Tag Archives: cardinal timothy dolan

US Bishops write every member of Congress re Syrian crisis

Washington, D.C., September 05, 2013 (Zenit.org)

On the same day that Pope Francis asked the G20 nations to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” in Syria, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote to every member of Congress, urging them not to resort to military intervention, but instead work to end the violence in Syria through a political solution.

In their letter today, Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates affirmed the finding of a proposed Congressional resolution that acknowledges that “the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement,” and questioned military intervention. The bishops also condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, declaring these “indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of the family of nations.” They noted that more than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives, more than 2 million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4 million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the ongoing conflict.

“Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it,” the bishops wrote. They echoed the appeals of Pope Francis and bishops in the Middle East who “have made it clear that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences.”

“We ask the United States to work urgently and tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities,” they wrote. The bishops also assured Congress of their prayers in the midst of this complex situation.

Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates wrote to President Obama September 4, also urging a political solution in Syria.

From zenit.org

Cardinal Dolan publishes new e-book

Here is an excerpt from an e-book released today by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the US bishops’ conference. The book is titled “Praying in Rome” and recounts the cardinal’s experience during the time of the sede vacante following Benedict XVI’s resignation, the conclave and the election of Pope Francis.
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Many have asked me, “What legacy do you think Pope Benedict XVI has left behind?” That is a question that will take years for any of us to fully answer. Think of this: even though John Paul II died over eight years ago, we are still unpacking his legacy. That examination, appreciation, and even criticism will go on for years and years. The same will be true of Benedict.

I read an article recently on Pope Pius XII, which suggested that it’s only now—fifty-five years after his death—that we’re beginning to appreciate his teaching, especially in Sacred Scripture, in the liturgy, in the whole nature of the Church. Look how long it takes for us to properly appreciate what we call the magisterium, the teaching office, of any given pope! Yet, I do think in time we will see that there are five key lessons that Pope Benedict left behind for us to cultivate.

First, we are called to a friendship with Jesus Christ. That’s about as basic, as simple, and yet as profound as you can get: that our lives are about responding to a call to friendship with Jesus now, and for all eternity. Faith is not about propositions or doctrines—as important as they are—but about a relationship with a person: God, who has revealed Himself in Jesus.

The second lesson is about the centrality of Jesus. The Church is not about a “what.” The Church is not about a “where.” The Church is not about a “how.” The Church is about a “who.” And that “who” is a person, the second person of the Most Blessed Trinity, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The third lesson would be theological depth. This is a man who has told us and shown us, in his writings and talks, that faith and reason are intimately united. They are not at odds. God’s two greatest gifts to us are the supernatural gift of faith and the natural gift of reason, and both are intimately allied. We use our reason to deepen our faith and our faith to illuminate our reason. He taught that so clearly.

Lesson four shows us to engage the culture. We don’t run from the culture, hide from society, or condemn the world. There are certain things in culture that we will have to speak starkly about. But we are called to engage, and that comes straight from the Second Vatican Council. The Church needs to be in dialogue with the world. Why? Because God is! The incarnation—God becoming one of us—is par excellence God the Father’s engagement with His creation and creatures.

But the most profound lesson this great professor-pontiff may have taught the world is this: It’s not about him, or you, or me, or us. It’s about Christ. It’s about the Church. His heroic and humble decision to step down from the Chair of St. Peter is a lesson in selflessness that all of us should carry in our hearts. In the end, the Pope’s decision wasn’t about anyone other than Jesus. It’s not about us at all. It’s all about Jesus.

Bishops have serious concerns over revised HHS contraception mandate

Washington D.C., Jul 8, 2013 — After an initial analysis of the finalized HHS mandate, the U.S. bishops are warning that despite changes, the regulation still threatens the Church’s ability “to carry out the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.”

“Although the Conference has not completed its analysis of the final rule, some basic elements of the final rule have already come into focus,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In a July 3 statement, he explained that so far, the conference “has not discovered any new change that eliminates the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts.”

The statement came in response to the release of the final rules regulating the federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

Issued under the Affordable Care Act, the mandate has become the subject of lawsuits from more than 200 plaintiffs who claim that it forces them to violate their deeply-held religious convictions.

Amid protests around the nation, the Obama administration has engaged in a multi-step process to modify the mandate in order to allow for religious freedom. The release of the final rule on June 28 completed that process.

The final rule allows some religious employers to have a full exemption from the mandate. To qualify, they must meet criteria laid out in February, which align with Internal Revenue Code, Section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii), which “refers to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.”

The administration has stated that this will cover primarily “churches, other houses of worship, and their affiliated organizations.”

Faith-based groups that are not affiliated with a specific house of worship, such as many religious hospitals, schools and charities, are not covered by the exemption. To address these groups, the administration is offering an “accommodation” instead.

The finalized accommodation will require insurance issuers to “provide payments for contraceptive services” directly to women working for religious employers who object to providing them. If a religious employer is self-insured, a third-party administrator will act in the place of an insurer to arrange the provision of employee’s contraceptives.

Earlier proposals for the accommodation had suggested that the objectionable services would be covered under a separate insurance plan. The change to direct payments ensures that insurance providers will bear the burden for funding the contraceptives.

Cardinal Dolan observed that this change “seems intended to strengthen the claim that objectionable items will not ultimately be paid for by the employer’s premium dollars,” but said that it remains “unclear whether the proposal succeeds in identifying a source of funds that is genuinely separate from the objecting employer, and if so, whether it is workable to draw from that separate source.”

The finalized mandate requires that the insurance issuer “must ensure that it does not use any premiums” from objecting organizations to fund the contraception and related products. The Obama administration has maintained that such products are “cost neutral” and can be paid for by insurance companies with no reimbursement because of the decreased pregnancy and birth costs and the other “health benefits” that contraception brings.

However, in a 2012 nationwide survey, pharmacy directors rejected the notion that contraceptives could be issued at no cost to insurance companies.

Another major concern raised by Cardinal Dolan is the administration’s attempt to create different categories of religious freedom, distinguishing among those employers that receive a full exemption, those that receive only an accommodation and those that are running for-profit businesses and receive no protection at all.

The administration has claimed that religious freedom does not extend to decisions made about the governance of for-profit companies. However, Cardinal Dolan explained that the bishops “are concerned as pastors with the freedom of the Church as a whole – not just for the full range of its institutional forms, but also for the faithful in their daily lives – to carry out the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.”

Another possible area of concern is the unwilling facilitation of contraception under the accommodation, as the “objectionable items will still be paid for by virtue of the fact that an employee belongs to the Catholic employer’s plan,” he said.

Out of three possibilities proposed for self-insured groups, the cardinal added, the final mandate utilizes the one that the bishops had identified as “the most objectionable,” as it “treats the employer’s very act of objecting to coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients as the legal authorization for a third-party administrator to secure the objectionable coverage.”

Noting that many of the bishops’ original critiques remain unaddressed in the final mandate, Cardinal Dolan affirmed that the U.S. bishops will “continue to examine” the changes in the 110-page document and will have more to say on the mandate after determining whether it will undermine “the effective proclamation” of Church teaching by religious groups.

From EWTN News

US bishops respond to Supreme Court decisions on marriage

June 26, 2013

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The statement follows.

“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.

“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.

“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.

“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”

From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops