Insight from the New York Post

December 18th, 2013

Today the New York Post published an editorial on Judge Brian Cogan’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I would like to share it with you.

Here is an excerpt:

For a while it looked as though the president had got the best of the cardinal.

Two years ago, Timothy Cardinal Dolan left an Oval Office meeting believing he had President Obama’s word that his health-care regulations would respect the conscience rights of religious organizations. A few weeks later, the president phoned to say the Department of Health and Human Services was going ahead with a mandate requiring even church groups to underwrite insurance that paid for birth control, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.

Now a court has just handed the cardinal a big victory — and the president a huge defeat. In a landmark ruling, Judge Brian Cogan of the Eastern District of New York not only found that the president’s mandate violates religious freedom, he issued the first permanent injunction against it.

You can read the whole editorial here.

Insight from the New York Daily News

December 17th, 2013

I recently came across two insightful opinion pieces in the New York Daily News this week, that I would like to share with you.

On Sunday, Dr. George Mussalli, a former chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Vincent’s Hospital- Manhattan, wrote an excellent op-ed on how Catholic healthcare actually does more to truly support  women.

Here is an excerpt:

The ACLU suit is clearly not about medical care. It is an unfortunate attempt to target Catholic health-care facilities writ large — which, if successful, would endanger one-sixth of all hospital beds in America, including the only hospital in Muskegon, where Means might need future care.

Catholic hospitals are open to all: the uninsured, the unborn, the undocumented, those of all cultures, creeds or no creed at all. If forced to make a terrible choice between participating in abortions and closing, I fear that still more Catholic hospitals will choose to close. With Americans struggling to find dignified access to health care, that’s the last thing we need.

Click here to read the whole column.

This morning, the New York Daily News published an editorial on Judge Brian Cogan’s excellent ruling on religious freedom. You may have seen the Archdiocese of New York’s statement yesterday about Judge Cogan’s decision.

Here is an excerpt from the editorial:

Three federal appeals courts have reached conclusions similar to Cogan’s, in challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandates filed by profit-making companies whose owners conduct their businesses according to religious principles. Two additional appeals panels have dismissed such claims on the ground that corporations cannot hold religious views. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the issue.

The one-size-must-fit-all structure of Obamacare explains why the President wound up breaking his pledge that Americans could keep their health coverage if they like it. He ordered up new provisions for everyone, so the policies people liked went over the side.

Here, forced uniformity has pitted the President against a basic tenet of life in these United States. Not where he should be.

To read the whole editorial, click here.

St. Nicholas Project

December 16th, 2013

This past weekend, I was pleased to help Catholic Charities with their annual St. Nicholas Project. I joined Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan , New York Catholic Charities’ Junior Board and hundreds of volunteers shop for clothing and blankets at Kmart, which will given to 2,500 individuals and over 650 families in need so that they may stay warm throughout the winter season.

Photos by Chris Sheridan

Picking out pajamas to be donated

Finding a warm scarf

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan shops for families in need

A War For Women

December 12th, 2013

In this week’s Catholic New York columnI wrote about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the importance of women in the Catholic Church.  I thought you might want to read it.

Here is an excerpt:

If there is a “war on women,” those who defend the bond of marriage and the sanctity of the family (realizing that women are the ones usually left shattered and financially strapped by shattered marriages); those who believe that abortion is destructive of baby, mother, and father; those who hold that all God’s children, male and female, are made in God’s image, and thus deserve dignity and respect; those who sacrifice to run the world’s most effective projects of health care and education for women (led, for the most part, by generous, faithful women); and those thought idolatrous for placing a woman named Mary at the center of history, are hardly on the wrong side, but the right side, of such an alleged battle!

In two weeks, 75 percent of the world will come to a stop to celebrate a mother and the birth of her baby. Millions of children will point to the newborn baby in nativity scenes throughout the world and ask, “Who’s that?” and parents and grandparents will whisper, “That’s Jesus, our Lord and Savior.” Then they’ll point to Mary and inquire, “And who’s that?” and the answer will come, “That’s His mother, without whom Christmas could not have happened.”

A blessed Advent!

You can read my whole column here.

Statement on Pope Francis as Time “Person of the Year”

December 11th, 2013

This morning I was delighted to learn that His Holiness, Pope Francis was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”  Let me share with you my statement that I released to the press:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2013

STATEMENT OF CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN ON POPE FRANCIS AS TIME “PERSON OF THE YEAR”
The election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the successor of Saint Peter seemed to surprise many who had not yet heard of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. While he may have been unknown at the time, since he first appeared on the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica on that chilly, wet evening of March 13, Pope Francis has captivated the world, as he preaches the Gospel and shares its messages of the love and mercy of God, our responsibility to care for our sisters and brothers in need, and the ever present invitation of Jesus and His Church to “come and see.” Just like Blessed Pope John Paul II was in 1995, Pope Francis has been named Time’s “Person of the Year” for presenting the Church’s timeless truths to today’s world. In all that he does, through his humble ways and simple lifestyle, Pope Francis clearly radiates the joy that comes from loving God and caring for his people. There could be no finer choice for “Person of the Year.”

In Memoriam: Nelson Mandela

December 5th, 2013

Today I learned that Nelson Mandela, former South African president and a hero to all, had passed away. Here is the statement that I released to the press:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2013

STATEMENT OF CARDINAL DOLAN ON THE PASSING OF NELSON MANDELA

Nelson Mandela was a hero to the world. His bravery in defending human rights against the great evil of apartheid made him a symbol of courage and dignity, as well as an inspiration to people everywhere. As Blessed Pope John Paul II noted during his visit to South Africa in 1995, Nelson Mandela was for many years, “a silent and suffering ‘witness’ of your people’s yearning for true liberation,” who, as President of South Africa, had to then “shoulder the burden of inspiring and challenging everyone to succeed in the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction.” In succeeding in these crucial and difficult tasks, Nelson Mandela truly made the world a better place.

May he rest in peace.

Tolerance & Courage

December 3rd, 2013

I’ll blame my rush to get home to be with my Mom and family for Thanksgiving,  but I was remiss last week in not thanking the Daily News for publishing on their website my op-ed article on the protest of a talk that was to have been given – at their request – to high school parents by an archdiocesan priest about Courage, the Church’s ministry to those with same-sex attraction who are trying to lead virtuous lives.  As you probably know, the protest eventually led to the cancellation of that talk.

If you missed the column, you can read it here.

 

 

Insight from Fr. James Martin

December 3rd, 2013

Father James Martin, SJ has an excellent response to Bill Keller’s piece in yesterday’s New York Times about celibacy.  Father Martin is right:  “Overall, the article is rife with lazy stereotypes and flat-out guessing. (“The apostles had wives.” Really? Peter did–but all of them? Guess I missed those mentions of Zebedee’s daughters-in-law.)

Ironically, Keller likes Pope Francis a great deal and speaks of his overall approach to the church approvingly. But he somehow missed the fact that Jorge Mario Bergoglio took a vow of chastity when he made his first vows as a Jesuit in 1960, and made a promise of celibacy at his ordination in 1969. In short, he has been living celibately longer than Keller has been away from the church. Does the Pope strike anyone as a sad and lonely guy?”

You can read Father Martin’s article here.

A Blessed Advent to You

December 2nd, 2013

It’s all about the kids, isn’t it?

That dawned on me over the Thanksgiving weekend, when I was back in St. Louis with my family.

Besides eating . . . which I obviously relished – - and sleeping, we spent most of our time just enjoying the kids!  There we sat, passing one little one to another, cooing, talking baby-talk, or laughing as the kids would do something new.

My nieces are mostly grown-up, and now the married ones are having babies!  So we’ve got five of them, four and under, with two on the way.  All we adults seem to do is get ready for them to arrive, wait for them, play with them, hold them, change them, feed them, get their coats back on, and tell them good-bye.  Then we can’t wait for the next time we see them.

Those babies, those kids, are the center of our lives.

Which, of course, is the way it should be!  Anthropologists, researching primitive cultures, tell us that they were centered on the protection and nurturing of babies, until the young grow up to have their own.  Not “primitive” at all, is it?  Rather “advanced”, I’d say.

I remember the old Ben Casey, M.D., TV series, which began each week, “Man-woman-birth-death-infinity.”

A culture not centered on babies and children becomes narcissistic, and soon, extinct.

Sociologists tell us, for instance, that Europe is in a “demographic winter,” since more people are dying than being born.

And I’m afraid we’re not far behind!

Babies not only insure survival but selflessness.  When a husband and wife become a father and mother, their very lives are changed:  All is now about their baby, not themselves.

And, as Blessed John Paul II reminded us, the greatest gift one can give a child is a brother or a sister.

We men are created to become husbands and fathers; women to become wives and mothers.

True, it doesn’t always happen.  Some can’t be; some (like the author) choose not to be.  But, all of us would like to be!  That drive is sacred, noble, natural, good.  Those of us who can’t be or choose not to be usually become doting aunts, uncles, and godparents!

A culture, a society, a country, that does not protect marriage, the baby, and the family, is dying.

Now we’re in Advent.  We await the baby Jesus.

All of history is dated either before or after the birth of this baby.

All existence centers on a pregnant woman, and her baby, who is our Savior.

This baby is intended to be the center of our lives.

A blessed Advent!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

November 20th, 2013

Haga clic aquí para leer mi blog en español.

This past weekend, I was honored to join hundreds of other pastoral leaders from North and South America for a moving Pilgrimage and Encounter at the Shrine of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

It was a grace for me.  For one, I enjoy visiting any sanctuary where Our Lady has appeared, such as Lourdes, Fatima, or Knock.

Two, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is patroness of all America . . . that’s us!

Three, our Mexican-American Catholics, now such a vibrant part of our national Catholic makeup, have a deep and passionate devotion to her.  December 12, her feast day, has become a huge fiesta for all of us in our liturgical year.

Finally, my titular (honorary) parish in Rome is called Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s as if she keeps reminding me of how close she is to me!

In January, I’ll return there, to Guadalupe, in company with about thirty of our priests, for a retreat pilgrimage.

The purpose of our pilgrimage and encounter last weekend was to consider her as “the star of the new evangelization.”

With her apparitions to St. Juan Diego December 9-12, 1531, Mary became the first native evangelist to the new world.

Sure, the brave priests and faith filled explorers who came from Spain did indeed bring the Catholic faith and introduce it here.  Evangelization was one of the principal motives for the voyages of discovery by Columbus and the others.

But they, of course, came from Europe.

Mary (granted, she came from heaven) appeared as one of the native people, in features, dress, and language, not a visitor to them but one of them, to tell them about the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus, her son.  She appeared as a pregnant woman, ready to give birth to the Son of God at the exact geographical center of the Western hemisphere, the new world, Tepeyac.

And with that apparition, evangelization was unleashed, as the faith began to increase miraculously all over South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the south and west of what we now call the United States of America.

An evangelization no longer foreign but homegrown, confirmed by a young pregnant Aztec woman who consoled St. Juan Diego, “I am your mother,” and left her tender image on the Tilma for all to see.

This role was not new to her.  Remember how, right after the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel had asked her to be the Mother of God’s Son – - an invitation she accepted – - she left to go see her cousin, Elizabeth?  We call that event the Visitation.  Gabriel had told Mary that Elizabeth, too, was pregnant (her son would be known as John the Baptist), and Mary went to her, not only to help her, but to let her in on the great news that the Savior was on the way, a baby in her very womb.

She hasn’t stopped evangelizing since.

The most successful evangelist America (both North and South) has ever known:  a woman, a wife, a mother . . .

Our Lady of Guadalupe!