The most egregious attack on Cardinal Timothy Dolan came by way of a letter to the New York archbishop lecturing him on putting “access to power before principles.”
The letter campaign was funded by the number-one enemy of the Catholic Church: George Soros. The atheist billionaire funds John Gehring’s Faith in Public Life, and the letter to Dolan was written on the organization’s letterhead. Gehring was the first to sign it.
In 2012, Bill Donohue outed Gehring when he sought to manipulate the media against the bishops. In a document that was leaked to Donohue, Gehring sent a memo to reporters on June 7 instructing them how to frame their questions to the bishops concerning their “Fortnight for Freedom” initiative, a religious-liberty series of events. For example, he recommended they ask, “Are you willing to sacrifice Catholic charities, colleges and hospitals if you don’t get your way on the contraceptive mandate?” Once Donohue unmasked Gehring, the bishops ripped him in a long statement.
Gehring previously worked for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (perversely, he also worked for the bishops’ conference). It was a dummy Catholic front group, funded by Soros, that was created by John Podesta. Wikileaks disclosed that Podesta launched this group so they could infiltrate the Church and ultimately undermine it. This was part of the “Catholic Spring” revolution sought by the enemies of the Catholic Church.
Sister Simone Campbell was next to sign the letter. She showed how principled she was when she spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention supporting President Obama’s Health and Human Services mandate: it required Catholic non-profits to pay for abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plans. Campbell is also on record saying abortion should not be illegal—she would never say this about racial discrimination—and more recently she has thrown her support behind the Equality Act, the most anti-religious liberty piece of legislation ever written.
Sister Pat McDermott, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, is the third name listed on the letter. She proudly defended Sister Margaret Farley when the Vatican concluded that her book on sexuality contradicted the Church’s teachings; the nuns are big fans of gay marriage.
Another signatory, Father Bryan Massingale, is so wedded to the gay rights movement that he gave a talk in 2017 on this subject before New Ways Ministry. It is a rogue Catholic entity that has been condemned by senior bishops in the United States, as well as the Vatican, for its promotion of homosexuality. He teaches at Fordham, a Jesuit school where the chairman of the department of theology claims to be married to his boyfriend.
Sam Sawyer, a Jesuit who works at America, the Jesuit magazine was in anguish. Dolan’s comments have caused “actual pain,” “fear,” and “suffering.” Was he really suffering? Or was he playing us?
Sawyer was unhappy that Dolan and other bishops on the call “did not challenge the president or voice reservations about his policies.” He branded this a “pastoral failure,” and was particularly piqued at Dolan for the manner in which he made his remarks (they were too cheery).
Here is what America said in 2009 when some Catholics, including bishops, reacted negatively to the news that President Obama was invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame. “If the president is forced to withdraw, will that increase cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Administration, or will it create mounting tensions and deepening hostility?” Sounds like they wanted our side to play ball. So why the double standard?
“The bishops and the president serve the same citizens of the same country. It is in the interests of both the church and the nation if both work together in civility, honesty and friendship for the common good, even where there are grave divisions, as there are on abortion.” Why doesn’t this principled stand apply to Dolan?
The editorial says that “it does not improve the likelihood of making progress on this and other issues of common concern if we adopt the clenched fist approach.” That is exactly what all of these critics did—they adopted a “clenched fist approach” to President Trump, hammering Dolan for not punching back.
When Pope Francis came to the U.S. in 2015, he made an impassioned speech to some 300 U.S. bishops. He implored them to “face [the] challenging issues of our time,” hastening to add that they refrain from using “harsh and divisive language.” He understood that if the bishops are going to participate in the public square, they need to do so without alienating those they seek to persuade.
A conference call is not the right place to settle differences. That can be done in other settings. This entire attack on Cardinal Dolan was unseemly.