More from the Times

I know, I should drop it.  “You just have to get used to it,” so many of you have counselled me.  “It’s been that way forever, and it’s so ingrained they don’t even know they’re doing it.  So, let it go.”

I’m talking about the common, casual way The New York Times offends Catholic sensitivity, something they would never think of doing — rightly so — to the Jewish, Black, Islamic, or gay communities.

Two simple yet telling examples from one edition, last Friday, October 15.

First there’s the insulting photograph of the nun on page C20, this for yet another tiresome production making fun of Catholic consecrated women.  This “gleeful” tale is described as “fresh and funny” in the caption beneath the quarter-page photo (not an advertisement).  Granted, prurient curiosity about the lives of Catholic sisters has been part of the nativist, “know-nothing” agenda since mobs burned the Ursuline convent in Boston in the 1840’s, and since the huckster Rebecca Reed’s Awful Disclosures made the rounds in the 19th century.  But still now cheap laughs at the expense of a bigoted view of the most noble women around?

Maybe I’m especially sensitive since I  just came from the excellent exhibit on the contributions of Catholic nuns now out on Ellis Island.  These are the women who tended to the homeless immigrants and refugees, who died nursing the abandoned in the cholera epidemic, who ran hospitals and universities decades before women did so in the non-Catholic sphere, who marched in Selma and today teach our poorest in our inner-city schools. These are the nuns mocked and held-up for snickering in our city’s newspaper.

Now turn to C29.  This glowingly reviewed not-to-be missed “art” exhibit comes to us from Harvard, and is a display of posters from ACT UP.  Remember them?  They invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral to disrupt prayer, trampled on the Holy Eucharist, insulted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when he was here for a conference, and yelled four letter words while exposing themselves to families and children leaving Mass at the Cathedral.  The man they most detested was Cardinal John O’Connor, who, by the way, spent many evenings caring quietly for AIDS patients, and, when everyone else ran from them, opened units for them at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center and St. Clare’s Hospital.  Too bad for him.  One of the posters in this “must see” exhibit is of Cardinal O’Connor, in the form of a condom, referred to as a “scumbag,” the “art” there in full view in the photograph above the gushing review in our city’s daily.

Thanks for your patience with me.  I guess I’m still new enough here in New York City that the insults of The New York Times against the Church still bother me.  I know I should get over it.  As we say in Missouri, it’s like “spitting into a tornado.”


121 Responses to “More from the Times”

  1. MK says:

    Don’t quit. We need every small voice in the wind – and when the small voice has a website, it’s even better.

  2. Julie Patterson says:

    Good for you Archbishop Dolan! Keep speaking up for Christ. People of conviction influence others and so speak from your heart the truth. It may even make The NY Times more sensitive.

  3. Theresa in Alberta says:

    You are an inspiration to us in Canada!!! keep speaking and writing and blogging!! I can almost hear Bishop Sheen cheering for you from heaven!!!!

  4. Janice D. Brown says:

    Thank God for your courage, Bishop Dolan. We need more of our Bishops to speak up and defend the Church. What would happen if all the Catholic Sisters stopped doing their work in the public arena? You need to see if the Leaders of the other religions won’t join you in combatting these attacks.
    We’ll cancel our subscription to the LA Times and let them know why we are doing it.
    God bless you, Tom & Janice Brown

  5. Laura Goggins says:

    “Consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
    knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James, Chapter 1
    I’m always a bit surprised when leaders of our faith complain about the vicious attacks upon our Church. Jesus told us and the apostles preached that Christians would be mocked, spit upon and abused, just as He was abused. I would only be surprised (and only really worried) if the attacks stopped. For this present world is so opposed to every manifestation of the love, purity and joy to be found in intimacy with Christ, that any other response by the world would be literally impossible. These attacks are normal, considering that the Church is the sworn enemy of worldliness, which includes vanity, arrogance, conceit, vainglory and every kind of light-mindedness.

  6. emma lou says:

    Archbishop Dolan – Good for you. Our Catholic Church needs shepherds who are not afraid to speak up. We need courageous leaders; please, do not ever back down and keep quiet. We need many more like you. Many of us wish your brother bishops and archbishops would also speak loud and clear to defend the faith. Thank you. Jesus.

  7. farva macgee says:

    While your point is valid and the Times should be a little more sensitive, you could always counterpoint by encouraging the church to be more inclusive of gays and women – they are human beings after all and deserve the same treatment as everyone else by the church. Then newspapers would really have very little to write about.

  8. Bill L says:

    Bishop thank you for theHholy Spirit is not one of timidity, I know you know this is a battle we are in.It is a spiritual one and we need to let our church know that we are NOT fighting against flesh and blood,but against principalities,powers,world rulers of this present darkness and spiritual host of wickednessin heavenly places. so lets put on the whole armor of God to be able to withstand in the evil day… We are coming from the point of victory, for the battle belongs to the Lord and we are His warriors . So gird yourself in the fullr armor of God and know that we have an Honor guard of angels and warring angels to accompany us . Our weapons of choice are The Holy sacrafice of the Mass and the Rosary and fasting. PLEASE REMIND US OF THESE TRUTHS for tHE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR SRENGTH

  9. Anna Smith says:

    Your Excellency,

    We need leaders like you to stand up for the truth. May God continue to bless you and grant you the strength and grace to stand up for the Catholic faith.

  10. Dear Archbishop,

    One hundred times we thank you for showing the NYT that we Catholics stick together. We are not going to stand for degrading us any longer. The truth hurts many people and lies come from the evil one. God Bless you for your stance on this matter.

  11. Anita says:

    Archbishop Dolan, do not ever give up defending our church, no matter how many people say not to bother. The Times and other media have trashed the church for too many years and gotten away with it. We all need to follow your example and speak up.

  12. rose lewis says:

    Bishop Dolan we desperately need your voice, don’t ever give up. We used to subscribe to the NYT but the constant thrashing of our faith and the Catholic Church in general convinced us years ago to drop the Times. Have they no shame? I admire the Muslim and Jews for not allowing this kind of smut being written about them. Why are we putting up with it? Please don’t ever stop writing about it. God bless you.

  13. Ileana says:

    Thank you, Archbishop for standing up for the Bride of Christ. It means a lot to us that you are willing to speak up. God bless you! You are in our prayers.

  14. Dear Archbishop Dolan – It means so much to hear you speak up about this persecution and denigration of the Catholic Church – especially as you so elequently stated, the work of the religious women of the church over the centuries, even unto this very day…….. thank you for defending them, and please, please continue to lead all of us to stand up for our faith in every way we can – it definitely takes courage in these times we live in, but if we had more leaders like you, perhaps we could live up to your example. God bless you, and thank you from East Aurora, NY.

  15. Rev. Gene Vavrick says:

    Archbishop, I am so thankful for your insights and your response. Keep up the good work. You make us priests proud!

  16. Gabriella says:

    Please Continue Your Excellency!

    With All Respect, Many Many Catholics – Even within the Church are becoming “DESENSITIZED”.

    We Need for You to Continue Standing Up and Bringing to Light these Trashings. It encourages the rest to do so too.

    Please Do Not Give In –

    May God continue to Bless you and Protect you & Keep you in His Grace.

  17. Keep it up, Your Excellency!

    Would that more of our shepherds would follow your example.

  18. Tom Harris says:

    The New York Times has made the decision that they will side with the fringe elements of society and go after and taunt and revile and disgrace that which is good and decent and truthful and honest because it does not keep company with nor shares the life style of the respected, the dignified, the refined, the educated, the gentle people that the Catholic Church produces in every walk of life. It is as if in being Anti-Catholic, The New York Times is signaling to their supporters on the Looney left that one can to appear respectable and still insult, demean, berate and denigrate all that’s good and honest, and truthful about the Catholic Church because these decent peaceful prayerful people won’t react against us as we do them because it is against their faith. So we The New York Times can look as if we are merely presenting fairness and promoting the general good by insulting and demeaning and taunting, and bringing low these other people who go around doing good for others in works and prayer and soup kitchens, and helping AIDS patients, and so on because they are so busy doing these things they won’t even have time to know that we hate them and are undermining and mocking everything they do as Catholics. Besides, everybody knows as we at The New York Times know, these Catholics think they really have the answer to life under their belt and for that which I disagree with that alone is fuel enough to burn them and rid ourselves of their kind from the face of thee earth. And I think we at The New York times are doing a good job of doing that, and so you too should be proud of us, because you are as anti-Catholic as we you know deep down in your heart. Call it hate, yes, we hate them like Satan hates God. There I’ve said it.

  19. Bob March says:

    Don’t stop, and don’t give up. The shepherd’s crook is not just for herding the sheep — it’s also for whacking the wolves.

    Four years ago, I first learned about “Dagger John” Hughes, the 19th-century Irish-born Archbishop of New York, who never allowed a public attack on the Church to pass without a public riposte. I blogged about him then, finishing with: “So, Dagger John, pray for us, and ask Our Lord to send us another one like you. Really, really soon.”

    As far as I’m concerned, Dagger John and Our Lord agreed — and here you are.

  20. Tony Tantillo says:

    God Bless you Archbishop and keep speaking up. I love when you are on Father Benedicts show and you and he are certainly one dynamic duo!

  21. mcb says:

    Thank you for speaking out. You demonstrate the power that St. Paul tells us we have within us. We need not be afraid to speak the truth and address evil as Jesus did.

  22. George S Grochowski says:

    Bravo Bishop Dolan. The Times has jumped into the Slime some time ago
    and no longer can maintain pretense of supplying either News(which it copies from other sources) or poviding commentary worth reading.

  23. John M says:

    Non Abbiate Paura! Never give up your presence to the media! We need you, we are counting on your position as AB of NYC to be a model spokesperson in the context of the needs of the Church. Card. O’Connor is smiling down on you from the House of the Father as is JPII . NON ABBIATE PAIRA!

  24. Cecelia Stevens says:

    Please don’t ever “get over” coming to the defense of our beautiful Mother Church. Don’t ever get “used to” the comments and slander that our enemies make against us. We must fight against them and pray for their souls. Thank you, Archbishop Dolan.

  25. Antoinette M says:

    The NY Times is to be called for what it truly is: anti-Catholic rag. Keep speaking up, and maybe enough people will hear your voice and realize that this particular paper is no better than the tabloids who at times offend christians.

  26. Phyllis J. Clark says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,
    Thank you for defending the Church. We need more good men like you. I am sure that the Holy Spirit is watching out for you as you indeed know yourself.
    God Bless you and your staff.

  27. Aaron says:

    What in the world is insulting about the picture of the nun? There is nothing insulting in it. Is it insulting to suggest a nun might teach someone how to play baseball?

  28. Chris Zainer says:

    I don’t think that “bearing wrongs patiently” means that one shouldn’t “admonish sinners” or “instruct the ignorant.” Thank you for your prayers, sacrifices and witness and many thanks to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for his longstanding work standing up for the Faith.

  29. Mary O"Haire says:

    Arch Bishop,
    Thank You again for YOUR Courage, strength, wisdom!!!!!!!!It seems so easy for catholic to be the butt end of jokes! We appreciate your out spoken nature, and I am reminded of scripture “ “Jesus telling us if we are luke warm he will vomit us out of His mouth” continue to Hot!!!!! we need your courage, so others may be inspired to follow and fear not about taking a stand for their faith, and the sacred!

  30. Hidden One says:

    Your Excellency, thank you.

  31. NinaBG says:

    Oh my! Your words are like fresh, cool rain falling and then the sun bursting forth through the clouds! Don’t ever be silent, Your Excellency. And yes, we never hear enough about Mother Cabrini, St Katharine Drexel, and all the unknown saint sisters who reflect Christ so well. Mille grazie, Archbishop Dolan! Hope to thank you in person one day.

  32. Matt says:

    Personally my only issue with the nun photo is that it’s a GUY dressed in a habit. Otherwise I’ve seen more edgy pictures than this on The Crescat, which I enjoy visiting online. However, sometimes it matters who is posting the photo when considering the intent of the poster.

    You are absolutely spot-on with regards to the “art” exhibit, as well as past attacks on the Catholic Church by this hate-filled “Gray Lady” whether it’s done by Maureen Dowd or any of her other minions. May you never grow weary in this fight.

  33. Maria Noonan says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    I have never been prouder to be a New York Catholic than I am this morning. Please, please do not ever give up or “get over it.” We need your courage and leadership and are grateful to you. It’s about time that we raise our voices and stand up to defend our faith. Catholics, especially Catholic religious orders, have quietly accomplished many amazing good deeds in the world for many centuries — worldwide charities that are never mentioned in the media or press. May God bless you always in your mission to spread the Word of Christ and guide the New York faithful.

  34. Katherine says:

    Your Excellency,

    I’m sorry, but to me you seem overly sensitiive and a little selective. The Times runs a listing of brief descriptions of each Broadway Theatre performance. That is kind of what they do and if a play is on Broadyway, I expect them to list it, no matter how good or bad it is.

    Then they review an art exhibit. The review makes no mention of the actions you reference and photo shows no art with the Catholic Church as its theme (it does show art that negatively portrays one Democratic and one Republican politican).

    On the other hand, I have not heard from you any objection to the New York Post regularly runs all sort of salacious photos and news stories.

    I know you are not a parent, but I am. I am much more concenred about leaving a copy of the NY Post lying around where children would oogle over parts of it than the New York Times.

  35. Dear Archbishop Dolan,
    I think that this issue is long overdue! The NY Times is a complete rag when it comes to it’s treatment of the Catholic Church! I agree with you completely an I don’t buy the paper! I know Fr. Benedict Groeschell has been very vocal about the Times an I am sure he is in complete agreement with your outrage! God Bless you for telling the TRUTH! I will pray for the conversion of the NY times! God Bless….Peter Mckenzie 631-648-8224

  36. Jay Maurer says:

    Your excellency, as usual – you hit the nail on the head. And thanks for your courageous defense of The Church. I have often heard Father Benedict Groeschel attack their slanted and biased reporting of the “Grey Lady” (many words, few pictures) as well. Like many politicians, Pinch Sulzberger and the NY Times has become increasingly out of touch, and they do not even try to hide their obvious bias. Their financial difficulties and decreasing readership is evidence that they are being rejected by persons who seek intellectual integrity and balanced reporting.

    Unfortunately, few people realize the reach of the NY Times and it’s vitriol. Persons who agree that the NY Times fails to serve its readers, should be aware of all of the properties it owns: The NY Times, The International Herald Tribune,, The Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and the following regional papers: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, FL; The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA; The Ledger, Lakeland, FL; Star-News, Wilmington, NC; Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SC; Star-Banner, Ocala, FL; The Gainesville Sun, Gainesville, FL; The Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, AL; TimesDaily, Florence, AL; The Gadsden Times, Gadsden, AL; Times-News, Hendersonville, NC; The Courier, Houma, LA; The Dispatch, Lexington, NC; Daily Comet, Thibodaux, LA; and Petaluma Argus-Courier, Petaluma, CA.

    The NY Times also owns About, Inc ( and the following broadcast properties:
    CBS: WREG (Memphis, Tenn.), WTKR (Norfolk, Va.), WHNT (Huntsville, Ala.), KFSM (Ft. Smith, Ark.)
    NBC: KFOR (Oklahoma City, Okla.), WHO (Des Moines, Iowa).
    ABC: WNEP (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Penn.), WQAD (Moline, Ill.).
    UPN: KAUT (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
    Finally, the Times has a 50% partnership interests in Discovery Times Channel

  37. Michael Seltzer says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan:

    I am afraid that your comments shed more heat than light.

    One must ask why the Archdiocese of New York and its archbishop in particular were the object of such vilification when our city was the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Why were people living with AIDS (and dying from AIDS) so angry with the church? Since you did not live in our city during those dark days, I invite you to meet with the leaders of the AIDS community to understand more of this painful history.

    While I don’t condone the tactics that some AIDS activists used, I would not suggest that their motivation was rooted in anti-catholicism. If anything, they were driven by a love of those most vulnerable in our midst-a basic tenet of christian faith. Their anger was fueled by what the Church could have done to stem the further transmission of AIDS. Yes, Cardinal O’Connor may have cared for those who are dying. How much more he might have done to save lives.

    Respectfully submitted,


  38. Felicia Sementilli says:

    Absolutely agree! I’m very glad that the Archbishop publicly stated the facts. The New York Times is out of control and should be reminded that religious figures or any group should not be ridiculed in writing. Especially, since it is very obvious, that they always attack Roman Catholics. Obviously, I don’t read the paper and first heard of the Cardinal O’Connor photo on the news. It really is appalling! Image if Mohammed or any other religious figure were displayed in such a manner. This paper should cease to exist since what is written is no substance or quality.

  39. Tony Adams says:

    Dear Archbishop Timothy,

    Have you actually seen the Charles Busch play (The Divine Sister) to which you refer? If not, you are guilty of the same error committed by your predecessor Cardinal Spellman who once condemned a book that he later admitted he had never read.

    Also, I would hate a world in which the visual, dramatic and musical arts are tailored and censored to suit the agenda of a particular religion. I’m rather sure you would too.

    That’s the broad brush. In particular, I interviewed Mr. Busch when this play was new. He had absolutely no interest in the Catholic Church in his creation of this play. He is simply a humorist (and an adroit writer) who is infatuated with “movie nuns”. You shouldn’t and can’t fault him for that. Better to spend less time fuming about the Times and more time making a video as part of the “It Gets Better” series assuring gay youth contemplating suicide that their Church really does love them and wants them to live productive, long and happy lives. Your silence in that area (even the President has made a video for this series) is deafening and saddening.

    Finally, I suggest you read Oscar Wilde’s brief (barely two pages) introduction to The Picture Of Dorian Gray in which he makes some great points about a work of art in relation to morality and controversy.

  40. Coady says:


    I have been following your blog for about 6 months now and wanted to tell you finally how touched I am by it. You write honestly and with humility while still attacking prevalent issues head on with confidence and bravery. It has become evident to me through this blog how all-encompassing Church teaching is and the depth at which our Church has come to understand people and their needs throughout history.

    Thank you for your prudence and your strength. You inspire me as I perservere as a Seminarian studying for the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

    I will keep you in my prayers!

  41. Raymond Fleck says:

    These two pictures are no big deal. Let’s lighten up.

  42. Erica says:

    Your excellency i am a new yorker i feel such shame that new york times write such way i know you have been offended with all do right i was raised catholic people have taken the church as a joke now a days i am young still and i know its disconcerting, keep strong and keep being honest and speak the truth dont just get used to it sir they are wrong because i’ve lived here in new york and its all over people need to understand its not right those in from new york times are disrespectful. i need to go sir but keep strong.

  43. I grew up Catholic & was an altar boy for many years, dating back to the Latin Mass. I have only fond memories of church life, & good & respected priests. Ergo, I have no axe to grind based on my experiences of youth.
    Your Grace, ( Excellency is a bishop, for the uninformed), Based solely on the picture in question, it seems OK; simply depicting an Ursuline sister teaching a youngster to play baseball. But, that’s not why I send this message. While never personally involved, I will defend with my last breath; the actions of Act Up, without whom we wouldn’t yet have the effective treatment options we have today. There’s no doubt that some behavior exceeded the limits of decorum, but their aim was to push government & conservative religion to support HIV research. I am a man of science. The religious right fought vociferously & successfully; in opposition to the use of any public funds for said scientific investigations. The subsequent delay in developing chemical interventions, denied thousands even a fighting chance at survival. The anger & outrage of those in Act Up, was justified. That it didn’t go further, is a testament to the tolerance & maturity of American LGBT citizens, who have suffered through relentless hatred, violence, bloodshed, murders, & exclusion from basic rights accorded all Americans. Yes, the former ordinary, O’Connor; did help care for AIDS patients, but you rarely hear about one of his auxiliary bishops who died of the complications of AIDS. I’d also like to remind those submitting comments that are dripping with venom; that criticizing editorials in any media; is called ‘exercising democracy in a republic.’ It is a part of your liberty. In much of the world, you couldn’t do this. If there’s any publication with whose ideas you are in consistent agreement, you need to do some reading & thinking on your own.

  44. Lillian Porter says:

    Farva Macgee has little understanding of the Church. (There are cradle Catholics who have had 16 years of Catholic education yet never opened themselves up to God).
    Until recent years, it was mostly women who were visible in the Church. As the Bishop stated, it was women religious who were at the forefront in providing for the poor and sick and founding schools. But lay women in the Church have been responsible for many ministries. Now, thanks be to God, there are more lay men involved in the Church these days.
    The Church does not exclude homosexuals. Church membership is voluntary. I have never heard anyone denounced from the pulpit. It never entered my mind to be concerned about the sexual preference of the person next to me in the pew. I go to partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and to join with all creation, with all in heaven and on earth, in the Holy Liturgy. All are welcome.
    There are 1.1 billion Catholics. We are a sixth of the world’s population. We are one in spirit. When you hurt one of us you hurt us all. We have no army. Few of us will retaliate. Your rage against us is futile.

  45. Archbishop Dolan: I am from Missouri also (Kansas City) and understand your ‘just get over it’ comment. Please don’t get over it. It’s people like you who make things happen when you don’t ‘just get over it’ and keep trying!

  46. sophie says:

    Thank you Archbishop Dolan, Catholic New Yorkers feel invisible, therefore, our beloved Church is made into a target. Unless, of course, it is St.Patrick’s Day, or the public has need of our many brothers and sisters in the Police and Fire Dept’s. Thank you, too, for your defense of our devoted Nuns whose selflessness and bravery have made our City a far better place.

  47. Carol Bush says:

    Archbishop, I hope you never “get used” to such malicious treatment of the Catholic Church. It seems to be true that the Catholic Church is the last acceptable prejudice, and that attacks on our Church are accepted in many parts of the country. People should remember that if one entity can be treated this way, ANY entity, church, group, or individual could be treated this way.

  48. Don’t stop! It is well past the time for Catholics to remain quiet about insults to our religion and leadership. Thank you for your leadership.

  49. Stan Zerkowski says:


    I just came back from visiting the grave of my grade-school principal, Sr. Mary Susan Wawro, FSSJ. She and I maintained a rapport for more than 40 years. I put a potted mum on her grave. Why? Because she was a woman of deep love for Christ, for kids, for all kinds of people. She gave her life to kids who, hopefully, have grown into adults who hold religious women in high regard and thank God daily for them. Shame on anyone who mocks them! Sure, some had tempers, some had poor “people skills” and some were downright mean; but, does that give anyone the right to mock religious women? No more than it gives us the right to mock all parents because some have poor parenting skills! I applaud you for taking the stand you did and do. I am far from my home in Florida, here in western New York. But while here, I would never think of not stopping by Sister Susan’s grave and leaving a token of love and gratitude. I bet she, from heaven, is cheering you on too! Bravo, Archbishop Dolan!

  50. Carol P says:

    Please keep speaking out against the way the Catholic Church is being portrayed. It’s about time our church leaders say something about the way the media has portrayed the church. Not to lessen the importance of some of the church’s problems, but any problem our church has had, has also been the problems in other religions. Please keep on the media about the abuse of our church. Thank you.