Some fallout after Cardinal Dolan steps into a snake pit…

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It appears that the public relations officer for Cardinal Dolan, Joseph Zwilling, has been getting quite a workout this past week. The poor fellow has had to respond to the Cardinal’s botched pre-recorded appearance on Sunday, March 9th’s Meet the Press.

In that interview, David Gregory asked Cardinal Dolan:

Michael Sam, from your home state, the football player, revealed that he was gay, first in the NFL. And you saw the celebration from the president, the first lady, and they were saying what a courageous step that was. How did you view it?

The Cardinal responded:

Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us, well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, “Bravo.”


Not one who fails to express her opinions with trenchant clarity, Ann Barnhardt posted in her blog:

“Bravo” to sodomy….says Dolan, who couldn’t give any less of a [s***] about this Michael Sam kid, and is perfectly willing to not only watch this poor kid go to hell, but will even relish in Michael Sam’s sin in order to leverage his (Dolan’s) own personal worldly popularity. There simply aren’t words. The craven connivance is beyond description.

Is this yet another example of the Bergoglio—“Who am I to judge?”—phenomenon?

Barnhardt adds:

Does Dolan really believe that we are called by God to make absolutely NO moral judgements whatsoever about human behavior? Really? So we can’t judge murder? We can’t judge rape? We can’t judge theft? “Judge not lest ye be judged” is God Almighty abolishing the very notion of sin and demanding total anarchy? REALLY?

But beyond that obvious imbecility, Dolan has now taken it a step further—he HAS in fact JUDGED the sin of sodomy, and has JUDGED it positively.  ”Bravo” means “good”.  ”Good for him” means GOOD. FOR. HIM.  But Dolan isn’t smart enough to recognize the internal contradiction in saying “Bravo”—which is the Italian word for “good” in the sense of “well done”—and in literally the same breath saying “Who am I to judge?” You just DID judge, you jackass.

Like her assessment or not, Barnhardt does make a point.

Cardinal Dolan should have anticipated David Gregory’s question. He also should have answered in a way that promoted Church teaching and protected the Pope’s integrity. After all, the interview was pre-recorded.

But, some might opine, the Cardinal may have been caught off guard anyway. What can be said about this?

For one thing, whereas Cardinal Dolan is usually very adept at evading traps when interviewed, no one—even a cardinal—is so good as to be able to dodge every bullet, every time. Imagine what it must be like to be in the Cardinal’s position: In every interview, he knows there’s always the possibility that after each question is asked, it might be the next one that takes him down.

And, taken down to the mat and pinned as Cardinal Dolan was on Meet the Press, it wasn’t by David Gregory…but by the Cardinal himself and by his own words.

Barnhardt also makes the point that Pope Francis bears some responsibility for this phenomenon. His advice that priests and Religious should throw doctrinal caution to the wind and mix it up with the los pueblos goads not only priests and Religious but also high-ranking prelates—who sometimes think themselves more clever than most, even allegedly “friendly” folks in the press—into a snake pit from which it is impossible to escape unscathed.

That’s why Zwilling was in high gear last week, attempting to tamp down the maelstrom. Responding to questions from, Zwilling’s email stated:

You can quote me about the Cardinal’s appearance on Meet the Press as follows:

“I believe that the Cardinal’s intention was clear, when he said that the same Bible that teaches us about chastity and fidelity also teaches us not to judge. We are called to love one another.

At the same time, the Cardinal is a very strong supporter of Courage, the Church’s ministry to those with same-sex attraction who are trying to follow the Church’s teaching. He understands, however, that the Church can only extend the invitation, and that, in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, the Church can only propose, it cannot impose.

It would therefore be wrong for anyone  to say, or even imply, that the Cardinal’s words on Meet the Press meant that he was unconcerned about Church teaching on homosexual activity (or any other immoral behavior), or that he was not fully supportive of that teaching, particularly as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Oh, come now! As the CNS report observed, Zwilling sidestepped the question concerning whether the openly homosexual Michael Sam is a good role model for young males or whether his conduct is scandalous.

Cardinal Dolan has stepped right into a snake pit. Now, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men won’t be able to put New York’s Cardinal back together again. No doubt, he will survive, but not unscathed.

Likewise for Pope Francis. If the Pope is of the opinion that this kind of mixing it up with los pueblos will make the Church look more inviting to disaffected U.S. Catholics on the left or right, it’s quite likely he’s either misinformed or mistaken.




To read Ann Barnhardt’s blog, click on the following link:

To read the CNSNews report, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:

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  1. “Likewise for Pope Francis. If the Pope is of the opinion that this kind of mixing it up with los pueblos will make the Church look more inviting to disaffected U.S. Catholics on the left or right, it’s quite likely he’s either misinformed or mistaken. ”

    It merely makes the Church look confused to her friends and weak to her enemies.

  2. On a somewhat related point, I wonder if the Cardinal is going to comment on Guinness withdrawing its sponsorship of the parade in New York today because of the ongoing refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march under banners in the parade?

    By the way, I have already fired off an email to Guinness advising them that I will never buy another one of their products. It would be helpful if others did the same.

  3. The Cardinal is a politician at heart and not a shepherd for a shepherd acts to bring back wayward sheep. He does not open the gate to let the wolf into the pen. Ezekiel 34:1-10 comes to mind.

  4. “The Cardinal is a politician at heart and not a shepherd” “I am sorry to hear that” about Sam’s condition which is an act of God.
    However, it takes two witnesses to establish a judicial fact, a judgement fact. Sam’s testimony about himself is no testimony. Sam’s “coming out” without testimony of two witnesses is no testimony and a fact that his condition is an act of God, not an act of arrogance or pride against God and all that is holy, virtue, chastity, prudence, temperance and purity of heart and soul.
    Marriage itself is the testimony of two witnesses to the marital act. The child is evidence of the marital act. I bear witness to my mother and father, who assumed the vocation of husband and wife in accord with nature and God’s will.
    As Jesus said: “My works bear testimony to me and my Father in heaven testifies to me.” (loosely quoted) Jesus’ acts, raising the dead, curing the sick, the blind and the lame, but mostly teaching mankind how to offer sacrifice of praise and worship to God in emulating the Son of Man (Come follow me) may be judged for these are acts with witnesses.
    Sam’s testimony is no testimony. As Saint Thomas said: “I will not believe until I have put my hand into His wounds.”

    Cardinal Dolan is free to not believe. “Good, I am glad you are”

  5. Being, and the free will act of accepting our being, the will to be, having been created by our Creator and accepting our existence as ” I AM” by each and every person is “Good”. “Very Good”

  6. “I wonder if the Cardinal is going to comment on Guinness withdrawing its sponsorship of the parade in New York today because of the ongoing refusal to allow gay and lesbian groups to march under banners in the parade?”
    Freedom of peaceable assembly is at stake. Mob rule and bullying is not peaceable assembly or covered under the First Amendment. Samuel Adams beer and Guinness are both unconstitutional in forcing others to accept their version of tyranny, but both are free to support mob rule. I will send boycott and will support boycott.

  7. I am amused: Veto is the space between one’s big toe (not Big Foot) but one’s big toe, and the rest of his foot. This is used by man to “push off” from every evil, to avoid the near occasion of sin.
    Bear with me. The brain finally kicked in. The synapses are again flowing with information.

  8. Michael Sam said he was gay. What is Cardinal Dolan supposed to say to the question? Being gay is not sinful. If Michael Sam came out saying he was having a sexual relationship with another male I am sure the cardinal would have had a different answer. You are the one judging Michael Sam’s behavior.
    Cardinal Dolan knows homosexuality is disordered and intrinsically evil. The first step in combatting the evil in our lives is admitting they are there so they can be addressed and corrected…so good for Michael Sam, I am sure he will have many more people praying for him to be chaste. Bravo!

  9. It is embarrassing and scandalous to have such weak shepherds who do NOT stand up for the truths of the Catholic faith. Worse yet, they appear to condone it for specious reasons and thus confirm people in sinful life choices. WHO, I ask who, is caring for souls? WE are indeed called to judge behavior and actions. The weak shepherds are culpable. C. Dolan said in public that he has rarely (never?) preached on such topics as contraception or sodomy. That is to be proud of? He is a worldling and that does not make for sainthood.

  10. Dolan DID judge, though; he judged and approved. If he had not judged, there would have been no controversy.

  11.  Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    Romans 1:32

  12. Cardinal Dolan dropped the ball on the 5 yard line. He had a beautiful teaching moment on National Television and chocked. Fumbles that Our Holy Catholic Church honestly can’t afford right now. God help him.

  13. It was in fact courageous for the guy to admit he is a homo. He is going to be verbally and physically tormented. There are likely several NFL guys who are both able and aching to make a career-ending hit on Michael Sam, and they will take their shot. He will suffer for his God-given sexuality, and for the fact that he admitted to it.
    He admitted to it to show other homos how to suffer with dignity and to make the rest of us rethink our attitudes towards our fellow men as they lie writhing in pain, screaming in agony for being born a certain way and admitting to it.

  14. I can’t stop you from calling me an “isolationist”…

    You are, and you appear to be ignorant of the difference between isolationism and autarky.

  15. For the last time, homosexual inclination is NOT a sin, only homosexual activity. Dolan’s statement is completely consistent with Catholic teaching in this area.

    Second, I read Dolan’s “Good for him” and “Bravo” seems more like a semi-sarcastic dismissal than an affirmation, but it’s impossible to tell without tone.

  16. Maybe Michael Sam will be our first openly gay saint. Right up there with Maria Goretti. Teaching all of us how to “suffer” with dignity. I wonder what percentage of gay people are not “active”. Offering their “predestined” lot in life up for the poor souls. Is there a difference in adultery? In fornication? In sodomy? Could not any of these be called genetically predestined? No it’s called sinful. It’s called me, myself and I. It has all been around since the beginning of time, only now it’s “Bravo”! With a diabolical blessing from the “princess’s of the church.” Me thinks someone is “prowling about the earth, seeking the ruin of souls?”

  17. “Cardinal Dolan knows homosexuality is disordered and intrinsically evil.”
    The practice of sodomy is disordered and intrinsically evil.
    “Bravo”, however, was mean, really mean and dismissive. Something a shepherd of souls ought to avoid.

  18. “God-given sexuality”? First, God makes all life. In Old and New Testament He condemns sodomy. Then He creates people unable to obey his laws which condemn Sodomy. Poor Sodomites are stuck — what to are they to do if they believe in God (which every Catholic must believe). God said in Scriptures NO SODOMY, then the sick world tells them God created them sinful, they can’t NOT be a sodomite because He made them that way?

    Never made sense. If one believes in God as author of Scriptures and that He made anything that exists (as the Creed says He made “… all things visible and invisible…), and that sodomy is sinful in His eyes, but He slipped and made certain people unable to obey His laws?

    Contradictions, huh?

  19. “Then He creates people unable to obey his laws which condemn Sodomy.”

    No such creature exists, unless one posits that humans have absolutely no control over their sexual impulses. As far as God creating people homosexual that is very much open to debate. When homosexual rights movements began to appear the term of art was “sexual preference” until the determination was made that arguing that homosexuals were such from birth made public acceptance of them more palatable. Of course many lesbians claim that they choose to be lesbians. Then we have the queer by choice movement: To overcome the inconvenient fact that some men and women have sexual relations with both sexes, the new category of bisexual was created. My own belief is that the sex drive in humans can be diverted down many different pathways and that none of them have anything to do with biology and everything to do with nurture and free will.

  20. Don may be right about nurture and free will, but even if homsosexual appetites are 100% sourced to nature that does not prove that acting on them is morally benign or permissible. People have disordered appetites. All of us, even if different ones and in different measures. We are responsible for our actions nonetheless.

    The idea that Cardinal Dolan’s statement can be interpreted to be completely in accord with Catholic teaching is creative and interesting, but a stretch. One must take pretty imaginative inferential liberties to assert either that Cardinal Dolan was being snarky or that Michael Sam is preparing for sainthood. A person with homosexual appetites would normally not advertise those appetites if he did not think he was entitled to exercise them and expect to do so.

    Just to be clear, I have no quarrel with the Cardinal declining judgment. Judgment rests with God, no us. While sin can be analyzed objectively, culpability always requires a subjective assessment within the capacity of God alone. But “Good for him” and “Bravo” are imprudent and wrongheaded remarks.

  21. God did NOT create a predisposition to homosexual behavior. This predisposition exists because of sin. Now being a person given to a homosexual predisposition is NOT in itself sinful for we all are afflicted by concupiscence; in my case it is of a heterosexual vice homosexual nature and I suspect that is true of a majority of readers here at TAC. What is sinful, however, is in surrendering to such concupiscence. Sadly, I have failed in this area (as well as in many other areas), and I would wager that no one here at TAC or elsewhere can claim pristine conduct. But just because you and I have failed does NOT mean that you or I either excuse the conduct of failure in ourselves (thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation) or confirm someone else in his or her failure, thereby greasing the skids to the fires of hell itself.

    Romans 5:12

    Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.

    James 1:13-14

    Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

  22. We come into this world as human beings suffering the consequence of, or concupiscence, of sin. All of us have disordered appetites and desires. We have a body and will that requires work and training. Imagine saying, “I am coming out of the closet as a pedophile.” There certainly are people who have the obsession, or many others. Homosexuality is primarily and obsession with a body part, and objectifies the person. As does hedonistic heterosexual sex. The temptation is not condemned but we must train the will and our understanding. The struggle is not silly, but the attempts to rationalize it are. God bless anyone who fights their demons and hands themselves over to Christ. Still, it is not easy.

  23. When are high profile clerics going to learn that the press is no friend of theirs nor that of the Church, in fact, the press is proactively the opposite? Cardinal Dolan was burned before; remember “the president lied to me”. The cardinal and his PAO should have been wary. And “poor Zwilling” not, should have reheared his boss with probable and possible questions and their well thought out answers. After all this was a pre-recorded interview. Not all questions asked have to be answered. Take a lesson from the pols on the talking heads shows who’ve been sidestepping and changing the subject for years.
    Zwilling’s after the fact press release on CNSNEWS didn’t have the same coverage as the cardinal’s gaffe on Meet The Press…..headlined erroneous story on page 1, retraction in small print on the back page.
    Yes, an appearance such as the cardinal’s does make the Church look weak to her enemies, and confused to the faithful. It also encourages cafeteria Catholicism.

  24. “What is Cardinal Dolan supposed to say to the question?”

    How about “Michael Sam is not Catholic and hasn’t asked for my advice or pastoral counsel so I cannot comment on his personal situation. I can, however, comment upon what the Church in general teaches regarding homosexuality.”

    “If Michael Sam came out saying he was having a sexual relationship with another male I am sure the cardinal would have had a different answer.”

    That Sam was “having a sexual relationship with another man” and frequenting gay bars was common knowledge among the Mizzou football team long before Sam went public; his “coming out” was absolutely no surprise to them.

  25. I can’t help but feel a strong smugness in relation to C Dolans comments. Who needs enemies when you have fellow Catholics waiting to push knives in the Cardinals back?! And you wander why Christianity has such disunity!

  26. I can’t help but feel a strong smugness in relation to C Dolans comments. Who needs enemies when you have fellow Catholics waiting to push knives in the Cardinals back?! And you wander why Christianity has such disunity!

    Since when was Hollywood a teacher of Biblical stories? Who cares how Noah had been portrayed? Perhaps only in the US do people care about such things. The rest if the world doesn’t bat an eyelid. Get out of your self imposed shell.

    Mote. Beam. Eye.

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