Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

Finding God Amid the Scaffolding and Noise

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Thought you would enjoy this wonderful piece on the Cathedral from Mary DeTurris Poust:

At first, as we walked along the outer edges of the cathedral, trying to avoid wires and boards and construction workers, I wondered aloud why they would even bother to keep the cathedral open under such conditions. But eventually we made our way to the Lady Chapel at the back of the cathedral, which remains untouched (at least as of now) by the restoration project. We knelt down in prayer, as other visitors did the same — the old lady with the scarf tied tightly around her head, a shopping bag on her arm; the young business man in the fashionably cut suit; the tourist with backpack and camera marking his outsider status. One by one, they drifted in and out, genuflecting, kneeling, praying, making the Sign of the Cross…

Read the rest here.

Bigotry and Catholic Education

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

My thanks to Seth Lipsky at the New York Post for his insightful article, Time to end NY’s anti-Catholic bigotry:

The proposed credit is tiny compared to the estimated $22 billion for pre-k through grade 12 in the state’s education budget. It would start at $180 million in the first year and then $225 million and $300 million. However modest in comparative cost, it would be a help, particularly to families of limited means with pupils in religious day schools…

Our credit is shaken, but not by the priests, rabbis and imams. The poor laborer is strangled by public employees who have a better deal than he could ever get — and a quarter of a trillion dollars in unfunded state pension obligations. Isn’t it time to make it easier for religious schools to help educate our children?

Read the rest here.

A February Consistory & Other Updates

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Just a few items to share with you.

For one, late tonight I leave for Rome, summoned there, along with my brother Cardinals from around the world, by Pope Francis.  Your intentions accompany me, and I already look forward to returning back here in a week.

What brings us over is the consistory for new cardinals, to occur this Saturday, February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.  We “upper-classmen” are always there to welcome “freshmen”!

People wonder about the significance of even having cardinals anymore, and, occasionally, I do myself.

But, shortly after this new group of cardinals was announced last month, I met two Haitians working in the parking garage.  These men are grateful immigrants from beleaguered Haiti.  They ran up to me, ecstatic, with tears in their eyes, sharing with me their joy and pride that Pope Francis had named a Haitian bishop to the College of Cardinals!  To see their happiness convinced me that this ancient title still has relevance.

The Holy Father is a wise shepherd.  He realizes that naming a cardinal can be an act of encouragement and affirmation to a struggling people, a sign of solidarity with the Church Universal.  It sure worked for those two Haitians I met.

Prior to Saturday’s ceremony and Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis has asked all the world’s cardinals- – including the new ones- -to come together Thursday and Friday to discuss “Marriage and Family”, a topic close to his heart, already chosen as the theme for the upcoming Synod of Bishops to take place in Rome October 2014 and 2015.

Since I was elected to the Permanent Council for the Synod of Bishops, I must remain in Rome Monday and Tuesday for all day meetings of that council.

Two, you know how I always try to alert you to any potentially negative publicity about the Church, or about me.  Well, there could be some.  My home archdiocese of St. Louis just complied with a court order to release the documents regarding cases there of sexual abuse of minors.  (Cardinal Egan already did that here a decade ago, sharing all of the information we had on abusive priests with proper district attorneys, something we continue to do today.)

Anyway, since I was an auxiliary bishop in St. Louis for a year (2001-02), and vicar for priests for nine of those twelve months, I would anticipate that my name will again be highlighted in the press.  I sure have nothing to hide, and am very much at peace with law enforcements officials reviewing the files.  In fact, we already released all the documentation to them a dozen years ago!

This will be, I suspect, a repeat of last year’s attempt by the same tort lawyers to muddy my name.  A year ago, they contended- – remember?- -that while Archbishop of Milwaukee I had “hidden funds”, and they had even deposed me.  Nothing of course ever came of it, although the ever-compliant press here gave me headlines about being deposed.  (The headlines were much smaller when the Judge eventually ruled that I had acted properly.)  However, knowing how their attorneys operate, and some reporters here cooperate with them, I would anticipate some attempt at bad publicity again.  I’ll keep you posted…

Finally, there was good news recently in our pro-life movement: the city health department reported a drop in the city’s abortion rate.  That’s good news!  The somber news is that New York City still has twice the national average of abortions.

What I also find troubling is the conclusion of the health department that this is due to increased use of IUDs and other chemical and implanted contraceptives.  Really? No proof is offered.  I guess some of the welcome decline could be due to that.  But is it too much to conclude that another reason for the decline is that more and more mothers and fathers see abortion for the tragedy that it is, the unjust taking of an innocent, fragile, human life?  Perhaps, too, its became more and more people see that casual, promiscuous sex hardly leads to health or happiness, and are now acting virtuously?  I know it’s hard for some to accept- -unless you believe in human freedom, its beauty, genuine choice to wait for marriage, and that the human person is not a slave to passion and cultural pressure.

Thanks for listening!

NY Post: “Catholic schools’ secret: love”

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Here is a wonderful piece on our Catholic schools–during Catholic Schools Week–in the New York Post by Bill McGurn:

We don’t speak much about love in education, not even during Catholic Schools Week. Instead, we focus on more tangible measures of success: how 99 percent of Catholic school students get their high-school diplomas; how a black or Latino child is 2.5 times more likely to graduate from college if he or she has attended a Catholic high school; how Catholic schools manage to do all this at a fraction of the cost of public schools…

Back when he was playing for the New York Jets, Damien Woody sent his children to St. Vincent’s even though his family wasn’t Catholic. At a Christmas concert, a fellow parent asked him why. He answered, “My wife and I believe that a school where they love God will love my children.”

Read the rest here.

Insight from the New York Post

Wednesday, 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.

In an Empire State of Mind

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

It has been awesome taking part in the events in Rome these past three weeks, saying goodbye to Benedict, and then taking part in the conclave last week to elect Pope Francis.  Today I will be joining our new Holy Father for his Mass of Installation, in Saint Peter’s Square.  At the same time, I am sorry that I will not be able to join my brother bishops of New York State as they undertake two days of advocacy on important public policy issues in Albany, as well with as the nearly 1,000 Catholics from every part of our state who will join them Wednesday for Catholics at the Capitol. I do love Rome, but, boy, do I wish I could be with all of you in Albany.

Pope Francis has a reputation for intense devotion to the poor, of humility, of promoting the Culture of Life.  That’s what we, as the Church, must be all about as well, and that is what we must bring in our meetings with our elected representatives in Albany.

I will certainly be with my brother bishops in spirit as they meet with Governor Cuomo, Senators Skelos and Klein, and Speaker Silver Tuesday afternoon to lay the ground work for Catholics at the Capitol by affirming the Church’s beautiful teaching on the dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of Almighty God from the moment of conception until natural death.

And I will be praying for those committed advocates traveling to Albany to join with your bishops in proclaiming a great big Yes! to life, by working together to build a Culture of Life in New York by providing real choices for pregnant women and girls who may find themselves pressured to abort, and who so often suffer quietly for years afterward as a result. Surely, we can find some area of agreement among our elected leaders to help those who make the heroic choice to keep their babies, as well as those who have already aborted and need love, compassion and healing to move forward with their lives.

You will also uphold the Culture of Life  and proclaim the dignity of every human person by fighting for the safety of all children, wherever their parents send them to school. We bishops stood in support of Gov. Cuomo in his stand for sensible gun control, but while the NY SAFE Act rightfully included money for public school safety, no such funding was included for religious or independent schools in that legislation. We worry about the message that this sends. We’re also grateful for those who supported our efforts to get full reimbursement for all of the state mandates on our schools.

And, of course, you will passionately advocate for more state funding for affordable housing and for health care for the poor and vulnerable, because these are basic human rights that preserve human dignity. And you will speak out as well for the dignity of those in our state’s prison system, because our Lord taught us very clearly that whatever we do for any of the least of our brothers and sisters, we truly do for Him.

Know that my brother bishops and all of our laity, religious and clergy doing this important work in Albany will hold a special place in my prayers these next few days, even if I cannot be there with you in person.

A blessed St. Joseph Day, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter!

It’s About Jesus

Monday, February 25th, 2013

“But why didn’t he say anything about his reasons for stepping down, or his plans for the future, or any personal reflections about his own legacy?”  asked the journalist after Mass yesterday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

This reporter had gotten up early to watch the last Sunday Angelus address Pope Benedict XVI would ever give, to 100,000 people in Saint Peter’s Square at noon in Rome.  He had spoken of Lent, the Transfiguration of Jesus (the gospel for Sunday), and prayer.

“Because,” I replied, trying to provide an answer to the journalist’s fair-enough inquiry, “Popes don’t talk about themselves.  They are really no longer themselves!  That’s why they change their name.  They take literally what Saint Paul wrote, that “I live now – - no, not I – - Christ lives in me.”  They speak not of themselves but of Jesus.  That’s why!”

“And you,” the reporter courteously persisted, “you didn’t say a word about your plans, your departure for Rome, your thoughts or observations.  We got here to cover your 10:15 a.m. Mass, and you only mentioned the Pope in one prayer, and didn’t say anything personal.”

“Same reason,” I responded.  “The Mass is about Jesus, not about me.”

That could be the most profound lesson this great professor-pontiff has taught the world.  His heroic and humble decision of a week ago to step-down from the Chair of Saint Peter is a lesson:  in the end, when all is said and done, it’s not about office, prominence, prestige, prerogatives.  It’s not about me at all: it’s all about Jesus and His Church.

Tomorrow, though, I do leave New York for Rome.  I take you with me.  When I have the privilege of bidding farewell to the Holy Father this Thursday, the day he leaves, I’ll tell him that we – - you and me – - love him, pray with and for him, and thank him.

I’ll miss you.  Sure, this will be awesome for me.  But, I really like being your archbishop.  And I’ll be eager to get back home to you.  Besides, I can get a good bowl of pasta here in New York, too.

Please God, I’ll be home by Palm Sunday.  Not a day will go by that I will not think of you here with love, prayer and gratitude. If I’m in Rome longer, please send peanut butter.  You can’t get it there.

Warm Wishes from the Anti-Defamation League

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Recently, the Anti-Defamation League released a warming statement to the press on Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, expressed his appreciation for His Holiness.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Foxman’s statement:

In his tenure as pope, Benedict pledged that he would always stand with the Jewish people against anti-Semitism.  He strongly condemned Holocaust denial.  He made it a point early in his papacy to visit Israel, going to Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, thus cementing the historic act of his predecessor for future generations and strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Vatican.  He became the first pope to visit a synagogue in the United States.  And he also visited the synagogue in Rome, institutionalizing these visits.

You can read the entire press release and statement here.

Religious Persecution

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

In my recent Catholic New York column, I wrote about violence against Catholics and Christians around the world. I came across an article in The Weekly Standard written by Paul Marshall about this same topic. Marshall writes about religious persecution in Nigeria.

Here is an excerpt:

n Nigeria, thousands of people have been killed in recent months, and tens of thousands in the last decade. It is a fissiparous country whose conflicts have been exacerbated by the increased influence of radical Islam​—​beginning with attempts to apply Islamic law, then the growth of militias, and now the depredations of the vicious al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram movement.

Nigeria has by far the largest population in Africa, some 150 million people, comprising hundreds of ethnic groups, which produces dangerous tensions even without the religious differences. The country is about equally divided between Muslims and Christians, with another 10 percent following indigenous practices. Christians are the majority throughout the South, and Muslims in the North, though with substantial Muslim and Christian minorities in each area, and the two are more mixed in the middle belt, the scene of frequent violence. These conflicts often involve disputes over resources and land use as well as ethnicity, but the religious dimension is increasing.

You can read the whole article here.

 

 

Statement of the USCCB on HHS Mandate

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The following press release was issued today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Mandate.

BISHOPS PROMISE TO CONTINUE ‘VIGOROUS EFFORTS’ AGAINST HHS VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN HEALTH CARE REFORM MANDATE

Declare government has no place defining religion, religious ministry
Seek protection for conscience rights of institutions, individuals
Stress action with the public, White House, Congress, courts

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops are strongly united in their ongoing and determined  efforts to protect religious freedom, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a March 14 statement.

The Administrative Committee, chaired by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, is the highest authority of the bishops’ conference outside the semi-annual sessions of the full body of bishops. The Committee’s membership consists of the elected chairmen of all the USCCB permanent committees and an elected bishop representative from each of the geographic regions of the USCCB.

The full statement can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Admin-Religious-Freedom.pdf

The Administrative Committee said it was “strongly unified and intensely focused in its opposition to the various threats to religious freedom in our day.” The bishops will continue their vigorous work of education on religious freedom, dialogue with the executive branch, legislative initiatives and efforts in the courts to defend religious freedom. They promised a longer statement on the principles at the heart of religious freedom, which will come later from the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

The bishops noted that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that forces all private health plans to provide coverage of sterilization and contraceptives – including abortion-inducing drugs – called for an immediate response. Of particular concern, they said, are a religious exemption from the mandate that the bishops deem “arbitrarily narrow” and an “unspecified and dubious future ‘accommodation’’’ offered to other religious organizations that are denied the exemption.

The bishops thanked supporters from the Catholic community and beyond “who have stood firmly with us in our vigorous opposition to this unjust and illegal mandate.”

“It is your enthusiastic unity in defense of religious freedom that has made such a dramatic and positive impact in this historic public debate.”

The bishops said this dispute is not about access to contraceptives but about the government’s forcing the Church to provide them. Their concerns are not just for the Catholic Church but also for “those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block.”

“Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church – consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions – to act against Church teachings,” they said.

The Church has worked for universal healthcare in the United States since 1919, they added, and said the current issue “is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue.”

The bishops called the HHS mandate “an unwarranted government definition of religion,” with government deciding who is a religious employer deserving exemption from the law.

“The introduction of this unprecedented defining of faith communities and their ministries has precipitated this struggle for religious freedom,” the bishops said.

“Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry,” they said.

“If this definition is allowed to stand, it will spread throughout federal law, weakening its healthy tradition of generous respect for religious freedom and diversity,” they said.

The bishops said the government’s foray into church governance “where government has no legal competence or authority” is beyond disturbing. Those deemed by HHS not to be “religious employers,” the bishops said, “will be forced by government to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions. This is not only an injustice in itself, but it also undermines the effective proclamation of those teachings to the faithful and to the world.”

The bishops also called the HHS mandate “a violation of personal civil rights.”  The new mandate creates a class of people “with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to live in accordance with their faith and values,” the bishops said. “They too face a government mandate to aid in providing ‘services’ contrary to those values – whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees, or as insurers themselves – without even the semblance of exemptions.”

The bishops called for the Catholic faithful, and all people of good will throughout the nation to join them in prayer and penance “for our leaders and for the complete protection of our First Freedom – religious liberty.”

“Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength,” the bishops said, “for without God we can do nothing. But with God all things are possible.”