I Owe You an Update

Over the last six months or so, the Catholic Church in the United States has found itself in some tension with the executive branch of the federal government over a very grave issue:  religious freedom.  Can a government bureau, in this case the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it can be exercised?  Can government also coerce the church to violate its conscience?

I wanted to let you, the great people of the archdiocese, know how we’re doing in this fight.  Thank you for your extraordinary unity, support, and encouragement.  Throughout all the archdiocese, our people – both as patriotic citizens and committed Catholics — have been very effective in letting government know that we are not at peace at all with this attempt to curtail the  freedom of religion and sanctity of conviction we cherish as both Catholics and Americans.

This has not been a fight of our choosing.  We’d rather not be in it.  We’d prefer to concentrate on the noble tasks of healing the sick, teaching our youth, and helping the poor, all now in jeopardy due to this bureaucratic intrusion into the internal life of the church.  And we were doing all of those noble works rather well, I dare say, without these radical new mandates from the government.  The Catholic Church in America has a long tradition of partnership with government and the wider community in the service of the sick, our children, our elders, and the poor at home and abroad.  We’d sure rather be partnering than punching.

Nor is this a “Catholic” fight alone.  As a nurse from Harrison emailed me, “Cardinal, I’m not so much mad about all this as a Catholic, but as an American.”  It was a Baptist minister, Governor Mike Huckabee, who observed, “In this matter, we’re all Catholics.”

And it is not just about sterilization, abortifacients, and chemical contraception.  Pure and simple, it’s about religious freedom, the sacred right, protected by our constitution, of any Church to define its own teaching and ministry.

When the President announced on January 20th that the choking mandates from HHS would remain — a shock to me, since he had personally assured me that he would do nothing to impede the good work of the Church in health care, education, and charity, and that he considered the protection of conscience a sacred duty — not only you, but men and women of every faith, or none at all, rallied in protest.  The worry that we bishops had expressed — that such government control was contrary to our deepest political values — was eloquently articulated by constitutional scholars and leaders of every creed.  Even newspaper editorials supported us!

On February 10th, the President announced that the insurance providers would have to pay the bill, not the Church’s schools, hospitals, clinics, or vast network of charitable outreach.  He considered this “concession” adequate.

Did this help?  We bishops wondered if it would, and announced at first that, while withholding final judgment, we would certainly give it close scrutiny.

Well, we have — and we’re still as worried as ever.  For one, there was not even a nod to the deeper concerns about trespassing upon religious freedom, or of modifying the HHS’ attempt to define the how and who of our ministry through the suffocating mandates.

Two, since a big part of our ministries are “self-insured,” how is this going to help us?  We’ll still have to pay!  And what about individual believers being coerced to pay?

Three, there was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon renowned Catholic charitable agencies, both national and international, and their exclusion from contracts just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception.

So, we have given it careful study.  Our conclusion: we’re still very worried.  There seem far more questions than answers, more confusion than clarity.

Now what to do?

Well, for one, we’ll keep up advocacy and education on the issue.  We continue to tap into your concern as citizens and count on your support.  Regrettably, the unity of the Catholic community has been tempered a bit by those who think the President has listened to us and now we can quit worrying.  You’re sure free to take their advice.  But I hope you’ll listen to your pastors who are still very concerned.

Two, we’ll continue to seek a rescinding of the suffocating mandates that require us to violate our moral convictions — or at least a wider latitude to the exemptions so that churches can be free — and of the rigidly narrow definition of church, minister, and ministry that would prevent us from helping those in need, educating children, and healing the sick who are not Catholic.

The President invited us to “work out the wrinkles,” and we have been taking him seriously.  Unfortunately, this seems to be going nowhere: the White House Press Secretary, for instance, informed the nation that the mandates are a fait accompli (and, embarrassingly for him, commented that we bishops have always opposed Health Care anyway, a charge that is simply scurrilous and insulting). The White House already notified Congress that the dreaded mandates are now published in the Federal Registry “without change.” The Secretary of HHS is widely quoted as saying, “Religious insurance companies don’t really design the plans they sell based on their own religious tenets,” which doesn’t bode well for a truly acceptable “accommodation.”  And a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff ended with the President’s people informing us that the broader concerns of religious freedom — that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table.  Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent hardly-surprising but terribly unfortunate editorial in America.  The White House seems to think we bishops are hopelessly out of touch with our people, and with those whom the White House now has nominated as official Catholic teachers.

So, I don’t know if we’ll get anywhere with the executive branch.

Congress offers more hope, with thoughtful elected officials proposing promising legislation to protect what should be so obvious: religious freedom.  As is clear from the current debate in the senate, our opponents are marketing this as a “woman’s health issue.”  Of course, it cannot be reduced to that.  It’s about religious freedom.  (By the way, the Church hardly needs to be lectured about health care for women.  Thanks mostly to our Sisters, the Church is the largest private provider of health care for women and their babies in the country.  Here in New York State, Fidelis, the Medicare/Medicaid insurance provider, owned by the Church, consistently receives top ratings for its quality of service to women and children.)

And the courts offer the most light.  In the recent Hosanna-Tabor ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically defended the right of a Church to define its own ministry and services, a dramatic rebuff to the administration, but one apparently unheeded by the White House.  Thus, our bishops’ conference and many individual religious entities are working with some top-notch law firms who have told us they feel so strongly about this that they will represent us pro-bono.

So, we have to be realistic and prepare for tough times.  Some, like America magazine,  want us to cave-in and stop fighting, saying this is simply a policy issue; some want us to close everything down rather than comply (In an excellent article, Cardinal Francis George wrote that the administration apparently wants us to “give up for Lent” our schools, hospitals, and charitable ministries); some want us to engage in civil disobedience and be fined; some worry that we’ll have to face a decision between two ethically repugnant choices: subsidizing immoral services or no longer offering insurance coverage, a road none of us wants to travel.

Sorry to go on at such length.  You can see how passionately I feel about this.  But, from what I sense, you do too.  You all have been such an inspiration, and I owe it to you to keep you posted.  We need you more than ever!  We can’t give up hoping, praying, trying, and working hard.

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235 Responses to “I Owe You an Update”

  1. Bill says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for fighting for the Church and for religious freedom. I’m afraid the radical secularists are just getting warmed up because they think the Church has been weakened in recent years. They’re wrong. Thank you again for defending your flock.

  2. Tina Giblin says:

    Thank you Father for speaking out so strongly!

    Currently, I am working in my diocese on a town hall meeting between Catholics, concerned others, and our Syracuse Congresswoman. I believe the division in Catholics on this issue is solely due to those that see this is a ‘women’s issue’ rather than a religious rights issue, as you correctly stated; I also believe it was no mistake that it is being presented as such by the administration and the press, in order to keep us divided.

    My hope is that in speaking out, we educate people, who will in turn back the church. It is a difficult fight if it is only the clergy BUT if they are backed by the American people who understand the real issue here, we will be victorious!

    Please do not even consider closing down any Catholic services! To do so would only send those we seek to help into the arms of the goverment, dependant upon their services, which only seem to create further dependency (which I am sure has already crossed the mind of the adminsitration). Govermental social services do not seek to lift people up, as every Catholic charitable organization does.

    Please hang in there and stand strong. There are many of us behind you and many doing all we can to educate others to this issue. Also, please continue to urge the Bishops and Priests to speak directly to the people! It has been a long time since I have seen so much passion within our churches and I cannot help but feel that it is God’s stirring among the faithful and to that, we must answer!

    God bless you Cardinal Dolan!

  3. Carla says:

    I have daughters. The church being in the “feminine” I would like to warn the church as I would my daughters. If a man (notice I didn’t say gentleman) takes you out, wines, dines you and promises you this or that, be careful, especially if you don’t know him or his true intentions.

    Remember who Christ our Saviour is, and who he died for. You need to keep your eyes fixed on Christ and not take your eyes off of him. You don’t want this other man to take you to “his house”, rape you, like many others before you, use you and abuse you, all because you were “taken” by his original offer. Remember you are the bride of Christ, and Christ alone. Remain on that rock and be strong.

  4. BILL says:

    The other side expect Catholics to turn the other cheek and the Bishops will. Rather than closing Catholic Hospitals they will contrive some way of turning them over to another entity who wiil accept Obama’s edict.

  5. Matt says:

    Cardinal Dolan, Thank you for your service and the courage you have shown on this issue. I feel that our very existence is being threatened by an ever expanding and secular government, and we must not stand for it. I thank God for you and all of our Bishops, and I want you to know that you have my 100% support. Keep up the fight!

  6. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Cardinal Dolan: “The White House seems to think we bishops are hopelessly out of touch with our people, and with those whom the White House now has nominated as official Catholic teachers.”

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    It’s not just the White House who thinks that. There’s a Catholic Philosophy Professor of Notre Dame, Dr. Gary Gutting, who argues that very point in his NY Times article:

    Birth Control, Bishops and Religious Authority.

    How would you rebut Professor Gutting’s arguments?


    “”As critics repeatedly point out, 98 percent of sexually active American Catholic women practice birth control, and 78 percent of Catholics think a “good Catholic” can reject the bishops’ teaching on birth control. The response from the church, however, has been that, regardless of what the majority of Catholics do and think, the church’s teaching is that birth control is morally wrong. The church, in the inevitable phrase, “is not a democracy.” What the church teaches is what the bishops (and, ultimately, the pope, as head of the bishops) say it does.

    But is this true? The answer requires some thought about the nature and basis of religious authority. Ultimately the claim is that this authority derives from God. But since we live in a human world in which God does not directly speak to us, we need to ask, Who decides that God has given, say, the Catholic bishops his authority?

    It makes no sense to say that the bishops themselves can decide this, that we should accept their religious authority because they say God has given it to them. If this were so, anyone proclaiming himself a religious authority would have to be recognized as one. From where, then, in our democratic, secular society does such recognition properly come?

    In our democratic society the ultimate arbiter of religious authority is the conscience of the individual believer. It follows that there is no alternative to accepting the members of a religious group as themselves the only legitimate source of the decision to accept their leaders as authorized by God. They may be wrong, but their judgment is answerable to no one but God. In this sense, even the Catholic Church is a democracy.

    But, even so, haven’t the members of the Catholic Church recognized their bishops as having full and sole authority to determine the teachings of the Church? By no means. There was, perhaps, a time when the vast majority of Catholics accepted the bishops as having an absolute right to define theological and ethical doctrines. Those days, if they ever existed, are long gone. Most Catholics — meaning, to be more precise, people who were raised Catholic or converted as adults and continue to take church teachings and practices seriously — now reserve the right to reject doctrines insisted on by their bishops and to interpret in their own way the doctrines that they do accept. This is above all true in matters of sexual morality, especially birth control, where the majority of Catholics have concluded that the teachings of the bishops do not apply to them. Such “reservations” are an essential constraint on the authority of the bishops.

    The bishops and the minority of Catholics who support their full authority have tried to marginalize Catholics who do not accept the bishops as absolute arbiters of doctrine. They speak of “cafeteria Catholics” or merely “cultural Catholics,” and imply that the only “real Catholics” are those who accept their teachings entirely. But this marginalization begs the question I’m raising about the proper source of the judgment that the bishops have divine authority. Since, as I’ve argued, members of the church are themselves this source, it is not for the bishops but for the faithful to decide the nature and extent of episcopal authority. The bishops truly are, as they so often say, “servants of the servants of the Lord.”

    The authority of the Catholic bishops is enforceable morally but not militarily or politically. It resides entirely in the fact that people freely accept it.

    The mistake of the Obama administration — and of almost everyone debating its decision — was to accept the bishops’ claim that their position on birth control expresses an authoritative “teaching of the church.”

    The bishops’ claim to authority in this matter has been undermined because Catholics have decisively rejected it. The immorality of birth control is no longer a teaching of the Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI meant his 1968 encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” to settle the issue in the manner of the famous tag, “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.” In fact the issue has been settled by the voice of the Catholic people.”

    Cardinal Dolan, I’d be grateful to learn how would you rebut Professor Gutting’s arguments.

  7. Jim D says:

    My cousin Cardinal Dolan, Much ado about nothing and a waste of Church resources. A reevaluation of priorities is in order (e.g., poverty, economic inequity, homelessness, corporate and rich persons control and bribery over Congress and State legislatures, etc.). Over 25 States already require health insurance to cover birth control, including your State of New York. So why are you challenging the Federal program now, when not done before? Politics? 98% of Catholic women use birth control. If almost all Catholics ignore a Church teaching, maybe it’s time for the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church is becoming more and more irrelevant and many have left the Church because of illogical positions such as this. Your position is that all women working for a Catholic institution (regardless of their religion) should pay out of pocket for birth control; that is very unfair to women. I’m sure your health plans cover Viagra for single men whom the Church teaches shouldn’t have sex. The Vatican II commission on birth control (which included learned Catholic theologians) voted for the Church to allow artificial birth control, but they were overruled by the Pope. Maybe the Pope didn’t want to admit the Church is wrong. (YET, they will eventually). Many Christian churches allow birth control. As far as religious freedom, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t allow blood transfusions and Scientology rejects psychiatry. Is it your position that those religions don’t have to cover those under their health plans? That’s as crazy as not covering birth control. Many think that it is immoral for someone to become fat because of overeating and lack of exercise. Or to smoke. Should the Church not cover health issues related to those? Please focus the Church’s resources on the highest priorities, like the ones I listed at the start.

  8. Raymond Ryan says:

    Cardinal Dolan- Keep up the fight that none of us enjoys. “Accomodation” has cost the lives of 36 million babies. I don’t believe that gives joy to our God. We are not Liberals, we are not Conservatives. We are Catholics; we will not be divided, manipulated, or used to further aims of sloppy thinkers. We don’t know it all. But after 2000 years plus the wisdom of our Jewish brothers, we do know a lot. As we PRAY, may God bless us all. Raymond, Ct.

  9. Peter Brennan says:

    Thank you, Your Eminence, for your leadership on this issue. My suggestion is that the leadership of the USCCB exhort the member Bishops to publicly speak about this issue and to encourage their priests to do so as well.

    Bulletin inserts will not cut the mustard.

    I think, also, this is tangible proof to each and every Bishop and Catholic of exactly what we have facing us in the future if this administration continues past January 2013. The President has made it quite plain that the Constituton is no impedment to his mandates (e.g. the lack of enforcement of DOMA), no deviance is beyond salute and exultation (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and no tale is too tall to tell (the 2009 Commencement address at Notre Dame).

    In this article you admit essentially that no hope lies in the Executive Branch (So, I don’t know if we’ll get anywhere with the executive branch.)

    This President is malevolently anti-Catholic (in a folksy, gosh darn it let’s work this little wrinkle out as long as we work it out to my liking), kind of way.

    You can not work with him.

    I suggest a reworking and republication of the Catholic Voter Guide, an anemic effort in my view. It needs to be clear from beginning to end that no Catholic may vote, with a clear conscience, for a pro-abort politician for ANY office, from ANY party. It needs to be in words that do not require explanation and it needs to be boldly proclaimed. Let’s take back the culture, Your Eminence. Tell us how we can do help and support you.

  10. Rene says:

    Finally, the bishops are getting the courage to stand-up to the culture, something that they, to a large extent, have lacked in the past forty years. May God give our bishops the courage to persevere in avoiding political correcteness and to fight for the truth. May God bless those bishops that will continue to fight for the truth in spite of strong opposition from the secular culture.

  11. Jen says:

    Your eminence,

    Thank you for your strong stand on this issue! I will continue to pray and sacrifice for God to continue to grant you fortitude, prudence, and wisdom, and the same for all other bishops.

    The government is not to be trusted with our healthcare in any way. I would encourage both you and the other bishops not to be naive in thinking that the secular government is a suitable partner in the corporal works of mercy charged to the Church and Christians. Please, work to allow the faithful of your Church to exercise their responsibility to perform these works by giving their time, knowledge, and money to charities rather than having our tax dollars taken away and the oversized government provide these services – this is not true charity, and it is a usurpation of our responsibility to carry out Christ’s commands!

    The bishops should never have supported Obamacare in any way – this was the inevitable outcome! A cooperation of this sort is a pipedream in an age when the government wishes to have nothing to do with an authentic Christian humanism.

    Be assured of my continued prayers.

  12. Linus says:

    Civil disobedience will have to be the main strategy and it has to be organized and it has to be organized now!!! We cannot depend on the courts or on the next President, the next Congressman, or the next Senator. We have to send a message which cannot be mistaken that we will not obey these unconstitutional laws and bureaurcratic mandates. I mean we have to be willing to give up our personal security for the sake of our Faith. What is happening now is no less than what happened during the Reformation. The earthly authorities demand worship and obedience, they demand the right to ” form ” our conscience and they will apply ” Recusant ” laws and mandates which will attempt to strip the will to resist. It may come to incarceration and even more – what can we not expect from a government that willingly allows the destruction of the innocent unborn, and even contemplates worse!!! It worked in England, remember that.

  13. Susy says:

    I am a convert to the Catholic Church, Easter vigil 2010. Becoming Catholic is the most profound grace of my life. I’ve found a sure guide and moral compass at last. I’m so grateful that the Church stands for Truth and does not give in to popular trends not in keeping with Truth. I can’t help but be proud and grateful to call myself a Catholic. Thank you Cardinal Dolan. You and all the Bishops are in my prayers.

  14. Robert Hernandez says:

    I am so glad to hear from you Cardinal. I’ll pray as much as I can so God guide all citizens about what best to do, to take advantage of every opportunity to defend our Constitutional Rights. And also strength so that all the insults and blows won’t discourage us but make us stronger.

    Pray for us, Holy Mother of God that we may be worthy if the Promises of Christ.

  15. Rachel says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan. Reading your words gives me hope. I’m a Catholic woman. I love my Church. I will follow your leadership in this battle. For now, I am contacting representatives, praying, fasting, and talking to anyone who will listen. If given the opportunity, I would love to sign a petition. We are a wonderful, faithful Church. We love Jesus Christ above all else and seek to obey Him and God, Our Father. I want to imitate my Mother Mary in obedience and himility. God loves and protects His Church, His family. That is our hope. Thank you, Cardinal Dolan for your leadership.

  16. Jerry Ingram says:

    Keep up the faith. It’s time for civil disobedience. Clearly the President is violating our religious beliefs and the Constitution of the United States. This man must go. Please, everyone get out and vote in November.

  17. Shelda says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for speaking out and fighting this unjust mandate. I am very passionate about this issue and troubled by what America has stooped to.Please urge EVERY parish priest to speak about this on Sunday’s. God bless you and keep you. You will remain in my prayers.

  18. Bob says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan because we sure don’t hear anything from our Pastor!
    What do we do when our Pastor will not read the Bishops letter to the congregation or even
    make mention that their is a copy of the letter tucked away in the back of the bulletin for fear someone maybe offended?
    I pray everyday for all the Priests who turn their heads away from the Bishops directions.
    Please do what you can to bring unity to God’s church. God Bless you.

  19. Lois Wurzelbacher says:

    Thank you so much, Cardinal Dolan. I am praying for you and all the Bishops. We cannot lose this fight.

  20. Laura says:

    With all due respect, it is very hard for me to understand
    1.) how any type of socialized medicine will be acceptable. It will unendingly be fraught with moral problems.
    2.) how you can overlook that [even with an exemption for Catholic institutions] making contraception more easily accessible to the masses will mean the loss of millions more souls and lives and
    3.) the issue of religious liberty is minor. The true issue at stake is that contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs are damaging to the human person, whether they are Catholic or not.
    You are in my prayers, as are all bishops.

  21. Sherrie Hale says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan, for speaking the truth…for standing up and for being such an excellent shepherd to us! This is a real battle, a battle for our right, as Catholic Americans to practice our religion as we see fit. This mandate is simply unconstitutional. Whether Catholics agree or not, the Church cannot be expected to change its doctrine so that it will be popular with the masses or popular with the government. So disheartening…. May God continue to bless you and all of us fighting for our religious freedom in a country that was once founded on that very virtue.

  22. Ron Bowers says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for your leadership in these frightening times.

    One thing I fear is the possibility that the USCCB is underestimating the administration’s ultimate goals and how many moves ahead they have planned. Their end goal is likely far more extensive than the mandate. I believe they are using this as a way to force the Church out of its ministry to the general population. I also believe that as this fight goes on they will use the non-compliance fines or eminent domain to confiscate Church facilities.

  23. Brian Gilhooly says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan – my family is behind all of you…. 1000%

  24. Michael says:

    Thankfully there were democrats that just today voted for the Blunt amendment, but unfortunately, various republicans that voted against thisamendment to the HHS mandate. More to the point, however, there are small “c” catholic politicians that are under the radar that don’t accept the grave matter of religious liberty being in jeopardy. These individuals need a stern come-to-Jesus discussion with their respective bishop. Also, they require our prayers. The money, power, and corruption of the political arena is satans’ lair.

  25. Ralphie says:

    Your Eminence,
    You apologize for going on “at such length”, but I think the situation calls for the detail and candor which are reflected in the “length” of the piece. Thank you for not dumbing down your message just to satisfy some expectation of conventional wisdom from the “Communications” experts. We’ve been dumbing down things for far too long in our Catholic world – which is part of the reason we find ourselves in this awful mess. Please keep it coming and please – do not blink.

  26. Lisa says:

    Thank you for staying strong! I am a Catholic wife, mother, and small business owner. I also have a daughter who attends Catholic school that is staffed by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation. (aka Nashville Dominicans). We have been told that our school will most likely close if this mandate is not rescinded. As heartbreaking as that prospect may be, i stand with the Sisters, Bishops and all Catholics who say ‘We cannot we will not comply!” That said, as others have mentioned, we need to know exactly what you and the USCCB plan to do and how we move forward if the mandate is not rescinded. It doesn’t look like the administration is going to budge.

  27. cathyf says:

    This is not the end assault on conscience, but merely the beginning. From the Obama administration’s point of view, the “problem” with our current health care and health insurance system that must be “reformed” is that we spend all sorts of money on worthless old people, or people who otherwise are too expensive to keep alive. And the researchers are out there spending trillions of dollars developing new drugs and treatments because they know that our current system allows them to get paid for their work so that they can continue doing it. When no treatment exists, people must resign themselves to die, but when treatments do exist, people will demand that the sick get those treatments. The way to solve the problem is to eliminate the new drugs and treatments. So that people then simply (and cheaply) die.

    The Obama administration looks at all of those trillions of dollars being “wasted” on sick people, rather than being used to buy votes or reward political donors, and they want to get at it. One huge institution that is in the way of them getting the money is the Catholic church, which will absolutely refuse to cooperate with euthanasia, and will insist on treating people with exciting new drugs and treatments when they work better than the old ones.

    The contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate is designed precisely to force Catholics out of the provision of health care. Because the REAL money is in euthanasia and in all those new treatments, and the Church is standing precisely between the government and the money.

  28. William Dunne says:

    Must reading, especially for all the bishops: http://ricochet.com/main-feed/The-Church-Flatulent

  29. Debra Kessinger says:

    Your Eminence,
    I implore you to not tire in your efforts. This is just as noble a task as feeding the poor or educating the children… In some ways, nobler. You are fighting evil influences in the world and God has you exactly where He needs you to be for all of us. Some day the tables may turn and we may have someone in office of the Presidency who will respect Life in every aspect but for now we must not relent lest we simply let evil win… And that will not happen promised Our Lord. This is the beginning of a bigger battle and we the soldiers of God must not be afraid to fight evil…to pray for wisdom and insight to always do His will above all else and be His Hands and Feet! this is a battle of our constitutional rights and our human rights.
    Besides pregnancy is a blessing, not a disease or illness. If that were the case, then why not force us all to pay for cancer medications and heart medications… Etc. I know that you know all of these things , Your Eminence, but I too would like to show you our passion on this subject… 4HG
    I want you to know that while I am passionate about my belief I don’t feel hatred for anyone but truly know in my heart that God wants us to persist in our efforts! Christianity in every and all forms is love, truth and forgiveness… Anything less than that is not God and can not be Christian!
    God speed and May He give you strength , wisdom and fortitude in your efforts on His behalf. Thank you

  30. Melissa says:

    “All that needs to happen for evil to florish, is for good to do nothing”. Stand up and fight. Choose a side because the apathy that allows for anyone to say they are ‘pro-choice’ is a slap in the very face of God. We are stronger than we know, and it is God telling us it is high time to face whatever comes our way and do right by God. God bless and remember that the Beatitudes say ‘blessed are you who are persecuted in My Name’. Be not afraid, He goes before us always!

  31. andrew says:

    Thank you so much for all you are doing Cardinal Dolan! You are a true hero, my prayers for this to be overturned and my hope to spread this understanding to all my acquaintances and keep this alive until there is proper respect for religious freedom will not waver. We are blessed to have you leading us!

  32. Nicole says:

    Thank you, just thank you. I am like Sarah, 26 and a college graduate; my surroundings are very much secular and liberal, but I am still stunned that there are so few people who care (the whole universe of them erupted over SOPA when they believed that was a First Amendment violation). My impression of the President at this point is that he appears to think that he can pretend there is no more problem and it will go away. I am increasingly grateful for the unanimity of the bishops.

  33. E. Kevin O'Connor says:

    The bishops made a fatal error in the 1930’s by accepting federal money for anything. Catholic hospitals started as charities, not as income transfer schemes, but the “smell of the green” overpowered the bishops, and so here we are. I do not believe the bishops are so motivated by “religious liberty”, but rather by the loss of the federal largess if they fail to “accommodate” Mr. Obama; have for years.

  34. Joe Bear says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan! I thank you for your hard work and determination in serving the people of New York and Catholics throughout the country. We take a great deal of inspiration from you, and are extremely grateful that you are standing up courageously for Catholic teachings and values. As you can see, you have many, many people on your side! God bless you!

  35. Padre Tony says:

    ¡Muchas gracias, Monignor Dolan, por su corage!

    I am down here in South America where so many government officials are up to the same business: attacking religious freedom. We look to the Holy Father and to you for direction and courage in fighting the good fight, both from the pulpit and in the market place.

    Please keep up (and advertise) your blog, for your words are bouncing farther than you know.

    En Cristo,

    Padre Tony

  36. carol says:

    Thank you for your words to help us also in the trenches. As a youth minister I am constantly discussing, answering questions from our youth and families in trying to explain and clarify what is going on. I need strong leadership from you and my pastor and bishop to guide our youth. Keep it up. We will continue to pray for you to be s good leader.

  37. Father Canu says:

    How about a TAX STRIKE ?

  38. Laura says:

    Your Eminence,

    My deepest gratitude for your committment to Jesus and to your flock. With you we find the strength and courage that is Jesus and together will see his Victory!
    Love Jesus! Love Mary! Save souls!

  39. Carolyn Wilt says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan. I pray for your intentions every night and I also pray that the Church does not “cave in” to the demands of the government. Please enlighten all the people of our country to the truth of the matter and not the false statements that are being published.

  40. L A H says:

    Than you again your Eminence for your vigilance. Some may argue that
    “it can’t happen here! in America…”

    Glasgow, Scotland, Feb 29, 2012 / 11:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Two Catholic midwives from Scotland have lost their legal battle to avoid taking part in abortion procedures on grounds of “conscientious objection…”

    “I view this judgment with deep concern,” said Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow…”

    The Court of Session judgment also said that the women knew abortions were part of the job description when they accepted their posts as labor ward coordinators.
    … they were “very disappointed” by the verdict and that it would have “very grave consequences for anyone of conscience who wishes to choose midwifery as a career.”

    The midwives had maintained that their right to opt-out of providing abortions for reasons of conscience was upheld by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Section 4(1) of the U.K.’s 1967 Abortion Act.

    Is this the likely fate of American medical professionals? Will Catholic mothers of Scotland not have access to Catholic midwives in the future?

  41. Thomas says:

    The Church is in this position because bishops, priests and religious have failed to teach the faith in totality for the past 50 years. The result: an almost complete lose of the faith. The sad truth is that the majority of “Catholics” today have no idea what the Church teaches, and if they do they don’t care. And the inaction of the bishops to stand up for the faith continues. Example: the priest who rightly refused communion to a woman who flaunted her homosexual lover in his face (in the sacristy before Mass). Instead of teaching her why the Church considers homosexual acts immoral, the priest is diciplined. Yet Father Phlegher, Richard McBrien etc who are in open heresy are praised. Even you Eminence gave a place of honor the politicians who are persecuting the Church, at you return from the Consistory. There they were front row and there you were praising them to the hilt. NEWSFLASH….they hate you and everything the Church stands for and were laughing at you for praising them. And do you really expect us to believe that you trusted the most pro abortion radical president in history to protect the rights of the Church. Really how dumb do you think we are?

  42. James F. Koval, MDiv, MPA says:

    Your Emminence,
    Thanks to the Internet, a lowly Catholic from the Diocese of Lansing (Michigan) can corresdpond with the Cardinal Archbishop of New York…
    When I was in seminary in the early 80s, our New Testament professor, Fr. Jack Castelo (God rest him), used to warn us then of an ever-encroaching secular culture and how we (Catholics) needed to be vigilant lest our religious liberty be threatened. Now, it is happening. It is scary. Please know that I am praying for you and all of us on this issue. I so much appreciate your updates and your very public witness to the Faith.
    Oremus pro Invicem!

  43. MARKRITE says:


  44. Will says:

    I encourage anyone who endorses Dr. Gutting’s argument using the “98 percent of sexually active American Catholic women practice birth control” to check the reality of this statistic which has been so eagerly quoted lately. An article was written which sheds some light on the matter:
    Not a perfect article by any means, but I would make sure to read it before resting weight of opposition on the 98% figure.

  45. CARLA says:


  46. dede says:

    These are really challenging times for the Catholic faithfuls especially in America. Not only are you battling homosexuals trying to force themselves into the church, you now have this healthcare issue.
    I believe God is watching each and everyone’s reaction to these fundamental issues. I see it as a way of God knowing who will truly stand and fight for His Word from those who will betray, deny and or abandon Him.
    It is like the story of the gunman who broke into a church and demanded who will take a bullet for Christ. Archbishop Dolan is facing the bullets head-on fearlessly and the Lord is his bullet-proof vest.
    The ways of God are so mysterious. We all should always remember He is watching us…our thoughts, words and actions. And Jesus also said..if anyone denies Him before men , He will deny that person too before God. Who is more powerful? God or Obama??? A word is enough for the wise. It is not what we think that we should be saying, but what God says that we should be reminding everybody including ourselves. This is a test of how true we are to our faith.

  47. Dr. Dominic Pedulla says:

    Dear Eminence,

    Thank you for your faith. My father you knew as Dr. Joseph Pedulla who for free took care of many priests and seminarians in the Archdiocese for many until he retired at 78 years of age. We lost him in April 2011, and you sent kind condolences to my family, for which I’m grateful.

    I am not only a cardiologist but researcher in women’s health issues and expert in natural family planning. I would like to help. Besides the pro-religious freedom efforts, it seems to me a vigorous and robust women’s health case against contraception and sterilization needs to be made by the Church, from the clinical, social scientific, and medical-scientific perspectives. I can help put this together. Thus far this has not been done but the Church, Who always is on th side of life and true human thriving, could do this very well and very easily, armed with the right tools. Our detractors might very well be stunned — truly stunned — when a charitable yet firm public relations effort were made FULLY FOR THE BENEFIT OF WOMEN!!

    Please have someone call!

    Dr, Pedulla
    1-405-834-7506 (mobile)

  48. Yezhov says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    You just got the red hat, red becasue of the blood you should be ready to shed for the church. Given the current administration’s attack on the Church with the complicity of administration Catholics starting with the Vice President, HHS boss Sibelius, and others on down, you just might get a chance to do it.

  49. Larry Worthen says:

    Your Eminence:

    Thank you for your courageous stand against the culture of death. I am a Canadian watching the US election closely – your work also helps us.

    Would you consider using this as an opportunity to educate Catholics on how birth control, abortifacients, and sterilization are actually destructive to marriage our society and our souls? Most of the developed countries have fertility rates below replacement levels. The aging population is one of the factors causing the economic instability in the developed world.

    This is a women’s issue – women need to be treated as persons rather than as objects of self gratification. Women need to be able to have a marriage where their spouse is committed to them unconditionally for life whether or not they are available for sex. Women need to be able to take time to have children when they want to.

    Children are such a gift and so is fertility. We must never do anything to repress or destroy our capacity to co create another person with God. This is such a gift and an honour We must be good stewards of what God has given.

    God bless you and the rest of the USCCB.


  50. Janet says:

    Cardinal Dolan, I pray that you continue to show leadership as an Apostle of Peter. The bishops as a body for too long have (i believe since the 60’s) cozied up with the Democrat party through their desire to promote “social justice” and hence the expansion of government entitlement programs. It is time to realize that close association with a party that has been taken over by leftist/socialist/radicals can only be detrimental, not only to religious freedom but American freedom as we know it. Why must we faithful Catholics be made to endure the blatantly anti-Catholic rantings and heresies of the likes of Pelosi, Biden, Sebelious and others of influence ? Just what does one have to DO to be excommunicated ? The voter guide was/is not clear, not concise. Are those unknowing to be fooled yet again that the “seamless garment” approach to moral issues is acceptable? Are we not taught by the Chair of Peter that the foremost concern is that of respect for LIFE at all stages ? 54 million children murdered, the twisted meanings of words and today, secular ethicist now deem that there may be probable justification for “after-birth abortion” . We know that the church has traditionally desired healthcare for all , however in this case, be careful what you wish for….the government giveth, so therefore the government can also taketh…The contraception mandate is only the beginning. The IPAB- Independent Payment Advisory Board, in which 15 bureaucrats , based on the “Complete Lives System” will determine whom shall receive care and whom will not, based on “cost effectiveness”. This alone should make one understand the Orwellian nature of this plan. Population control is the underpinning of all of it. Obamacare must be repealed at all cost.