Thursday, September 18, 2014

When the Leading Cardinal in America is Simply a Careerist

For those of you who haven't been following, let me summarize in brief.  Cardinal Dolan has given what I consider to be a poorly reasoned, condescending and annoyingly folksy rationalization of his decision to serve as Grand Marshal of New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, which will now show the children along the route a group of "gay Irish" marching under a banner identifying themselves as such.  Dolan rightly points out that we condemn the sin, not the sinner - and of course gays have been marching in parades for centuries (though not parading about as gays).  He wrongly points out that if a man or a woman marches under a Gay Pride banner, it's merely a way of indicating his or her sexual identity, and is in no way an endorsement of the sins that such a sexual identity seeks out.

I countered with an Open Letter to Cardinal Dolan in which I asked to march under the banner of IRISH ADULTERERS.  I point out that, even though the sin of adultery is condemned, and even though I have not given in to consummating fully the temptations of adultery, I still consider this my sexual identity and the Church should not judge me for that, and certainly by marching under a banner in which I identify myself as having an inclination to adultery, I'm not endorsing adultery.  Heavens no!  I'm simply Proud of my inclination.  I simply identify with my temptations.  I could have said more.  I could have suggested groups marching under such banners as GREEDY IRISH EMPLOYERS, or LAZY SLOTHFUL IRISH DRUNKS, or IRISH CHILD MOLESTERS.  I mean, we can't judge a child molester's soul, only his sins - although if Dolan is affirming anything in this scandal, it's that we are defined by our sins.  

So that's our story so far.  And the general take on this situation is that Cardinal Dolan is a naive fool.

Today, however, Kevin Tierney comments on the Dolan Situation at Red Cardigan's blog (my emphasis)...

Maybe we have to consider the unpleasant possibility that His Eminence knows exactly what he is doing, he is not the fool, and that these are conscious choices.
Too many events have happened in Dolan's history to suggest naivete or [foolishness]. There's something else at work here.
No, it's not him being a heretic, modernist, or whatever you want to say. Plain and simple, Dolan is a careerist. All of his controversial decisions from the Sheen dustup, to his role in the abuse scandals, to Holy Innocents, to now the parade have been about what's best for the bottom line ... his bottom line. What advances his profile is what is best for business.

This is one of those theories that fits all the facts - which means it's probably true.

Of course, I must insert a caveat: to acknowledge the truth of a person's character is not to judge that person's soul or his relationship with God.  That's not our business, and we are not to do that.  But to trust a man like Timothy Dolan, to hope from him adherence to Catholic principles, especially when the pressure's on or the chips are down, to expect him even to teach or to administer with any conformity to Christ, after he's shown us again and again what he's made of, is to be a dupe.

But why is it so hard for us to admit this?

We know how all of the original apostles failed in their loyalty to Christ.  We know of the lack of sanctity in various bishops throughout history, and how many, then and now, are simply scoundrels.  We know, if we haven't shut our senses to it, that most bishops aren't even Christian enough to protect Catholic teaching, the Holy Mass, or the safety and innocence of children in their own dioceses.  We know they lie.  We know they are often narcissists filled with grandiose self-importance.

By the same token, we know that the Church tells us to expect this.  We know that the Church tells us that the Holy Spirit protects the Magisterium from teaching error on matters of Faith and Morals, but gives them free reign - without protecting them from error - to be a witness in other ways either to their love for God or to their love for their own sorry selves.  God has never prevented any of us from sinning, and the grace conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders can be tarnished and peed on like the grace the rest of us are given to follow Christ every waking moment of the day.

But bother us it does.  And this is hard to admit or to comprehend.  The leading prelate in America - the most public bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States, who is a cardinal and who should be, by virtue of his position, a role model - is a careerist who is more interested in pleasing men than in pleasing God.  See Gal. 1:10, where St. Paul says - emphatically and with emotion - that to do this is to cease to be a "servant of Christ".

So he's a careerist.  There are worse things that can be said of a man.  There are worse things people could say about me.  There are worse things I could say about you.

But this is a tragedy all the same.  It's not even a tragedy, for a tragedy (in the literary sense) requires nobility of character and high aspirations gone wrong.  This, then, is not tragic.  It's pathetic.

I wrote yesterday of our unwillingness to face the facts, to see plainly the darkness in our own hearts or in the hearts of people in whom we've placed our hopes, people in whom we have a vested interest.  Of course, there's an opposite danger, which is rank cynicism, and which is giving yourself over to the demagoguery of Catholics-with-a-schtick like Michael Voris, who make a career of bishop bashing and playing to the most brutal element in our souls.

But if we are anything, we Christians, we are men of truth.  And the truth will set us free, even the ugly truth.  And having the leading cardinal in America be a careerist who sells out his fidelity to Christ any chance he gets is certainly an ugly truth.

I am told that in Roman days, the laity would turn their back on prelates like Dolan in public, refusing to look them in the eyes.

That would be the worst thing you could do to a careerist - and also the most charitable.  Such a move might even prod him to repent.


Anonymous said...

Agreed, it is all about the money ! B/C without the money the rcc can not buy politicians who control the laws !

xmenno said...

One thing - the accounts of the weaknesses of the various apostles occurred before and during the paschal sacrifice of Jesus, and before the descent of the Holy Spirit. When the apostles received the Holy Spirit they were changed from the doubters, cowards, and deniers to bold proclaimers of the Gospel, to their deaths. While I don't believe they became sinless, their lives post-ascension are testimony to the power of God himself indwelling them. Would that we who receive the strength of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation allow Him to change us in the same way.

Kevin Tierney said...


That's really a highly romantic view of things. Even after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter engaged in rank tribalism, to the point of shunning new converts.

Paul more or less had a gigantic "does not play well with others" sticker put in his folder, as his stubborness (and that of Barnabas) led to them splitting and going their own way, even though both were faithful.

Yes, we are called to so much more. But the reality of the situation is that we seldom reach that point. We are told constantly that 'success is not one of the names of God" and that we are sinners participating in God's plan.

Well..... careerists who are focused on their own advancement would seem to fit well with that narrative.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post. However I also agree with Michael Voris. The viewpoints do not look so different to me. Why put him down when he is also trying to get the cardinal (and the rank and file Catholics) to wake up?


Anonymous said...

Amen to that Patty, we all need to realize that we have all failled in our commitment to Christ and His church and I believe Michael Voris is trying his best to bring us back to the truth revealed by Christ in His Holy Catholic Church. None of us like to look at our faults and fallures, and its not easy to point out the failures of our Bishops and priest.Because we as Catholics have not lived virtuious lives ourselves and we get the leaders we deserve and not the ones we need

Anonymous said...

What's hard about this for me is that he publicly represents the Church, and when he makes mistakes like this, the Church suffers. Not just his diocese, but the whole Church in the United States. I almost can see the devil doing a little happy dance, because by these kinds of actions, the faithful are scandalized, and the unfaithful are plunged deeper into darkness. Those who are "broken reeds" are further crushed.
It's bad enough when we are attacked from outside our ranks, but to have a leader who attacks the faith from the inside, well, that's even harder (like the abuse scandal). In those cases you better know your catechism well, because you can't trust the leader to lead you.
It never ends.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that the whole point of this article. WE ARE ALL SINNERS! But we don't go around carrying a banner advertising the fact--and expect others to applaud and relish in our sins.

We are being beaten into accepting the the homosexual lifestyle under the guise of "tolerance" and we are expected to embrace that lifestyle without calling it out for what it really is-- a disordered lifestyle. This is clearly what the Church teaches. We embrace the sinner of course, but we are supposed to then say "sin no more"...but instead, we say..."march in our parade!" Very sad.


Anonymous said...

Good article....but why bash Michael Voris. I would have known about this issue without this. Also listening the Vortex has made me less "timid" n expressing my views.

Christian LeBlanc said...


Sharon Green said...

Not taking a stand is taking a position. Actions speak louder than words. You are supposed to serve God and God's laws not glory in the view of the world. "The devil is capable of confusing the most brilliant mind." ~Saint Padre Pio #truecolors

Anonymous said...

Who's being controlled by the Church...Andrew Cuomo...Nancy Pelosi...Joe Bidden? You anti-Catholics really need to make sense, someday.

Anonymous said...

These mixed messages from our church leaders, speaking out of both sides of their mouths is so sad and disheartening! They not only undermine us living our faith, they lead others still further away. Yet our hope and trust is in the Lord who is Truth! I pray we be strengthened by the Sacraments and gifts of the Holy Spirit to speak/live the Truth with love for the good of all! May our Lord have mercy on us all, and deliver us from evil!

Anonymous said...

When the church and the world become one.....

Anonymous said...

All I could say is that none of this matters to me.
I have encountered countless individuals in the Church just like that described in article. I'd like to think that the Holy Spirit's guidance of the Church will deter these individuals so that their folly
will not stain the holiness of the Church nor avert its mission. God bless you each.