Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,649 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Cardinal Dolan decries HHS mandate, weighs JFK church-state speech

Catholic World News - April 09, 2012

Appearing on the television show “Face the Nation” on Easter Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan decried the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate.

“We didn't ask for the fight but we're not going to back away from it,” Cardinal Dolan said. He added:

What I'd say is this: Yeah, I don't think religion should be too involved in politics but I also don't think the government and politics should be overly involved in the Church, and that's our problem here. You've got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the Church that bothers me. So hear me say, hey, I'd like to back away from this, I got other things to worry about and bigger fish to fry than this. Our problem is the government is intruding into the--into the life of faith and in--in the Church that they shouldn't be doing. That's--that's our--our read on this.

The prelate also defended what he saw as the main thrust of John F. Kennedy’s famed 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Alliance, in which the presidential candidate said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be Catholic, how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.”

At the same time, Cardinal Dolan explained why he sympathized with Senator Rick Santorum’s criticism of the Kennedy speech. (Santorum, referring to the speech, 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. And he threw faith under the bus in that speech.”)

Cardinal Dolan said:

I would cheer what John Kennedy said, he was right, and I would--I would find myself among those applauding that speech. That having been said, I would also say that Senator Santorum had a good point because, unfortunately, what John Kennedy said in September of 1960 to the Baptist Ministerial Alliance in Texas has been misinterpreted to mean that a separation of church and state also means a cleavage a wall between one's faith and one's political decisions, between one's--one's moral focus and between one-- the way one might act in the political sphere. I don't think John Kennedy meant that and as you know recent scholarship has shown that John Kennedy was very inspired by vision, by character, by virtue, let's call that faith, let's call that morals. So I don't think John Kennedy meant a cleavage between faith and politics. He did mean a wall between state and church, and I would applaud that one, but I would agree with Senator Santorum that unfortunately that has been misrepresented to mean that faith has no place in the public square. That, I would, with Senator Santorum say is a misinterpretation not only what Senator Kennedy meant but with what the American genius is all about.

Asked, “What is your greatest challenge now as a Catholic leader?” Cardinal Dolan replied:

Well, the greatest challenge is to--is to--in a way, it is the same as it was that first Easter Sunday morning, to try to show that God, religion, the Church is on the side of life and light and freedom and hope. That is what--that is the biggest challenge, that life-giving, liberating, ennobling, uplifting message of--of the Bible, of morality, of the Church, of Jesus, that's--that's our challenge, Bob, and in a world--I mean you are on the frontlines, you got to report bad news all the time, most of the time we want to cry when we see the news, because there is so much darkness and tragedy and sadness, so the greatest challenge I got is try to preach the good news and try to show that the light and life and promise of the Gospel always trumps the bad news that we hear all the time. There is a great religious challenge.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($124,738 to go):
$150,000.00 $25,262.05
83% 17%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Apr. 10, 2012 8:59 PM ET USA

    @romy: there is no comments because we are all embarrassed ... Cardinal Dolan has proven to be naive with Obama and his statements (as above) are confusing everyone -- he would support Kennedy and he would support Santorum??? where does he stand? and you are correct: Kennedy's statement is very clear, against our Faith, and no subject of misinterpretation.

  • Posted by: Baseballbuddy - Apr. 10, 2012 12:03 AM ET USA

    I can't believe there are no comments on this. It is very embarrassing that Card. Dolan should think that Kennedy was being misinterpreted. Kennedy was very clear that his faith would not inform his governance of the nation, that his faith was safely tucked away under a bushel. Also, Dolan seemed to struggle to come up with what the greatest challenges are. May I suggest a lay sounding board to help him?

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Church Moves On, Slowly 24 hours ago
Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? October 24
The Pope is not the problem October 23
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6