Thursday, November 29, 2012

10 Reasons to LOVE Archbishop Timothy Dolan

I just got done reading A People of Hope: Archbishop Timothy Dolan in conversation with John L. Allen Jr. I finished it in four days which is a remarkable feat for me with a 7-month-old son and it is a testament to the readability and the entertainment value of this book. It was very informative in relation to the state of the Church and the background and belief system of Cardinal Dolan. Allen asked some very tough questions and got some very thoughtful answers. I came away from this book a new Cardinal Dolan fan. This is why:

10. "I enjoy the novels of Dean Koontz..." No one could be bad who likes a Dean Koontz novel. And yes, Koontz is deeply Catholic.

9. In regards to the misperception that the Church is only the men in big hats (i.e. Bishops): "One of the things I've said for a long time is that we need a resurrected sense of apologetics. We Catholics sometimes are far too timid. We don't know how to respond when people throw out these silly, caustic remarks about the Church. We might just smile instead of rising up to say, 'Enough of that. That's simply not accurate.' Somebody sooner or later has got to blow the whistle on this."

8. On the imperfections of the Church: "We shouldn't be afraid to show off the wounds of the Church to the world, and we should boast that the wounds remind us of the healer."

7. On dialogue inside and outside the Church: "One guy who I think has reinvigorated dialogue is Benedict XVI, constantly saying that true, respectful dialogue starts with a clear understanding of the truth that you bring to the conversation. We insult our partner, our respected, cherished partner in dialogue, if we feel that they are expecting us to soft-pedal the truth."

6. In regards to the visitation to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious: "Had anybody asked me, which they didn't, I would have advised against it. Do I think it's justified, that there are legitimate worries about women religious? You bet I do. But should we do it? Probably not, at least not in this way, because the danger is that it may be seen as something heavy-handed and punitive, and therefore it risks being counterproductive."

5. He says that in the case of a gay couple wanting to put their child in Catholic school that he sees no reason why they can't. Of course, the child is welcome in the school as long as the parents understand that they are bringing their child into an atmosphere where the parents' lifestyle will be brought to question. No one is going to officially attack the couple for their lifestyle, but the child will, for example, learn in their Religion class that the Church disagrees with it.

4. "Here's the pitch:Let me introduce you to what I think is one of the more consoling, challenging ways to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the beginning and the end--who is, in the words of John Paul II, the answer to the question posed by every human life. Come on in, because this is the best way to do it. I don't know about you, brother or sister, but if you're like me, you need a lot of help, and I'll tell you where you can find it. Let's just say that we're in it together. If you're struggling down a path trying to get to a goal that you're not sure about, it's a heck of a lot better if you find two or three others on the same trail. They may have as many flaws as you, and they may not have the exact map either, but it's sure a lot better to be with some people trying their best to get to the same place. When we pool our talents and resources, we're probably going to be able to get there better. That's the mystery, the invitation, of the Church that I think we've got to pose."   

3. In regards to people who disagree with the Church's teaching on birth control: "If what you're asking is, would I be one of those who's quick in telling people that they're out of the Church? No, I would not, and I wouldn't want to be. People who are struggling to understand, accept, and live the teachings of Jesus and his church need the Church more than anybody."

2.In regards to denying communion to pro-choice politicians: "I always say that I don't know why this topic only seems to come up with regard to abortion, and I don't know why it's only directed at politicians"

"Look at our literature, and drama, and sculpture, and art, and liturgy, and poetry, and everything that's great in the Catholic worldview. The Catholic Church affirms, strengthens, expands what's most noble, most beautiful, most sacred, in the human project. That's what affirmative orthodoxy means to me. I like to quote a line from Father Robert Barron, that they Church only says no to another no, and two no's make a yes. It's only when the yes of humanity is threatened that they Church will say no, to protect the yes."

In a phrase: I like Cardinal Dolan because he stands up for his beliefs without being intolerant or stupid about it. You will never get anyone to understand your point of view if you don't respectfully talk to them. I could see people not liking him because he seems to be "all bark and no bite," but I would counter that argument by saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."


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