American cardinals getting more buzz as conclave nears

posted at 8:01 am on March 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Despite earlier skepticism over their prospects, two American cardinals continue to get buzz as potential papabili in Rome.  The New York Times reports on the prospects for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is at least getting noticed if not rising in the estimation of conclave watchers:

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has become an object of fascination in Rome for the fluency of his juggling act: he is simultaneously head of the United States’ most prominent Roman Catholic diocese and president of its national conference of bishops, tapped by the Vatican for numerous prestigious assignments and by network television anchors for their most prized interview spots.

In the weeks since Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to retire, the possibility that Cardinal Dolan could succeed him has been largely dismissed on the theory that his biggest strengths — outsize personality, Everyman affect, relentless public cheer — mark him as distinctively American in a way that makes it unlikely he would be chosen by his colleagues.

But in recent days, his joyful and telegenic orthodoxy is getting new attention in Rome; on Thursday, a prominent Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister, highlighted his qualifications, calling him “the consummate candidate, who represents the impulse in the direction of purification.”

Cardinal Dolan has colorfully dismissed speculation that he could be pope, saying that he expects, and is eager, to return to New York. Nonetheless, this papal interregnum has become an important period for him, presenting an opportunity for him to use mass media to reach Catholics in his vast and diverse archdiocese, and to elevate his stature as he faces battles with President Obama over health insurance regulations and with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York over a proposed liberalization of the state’s abortion laws.

He shows an easy demeanor; he is unfailingly positive, even when asked difficult questions. But even he is quick to say that he represents a new style, not a new point of view, for Catholic bishops. In an interview here, before the cardinals decided to stop speaking to reporters, he described the church’s teachings as a gift to be treasured, but said, “Let’s perhaps work on a way to wrap it in a more attractive way.”

That has been the aim of the “new evangelization” all along, which is why the media has mainly missed the mark on the importance of this papal transition.  The new Pope won’t be changing church doctrine — in fact, that’s impossible for any pontiff, who becomes the guardian of doctrine — but the Catholic Church wants to change the way in which it communicates the teachings so as to be effective in the 21st century.  Dolan has certainly demonstrated an ability to get past what George Weigel describes as the old right/left paradigm and represent Catholic Christianity to a broad spectrum of people.

Cardinal Dolan isn’t the American getting the most buzz here, however.  It’s one thing for the New York Times to notice an Archbishop of New York; it’s quite another for Corriere della Sera to notice the Archbishop of Boston, Sean O’Malley.  The quiet, humble, and accomplished reformer has drawn more attention here than perhaps anyone would have predicted.  Veteran Vatican reporter John Allen reports on the focus (via Deacon Greg):

If the readers of Italy’s paper of record, Corriere della Sera, had any say in the matter, the choice for the next pope would be clear: Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Corriere today asked eight contributors, including their own Vatican beat writers as well as noted Vatican-watchers, to name their top three picks to be the next pope. O’Malley was mentioned by five of those eight experts, putting him in a tie with Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil, and just one mention ahead of Angelo Scola of Milan.

Two other Americans, Timothy Dolan of New York and Donald Wuerl of Washington, got one mention apiece.

Where O’Malley really separated himself from the pack was in an on-line readers’ poll on theCorriere web site. There O’Malley drew 36.7 percent of the vote, as of roughly 6:30 this evening Rome time. The Boston prelate far outpaced Scola with 17.9 percent and Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines with 14.3 percent.

What’s the appeal?

First of all, O’Malley is a Capuchin Franciscan, and the Franciscans are wildly popular in Italy. They’re considered the closest religious order to the poor and to ordinary people, the guys you can rely upon when the chips are down. They’re also considered the polar opposite of the usual clerical stereotypes – not haughty or imperial, but simple, honest, and utterly unpolitical.

Second, the brief profile offered by Corriere della Sera to help voters make up their minds describes him as “one of the principal exponents of the policy against sexual abuse in the Catholic church.” At a time when the Vatican once again finds itself fighting off criticism related to the abuse scandals, that reputation looks pretty good.

It’s not just Corriere della Sera, either.  After arriving at the Vatican press office today, Italian news channel Rai 24 had a segment focusing on O’Malley, complete with an animated graphic focusing on a headline in another Italian paper quoting O’Malley as saying, “I’m returning to Boston,” when asked about his papal chances (“Ritorno al Boston”).  NBC’s Boston affiliate updated his diocese on O’Malley’s activities

WHDH-TV 7News Boston

“This Sunday is also very special to us because we are preparing for a conclave on Tuesday. The catholic world is united in prayer with the confidence that comes with our faith. Jesus has promised to be with us always, to give us his Holy Spirit and guide us towards our father’s house, for our loving God awaits,” said Cardinal O’Malley.

The cardinal finished with a prayer before the conclave.

“Let us pray that the Holy Spirit illuminates the church to choose a new pope who will confirm us in our faith and make more visible the love of the good shepherd,” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley is seen as a real contender for pope. He is a favorite in polls among the Italian people. However, O’Malley himself says he plans to return to Boston and those closest to the cardinal say that hasn’t changed at this time.

“He doesn’t take it too seriously, it’s not something that he’s sitting there aspiring to, in essence, he’ll go the way the church, the [C]atholic [C]hurch and God calls him to go,” said Terrence Donilon, Archdiocese of Boston.

Of course, all of this speculation in the press means very little in terms of the conclave itself. Last week, the press focused on Cardinal Peter Turkson; if we don’t have an end to the conclave by the end of this week, they’ll focus on someone else next Monday. I’ve heard talk among journalists that no one should be surprised if an early vote produces Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan, and Cardinal Odilo Scherer still gets plenty of mention, too. However, the prominent attention to an American cardinal is at the very least a mark of the relative strength of the American church.

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Once again the Europeans look to the Americans to bail them out and fix their problems.

/just kidding…but only partly.

As unlikely as I think it is, an American pope would be pretty awesome to see, even if only as a matter of national pride.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 8:20 AM

peter erdo is the dark horse candidate. he might be the one.

sesquipedalian on March 11, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Would an American pope be for or against SSM, abortion, and contraception?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 8:25 AM

I wonder how many low information voters think that an American pope will have to answer to Obama, and whether Obama, as president, will now have the power to reform the church.

“You may be da pope, but you’re still an American, and dat means Obama still your boss, dog. You better do what he say.”

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 8:38 AM

I heard O’Malley give homilies as Bishop of Fall River. I serious, they were profound. Besides wasn’t Bing Crosby Father Chuck O’Malley in Going My Way? It’s Kismet.

Little Boomer on March 11, 2013 at 8:40 AM

This is like watching the Olympics on NBC and all they would do is talk about the American medal count. Thank God the press doesn’t elect popes.

DarthBrooks on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Would an American pope be for or against SSM, abortion, and contraception?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 8:25 AM

I hope you ask that in jest, or rhetorically. Of course an American Pope, or any other Pope, would be against those things. Those are all taught against by infallible Church doctrine. No one, not even a Pope, may change Church doctrine. As Ed points out, he is merely the guardian of that doctrine. He can work to express it more clearly, to better reach the people, etc. But he can no more change the Church’s teaching on abortion than he could change the Church’s teaching on Christ’s divinity.

I wonder how many low information voters think that an American pope will have to answer to Obama, and whether Obama, as president, will now have the power to reform the church.

“You may be da pope, but you’re still an American, and dat means Obama still your boss, dog. You better do what he say.”

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 8:38 AM

That is a scary thought. :-) But it did raise a question for me. An American becoming Pope would present a very unique circumstance in that the Pope is not only the head of the Church here on Earth, but he is also the head of state for Vatican City, a sovereign nation. Can an American citizen serve as head of state for another nation without renouncing or forfeiting their American citizenship? Not sure how that works legally, but it’s an interesting question.

Shump on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

This is like watching the Olympics on NBC and all they would do is talk about the American medal count. Thank God the press doesn’t elect popes.

DarthBrooks on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Why exactly should an American television network with American anchors broadcasting into American homes not root for the Americans in the Olympics? Heck, I would like to see the broadcast networks root for America more often, like when we go to war for example.

Shump on March 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Shump on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

No jest – I simply know nothing of the religion, but recognize that a new head may bring change if allowed. Your answer regarding doctrine settles my question, thank you.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Cardinal O’Malley or Cardinal Dolan, I’d be very pleased to see either as our next Pope. But my favorite is Cardinal Dolan. He’s also younger than O’Malley so we’d have Dolan as Pope around a while longer and functioning well.

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Shump on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

No jest – I simply know nothing of the religion, but recognize that a new head may bring change if allowed. Your answer regarding doctrine settles my question, thank you.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Shrump is right on the spot there.

And, OldEnglish, I can understand how you’d wonder what you did, particularly with so many acting as Catholic in the US who are first and foremost Liberals and apparent “pretend Catholics” in that.

The Pope vows to Church doctrine.

I can understand how some would wonder whether or not someone would lie in that vow, however, like some do with political office: vowing or swearing to do something but inwardly knowing they don’t believe in it and won’t be loyal or true to whatever they swear.

Let’s have faith that a Pope is different, is head of the Church, not head of a political party. With Cardinals O’Malley and Dolan, I feel confident that they are faithful individuals to what they profess to believe and would be credible as Pope.

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM

I feel confident that they are faithful individuals to what they profess to believe and would be credible as Pope.

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM

That’s what I was looking for, thank you – information from the inside as to the bona fide of a possible American pope.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Also, if an American is elected pope, then ten years from now analysts and “Vatican watchers” in the LSM will sadly discuss how the first American pontiff–elected in the Age of Obama, no less–did nothing to change church doctrine on same-sex marriage, contraception, abortion, and the ordination of women, and what a “missed opportunity” his papacy has been.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

A New World Pope would be great…

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:13 AM

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Hence my concern, as Lourdes recognized.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Timmy D. is certainly using the exposure to his advantage. There was a funny media report of him at his titular church yesterday saying Mass. No way that they’ll ever choose an American pope, but Dolan is using the press coverage to raise his profile ahead of the HHS mandate court battle. Nobody probably knew who he was before a few weeks ago; now he is the charming guy who was a serious candidate for pope.

I do think that the Canadian guy is very likely as a compromise candidate.

Illinidiva on March 11, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Your answer regarding doctrine settles my question, thank you.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Shump is right. A lot of the issues that the LSM makes hay about are doctrinal issues that can’t be changed. One issue that could conceivably be changed, however, is priestly celibacy. That’s not doctrine, but a long standing tradition in the Latin rite church going back to the middle ages. If the next pope decided he wanted to let married men become priests, just like how a majority of priests in the Eastern rite–or who are converts from other faiths–are married, then that would be okay.

But it would probably still be highly controversial.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

This is like watching the Olympics on NBC and all they would do is talk about the American medal count. Thank God the press doesn’t elect popes.

DarthBrooks on March 11, 2013 at 8:43 AM

But at least we don’t have the “stories.” Apparently nobody gets to the Olympics by hard work and dedication. They have to have had been homeless as a child, a major trauma in their lives, or some other tale of woe.

That being said, it would be interesting to see who would get the Papacy if put to a popular vote instead of a bunch of old mostly European politicians (and make no mistake that Cardinals are at least in part Catholic politicians).

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Also, if an American is elected pope, then ten years from now analysts and “Vatican watchers” in the LSM will sadly discuss how the first American pontiff–elected in the Age of Obama, no less–did nothing to change church doctrine on same-sex marriage, contraception, abortion, and the ordination of women, and what a “missed opportunity” his papacy has been.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

If An American Pope were elected and it immediately became clear he was not going to bend the Church’s teachings to the goals of the Obama Administration, don’t expect those in the big media and Hollywood already hostile to the Catholic Church to be so passive. You’d end up with a 21st Century take on that old line about the Pontiff by Joseph Stalin — “How many divisions TV networks, Hollywood studios and print outlets does the Pope have?”.

It would be an all-out war on the Catholic Church, where every flaw the Church shows would suddenly become either a major news event of fodder for a new Hollywood movie. It would basically look like all those anti-Iraq war films Hollywood was churning out during the final years of the Bush 43 administration, except with the Pope and his church’s beliefs in the target site of the propaganda war this time.

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Thanks. Just as long as it doesn’t go the way of the Anglican Church.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

If the next pope decided he wanted to let married men become priests, just like how a majority of priests in the Eastern rite–or who are converts from other faiths–are married, then that would be okay.

But it would probably still be highly controversial.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Calling it controversial is an understatement. And I’m not sure the church is in the mood for radical change. Electing a non-European is probably change enough in the short term.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 9:28 AM

This story at Big Peace illustrates some pastoral humor from both of the American Cardinals Ed mentioned and has a great pic of Cardinal Dolan.

“For Advent, it’s Gaudete Sunday (that rose-colored candle among the purple ones in the Advent wreath), and in Lent this year, it’s March 10, Laetare Sunday. It takes its name from the first word of a Scripture quote that opens the Mass for the fourth week of Lent: Isaiah 66: 10-11, “Rejoice, Jerusalem!”

While there’s no Lenten wreath, the priestly vestments are traditionally penitential purple during this period, but on this Sunday, they change to joyful rose pink.

Among the possible popes receiving a lot of buzz in the media are two Americans: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

As reported by the Catholic News Agency, Missouri native Dolan headed to Our Lady of Guadalupe parish – named after a vision of the Virgin Mary that appeared to Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1556 – beginning his homily with, “Listen, this is our secret, after Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, this is my favorite church.”

Pennsylvania-born, multilingual O’Malley – a member of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin – who offered his homily at Our Lady of Victory parish in Italian followed by some English remarks, called upon the Holy Spirit to aid the cardinals in their choice.

But he made it clear that he is not campaigning for the office — which, ironically, could be considered a qualification for pontiff – by saying, as reported in the Vatican Insider, “I assure you I will be returning to Boston after the Conclave and may take the statue of Saint Teresa with me…”

371 years after Europeans discovered the New World there could be a Pope from the region…in Vatican Time this seems well New.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:32 AM

If An American Pope were elected and it immediately became clear he was not going to bend the Church’s teachings to the goals of the Obama Administration, don’t expect those in the big media and Hollywood already hostile to the Catholic Church to be so passive.

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Yeah a bunch of Jews and atheists really have an ax to grind against the Catholic church. Especially if the church continues to fight against the HHS mandate and other edicts passed down through their rat-eared idol.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 9:33 AM

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

That’s true, mostly because Obama is a thug and a wannabe dictator, and media worships at the altar of left-wing statism.

However, I don’t think the spectacle of Obama and the state-run media conducting a 15 minute hate against the Pope would play too well with most Americans, let alone Catholics around the world.

DRayRaven on March 11, 2013 at 9:33 AM

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Thanks. Just as long as it doesn’t go the way of the Anglican Church.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

The Left, also known as “Leftmedia,” also known as “Hollywood” (at least in present times, didn’t used to be Leftwing as it is now and has been since about the ’60′s), also known as “Democrats”…

they’ve been at war against the Catholic Church for a while now. Same as against the US military…

notice how all news, articles, films, entertainment, etc., it all or nearly all is about the “bad” Catholic/s or the “bad” military while the monsters, the real ones, are made out to be the sympathetic character/s. It’s always the Catholic Church or the military or the Christian/s who is somehow “victimizing” or “lying” about someone else, being covert, etc.

The heroes? They’re the trendy ones who “defy” the faith, walk away from it, insult it…

Don’t expect media, the Left, to let up. They and certainly most in Hollywood loathe the Church and Catholics. There are some involved who are Catholic but they’re the Leftwing kind, for the most part.

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Your answer regarding doctrine settles my question, thank you.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Shump is right. A lot of the issues that the LSM makes hay about are doctrinal issues that can’t be changed. One issue that could conceivably be changed, however, is priestly celibacy. That’s not doctrine, but a long standing tradition in the Latin rite church going back to the middle ages. If the next pope decided he wanted to let married men become priests, just like how a majority of priests in the Eastern rite–or who are converts from other faiths–are married, then that would be okay.

But it would probably still be highly controversial.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

In the Eastern rite married priests cannot advance to Bishop.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Pennsylvania-born, multilingual O’Malley – a member of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin – who offered his homily at Our Lady of Victory parish in Italian followed by some English remarks, called upon the Holy Spirit to aid the cardinals in their choice.

But he made it clear that he is not campaigning for the office — which, ironically, could be considered a qualification for pontiff – by saying, as reported in the Vatican Insider, “I assure you I will be returning to Boston after the Conclave and may take the statue of Saint Teresa with me…”

Admittedly, Cardinal O’Malley, as a Capuchin, is really a wonderful person. So is Dolan — but the Order that O’Malley is a member of is particularly non-materialistic and frank about their views as to the world. Devotion to Saint Teresa makes a big impact with me.

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

I have noticed, and when they applied those tactics against the Anglican Church it behaved like a fainting goat.

Keep up the resistance!

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

However, I don’t think the spectacle of Obama and the state-run media conducting a 15 minute hate against the Pope would play too well with most Americans, let alone Catholics around the world.

DRayRaven on March 11, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Except that you are wrong. What do you think the HHS mandate was other than a hate against religious freedom? And we had a “good Catholic” HHS secretary telling us that Catholics were secretly telling her that they were grateful that the rat-eared dictator forced contraception on the Church.

For whatever reason, stupid Catholics still overwhelmingly voted for the rat-eared wonder despite the HHS mandate. They aren’t going to care if this administration is anti-Pope.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Except that you are wrong. What do you think the HHS mandate was other than a hate against religious freedom? And we had a “good Catholic” HHS secretary telling us that Catholics were secretly telling her that they were grateful that the rat-eared dictator forced contraception on the Church.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

While Dolan and other Cardinals spoke out against it, they don’t carry the same weight and demand the same amount of media attention as a Pope. If he were an American Pope, he would be even more difficult to ignore or slander.

For whatever reason, stupid Catholics still overwhelmingly voted for the rat-eared wonder despite the HHS mandate. They aren’t going to care if this administration is anti-Pope.

An American Pope would be a first. I think they would care. What’s more, I think they would be highly offended.

DRayRaven on March 11, 2013 at 9:49 AM

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Thanks. Just as long as it doesn’t go the way of the Anglican Church.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

The Anglican Church is the State Church of England and as such subject to the political pressure of the State.

When the Queen of England, technically the Head of the Anglican Church expresses a political position the Archbishop must comply. Currently both the Queen and the Prime Minister support Gay Marriage and this caving to social pressure over the years has caused schism in the Anglican/Episcopal denomination.

It is exactly why Henry VIII severed ties with the Roman Pontiff.

Pope Benedict XVI found a brilliant way to welcome displaced Anglicans to communion with Rome by designing the Ordinariate that was still theologically sound.

There are some who have speculated a Lutheran Ordinariate is in the works as well.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Admittedly, Cardinal O’Malley, as a Capuchin, is really a wonderful person. So is Dolan — but the Order that O’Malley is a member of is particularly non-materialistic and frank about their views as to the world. Devotion to Saint Teresa makes a big impact with me.

Lourdes on March 11, 2013 at 9:39 AM

An American cardinal joking about swiping Bernini’s Saint Teresa to take back to Boston cracked me up…

American hutzpa.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM

An American Pope would be a first. I think they would care. What’s more, I think they would be highly offended.

DRayRaven on March 11, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Any non-European Pope is going to garner more attention. For the novelty if nothing else. It would be interesting to see what a Pope from the US or Canada would bring to the church.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM

The battle over religious freedoms and Obamacare was a good test for the American cardinals which I don’t believe they succeeded. The challenges the next Pope will face make Ocare look small.

Still feel Cardinal Ouellete will find himself as the next Pope.

can_con on March 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

That’s true, mostly because Obama is a thug and a wannabe dictator, and media worships at the altar of left-wing statism.

However, I don’t think the spectacle of Obama and the state-run media conducting a 15 minute hate against the Pope would play too well with most Americans, let alone Catholics around the world.

DRayRaven on March 11, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try, since they all believe they are the 24/7/365 puppet masters of American public opinion, even when things like the ‘end of the world’ sequester scenarios don’t work as they planned.

If an American Pope is picked, I recommend the first episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” after his ascension as the template for what’s to come. Even before the new Pope would utter a word on policy, Maher will do a full-show rant against him and the Catholic Church, just to preview what everyone else will be doing once it becomes clear the Church won’t be bowing to the State on the HHS mandate and other issues.

The goal will be to make American Catholics choose between Church and State if the Church won’t bend, and it’s a battle they will think they can win, even if it ends up like the sequester fiasco.

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The goal will be to make American Catholics choose between Church and State if the Church won’t bend, and it’s a battle they will think they can win, even if it ends up like the sequester fiasco.

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Well of course the administration can win. Stupid Catholics voted in droves for the rat-eared wonder despite his clearly anti-Catholic anti-religious freedom policies. Letters were read from the pulpit standing against the HHS mandate. Yet “the faithful” still came out to vote in favor of abortion, government mandated contraception for all, and all the other stuff that Catholics supposedly reject as heresy.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Yes, I am well aware of the history involved, yet, apart from some squabbling over details, don’t both Churches follow the same source material?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

It may be time for an American Pope who will bluntly defend Religious Liberty…

One of the most central insights of Pope Benedict’s pontificate was summed up in his phrase “the dictatorship of relativism”. In his now famous conversation with the German journalist Peter Seewald (the same one on which he said that popes can abdicate), he said this, in explanation: “In the name of tolerance, tolerance is being abolished; this is a real threat we face. The danger is that reason – so-called Western reason – claims that it has now really recognized what is right and thus makes a claim to totality that is inimical to freedom. I believe that we must very emphatically delineate this danger. No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the ‘new religion’ as though it alone were definitive and obligatory for all mankind.”

Later, he said this: “the reality is in fact such that certain forms of behavior and thinking are being presented as the only reasonable ones and, therefore, as the only appropriately human ones. Christianity finds itself exposed now to an intolerant pressure that at first ridicules it – as belonging to a perverse, false way of thinking – and then tries to deprive it of breathing space in the name of an ostensible rationality.”

here can be little doubt that this secularist dictatorship is being rolled out in this country today, notably in the education system, where in certain key areas, certain forms of behaviour must be presented as being valid and acceptable whether or not teachers believe they are. Only a few days before Pope Benedict’s bombshell, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury spoke out about the implications for religious liberty of the vote last Tuesday on the same sex “marriage” bill now being pushed (probably irresistibly) through the Commons by the “Conservative” Prime Minister, David Cameron. Bishop Davies last week told married couples gathered from all over his diocese to celebrate landmark anniversaries at an annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Marriage that it was possible to “see the absurdity of changing the identity of marriage in the name of a false understanding of equality by the desire to even strike out the cherished names of ‘mother’ and ‘father’”.

That was a predictable enough criticism. But he also repeated a warning he has given before: having said that recognizing the truth of marriage was not “an injustice to be remedied” he went on to predict that soon it could even become an offense to repeat “the beautiful teaching of Christ” that marriage is the lasting union of one man and one woman which forms the foundation of the family.

He is hardly alone, though I didn’t notice even Catholic MPs sounding the same warning in last week’s commons debate (I hope to be corrected; I did nod off once or twice). Many others have made the same prediction. Last month, no fewer than 1,000 Catholic bishops and priests signed a letter to the Telegraph:

“SIR – After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country.

“Legislation for same-sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship.

“It is meaningless to argue that Catholics and others may still teach their beliefs about marriage in schools and other arenas if they are also expected to uphold the opposite view at the same time.”

This is not, of course, the only unfolding secularist threat to religious liberty in the Western world: such challenges take different legal forms depending on where you are, and there are analogous threats all over Europe; even in the US (supposedly more religious than we less churchgoing Europeans are), the government is mounting an anti-Christian, and more specifically an anti- Catholic, threat to religious freedom, which has spawned legal disputes all over the country.

The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance, and the Obama administration says an insurance plan must pay for basic preventive care, including contraceptives. Earlier this month the Obama administration proposed a compromise for some nonprofit religious organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and colleges, that would allow them to avoid paying directly for such insurance. But the administration refused to consider a similar exemption for private, for-profit employers. The Catholic bishops say this exemption should apply to any employer who has a conscientious objection to providing contraception (this includes abortifacient drugs).

The Holy Father’s influence can be seen very clearly in the American Bishops’ struggle against their authoritarian government. Over a year ago, in an ad limina viit to Rome, Bishops, with the Obama regime’s health provision legislation on mind, he said this to them: “it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion… concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

We are not alone in this country. But there is one sense in which the threat to Catholics here is even more serious. There is a threat to the education system which is more serious here, where the detailed content of most education is state controlled to a degree inconceivable in the US. If the State insists that children are taught, even in Catholic schools, that the view that marriage can be between those of the same sex has the same validity as the Catholic view that it can only be between a man and a woman, then a teacher who refuses to teach this will be breaking the law. And then what?

It’s high time for Catholics to mount a sustained and convincing fight on this issue. But we need leadership. So where, apart from Bishops Davies and Egan (“the usual suspects”, they are already being called) are our bishops? Where? I know some of them signed that Telegraph letter: but we need more than that….”

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2013/02/15/the-holy-fathers-warnings-on-secularism-and-religious-liberty-are-borne-out-by-the-consequences-of-the-same-sex-marriage-bill/

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Yes, I am well aware of the history involved, yet, apart from some squabbling over details, don’t both Churches follow the same source material?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

It’s less about source material than it is about doctrine. John Calvin was raised Catholic and trained as a priest. Yet, he came to a completely different conclusion about matters such as election and the end times than the RCC.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM

So doctrine can change?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Yes, I am well aware of the history involved, yet, apart from some squabbling over details, don’t both Churches follow the same source material?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Not really.

King Henry VII began the process of editing the bible to reflect his justification of the Break with Rome.

King James gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the Ecclesiology of the Church of England.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Sorry meant to type King Henry VIII…

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM

So doctrine can change?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM

No.

To alter doctrine under political/social pressure is a grave error and leads to schism.

This is why Pope Benedict XVI said “We will be a smaller and purer church.” He wasn’t just speaking about continuing the reform of the Priest scandals…but of Liturgical abuses and the continuity of Catholic Teaching in response to the modern world. Enrollment in Seminaries by conservatives is up as a result.

There has always been tension between Church and State.

The Pagans tried to force the Jews to change their doctrine.

The Pagan Romans & the Jews tried to force the Christians to change their doctrine.

Kings have tried to force the Bishops to change their doctrine and undermine Papal Authority.

This has happened time and again in the long history of the Church.

The Church is independent of Kings…and Prime Ministers…and Fascists…

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

I have read both versions (King James and Douay) and, on matters of core teaching, they differ little in essence.

Both, for example, make matters clear with regard to women and homosexuals, yet the two Churches have come to different conclusions in practice.

It would be a shame if the Catholic Church, with its many members, were to follow suit.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

So doctrine can change?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Absolutely.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

The Church is independent of Kings…and Prime Ministers…and Fascists…

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM

And yet it changed in 1530 and 1557.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

I have read both versions (King James and Douay) and, on matters of core teaching, they differ little in essence.

Both, for example, make matters clear with regard to women and homosexuals, yet the two Churches have come to different conclusions in practice.

It would be a shame if the Catholic Church, with its many members, were to follow suit.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Most modern editions of the King James Bible omit the apocrypha texts.

For Catholics Maccabees in the apocrypha is foundational to Church Teaching.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

If an American Pope is picked, I recommend the first episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” after his ascension as the template for what’s to come.

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Given that Maher’s views on Catholicism are virtually indistinguishable from a 1920′s Klansman, thank you but I think I’ll read the transcripts instead. ;-)

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

The Church is independent of Kings…and Prime Ministers…and Fascists…

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM

And yet it changed in 1530 and 1557.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Are you referring to Bucer?

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Yes, I am well aware of the history involved, yet, apart from some squabbling over details, don’t both Churches follow the same source material?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I wouldn’t describe the Dissolution of the Monasteries as squabbling over details anymore than I would describe the current occupation of the Hagia Sophia by Mohammedians as a cultural squabble over real estate.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Are you referring to Bucer?

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

No, The Index, as a direct consequence of Luther’s actions, changed the way the Church behaved, becoming more political in determining “correctness” of thought.

The point being that the Church became more dictatorial in the way every day life should be led, but can change again – in the opposite direction.

For a faith/belief to be unassailable it needs to be constant.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

No, no, I was referring to doctrinal beliefs, not the actions of a syphilitic nut-case. The attitude towards Mary comes to mind as one example.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Well of course the administration can win. Stupid Catholics voted in droves for the rat-eared wonder despite his clearly anti-Catholic anti-religious freedom policies. Letters were read from the pulpit standing against the HHS mandate. Yet “the faithful” still came out to vote in favor of abortion, government mandated contraception for all, and all the other stuff that Catholics supposedly reject as heresy.

Happy Nomad on March 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM

If an American Pope is picked, it will be in part for the same reason Karol Józef Wojtyla was chosen back in 1978 — because the Church is trying to reach out past the government of the new Pope’s home country to Catholics in that country.

The Cardinals aren’t picking a Pontiff from the United States, if they do so, to become a validator for the current White House’s stances on birth control, abortion or (coming soon to a courthouse near you) civil rights issues over same sex marriage. If they name one, it will be both a direct challenge to the big government demands of the current administration, and a message to U.S. Catholics that you can be on one side or the other, but not both, as many try to do now (and the media and Hollywood negative reaction to the Church and the new Pope would end up forcing the issue even more, since Catholics will be asked to either agree with the demonization of their faith or reject those pushing that message).

jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 11:13 AM

There is only one American I care to see step out onto that balcony, and his name is conspicuously absent from EVERY normal media outlet post, including HotAir.

We can talk about what great guys Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal O’Malley are, but where have they been while ‘Catholic’ politicians in their dioceses have brought horrific scandal to the faithful? Why did Ted Kennedy get a public Catholic funeral worthy of a saint in the Diocese of Boston under Cardinal O’Malley? Why did Cardinal O’Malley allow the horrifically pro-abortion president to eulogize Teddy during the Funeral Mass, not only because he is anti-Catholic, but also because eulogies are not to be permitted during a Funeral Mass!? Please no to +O’Malley, and may The Holy Spirit fill him with greater courage and wisdom than he has so far shown.

So Cardinal Dolan? Well, why is Andrew Cuomo, who may currently reside in the governor’s mansion in a different diocese, but is a permanent resident of the Archdiocese of NY, still receiving the Eucharist? Why did +Dolan not fight whole heartedly for the TRUTH during the passage of Same-sex ‘marriage’ in New York? Yes, he has spoken out forcefully against it’s passage after the fact, but why didn’t he ‘pull out the stops’ before hand? He says it is because he was assured that the bill wasn’t going anywhere and the conscientious objection of the Church would be protected. WHAT? So you ‘keep your ammo dry’ when evil is being proposed? NO, you always, always fight for the TRUTH! So at the very least, I’d say he fails the ‘wise as serpents’ test even if he might be ‘simple as doves’.

No more scandal!!!!! We need a just man, bold as a lion, who will be without dread in the battles that are coming/here!

God have mercy on your Church and send the Holy Spirit into the hearts and minds of the cardinal electors. Please…

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM

There is only one American I care to see step out onto that balcony, and his name is conspicuously absent from EVERY normal media outlet post, including HotAir.

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Are you talking about Raymond Cardinal Burke? He’s the one American cardinal who I see mentioned on Catholic news outlets (EWTN, Relevant Radio, etc.), but almost never on mainstream news.

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM

No, no, I was referring to doctrinal beliefs, not the actions of a syphilitic nut-case. The attitude towards Mary comes to mind as one example.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

This was not a change of doctrine but a clarification of belief. Mary has always been held in very high esteem within the Church. She is the Mother of God, after all.

We are deeply grieved at thy delay in strengthening us by thy addresses and consolations. If thy absence be prolonged, it will disappoint many of us. Hasten then to come, for we believe that it is expedient. There are also many of our women here, who are desirous to see Mary [the mother] of Jesus, and wish day by day to run off from us to you, that they may meet with her, and touch those breasts of hers which nourished the Lord Jesus, and may inquire of her respecting some rather secret matters. But Salome also, [the daughter of Anna,] whom thou lovest, who stayed with her five months at Jerusalem, and some other well-known persons, relate that she is full of all graces and all virtues, after the manner of a virgin, fruitful in virtue and grace. And, as they report, she is cheerful in persecutions and afflictions, free from murmuring in the midst of penury and want, grateful to those that injure her, and rejoices when exposed to troubles: she sympathizes with the wretched and the afflicted as sharing in their afflictions, and is not slow to come to their assistance. Moreover, she shines forth gloriously as contending in the fight of faith against the pernicious conflicts of vicious principles or conduct. She is the lady of our new religion and repentance, and the handmaid among the faithful of all works of piety. She is indeed devoted to the humble, and she humbles herself more devotedly than the devoted, and is wonderfully magnified by all, while at the same time she suffers detraction from the Scribes and Pharisees. Besides these points, many relate to us numerous other things regarding her. We do not, however, go so far as to believe all in every particular; nor do we mention such to thee. But, as we are informed by those who are worthy of credit, there is in Mary the mother of Jesus an angelic purity of nature allied with the nature of humanity. And such reports as these have greatly excited our emotions, and urge us eagerly to desire a sight of this (if it be lawful so to speak) heavenly prodigy and most sacred marvel. But do thou in haste comply with this our desire; and fare thou well. Amen.” ~ Epistle to St. John the Apostle from St. Ignatius of Antioch 1st century A.D.

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM

JimLennon on March 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Yep. I only see him mentioned on orthodox sites like Canterbury Tales, ChurchMilitantTV, etc…and in the comment sections on other sites like this. Even when talking about Catholic Cardinals from America that aren’t considered ‘pababile’ ones, even +Mahoney is mentioned, but never Raymond Cardinal Burke. At least that I’ve seen. Curious…

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM

*Mahony

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:41 AM

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM

And in the Church of England – which was my point?

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Apologies…I came in at the tale of your discussion and assumed when Mary was brought up that it was the usual anti-Marian doctrine battle I see so often on these threads. Sorry. *butting out now* :*)

pannw on March 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM

If an American Pope is picked, it will be in part for the same reason Karol Józef Wojtyla was chosen back in 1978 — because the Church is trying to reach out past the government of the new Pope’s home country to Catholics in that country.
jon1979 on March 11, 2013 at 11:13 AM

It is striking to consider.

I read a quote from a Cardinal that the Holy Spirit has chosen the next Pope and we have to discover him.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Are you referring to Bucer?

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

No, The Index, as a direct consequence of Luther’s actions, changed the way the Church behaved, becoming more political in determining “correctness” of thought.

The point being that the Church became more dictatorial in the way every day life should be led, but can change again – in the opposite direction.

For a faith/belief to be unassailable it needs to be constant.

OldEnglish on March 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM

I don’t think the Church became any more dictatorial towards individuals then the Protestants under Luther or Calvin’s doctrines.

The period was brutal to all and the resulting upheaval eventually contributed to the foundation of this country with it’s Constitutional Protections.

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Cardinal O’Malley is an overly ambitious cleric but weak administrator and an ineffective Teacher of the Catholic Faith. The Archdiocese of Boston is adrift and the Left media cheers for Cardinal O’Malley.

Please see chapter and verse on the Cardinal’s failures and laxity in Boston:

vilebody on March 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

vilebody on March 11, 2013 at 12:26 PM

on the HHS court battle front…

“A US district court judge in western Pennsylvania has ruled a lawsuit filed by the Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company against the HHS mandate may proceed. The for-profit company is owned by a Catholic family.

Judge Joy Flowers Conti, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, also dismissed a suit filed by Geneva College because the case was not yet ripe. The Protestant college, affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, said in a legal filing that it believes that “the procurement, participation in, facilitation of, or payment for abortion violates the Commandment against murder.”

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=17277&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CatholicWorldNewsFeatureStories+%28Catholic+World+News+%28on+CatholicCulture.org%29%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

workingclass artist on March 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM