remembered gathered armed militias against the Mexican government and eventually assassinated a president. The legal principle here is “Qui tacuit, consentire,” and it means that silence is the same as acquiesce. This criticism extends to Bishop Finn of Kansas City who was found guilty of violating civil law and his own policy against pedophile clerics. By going easier on Catholic males than on the religious women battling for social justice on economic matters, Dolan widened the deepening rifts in Catholic America.

Strike three was allowing the Fortnight to Freedom to become identified with politicking for Mitt Romney. This effort had been spawned in the murky dark places of the Manhattan Declaration with obvious partisan intent. Tacking on the current immigration law as another instance of “religious persecution” was not enough to dislodge the public perception that the Fortnight was intended to instruct Catholics to vote for Republicans. This alliance with evangelicals was unfruitful. The original evangelical partners were a questionable crew embracing entrepreneurial pastors who raise fabulous amounts of money for partisan causes. Our Catholic tradition, however, obliges bishops to pastoral roles. When the bishops jumped into the same barrel with the right-wing pastors they diminished Catholic tradition. Dolan should have seen this coming. (Let me classify this as a “foul ball” so that the cardinal gets another swing.)

The last strike was in undercutting the policy of a full committee of the USCCB with contradictory statements by individual bishops. After the Social Justice Committee of the USCCB had condemned the Paul Ryan budget, Cardinal Dolan and Madison Bishop Robert Morlino rejected the conclusion that Ryan’s plan was outside Catholic teaching. Given new life, Ryan quickly dismissed his episcopal critics as “not all the bishops” happily trivializing the USCCB committee structure with his quip.

Once you break the code yourself, you give others license to do the same. Thus, while Dolan stated the need to consider more carefully the Obama remedy to the HHS mandate on February 2, 2013, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput issued a statement on February 4, 2013 that jumped the gun, claiming total rejection came from “courage that gives prudence spine and results in right action, whatever the cost.” Two days later, Dolan said “me too.”

I consider it appalling that the president of the USCCB needs a personal spokesperson in addition to the USCCB’s resident Sister Mary Ann Walsh. Ensuring division among bishops to promote the influence of an individual cleric is never good.

Complete Article HERE!


Rest In Peace

June 16, 1999 — May 17, 2013


Goodbye beautiful, sweet, and noble companion.
You enriched my life immeasurably.





EU LGBT Survey: Poll on homophobia sparks concern

A quarter of gay people surveyed in a major EU poll say they have been subjected to attacks or violent threats in the past five years.

homophobia in europePoorer and younger respondents were more likely to face discrimination due to their sexuality, the survey found.

The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency surveyed 93,000 people in the EU and Croatia for what it calls the most comprehensive survey of its kind.

Friday marks the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

The EU LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Survey shows some worrying trends, says the BBC’s Anna Holligan in The Hague, where some 300 politicians and experts are gathering to discuss shaping new European Union policies to stamp out homophobia.

Unreported discrimination
FRA Director Morten Kjaerum said “big challenges” remained when it came to battling discrimination against LGBT people across the EU.

The online survey asked lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender respondents whether they had experienced discrimination, violence, verbal abuse or hate speech on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The survey found

Some 26% of respondents (and 35% of transgender respondents) said they had been attacked or threatened with violence in the past five years
Most of the hate attacks reported took place in public and were perpetrated by more than one person, with the attackers predominantly being male
More than half of those who said they had been attacked did not report the incident to the authorities, believing no action would be taken
Half of respondents said they had felt personally discriminated against in the year before the survey, although 90% did not report the discrimination
Some 20% of gay or bisexual respondents and 29% of transgender respondents said they had suffered discrimination at work or when looking for a job
Two-thirds of respondents said they had tried to hide or disguise their sexuality at school.
The FRA hopes the findings will help policy makers to better target their work in promoting the rights of LGBT people.

Spat at
Gay man John van Breugel, from the Netherlands, told the BBC he was shocked by the scale of the problem.

He himself, he said, had been subjected to homophobic abuse only twice in his life.

“First when I was in Germany with my boyfriend and a couple came up and called us ‘dirty gays’,” he said.

On the second occasion, he was in London when someone spat in his face as he went to the shops.

Seeing his attacker approach a gay night club, he told the bouncers what had happened, there was an altercation and the man was arrested, Mr van Breugel said.

“I came out as gay when I was 17,” he recalled. “My best friend never spoke to me again, but everyone else was very accepting – my family and friends were great. At my high school no bad words were said against me.”

He said the EU should do everything it could to tackle hate crime against gay people, including sanctions on countries that allowed homophobic attacks to happen.

Complete Article HERE!

Bishops say full effect of ‘redefining marriage’ will be felt for years

More sour grapes from our beloved leaders.

The “full social and legal effects” of state lawmakers’ decision to legalize same-sex marriage “will begin to manifest themselves in the years ahead,” said the Minnesota Catholic Conference.
“Today the Minnesota Senate voted to redefine marriage in Minnesota. The outcome, though expected, is no less disappointing,” the conference said in a statement.

Archbishop John Nienstedt
Say, I don’t look like i have a same-sex attraction, do I?

The state Senate in a 37-30 vote gave final approval Monday to a same-sex marriage bill. The state House passed the measure May 9. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed it Tuesday.

The law is to take effect Aug. 1, making Minnesota the 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry. Earlier in May, Rhode Island and Delaware became the 10th and 11th states, respectively, to legalize same-sex marriage.

“The church, for its part, will continue to work to rebuild a healthy culture of marriage and family life, as well as defend the rights of Minnesotans to live out their faith in everyday life and speak the truth in love,” said the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

“Some wish to believe that sexual relationships outside of the marital context of husband and wife are innocuous, choosing to ignore the fact that they are actually harmful to individuals and to society as a whole,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

“There are many of us Americans, including many Minnesotans, who stand for the natural and true meaning of marriage,” he said in a statement released Tuesday. “They know that men and women are important; their complementary difference matters, their union matters, and it matters to kids. Mothers and fathers are simply irreplaceable.”

Cordileone called it “the height of irony” that the final vote on “the redefinition of marriage” and the governor’s signature on the bill occurred just a day “after we celebrated the unique gifts of mothers and women on Mother’s Day.”

In November, Minnesota voters rejected a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to define marriage as only a union between a man and woman, but polls show Minnesotans remained sharply divided over legalizing such unions. According to Minnesota Public Radio, a recent survey showed a majority are against same-sex marriage.

The measure changes the definition of marriage from “between a man and a woman” to “a civil contract between two persons.” A prohibition against marriage between relatives, such as first cousins, remained in place.

In a statement about the earlier House vote, the conference said lawmakers by approving same-sex marriage “set in motion a transformation of Minnesota law that will focus on accommodating the desires of adults instead of protecting the best interest of children.”

“This action is an injustice that tears at the fabric of society and will be remembered as such well into the future,” it said.

The Catholic conference said the bill posed “a serious threat to the religious liberty and conscience rights of Minnesotans.”

It includes legal protections for clergy and religious groups that don’t want to marry same-sex couples, but the conference said lawmakers failed “to protect the people in the pew — individuals, non-religious nonprofits, and small business owners who maintain the time-honored belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.”

According to the conference, lawyers on both sides of the issue have stated that no accommodations for “the deeply held beliefs of a majority of Minnesotans will result in numerous conflicts that will have to be adjudicated by our courts.”

In a separate statement issued after the House vote, Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba said the church “will continue to uphold and propose to the world what we know, through sound reason and through divine revelation, to be the authentic nature of marriage: a permanent union between one man and one woman, uniting a mother and a father with any children produced by their union.”

No civil authority, he said, “has the authority or competence to redefine marriage. Civil authorities have the obligation to protect and defend true marriage for the sake of justice and the common good.”

Sirba acknowledged that many disagree with the church’s stand on the issue and expressed dismay over the negative tone the debate over same-sex marriage has taken toward the church.

“We are particularly mindful of our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attractions,” he said.

(Have you ever noticed how our fearless leaders can’t and won’t use the word gay? We use it to self-define, but they want to define us for us, using the euphemism — our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attractions. It’s like if our same sex attraction is an add-on, the likes of which they want us to pray away, if we don’t mind.)

“Our hearts break that this debate has often been used as an occasion to sow mistrust and doubt, as if followers of the God who is love, and whose love for all people we proclaim each day as the body of Christ, are acting instead out of some sort of ill will.”

“To all those with same-sex attraction, we continue to extend our unconditional love and respect. For those who have heard God’s call and respond in faith, hope and love, striving to walk in his ways, we also offer our pastoral support,” the bishop added.

In Rhode Island May 2, Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed into law a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in that state. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence expressed “profound disappointment” that the measure to “legitimize same-sex marriage” passed the Legislature.

In an open letter to the state’s Catholics, he said the Catholic church has fought very hard to “oppose this immoral and unnecessary proposition,” and that God would be the final arbiter of people’s actions.

Same-sex marriage became legal May 7 in Delaware; the law goes into effect July 1.

In an April 15 letter to Delaware legislators, Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington said marriage “is a unique relationship between a man and a woman” and it’s not the government’s place to “define or redefine” it.

Complete Article HERE!

Disgraced Cardinal to leave Scotland for penance: Vatican

Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland after admitting to sexual misconduct, will leave his country for months of “prayer and penance”, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

By Philip Pullella

Cardinal Keith O'BrienA brief Vatican statement did not say where O’Brien, once Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric, was going, or spell out why he was quitting Scotland.

But it will be hoping the announcement draws a line under an affair that has added to a sense of crisis in the Catholic Church as it continues to deal with separate scandals over sexual abuse of children by priests.

The cardinal resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh on February 25 after three priests and one former priest in Scotland complained about incidents of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1980s.

Complete Article HERE!