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Cardinal Timothy Dolan Says Faith Has a Place in Politics

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Cardinal Timothy Dolan said religion has a role to play in politics and public life, and John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech on the separation of church and state had been misinterpreted.

In a pre-taped interview that aired Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation," the head of New York's Roman Catholic archdiocese said it is a benefit to politics when people are "inspired by their deepest-held convictions."

Politics "only benefits when religion, when morals, when faith has a place there," Dolan said.

He said he agreed with Kennedy's stance that there should be a separation of church and state to avoid situations like priests telling congregants which candidates to pick, but said people had mistakenly taken that to mean that people should separate their faith from their political choices.

Host Bob Schieffer asked Dolan what he thought of comments Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum had made in 2011, that when the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania read Kennedy's speech he said: "I almost threw up. In my opinion it was the beginning of the secular movement of politicians to separate their faith from the public square."

Dolan said he agreed with both men. "I would also say that Sen. Santorum had a good point."

The cardinal reiterated his stance that the U.S government is engaged in a "dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church" with recent decisions on contraceptive coverage.

Some religious organizations protested when President Barack Obama moved to mandate that religious-affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities include free birth control coverage in their employee health plans. Obama later said religious employers could opt out, but insurers must pay for the coverage.

Proponents say the plan is a breakthrough for women's rights, but Dolan and other leaders say it violates religious freedom.

Dolan's interview aired on Easter, the day after a board member of the city's Catholic Charities told The Associated Press he quit the junior board over the cardinal's stance on gay issues.

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Comments [2]

K Webster from nyc

What exactly was Sen. Santorum's "good point" on Kennedy's speech? Kennedy, faced with tremendous anti-Catholic bias, chose to uphold the best of what the US tries to be: a place of religious tolerance where no one religion holds sway over any other -while never ever disavowing his own faith.

As to Dolan's views on contraception, it never fails to amaze how the Catholic Church feels no hesitation to find comfort in US law when it suits. Like filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying settlements to the sexually abused children of their priests and subpoenaing those victims' organizations. But claims it's a violation of religious freedom to provide equal treatment to women for health care -as our laws would stipulate or claims it's a violation of "sovereign immunity" to be required to report the crimes of pedophiles to the authorities -as our laws would stipulate.

The Church hierarchy, dominated by men and male culture, has clearly demonstrated they have no ability to think outside of their own self-interests. They would willingly risk women's lives, health and ability to determine their own futures as mothers, they exploit the labor of nuns, lie for and protect victimizers, harass organizations who defend the victims of their priest's abuse and shield themselves from any responsibility. All to hold onto earthly power and prestige.

Far from washing the feet the survivors of abuse as did the Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland, Dolan and his brethren instead attack U.S. elected officials who intend to insure women have equal access to health care and uphold our laws that would have criminals brought to justice.

Dolan says: "U.S government is engaged in a "dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church" ...

Your own base has been calling out loud and clear -perhaps you are in need some dramatic radical intrusion?

Apr. 09 2012 01:11 PM
Doug Indeap from California

While Santorum profoundly misunderstands the constitutional separation of church and state and Dolan mistakenly thinks the health care law puts religious employers in some sort of moral bind, Dolan rightly notes that the constitutional separation of church and state does not prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The Constitution, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion.

Confusion arises because the constitutional principle is sometimes equated with a political doctrine that generally calls for political dialogue to be conducted on grounds other than religion. Two aims of that doctrine are to facilitate discussion amongst people of all beliefs by predicating discussion on grounds accessible to all and, further, to avoid or minimize putting our various religious beliefs directly "in play" in the political arena since government cannot base laws directly on those beliefs anyway and so citizens need not directly dispute or criticize each other's religious beliefs in order to resolve political issues. Unlike the constitutional principle, the political doctrine is not "law." Reasonable people can disagree about whether the doctrine is a good idea and whether or how it should influence us in particular circumstances.

Apr. 08 2012 09:06 PM

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