Cardinal-Designate Dolan Wants to be "Conciliatory"

Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, head of the USCCB and archbishop of New York, told John Allen of NCR that the bishops are not "Obama haters," despite what some may think.  More importantly, he stresses a posture of "openness" and "dialogue" with respect to the HHS decision.  "We'd much rather be conciliatory," he told NCR.  This is the most Christian, and in the end the most productive, stance for the church to take.  

ROME -- Insisting that the Catholic bishops of America are not “Obama haters,” soon-to-be Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said this morning that while the bishops regard a recent compromise on insurance mandates announced by the administration as unacceptable, he’s committed to “dialogue” and a “posture of openness” in trying to reach agreement. There’s still “a little glimmer of hope,” Dolan said, that an acceptable solution can be found.


Dolan said he’s well aware that some Americans, including some Catholics, believe that “the bishops can’t stand this administration anyway, so any thought of dialogue or moderation is really a waste of time, because the bishops aren’t about to stop opposing [it].” Dolan insisted that impression is both “strategically counter-productive” and “factually untrue.”

"We didn't start this battle, and I'm kind of uncomfortable with it," he said, "We'd much rather be conciliatory." Dolan also said he was “disappointed” with the quick support given to the administration’s announcement by the Catholic Health Association, saying it amounted to "popping the champagne cork" before the bishops had a chance to react. There too, he said, he wants to keep the dialogue going.

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Stephen SCHEWE
6 years 11 months ago
Archbishop Dolan demonstrates again what an effective, affable communicator he can be for orthodoxy, particularly when he's being interviewed by John Allen.  Unfortunately for him and for the Church in the United States, defending orthodoxy in the face of the massive social changes underway in this country won't be enough, particularly if you're too closely associated with the Fox News crowd.  People are going to keep voting with their feet.  At breakfast this morning, I heard the story of a long-time, loyal Catholic who has a gay brother.  The man has heard one too many sermons about how it was his Catholic duty to vote for the amendment to the Minnesota state constitution that will be on the ballot this fall to define marriage as only between one man and one woman, and he's concluded that he's going to stop going to the Catholic Church.  Multiply this man's feelings by whatever number you like; the movement toward the exits ought to worry anyone who's concerned about the institutional health and influence of the Church.  And as the exodus continues, the don't-change-anything folks will become more and more influential as they began a greater percentage of the remnant.

In my opinion, the Church needs a ''Nixon to China'' moment.  It could include a return to the path that began opening with the 1997 publication of Always our Children; a more nuanced teaching on birth control as advocated by the Pontifical commission in 1966; and/or a bigger opening for leadership by women in the church.  Given the way bishops have been chosen for the past 30 years, it seems unlikely that Cardinal Dolan would even consider it, but more surprising things have happened.  Here's hoping.
Robert O'Connell
6 years 11 months ago
The first comment makes a point: The original HHS mandate that church-related schools, hospitals and other employers must pay for medical supplies which violate church values, accompanied by a one-year opportunity to delay compliance, was "what muggers call it when they give you a chance to hand over your wallet before they bash your head in to get it." 

The President's proposed accommodation differs only in that the muggers will use insurers as middlemen.

Why can't there be an exemption for employers that assert a conscientous objection?

ed gleason
6 years 11 months ago
The fact that many many employees partially pay for their own health insurance at work  makes a mockery of USCCB stance.
Amy Ho-Ohn
6 years 11 months ago
" ... the first word of the name the administration attempted to give the program, "Affordable," proves to be fallacious."

Health care is expensive. Demand is essentially infinite; nobody wants to die any sooner than he has to. That tends to drive prices up uncontrollably.

The really expensive thing is insuring poor people. Poor people tend to have poor health, they get injured a lot, and they don't have money to pay for health care. That means somebody else has to pay for them, and it isn't cheap.

Isn't this what conservatives and bishops are really against? Paying more money so poor people can have health care? And if so, just say so; lose the farcical "religious liberty" posturing. It's not about religious liberty and it's not even really about contraception; it's about money.

"That opportunity will come in November."

Good, let's see what the country decides. But the election should be about health care financing; not about religion and sex, not even disguised under the gaudy euphemism "religious liberty."
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
The Tim is uttering what the Brits call a load of codswollop.

And, no, I would NOT buy a new OR used car from him.
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
Martin @ 11:    “  ... and if it violates your first amendment rights? Tough. You Catholics should just shut up and get used to it.”
This has become a strawman concern about the free exercise of religion aka First Amendment Rights. It appears that the uber-Catholic phalanx seems to what that anyone who claims the free exercise of their religion (dogma? personal theology? divine revelation? peep stones?) can therefore discriminate by anything, i.e., class, gender, race, sexual orientation, age, marital status, etc. so long as it fits their definition of "free exercise."

Ask the LDS how they were able to practice polygamy under the “free exercise” clause.

Ask Christian Scientists who want to withhold medical care from their minor children.

Ask anyone who is not a member of the Native American Church is (s)he can use peyote in the “free exercise” of his/her religion.

Ask anyone who is not a member of a religious group that expouses conscientious objection, but does so personally, if they can claim that status as part of their “free exercise” without one heck of a hassle that they will most likely lose.

Ask parents who want to have a free hand in any kind corporal punishment of their children that happens to be in violation of various laws about the “free exercise” of their religious beliefs.

Ask someone who takes the Hebrew Scriptures to heart and wants to own slaves about “free exercise.”
Jim McCrea
6 years 11 months ago
Let's face it:  if a small segment of Catholics don't get their way in exercising their First Amendment Rights in the way they want, they always have their Second Amendment Remedies - right?
Martin Gallagher
6 years 11 months ago
Im, your argument is internally flawed.  Objection to contraception and abortion are as much a part of the Catholic religion as pacifism is to Friends/Amish/etc..  If they received CO status for > 200 years, we can object to directly funding something we consider objectionable.
Amy Ho-Ohn
6 years 11 months ago
In New York, "conciliatory" is what muggers call it when they give you a chance to hand over your wallet before they bash your head in to get it.
6 years 11 months ago
Dolan is taking a script from that used by the Republican leadership in the senate and the house over the last three years. He and the bishops would do well not to overplay their hand, because, the truth be told, the majority of the flock ain't buying it.
ed gleason
6 years 11 months ago
Cardinal. Dolan wants the exemption to include entities that he does not own or control. =hospitals and universities. He claims that his conscience is violated by what others do? It's not  conscience, it's his desire to control BC  laws. When he and his allies keep saying 'schools' they are doing school boy quibbling because they know  diocesan schools were originally exempt. . As this issue will be year in playing out, their schoolboy quibbling will be more and more clear to both Catholic pew people and  public square's contempt will reach a critical mass. Again when there is finally a list of all the Catholic Colleges and hospitals that have had BC coverage for years with bishop silence, their quibbling will be seen as big an embarrassment as the abuse cover up. Wild Bill Donahue's catholic league  will have full employment for years pushing back at a Church being sneered at.
Marie Rehbein
6 years 11 months ago
If he's not in the Obama-hater crowd, then he's doing it to get attention.  Blessed are the meek...
Amy Ho-Ohn
6 years 11 months ago
"Why can't there be an exemption for employers that assert a conscientous objection?"

Because if there is an exemption for any employer to assert any conscientious objection, logically there must be an exemption for every employer to assert every "conscientious" objection. Employers who object to out-of-wedlock birth will refuse to cover out-of-wedlock pregnancies and pediatrician services for out-of-wedlock children. Employers who believe the availability of chemotherapy encourages people to smoke will object to covering chemotherapy. Employers who object to drunk driving will refuse to cover injuries from auto accidents. Any employer who wants to save money can find a reason to object to medical services and call it conscientious.

The ACA is not a mugger. It's a piece of legislation decided by the democratic, constitutional process. A lot of people hate it. Tough. There was an election and their side lost it.

Employer-mandated health care is a compromise. One side wanted equal access to health care for all citizens. The other side wanted superior access for rich people and minimal or no access for poor people. The ACA, specifically the employer mandate, is designed to provide minimally humane access for poor people while preserving the rich and professional classes' monopoly on superior health care. 

That's why employers are stuck in the middle. It's a little bit bizarre and it's nobody's favorite solution, but it's what passed the democratically elected legislature. Time to stop crying and deal with it.
C Walter Mattingly
6 years 11 months ago
Amy writes (#7),
"The ACA is not a mugger. It's a piece of legistlation decided by the democratic, electoral process. A lot of people hate it. Tough. There was an election and their side lost."
While technically accurate, this distorts the accuracy of the situation. Setting it into context may be helpful.
In the first instance, the name which the Obama administration has fallaciously attempted to give it, the Affordable Care Act. With a slight of hand bordering on fraudulence, they manipulated the data to the extent of creating a misrepresentation, delaying benefits 4 years until 2014 to create the false impression that a ten year projection would show it would not increase costs. Bottom line: the cost increase projections for health care in year 2014, scheduled to increase 6.2% under the old system, are now scheduled to increase over 9%. So the first word of the name the administration attempted to give the program, "Affordable," proves to be fallacious. Not an auspicious start. 
Secondly, while the ACA itself might not be a mugger-after all, it itself is insentient and incapable of doing anything-those who voted for then-candidate Obama based upon his word may well feel they were mugged. Senator Obama promised on at least 8 videotaped occasions that he would not make the mistake the Clintons did, putting together a plan behind closed doors and then springing it upon the American people. He would instead involve all in free debate. Of course, he did exactly the opposite, locking Pelosi and Reid behind closed doors to cobble together a hastily constructed plan, then having Pelosi answer the objections to the 2,000 pages of legalese so sprung upon them, that they would have to pass it to find out what was in it. Of course it was forced through under reconciliation against the will of the American people, and now we are faced with the reality of a plan far more costly than advertised, with the entire long term care portion in the trash can, over 1,000 "exemptions," even constitutionally challenged. Such is the result of this rushed and flawed plan. 
Liberal supporters stuck with defending the president complain that the Obamacare moniker was forced upon an unwilling public by the plan's conservative opponents. It may well be that that name was offered by opponents, but the reason the name stuck was the simple truth: the plan was neither the Affordable plan it was advertised to be, nor was it the people's plan, the majority of whom opposed it and who were duped, mugged instead, by President Obama's lack of integrity to his word. Therefore not only is it a distortion to call it Affordable Care, it would also be a distortion to call it Americare or the Peoplesplan. Because it is Obamacare, not theirs.
Amy continues, "Time to stop crying and deal with it."
Agreed. In 2010, the deceived public overwhelmingly rejected the president's actions and returned the House to the opposition. The president can no longer get away with such duplicity or legerdemain as he did with Obamacare.
But the job of dealing with it all is not over.
That opportunity will come in November.
Vince Killoran
6 years 11 months ago
Martin grasps that some exceptions have been made for religious dissenters-but it's more complicated since they don't get exceptions across the board, e.g. Amish et al. are excuses from military service, but they pay taxes. It's a balancing process which is why the HHS guidelines allow for religious exceptions.

As for "directly funding" the HHS guidelines don't require that-but the USCCB argument is that the Catholic institutions' insurance contribution will, somehow, be "touching" other insurance money.  Of course, they don't mind taking all tax dollars that come from unpure sources.

If the bishops want to take a principled stand then put their bodies on the line.  Protest. Get arrested. Serve time in jail.
Joshua DeCuir
6 years 11 months ago
"The fact that many many employees partially pay for their own health insurance at work  makes a mockery of USCCB stance."


I do agree that if we had a system that did not depend on employer-provided health insurance, this problem would be non-existent.  Unforutnately the Democrats rejected that proposal during the ACA negotiations.
Martin Gallagher
6 years 11 months ago
Amy writes, "The ACA is not a mugger. It's a piece of legislation decided by the democratic, constitutional process. A lot of people hate it. Tough. There was an election and their side lost it."

... and if it violates your first amendment rights?  Tough.  You Catholics should just shut up and get used to it. 


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