The “New” Tone of U.S. Bishops Sounds Very Familiar

In a frank interview with the Wall Street Journal last year, Cardinal Timothy Dolan conceded that the post-Vatican II Church in America has “gotten gun-shy” on hot-button moral issues. The Church’s encyclical on artificial birth control, Humanae Vitae, “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the Church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first-person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa. We’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle.’”

The soft-pedaling started, he said, “when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics in general got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught, first and foremost, is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everybody else.”

Dolan also traced the softness to squandered moral authority over the sex abuse scandal, which “intensified our laryngitis over speaking about issues of chastity and sexual morality, because we almost thought, ‘I’ll blush if I do…. After what some priests and some bishops, albeit a tiny minority, have done, how will I have any credibility in speaking on that?’”

Implicit in Dolan’s comments was that the bishops would henceforth speak more loudly and straightforwardly on the culture-war issues. But in fact the reverse is now happening: their soft stances appear to be getting softer. Perhaps emboldened by Benedict XVI’s disappearance from the scene and detecting a new “pastoral” wind blowing from Rome, the liberal bishops of yesteryear are popping up on talk shows to offer familiar evasions and obfuscations. Theodore McCarrick, the retired cardinal of Washington, D.C., felt free to go on Bloomberg Television recently and endorse gay civil unions.

Some gay activists and pundits are gushing over this “new” tone, as if the post-Vatican II Church hadn’t already tried it. Why should the bishops think a doctrinally vague irenicism will be any more successful now than it was in the 1970s? All it terminates in is a shrunken Church and a world confirmed in its errors. Just look at the empty nunneries, once full of self-consciously trendy sisters who now don’t even bother to recruit.

It is strange that Cardinal Dolan, given his accurate comments to the Wall Street Journal last year, would tell journalists this year that the Church has been too harsh in its presentation on gay issues. Last Sunday he appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos and told the biased host just what he wanted to hear: “We have to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. I admit, we haven’t been too good at that.”

What exactly is he referring to? The Church, by his own admission last year, is “gun-shy” on such issues. Yet now he is accepting the propagandistic media narrative that the Church is “unwelcoming” to homosexuals owing to its adherence to orthodoxy? To reinforce this outrageous premise of Stephanopoulos’s question is odd enough. But to do so after near-silence from many bishops on homosexual issues is truly baffling. How did the Church go from “gun-shy” to excessively severe so quickly?

The assumption underlying Stephanopoulos’s question is that the Church can’t truly love sinners unless it loves their sins. This is one of the chief lies of our age. If the “new tone” means granting, or at least not challenging, this assumption, the Church in America is in real trouble. Catholics may have to gird themselves for a return to the days when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was issuing flaky, mixed-message documents like “Always Our Children,” which praised homosexuality as a “gift.”

Obviously, the Church has not been too severe but too soft, allowing many of her schools and colleges to become propaganda mills for the gay agenda. Priests rarely if ever preach on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, and plenty of chanceries still house dissenters on that issue. The former head of the archdiocese of San Francisco’s seminary, Fr. Gerald Coleman, has written in support of gay civil unions: “Some homosexual persons have shown that it is possible to enter into long-term, committed and loving relationships, named by certain segments of our society as domestic partnership. I see no moral reason why civil law could not in some fashion recognize these faithful and loving unions with clear and specified benefits.”

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, a self-described homosexual who remains in good standing in the Church, even wrote a memoir in which he mused on his affair with a male graduate student and extolled homosexual behavior, telling the media during the book’s press tour that the Church should endorse the “physical, genital expression of that love.”

Behind the word “pastoral” lies a lot of mischief and nuanced dissent. A “new” tone marked by a de-emphasis on orthodoxy is nothing more than an old case of what Cardinal Dolan rightly called episcopal “laryngitis.”

George Neumayr


George Neumayr is a contributing editor to The American Spectator, and a weekly columnist for Crisis Magazine. He is also co-author (with Phyllis Schlafly) of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.

  • Facile1

    There is no ‘nice’ way to proclaim the ‘Good News’ that will not crush hearts — especially when the latter is actually God’s intent. The unsolicited forgiveness of sin is insult enough.

    The US Bishops should simply accept this. And instead of groping for a better “choice of words” to deflect derision at the risk of losing sight of Christ’s message altogether, they should prepare themselves and their flock to submit to God’s will (and the possibility of loss to life, liberty and property.)

    • Frank

      I agree with your first paragraph whole heatedly. Recently, I found out my Catholic brother and sister-in-law are going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy. With as much love and charity as possible (which is always difficult with family members on such a subject), I sent them a long email on the Church’s teaching on the immorality and gravity of IVF/surrogacy. I quoted Donum Vitae, the Catechism, and articles from the National Catholic Bioethics Center. That even though one human life will be produced through this process, other human lives (the embryos discarded or frozen) will be sacrificed and killed. To be frank, it was not well received at all. They were very upset, attacking me on all levels. It’s been difficult, but I felt they had to hear the true teaching of the Catholic Church on such an incredibly important decision. As you say, sometimes there is no easy or ‘nice’ way to sugar coat the topic and present the Truth of Christ. I believe, although the whole situation has gotten very ugly, they will take the Church’s teaching to heart and decide not to go through with such immoral procedures.

      • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

        And what you did is exactly what the “New Evangelization” calls us to do. God bless you for your courageous act. I pray that your actions will inspire others to do the same. Pax.

      • jenmar

        I find IVF, surrogacy, etc. so offensive to the human person, that though this will sound bad to you, I have told my children that I do not want to see my grandchildren marrying and having children with a chlld who was conceived by artificial means.

        • Dan Li

          Forgive me, but that is foolish. The means of their birth has nothing to say of their worth, if someone so conceived happens to have excellent character and happens to exercise the virtues and wisdom we are called to, there’s no good reason why they ought not marry. If they happen to be of poor character, they ought not to marry anyways.

          • John200

            Why, Dan, do you think the character, virtues , and wisdom of the grandchild improve, or mitigate, or haves any effect whatsoever on the sins of jenmar’s children? The children are culpable for creating a grandchild using artificial means. The grandchild stands to watch his parents blacken — maybe lose — their souls.

            All this is very unfortunate, but you seem to think jenmar should approve and perhaps should WANT this in her family.

            I’ll leave the work of tracking down the fool to you; you have misidentified him. Of course you can be forgiven, but you must first repent for your foolishness.

            • Dan Li

              Perhaps there has been a mis-communication. From what I read I believed that jenmar desired that their grandchildren refuse to marry someone who was brought into existence by artificial means. In such a case, a person born in that manner would not themselves bear any ‘unworthiness’ of marriage unless there were some other moral flaw in their character and being.

              I did not take it to mean that jenmar’s children were the ones who used IVF. Of course IVF is of a deeply problematic nature and should be avoided. If the children had (already) committed this sin, then (while the child would be blameless for this) it is they who must bear that burden, for they’ve brought it on themselves and their family. Whatever occurs, a child should be welcomed and loved, it is the act which is the fault and the practitioners who are *at* fault.

              Hmm, perhaps it is simply a bit of negativism in me, but I sense a rather disheartening animus in your message John200.

              • John200

                Thanks for the reply, this looks like a miscommunication. I’ll cancel the comment if I can (first, by editing it to a blank). If that works, that’ll be it.

  • Joe DeCarlo

    Political correctness is even affecting the teachings of the church. Vatican II and its modernists (liberal) adherents have caused much of the decline of the Great Catholic Church. The mush-mouth modernists wanted to “update” the church in order to communicate better with modern man. No more fire and brimstone sermons. No more talk about hell, evil, the devil, mortal sin. The modernists said that pre-Vatican II clerics were scaring people with that rhetoric. Now, with the empty churches, seminaries, convents, Catholic schools closing at an alarming rate, non-existent confessional lines (even though the whole congregation at church receives communion) we are starting to hear the negative effects of Vatican II on the church. Let’s get back to telling the world our unvarnished truths. If they listen, great! If they don’t, then that is their problem.

    • Objectivetruth

      As Christ said: “If you are lukewarm about me, I will vomit you out!”

    • Bono95

      The Second Vatican Council is not to blame for the corruption. Bad and false Catholics who willfully ignored or grossly misinterpreted the Council’s teachings are the culprits here.

      • Joe DeCarlo

        Bad and false clergy. It starts at the top,

        • I think it is fair to say that many of the Catholic prelates prefer to take their cues from the ground (the great unwashed) up instead of from the top (Holy Spirit) down.

      • Joe DeCarlo

        Vatican II was not misinterpreted. The Vatican II adherents discerned over the past 50 yrs. that is was a total failure, so they say it was misinterpreted. They don’t want to admit their mistake.

        • Bono95

          How can a pontifical council fail utterly? I can see that bad things can spring from it, but to say that the council was a total failure sounds almost tantamount to saying the Catholic Church/Papacy is a failure.

          I know that’s not what you mean here, but it could be interpreted that way. I’m sorry, but it really ticks me when people act like Vatican II is the root of all evil. Unfortunately and undeniably, it has (inadvertently) made it easier for bad Catholics (clergy and laity alike) to be bad/worse, but that was not its purpose, and I know many post-Vatican II Catholics who firmly believe that abortion, divorce, female ordination, contraception, gay “marriage”, stem cell research, cloning, pornography, fornication, etc. are all most horribly wrong. I believe all that too, but I and the other Catholics I mentioned see nothing wrong with Mass in the vernacular or the priest facing the congregation (rest assured, we do NOT approve of girl altar servers or habitless “pantsuit” nuns, etc.)
          Vernacular Mass is just as valid as Latin Mass. If you prefer Latin, that’s OK, but realize that English is valid too, and that not everyone who likes English Mass likes Obama and his ilk.

          • Joe DeCarlo

            Where does it say that a Pontifical council can’t fail? What was the purpose of it? It was the Golden Age before Vatican II. I’m not talking about the changes in the mass, or altar girls, or nuns without habits. I’m talking about much bigger issues. Before VatII, the church attendance was about 85%, now about 30%, the seminaries, convents, Catholic schools, were full. There were very few cafeteria Catholics. Before Vatican II, there was no way Obama could had mustered 50% of the Catholic vote. We need clerics who are going to preach the teachings of Jesus Christ, not the water-down teachings that we hear today. Take a stand for the greatest man who ever walked the earth, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!

            • Bono95

              How far before Vatican II are we talking here? I’d have said the Golden Age of the Catholic Church was in the Middle Ages, yet even then, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Henry VIII, etc. managed to rebel against the pope and maintain followings that live to this day.

              Yes, 85% attendance is better than what we have now, but in the Middle Ages, attendance was at least 98%. And how many schools, seminaries, and convents were emptied or destroyed by the Protestant Revolt?

              Bad people abound in every age, and they’ll do anything to get their way (someone once said “The Devil Can Quote Scripture to Suit His Purposes”), but every age also has good people to fight the bad ones. And God is well-known for bringing good out of even the evilest of actions and intentions. Vatican II was meant to be good, and it did not utterly fail to be so, despite the wrongs done in its name. Let’s just trust in God here that he will guide out of all of this madness.

              • Joe DeCarlo

                We have to deal with the present, not 600 years ago. The Golden Age for me was the early 1950’s to the early 60’s. Secondly, the clerics of today don’t have the fire in their belly as they did back then. They have become to passive in their homilies. You have to tell you flock where they have gone wrong. More than 50% of Catholics are pro-choice. This has to be addressed at the pulpits. I stopped attending the ordinary mass and I now attend the extraordinary mass. The pastor gives outstanding sermons. He will “let you have it” if necessary. The truth will set you free.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                  An period when the greatest scholars and theologians were under censure and their works suppressed, including the future Cardinals Yves Congar OP, Jean Daniélou SJ and Henri de Lubac SJ Others included Marie-Dominique Chenu OP and Louis Bouyer. It was almost as if the Church was striving to bankrupt itself spiritually and intellectually.

                • Except for the loud music, the homily is a great place to catch a couple of zzz.

                • pbecke

                  Pro rata, there will be many more bound for hell under the Tridentine dispensation than post Vatican II, clerical and lay. It was the violent, legalistic, antithesis of Christ’s Gospel teachings; axiomatically worse than the Synagogue in Christ’s day, against which he inveighed so vehemently, since its patrimony was and is so much richer.

      • Little Red Hen

        I have read in other Catholic blogs and publications that it’s the mis-interpretation of the documents of Vatican II that is to blame for the collapse the Catholic church and Catholic institutions in the U.S. Well, a volume of the documents of Vatican II runs to hundreds of pages and is written in language that I can not make heads or tails of. Can anyone tell me where I can find a plain-English version of those documents?

        • JoeDeCarlo

          Yes, “The Documents of Vatican II” Abbott-Gallagher. I bought this right after the Vatican II council in 1966. It is in plain English.

        • Joe DeCarlo

          Go on Amazon. com I saw it there for $10 and change By Walter Abbott

      • pbecke

        Spot on.

        • Bono95

          Thank you

    • whatsup54321

      It always amazes me how Vatican II is blamed for the empty churches, seminaries, convents, etc. One would think that nothing else was going on in the world in the 60’s. In fact, the 60’s ushered in the Western World such a huge barrage of cultural turmoil on ever level in every institution. Unprecedented cultural shifts and changes took place – nowhere in history had such dramatic cultural change happened in such a short period of time in so many ways. I guess it’s easy to ignore all of that, and just blame Vatican II for the empty churches, seminaries and convents.

      Yes, I guess, the Church, and people of the Church, exist in a vacuum, and none of the numerous “revolutions” going on in the West have anything to do with the empty churches and convents.

      Oh – wait a minute – the Orthodox Church and other mainline churches didn’t have a Vatican II, you say? I guess they must not be losing any religious vocations or parishioners either. What? They are too? Gee – maybe all the major cultural shifts that have happened from the 60’s on might have something to do with what’s going on in the Catholic Church.

      Nah – it can’t be that. It’s all going wrong today simply because of Vatican II. That’s it!

      • Joe DeCarlo

        Yes, I agree with you about the cultural shifts. But the church, it seems, to have gone along with these shifts. Vatican II wanted to “update” the church. The 60’s generation talked about love, and the church joined right in with them. Love is great, but tough love is even better. Tough love is what is needed, not only in the church, but in our society. There are excuses galore for almost any negative action today. Alcoholism has become a disease. How can it be a disease when if you stopped drinking, you no longer have the disease? Alcoholism is a behavior, not a disease. If I have cancer, it there something I could stop doing, and no longer have cancer? Stop making excuses for our behavior! As Jesus said, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

        • Bono95

          But what about the council that was called to institute the Tridentine Mass in 1570? Didn’t it in some way “update” the Church at that time? Prior to 1570, Mass was Latin, but not in Tridentine form, and there was yet another mass form before that in the Roman Empire/”Dark” Ages.

          • Joe DeCarlo

            I’m not talking about the mass. I talking about the permissiveness of today’s society, which has even affected the church. The church teaches a water-downed version of the doctrines. Take a look the teaching of the Council of Trent. If anyone says this or that, let him be an anathema. Have you ever heard the clergy use any terms like “anathema”. This clergy are a bunch of wusses. You got this hangup with the mass. I suggest you get the book “The Sources of Catholic Dogma”. Cardinal Dolan and many of the clergy have the guts of a jelly fish.

            • Bono95

              I admit I’ve never heard a priest or bishop use the term “anathema”, but I have heard plenty denounce Obama, abortion, sodomy, etc.

              • Joe DeCarlo

                Yes, and 50% of Catholics voted for Obama.

                • Bono95

                  How many of those were priests? I’m a Novus Ordo Catholic layperson, but I still think Obama = communist dictator.

                  • Joe DeCarlo

                    You are the other 50%.

          • A Hicks

            In Regards to the Mass, what happened after Trent was a restoration of the Missal, not the making of a new one. There was liturgical continuity. What happened after Vatican II, in the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger was “something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth anddevelopment over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process -with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”
            This is taken from the preface to Msgr. Klaus Gamber’s book, “The
            Reform of the Roman Liturgy,’ a book I would highly recommend. Gamber
            himself affirms that the “reform” which followed Vatican II represented a radical breach with the traditional rite.”

        • whatsup54321

          The various cultures in which we find ourselves since the 60’s (social, ethnic, political, sexual, etc.) are very much a part of people’s lives and cannot be ignored or dismissed. The Gospel challenges us to be counter-cultural. We must, in a sense, know the devil we’re dealing with in order to transform ourselves (and to help transform others) so that we configure ourselves to Christ.

          The rampant change in cultural realities that occurred since the 60’s have, without a doubt, influenced the attitude of everyone with whom they have come in contact. We cannot deny that. We do not exist in a bubble. No one is free from encountering and/or espousing certain cultural values that are imbued in our society. We cannot escape them…but we can begin to transform them.

          When one reads and studies the documents of Vatican II, one cannot validly walk away with the concept that the Church has abandoned it’s mission or teachings, or even watered them down.. If anything, the Church, through Vatican II, invited all to renew and recommit to that life which Jesus calls us – ordered to union with God.

          The real challenge is to be counter-cultural, and not everyone is up to that task. The various significant cultural influences are pervasive. This is not an excuse, it’s the reality. This is why the seminaries and convents are nearly empty. This is why most Catholics, even the ones who go to Church, have not experienced conversion. This is why, for instance, polls indicate that many American Catholics are against some of the Church’s moral teachings (and even some doctrinal teachings – how many that receive Communion, for instance, actually believe in the Real Presence? Scary!) Not an excuse…a reality.

          Does any of this mean that the Church must water down its life-giving message of Truth? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that the Church (like Jesus) must develop strategies to help overcome and convert the realities within which people find themselves.

          And that is no easy task, given that part of our cultural reality is moral relevance and post-modernism. But it can and does happen, perhaps not on the scale we’d like it and not as quickly as we’d like it. I’m not sure a “tough-love” approach is valuable given today’s cultural realities. The Church ought not to become an elitist club of perfect people (actually, no one is perfect – no conservative, liberal, moderate, or anyone – but we are challenged and called to perfection). On the other hand, “anything goes” is not acceptable either.

          Perhaps we need to be comfortable with some of the cultural chaos that ensued since the 60’s, not giving into them, but recognizing them as the reality with which most Americans find themselves. And perhaps we can recognize that, in a sense, there’s hardly anyone around who isn’t a “cafeteria Catholic.” Even the most staunch conservatives I know do not follow all that the Church proscribes. We need to recognize that this is all a journey – a road to perfection traveled by a bunch of imperfect people, whom God loves profoundly and to the end.

          If only we were to become a Church that truly believes the Holy Spirit is present no matter how any one of us or group of us tries and screws things up (or even how any one of us thinks that we have it all). If only we were a Church that emulates the patience God has for each one of us and can figure out how to go about our mission without compromising the Truth which we hold dear, constantly inviting others, as Jesus did, to walk in His way. That’s what we need to do/become.

      • Bill Guentner

        Thank you for the right perspective on this issue.

  • NT

    There is a decision at hand that will divide the nation and the Church, the Kingdom of God – which is not of this world, or allegiance to a political body that no longer believes that human morality, the ability to identify right and wrong and declare the truth is derived from the incarnation of of God to man and revelation.

    Just look at history to see the depth and depravity that a nation divorced of God descends to.

    • Ms. Heather Barrett, OP

      The really disturbing thing is that (as far as I know), we are the first civilization ever to try to redefine marriage. I think that makes us the most depraved in history. And unlike many previous civilizations, we have the Church! God’s judgment upon us, and that of future generations, will be grave indeed.

      • pbecke

        Are you suggesting that our civilisation has brought the fair name of sodomy into disrepute?!

  • FenieV

    You can’t be both faithful to Christ and chum with the liberal world which praises sin as liberation. Thank you for this article!

    • tom

      Timothy Cardinal Weakling and Donald Cardinal Guerl have to get some backbone. They have hundreds of millions of us waiting for the shepherd to lead, just as Christ did…even if it means Calvary. Start with closing Trinity and Georgetown, Fr. Guerl. Weakling? Fordham’s discussing bestiality, for Gawd’s sake, man! Tell them to bite themselves…in the name of the Lord.

      • FernieV

        “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 23,1-4

      • pbecke

        Cardinal Dolan is a very eloquent, bluff extravert with lots to say, but I’d prefer to see a somewhat taciturn, even diffident, prelature – which, in any case, I think is probably more the rule than the exception.

        The 17th century, Benedictine, Dom Augustine Baker, noted in his book that growth in the interior life entailed a growing introversion. I think that was probably why a lot of people were reported to be surprised when they met John-Paul II.

        They had expected to see a gregarious extraverted sportsman; instead they found, not the bluff PR man’s dream the media loved to tout, but a recollected, reserved man, made so, as the growing culmination of a life of more or less constant prayer: a man of prayer – a type that tends to be not much else to outward appearances, but deeply impressive in person, nevertheless. You can almost hear them praying.

        Yes, the state of the Church in the US seems terrible. Extremes on right and left – pretty much a reflection of its ultra-materialistic culture. The sexual depravity is egregious even by Western standards.

  • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

    Cardinal Dolan needs to be exorcised. Father Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, should be contacted about this as soon as possible. He has a telephone hotline, where people can report acts of demonic and evil possessions. Beginning with the country code, it is: 39-02-8556457.

    • tom

      He’s not that far…yet. Pray for him to be strong in the Faith. Fortes in Fide! I KNOW he’ll get stronger. Read the life of Brooklyn’s Bishop Francis X. Ford for inspiration.

  • Reets46

    And some folks thought it would be nice if we had an American (US) Pope and Cardinal Dolan was in the running. :>( Thank God the Holy Spirit had His way.

    • I thought the same thing.

    • pbecke

      Yes. I thought that was shallow in the extreme.

    • germainjd

      It was simply liberals dreaming out loud.

    • LazyLou

      I had hope for Cardinal Burke myself.

  • lifeknight

    ……”the Church in America is in real trouble.” Not much more to say. Growing up as a quasi-Catholic in the 60s and 70s, I learned to try to be accepted by the world. If not for the grace of God go I—Nuns removed their habits, rode motorcycles, and taught that it was fine to contracept AND abort. I remember the reaction to the Roe vs Wade decision as applauded at my “Catholic” high school.

    Now MY children see pictures of Dolan giving Holy Communion to Biden and are appalled at the public degradation of Jesus. It took homeschooling the family to re-educate ME and to bring up children who known their Faith.

    There is no way the Church is going to be fixed any time soon. I was praying many of the higher ups and dissenters would meet God soon, but the damage to souls continues.

    Parents: Bring your children home if you want them to know their Faith. You will learn as you teach them.

    • John200

      Thank you, LK, for stating plainly one of the open secrets of home schooling. In order to teach a subject, you must know it. And to teach your faith, which is your first responsibility as a parent and custodian of your childrens’ souls, you had better know the faith.

      Good job.

  • Alecto

    The only thing this will do is further divide Catholics, perhaps even fomenting a split in the United States. The majority of Catholics are already schismatic. Dolan is a publicity seeking weakling. I don’t believe this pope is going to do anything…he’s a Jesuit! For crying out loud, they’re the ones who started this.

    • tom

      I think the “Jebbies” are wearing the white hats this time….they often do, you know. Keep the Faith.

    • Bono95

      Yes, but don’t forget the good Jesuits of the past (Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Isaac Jogues, etc.) My bishop is a good faithful Jesuit, and I believe Pope Francis is one too. Who knows, maybe he’ll whip the Jesuits back into shape. The Carmelite order was falling apart when St. Theresa of Avila first entered it.

  • Scott Waddell

    Cardinal Dolan hasn’t done anything about the false homosexual ministry at St. Francis Xavier in his diocese. Even his one good moment when he opposed the HHS mandate was soured when he opted to wave the U.S. Constitution around like Woodrow freakin’ Wilson and basically told the world: “We nutty Catholics have this irrational opposition to contraception, but we think there is something in the Constitution that forces you to accept our nuttiness.”

    • tom

      Go back to your presbytery in Scotland, Scott. You’re a vile creature of something with bad breath and a dirty soul. Worse, you’re legion. We know you.

      • Scott Waddell

        I’m having trouble understanding your personal attacks against me considering that in other responses you seem to be calling for bishops to show more backbone, which is exactly what I am advocating. I’ve never personally attacked Cdl. Dolan, just criticized some of his actions. Is it possible you are misreading me?

        • tom

          I think you’re miswriting, but let’s start again. Sorry if I’m wrong but Dolan asked simply for a religious waiver for Catholic institutions. That’s not asking anyone else to accept “nuttiness”, as you suggest.

          • Augustus

            The point is that rather than defend the Church’s teachings on contraception, he hid behind the Constitution’s religious liberty protection. Many faithful Catholics have argued that we are in the mess we are in because the Church was not fulfilling its responsibility to proclaim the gospel to its own members. You have a habit of over-reacting. You’d be more effective if you thought more and wrote less.

          • Scott Waddell

            Yes he did, and it was good that he did, but I’m not the only one who thought when he said “This isn’t about contraception” that he was ashamed of the teaching when what he should have said was, “Contraception is evil. It desecrates the marital bond, offends against chastity, and is a menace to public morals. The State has no common-interest in subsidizing it to say nothing of forcing employers to pay for it.”

  • JERD

    Hold on here. Dolan is talking about HOW the church evangelizes. He is not retreating from orthodoxy. He is an advocate for a New Evangelization which converts the unbeliever by initially proclaiming the JOY that comes from believing in Christ the Redeemer. Only later does the church then move the newly converted soul to the moral/ethical teachings of the church. Neumayr is reading something into Dolan’s remarks that is just not there.

    • Scott Waddell

      Cardinal Dolan’s record speaks for itself. And that record doesn’t speak well of him.

      • JERD

        And his “record” is?

        • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

          Cardinal Dolan sat back and did absolutely nothing to stop New York’s state legislature from passing “homo-marriage” (a sin of omission). Then, after the passage of the law, he publicly stated he was under the understanding that there were not enough votes in the state legislature for passage of this bill….a lie (sin of comission). Look up the record and his statements on this. May the Holy Spirit be “with” you.

          • JERD

            I see. We know as a fact that he lied. We know that his understanding (in other words what was in his mind) was something other than what he stated. Please be reminded of our Lord’s words: “Judge not, lest we be judged”.

            • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

              “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

              May the good Lord bless you (and Cardinal Dolan).


              • JERD

                And you!

        • JCabaniss

          New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo (who is admittedly not in Cardinal Dolan’s diocese) publicly supports abortion and gay “marriage”. He also lives in the governor’s mansion with his children and his girl friend … and receives communion. Cardinal Dolan has not to my knowledge said he would deny communion to the governor should he ever spend a Sunday in the Big Apple. If the bishops don’t take these issues seriously why would they expect anyone else to?

          • JERD

            Question: How many sinners receive communion every Sunday? Answer: 100%. Let’s not deny communion to high profile sinners, when frankly none of us are worthy. “Lord i am not worthy to receive you ……”

            • Scott Waddell

              Actually, manifest public and grave sins do warrant public correction and discipline. This has warrant in Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Canon Law.

          • tom

            Cuomo’s as wise -ass as his old man! Why do heathens want to pretend to be Roman Catholics if it’s so BAD? And where’s the Bishop of Albany…asleep at the wheel of Life? Wake up boyos, cardinals, priests and all religious folk. There’s a world to convert. Principles you’ve vowed to uphold.

  • NH-Catholic

    Unfortunately, Cardinal Dolan, as the face of America’s Roman Catholic Episcopacy, proves to be the typical tower of ‘jello’ in his adherence and support to Catholic principles and morality. He sucked up to Obama before the election, telegraphing his intent to be ‘just one of the guys’. His posturing against funding abortion and contraception has proven to be pose without substance. Our ‘Catholic’ pro-abortion politicians can rest easy and continue to defile the sacraments. We can only pray and hope that our new Pope proves to be something other than a watered-down Liberationist Jesuit.

  • I have been very disappointed with Cardinal Dolan since he was smoozing with our dictator in chief right before the elections. I feel like he betrayed the flock and have lost my trust in him.

    • JERD

      Might we be confusing “smoozing” with evangelizing? You won’t change minds and hearts unless we talk with those persons who oppose us.

      • having a private conversation with a person who wants to know the truth and is willing to change is one thing-honoring the most pro abortion anti Catholic person to ever hole the office of president right before a major election is cowardly

        • tom

          It’s scandal, the offspring of grave sin.

      • tom

        Yeah, say “Get ye behind me Satan!” Then give him the Three Stooges’ two fingers to the eye to dislodge the scales.

      • Adam Baum

        I’m sorry but Cardinal Dolan (and a good bid of the rest of the Episcopacy) weren’t evangelizing, they were negotiating. Many Bishops were so enamored of the idea “healthcare”, that that took Obama’s word that he wouldn’t force contraceptives and abortion.

        When Dolan complained about Obama’s dishonesty, he revealed himself to be rather naive.

        • ubiPetrusEst

          Too true! That’s why prolifers in the trenches knew that coercion would follow the passage of Obamacare, but most Bishops refused to recognize the truth.

  • Dan Deeny

    Very fine article. I saw Cardinal Dolan on that program. What is he thinking? He seems to be in over his head. He should have said that we oppose sodomy, racism, bestiality, rape, thieving, etc., etc.. But he didn’t. Why?

    • tom

      He was thinking about cupcakes and pastries, I fear. I KNOW he has gravitas, it’s just well hidden. Pray for him to gain courage before a scourge like Joe “The Crony” Biden or Nancy “That conscience thing” Pelosi. He needs to tell them to go to Hell…just once….justly. Glad-handing doesn’t work wit the Lord, Cardinal Weakling.

      • John200

        The bishop cannot really tell anyone to go to hell, as he is dedicated to achieving the opposite result.

        But he can tell them hell is very hot, and they are basting themselves in preparation fior it, and show them why they are headed there, and say it all using the hard words that bring the point home.

        All this is simple, plain, salt-of-the-earth Catholic faith. It works if you are faithful, but it might be beyond the good Cardinal. I pity him if he does not get on the stick.

      • poetcomic1

        “I know he has gravitas, it’s just well hidden.” His ‘gravitas’ is not so well hidden – comes from too many Democratic banquets.

  • Cindy

    I don’t know what to believe, I will stick with prayer.

  • Mike

    IMHO- as successors of the apostles of Christ, our bishops should be afforded a certain rare degree of respect. Though we should protect the faithful from scandal, we should never criticize our bishops. It is easy for Americans to forget, myself included, that we (Catholics) are subjects of the Pope. We should pray the rosary and spend time in adoration for Cardinal Dolan.

    • Tony W

      Expressing respectful and even sometimes strong criticism of bishops is a right and duty
      of serious Catholic laymen. This is especially the case when they attempt to
      cut off debate on matters of prudential judgment, while at the same time
      refusing to uphold fundamental church teachings and enforce discipline. Done
      with the right intent and in the proper manner, it is an act of charity.
      Clericalism has contributed greatly to creating the mess we are dealing with

      • Mike

        Since this is not a dogmatic issue, to each person their own opinion, I suppose. However, I think you are incorrect. What authority do laymen have to criticize a bishop? None, to my knowledge. While it is true that laymen should reject heretical teaching and keep the faithful from scandal, these duties and charitable acts can be executed while maintaing proper respect for bishops. There are other bishops, like the one in Rome, that can admonish Cardinal Dolan if necessary. It’s simply not the role of laymen.

        • Theorist

          Of course then, wouldn’t it have to be impossible that the entire clergy could all become corrupt? Is that impossible? I don’t know. Any references?

        • Tony W

          The implications of your position are staggering. It would seem to mean that the faithful should simply be content to pray the rosary while, for example, the Mahonys and Weaklands of the hierarchy run wild. You will recall that neither of these two received much correction or criticism from either the Vatican or their fellow bishops during their long and awful tenures.

          • Mike

            Tony, I think you are misunderstanding my comments and trying to misrespresent my opinion. Of course we, as the layity, should keep others from scandal. We should proactively proclaim the truth that is Catholicism and defend it from enemies. No doubt there- I think we are in agreement! The Church is not perfect and needs help. I read crisis becasue I love orthodoxy. However, I think there is a way communicate the Church’s position without attacking even dissenting bishops. In other words, I think that we can defend against heresy without criticism of bishops- even those that deserve it. Concerning Mahony and Weakland, we don’t know actually what kind kind of correction they received from the Vatican or other bishops. Just because a bishop deserves to be repremanded does not give us the right to do so. On a side note, downplaying the rosary is very stupid.

            • Tony W


              This is going to be my last post as it apparent that I am not going to persuade you and vice versa. I was certainly not in any way trying to downplay or denigrate the praying of the rosary. My point is that the “pay and pray” model which some people try to impose on the Catholic laity is unreasonable and unhealthy for the Church. Let’s apply your “no criticism” rule to a concrete example. Following your principle, it would seem that a Catholic reporter should never write an article documenting a child sex abuse scandal and then draw the obvious conclusions on the malfeasance of the bishop who covered it up and protected the guilty. Also, presumably a Catholic prosecutor who decided that criminal charges were warranted in such a case would be barred from prosecuting it because it would be “disrespectful” to the bishop. Does this sound right?

              Criticism of bishops or priests, for that matter, should always be done
              carefully and respectfully. In our degraded age, much of it is
              intemperate, excessive, and yes, disrespectful. Such outbursts, of
              course, should be condemned. But bishops are fallible men who sometimes make serious mistakes and sometimes do worse than that. There are occasions when it is the responsibility of a Catholic layman to say “with all due respect, you are wrong, your Excellency.”

  • Tony

    I have no idea what Cardinal Dolan could possibly have been talking about. First of all, those of us who have spoken and written against same-sex pseudogamous relations have ALSO spoken and written against opposite-sex pseudogamous relations. That is, we have been trying to reintroduce into people’s minds the beauty of the virtue of purity, and the human and divine meanings of sexual intercourse. How many bishops have written and spoken about the delusive disappointments of fornication? How many have written about the contradictions inherent in divorce? How many have written about the loneliness that the sexual revolution has brought among young people trying to do the right thing? One or two, maybe? We get no help from the chanceries anywhere, none. Why can’t they say, “Before we even talk about same-sex attractions, we need to talk about fornication”?

    • Ms. Heather Barrett, OP

      That would be a great place for them to start! Unfortunately, I don’t have much confidence that it will happen any time soon… I do have some hope, however, that Pope Francis might start speaking out; he’s recently spoken about the crucial role of women as mothers. I think he may well take up Pope John Paul II’s teachings on sexuality and emphasize them publicly. That would be a good thing. But we definitely need all bishops to do the same.

      • tom

        Well said. Thank you.

  • Ms. Heather Barrett, OP

    In light have how heterosexuals have gotten away with redefining marriage for decades, I think that we have been too severe with gays. The answer, however, is not to be softer on gays–the answer is to be more severe with heterosexuals, to demand of them the reverence and responsibility for marriage and children and family that God, Church, and civilization have entrusted to them. Until this happens, marriage is always going to be in danger, and we are not going to be in much position to defend it.

    We faithful Catholics need to live out our faith and show the world an alternative–a good, joyful, life-giving alternative. Our bishops do need to grow backbones of steel and start doing their jobs as shepherds to the faithful–support and protect those who are in line with Church teaching, find the lost and bring them home, and get rid of the wolves. However, it is largely up to the laity to give the example to the secular world. Any laity who refuse to do so should be educated; if they refuse to be educated, they should be warned once, and then excommunicated, for their own good and everybody else’s. It all seems pretty simple to me.

    • JERD

      Well said. Let’s look at the plank in our own eye.

    • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

      Yes, I agree, we faithful Catholics need to live our faith and be the “salt and light” of Christianity on earth. The call for the laity to embrace the Church’s “New Evangelization” is a great step in the right direction. Now, about your statement, to demand of heterosexuals “the reverence and responsibility for marriage and children”. Absolutely, but that is only a partial answer to the problem, as you have stated it. There are other inter-related issues that need to be addressed and in desperate need of “evangelization”, by both religious and laity. Some of these are:

      1. Marriage (between one man and one woman).

      2. Fornication (sex outside of marriage).

      3. Sex (before marriage).

      3. Contraception.

      4. Abortion.

      5. Homosexuality (an abomination).

      6. Love (Sexuality/Sensuality vs. Charity).

      7. Sin and evil.

      8. Natural law.

      All of these are related to your point, and need to be addressed ALL at the same time…. clearly…..unambiguously….truthfully. May the Holy Spirit be with you.

      • givelifeachance2

        9. Artificial Reproduction (IVF)

      • 10. Euthanasia

    • HigherCalling

      Be careful to place the blame accurately. Many people blame heterosexuals for messing up marriage and then go on to use that sad fact to irrationally conclude that same-sex “marriage” will do no added harm. While heterosexuals have indeed done great damage to marriage, it is clearly not “heterosexualism” that is to blame. The blame lies fully in the acceptance of various elements of Liberalism, not the least of which is contraception and divorce — two of the defining elements of Liberalism. Now they seek to add the icing on the cake of Liberalism, same-sex “marriage,” doubling down on the Liberal assault, and expect all to be made right, just, fair and equal. Every problem that modern marriage faces is a result of not accepting the truth of what marriage is. Not accepting the truth of things, accepting a lie, is Liberalism as defined by the Church. Liberalism is what needs to be exposed and addressed. Only a return to the real essence and final purpose of marriage will fix it. More Liberalism will destroy it.

      • tom

        If Catholic families started having more than 1.6 kids, the world would be saved.

        • Bono95

          My Dad’s the 2nd of 4 kids, my Mom’s the 6th of 8 kids (1 was miscarried :’-( ), and I’m the 1st of 7 kids.

    • ubiPetrusEst

      It seems pretty simple, but as the article documents, many of our bishops are wearing blinders or actively undermining the Faith.

    • fredx2

      “We faithful Catholics need to live out our faith and show the world an alternative–a good, joyful, life-giving alternative.”
      That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to run around excommunicating half the congregation. You don’t have to sic the bishops on them. Just give a good, faithful example and everything else will fall into place. Remember the part about going after the lost sheep. Jesus did not yell at the sheep. He went after it. The Prodigal son did not get excommunicated when he showed up at his father’s door. He was forgiven. So many of the dissenters are, in fact, quite broken people. They can be brought back, but not by laying down the law. They’ve been yelled at all their lives, they are used to it, it doesn’t phase them.

  • sajetreh

    Brothers and Sisters I love the discussions that the articles of Crisis Magazine encourages. I would like to remind everyone however that our faith was born in controversy, pain and even death. We faithful can expect no less. We can hope for better and work towards creating a society that upholds the goal to provide for the common good of man. But, remember the words of the Roman’s. Look at those Christians and how they love one another. It is the light of the Holy Spirit in our lives that attracts others. As JPII expressed in his book “Crossing the Threshold of Hope”, holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life.

    It is we in the trenches that will set the example of Christian life. It is we in the trenches that produce the Priests, Nuns and leaders of the Church. It is we in the trenches that may have to shoulder the burden of martyrdom so that our sacrifice can nourish the faithful and through the power of the Holy Spirit, spread the faith.

    Pray, hope and don’t worry. For our Lord has won a great victory and the promise of that victory awaits us in eternal life.

    May we be thankful to God, for the opportunity to fight the good fight, in this time of darkness.

    • tom

      Let’s not bar the use of powerful Popeye punches for Christ, either. we need a little more of a muscular religion, not a prayer group for sniveling weaklings. God will give us strength.

  • tamsin

    Wisdom for our bishops, from coach John Wooden:

    There was a rule against facial hair for players on UCLA basketball teams. One day Bill Walton came to practice after a ten-day break wearing a beard. I asked him, “Bill have you forgotten something?”

    He replied, “Coach, if you mean the beard, I think I should be allowed to wear it. It’s my right.”

    I asked, “Do you believe in that strongly?” He answered, “Yes I do, coach. Very much.”

    I looked at him and said politely, “Bill, I have a great respect for individuals who stand up for those things in which they believe. I really do. And the team is going to miss you.”

    Bill went to the locker room and shaved the beard off before practice began. There were no hard feelings. I wasn’t angry and he wasn’t mad. He understood the choice was between his own desires and the good of the team, and Bill was a team player.

    I think if I had given in to him I would have lost control not only of Bill but of his teammates.

    • tom

      Great story. Thanks.

  • Objectivetruth

    I think of all the saints and martyrs that came before us and gave their very lives for the Truths of Christ. Peter, Paul, James, Thomas More, Maximillian Kolbe, the African Martyrs, Agnes, Maria Goretti……..amongst thousands over the millennium whose lives would have been so much easier and pleasant if they only “toed the line” and agreed to what the societies of their day had to say. But they didn’t. They couldn’t. With the power and courage of the Holy Spirit they joyfully, but loudly and firmly proclaimed the Gospel and the Truth of Christ. No matter how uncomfortable and ugly things get.

    We need to do the same. Christ’s followers have never won any popularity contests in THIS world. Christ told us “They will hate you because they hated me first.” let’s all grab our crosses and put on the armor of Christ.

  • Throughout much of the Christian world there is a weak-kneed willingness to cave in on moral issues like homosexuality and abortion, largely because we humans believe that we’re in control of the church and we abhor seeing it shrink. But the church isn’t our creation. God created it and He alone holds the deed of trust. Christians of all kinds must remain faithful to the Word of God as told without flaw in the Holy Bible. On a trip to Africa several years ago, I witnessed stronger Christians than I’ve observed in the West, including this writer. As we mature in our faith, we cannot become weak in the Moral Law.

    • tom

      Flabby Catholicism is boring. No wonder kids don’t follow. The cardinal should be walking 1000 parishioners from 5th Ave. to a different church every week to show Catholics own the Sidewalks of New York again. Bishops across America should be doing this. It’s more important than a Walk to Defeat Cat-Scratch Fever, for Xt’s sake!

  • cestusdei

    The tone will change when Pope Francis reiterates Catholic truth and we continue to be persecuted for it.

    • disqus_BD1WTedpf7

      I am not convinved that this new pope will in fact take a strong position on the controversial issues. He gives every indication to be a waffler and someone who avoids conflict. He certainly ain’t no Pius X, and oh how sorely we need another pope Pius.

      • Theorist

        Actually we need Pope Julius II: “The Fearsome”. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is the object of charity. Hence, our love will be seen in our ability to cause the right type of fear.

    • jacobum

      Not convinced he will be strong enough either. So far I’m at the “he puts me a bit nervous” stage. The “soft glove” is fine and needed but the “iron fist” in the soft glove is also critically needed. Maybe a bit too soon but no indication so far it is there. That’s a concern because our new Pope Francis clearly knows what he is doing with the media. He has superior direct/indirect communication skills using symbols, optics, and photo ops.

  • Pingback: The “New” Tone of U.S. Bishops Sounds Very Familiar | Jonah in the Heart of Nineveh()

  • disqus_BD1WTedpf7

    Conversion means that one has to change, before one can change one has to know what they need to change and why.
    The Church is to preach this conversion and to do this it has to condemn sin.
    It seems the bishops just don’t want to be uninvited to the cocktail parties those in polite society host regularly.

  • somebigguy

    I’m not worried about the Church; she always endures. The likes of Dolan embody their own demise. Pope Francis and others who remain true to the Faith have, it goes without saying, the promise of the Holy Spirit. The gates of Hell will not prevail. Sure, the faithful will continue to be persecuted, but what the hell? Diocletian and the Roman Empire become Obama and the US government. It’s always been so.

    • jacobum

      For sure the gates of Hell will not prevail but, and this is a Big But, Christ never defined “prevail” or say how small the Church might become while still “prevailing.” On another subject, to those who criticize welling intentioned folks who are blunt as being “unchristian”? Well kiss my grits as they say down South. Being “unchristian” is liberal speak for telling the Truth. It’s one of those adjectives that are meant to shut up people. Using the modern definition of being “unchristian” would essentially require DE-canonization of all the recognize Saints of the Church. Those who are still left in the pews and actually believe and try to practice the One True Faith have had it and are fed up to the gills with the “shepherds” preaching, teaching, soft shoe, effeminate, double talk bilge as “Truth” because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings…
      A message for wit: “you are part of the problem and not the solution”. Church has been preaching “Church Nice” now for 50 years. Unfortunately, the Cardinal Dolans’ of the Church appear to want to double down on it. That sounds like a real plan..Dah? Someone coined the phrase…the definition of “insanity” is to repeatedly do the same thing and expect a different result. O No! There we go be “unchristian” again. Oh Well. The truth does have a way of being inconvenient. We really need to pray for the Church, the Pope and all the Bishops and clergy. Just as importantly, we need to speak up, take action and get involved with our time, talent and treasure. If we are not willing to stand up and shout “fire” in a crowded theater that is actually on fire PLUS help lead people to the exits, then that is being really “unchristian”.

      • somebigguy

        See my Feb. 9, 2012 post at

  • What a bunch of effeminate cowards these bishops have become.

    • John200

      They were cowards before they became bishops, not the reverse. And we find our episcopate decorated with cowardice because the selection process failed.

  • tony o

    The coming persecution of Catholics (and it is coming) will force us to choose between Christ and His Church and the secular state. And that choice will also have to be made by Bishops, some of whom have already chosen. Denying Communion to public figures who flaunt their contempt for the Church while claiming its patrimony would be a first start. You cannot serve God and mammon, even when mammon goes by the name of the Democratic Party.

    • somebigguy

      Roger that! Roger, roger THAT!

      You might be interested in the Aug. 5, 2012 post at my blog, Veritatis: the Cartoon. Indeed, I’m certain you’ll appreciate ALL my material. Just Google on the blog name to get there.

  • Denise M

    What happens when your bishop shows up to bless a gay pride parade? He is also happy with the new pope because he thinks that Pope Francis will work to redistribute wealth in the world. At least my bishop has shown his colors. But, what am I supposed to do with that?

  • JERD

    Speaking of “tone!” The tone of many of these posts is not Christian. Name calling (“effeminate cowards”), hurtful sarcasm (“don’t want to be uninvited to the cocktail parties”) and just plain nasty (Dolan needs an “exorcism”) are not what we Catholics are about. Who do you expect to convert with posts like that?

    • Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum!

      It’s called “tough love”! Pax.

      • JERD

        Tough? – yes. Love? – hardly.

        • Objectivetruth

          From what i recall, Christ cleared the Temple with a staff, not a feather duster.

    • Scott Waddell

      Perhaps we should limit ourselves to “Brood of vipers”. 🙂

  • The Church will NOT alter doctrine to fit what’s popular among the liberal commentators on CNN, period. If any “Catholic” has a problem with that, there are other churches better suited for them.

  • That is fine. The Church will be purified, then society; according to Fr. Gobbi locutions. Many Bishops will stand the test of time and others will walk away. I am undecided; the jury being out. One cannot be faithful to God and the world. We will see.

  • John francis Luke Siple

    Glad the ol boy Cardinal of D.C. is OUT! It’s a gift from above.

  • ark and dove

    Here is a link to a 2009 article/interview with now Cardinal Dolan that appeared in New York Magazine, in which he more or less winked at approval of homosexual “domestic partnerships” while saying he didn’t want to go there. We need much more clarity than this.

  • Daniel

    It would have been nice, Mr. Neumayr, if you would have quoted all of what Cardinal Dolan said on homosexual behavior and individuals suffering from same-sex attraction. Let me help you provide a more complete picture rather than one colored by your traditionailst ideoloty:

    When “… asked what he would say to homosexual men and women who felt excluded from the Church. ‘Well, the first thing I’d say to them is: “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And — and we — we want your happiness. But — and you’re entitled to friendship. But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that — especially when it comes to sexual love — that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally.

    “Later, while speaking with Schieffer, he admitted that Church teachings make it hard to stay relevant in this day and age. “How to remain faithful to what we believe are God-given, revealed, settled, unchanging principles without losing our people, who more and more question them. . . ”

    “He added: “I think what we can’t tamper with what God has revealed but we can try to do better in the way we present them with more credibility and in a more compelling way.”

    Radical stuff, that, eh?

  • MairinT

    Same problem here in Australia with ‘hail fellow well met’ style of bishop on a panel being so jovial and condescending while the Islamic mufti was well spoken, straight and clear with Islamic teachings, all on the lefty ABC program of Q&A. I could have screamed in frustration hearing the bishop of Brisbane. While accurate with most of the basis of what he said, he made the Church sound ‘so nice’ and accommodating when all we wanted was to hear the straight forward teachings of the Church. No wonder Islam grows while the Catholic Church shrinks like a shy violet. So it is not only in America that the Church is in trouble, it is in most of Europe and definitely here in Australia. We long for a strong Cardinal, good with the media (sorry Cardinal Pell – you just cannot handle it), and bishops fluent in their presentation of Catholic Church teachings. Boy, we are in trouble.

  • MairinT

    In addition, pardon me, most of the Catholic world is aware we are having a Royal Commission to drag through the thousands of cases of sex abuse, much at the hands of Catholic clergy, in Australia. What makes the people angry is the claimed ‘cover-up’ and non action by the hierarchy, as in Ireland, Los Angeles, Boston. The hatred drummed up by the media etc. causes great pain and there does not seem to be a good Catholic Church spokesperson for the media to run to ‘for comment’. Whether a member of the clergy or secular, we need a good spokesperson to face the ‘music’.

  • Fr.Neil Buchlein

    Yes, it is truly a sad time when some of the “shepherds” who love the camera and microphone will not speak and teach the truth. Are they afraid of losing their popularity or monies evaporating for their special interests in their dioceses? It is no wonder why the laity are so confused because of the lack of backbone on certain core issues. What would Jesus say if he were on a TV talk show? I am so happy that Pope Francis is not one who is concerned about what the media will say or not say about him. America needs to wake up before the hand of God falls because it won’t be pretty especially for those in authority.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Lead, follow or resign.

  • AcceptingReality

    The shepherds are lost. Time for the sheep to lead and care for themselves. Great article, George! Thank you.

  • Nik R

    This is one of the rare times when I disagree with Mr. Neumayr. I think, on the contrary, Dolan is spot on. Outside the Catholic Church, the perception is that the Church hates gays, which, of course, isn’t true. What the Church needs to be doing is engaging homosexuals with discussions on the joy of living a chaste life. Of course we have to condemn sin, but HOW we do that is a problem. If we are Christians, we must follow the example of Christ, which means treating sinners with love. My experience is that we haven’t done a great job of showing the outside world that people with same-sex attraction are welcome in the Church, and that we pray for them and love them…living chastely is never easy, especially for those with same-sex attraction. Love people first. We can’t evangelize if all we talk about is sin. Sin matters because it separates man from God’s love, but our FIRST and PRIMARY focus in every situation should be to preach the vastness of God’s love. Then, we can talk about the allure of Satan and how it removes us from that love, but to talk about sin when those we’re talking to don’t have any conception of Christ’s love is counter-productive. This is almost exactly what Cardinal Dolan said on “This Week.”

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      Except that Christ came to save us from our sin and for this he died. Christ was unequivocal about this. If one were to read the scriptures, he could easily detect that Christ was not a mealy-mouthed, ‘make them all feel good’ social worker. We proclaim the truth to all sinners BECAUSE WE FIRST LOVE THEM. It is HOW we love them – by proclaiming the truth as Christ’s Church teaches.

      • Nik R

        I’m not suggesting – in any way – that we NOT talk about sin. But it is highly ineffective to evangelize by scolding somebody for their sinful actions, or worse, presuming sin when none may actually exist. In my experience, the most effective way to evangelize is to preach beauty. The beauty we see in the natural world is but a sliver of Christ’s beauty. The goodness we see, but a shadow. And yet ALL of that beauty, truth, and goodness is contained within the Eucharist. If we can get people to realize that, there is no reaction but to desire the Eucharist, to desire Christ more than anything else in the world. There is no reaction but awe. If we instill in our brothers who are away from Christ that profound Truth (which is the Eucharist), then the only logical reaction is a detestation of sin because it stops us from being able to receive Him. It stops us from being able to experience that awe and wonder.

        Furthermore, if sin is your starting place, it makes it more difficult for a new convert, still struggling with temptations towards mortal sin, to move towards perfect contrition, because he is constantly focusing on the consequence of vice instead of the joy of virtue. On the other hand, if one is given the grace to truly experience Christ in an intimate fashion, and is brought to the apex of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, and is shown what a full relationship with Christ is, not just a shadow (as St. Teresa of Avila remarks, getting rid of mortal sin is only the first dwelling of the interior castle), that soul will naturally detest his own sin. If he still needs fraternal correction, then by all means, correct. But my experience – as someone who was brought back to the Church after having fallen away and into deep mortal sin – is that you don’t start with condemnation. You start with understanding and preaching the profound beauty of the Risen Christ. Once I saw that connection, my desire to sin fell significantly. Sure, I still needed help and encouragement to rid myself of vice, but could see Christ…and all of a sudden, the concepts of sin and morality made sense. Before I was shown CHRIST, I tuned out people who started a Catholic conversation with sin. Why? Because they were giving me only a sliver of the Truth. They told me that what I did was wrong, and even explained why it was wrong. But I didn’t care because my eyes were not open to see Christ. Only when that happened did the significance of sin set in for me.

  • I joined the Church in 1987. I cannot honestly remember ANY homily preached on sin in general, let alone homosexuality. Sin has become a dirty word and apparently isn’t mentionable in the one place we should be hearing about it – our parish priest’s sermon!! No matter how many people call a tree a bird it is not and will not ever be a bird. The same is true about how many people say it. Homosexuality is not normal, never has been, never will be. Period. Control the language, and you control thoughts. Control thoughts and you control society. Orwell was a prophet, not an author.

    • somebigguy


  • Dawn

    I believe it is incumbent on us, as Catholics, to defend the teaching of our faith in the world. I find myself explaining (with my limited knowledge) the Church’s teachings to ‘Catholics’ more than non-Catholics. I have willingly taken on the embarassment of not being ‘cool’ and ‘modern’ in their eyes. That’s OK. I just keep studying in order to defend the next argument that comes my way. I’m not professionally educated in these matters or being paid for this (on earth). Dolan is. And this is what we get?

    I used to think he might be the man who could cross the divide and bring people into the light. I guess he’s arrived on the dark side and plans to stay there.

  • Dawn

    I believe that it is my duty to defend the Church’s teaching in the public square in spite of the fact I must endure the derision and embarassment of being ‘un-modern’ and ‘un-cool’. Why doesn’t Cardinal Dolan feel the same obligation? I have neither the professional training nor a salary to support me for standing up against the ‘elites’. Dolan has both. Are we getting our money’s worth from him and his collegues?

    I used to think he could be the one to cross over and bring the culture into the light. It appears he is content to cozy up to those on the dark side.

  • Objectivetruth

    “Dead fish float down river.” We are called to loudly and with a great voice speak for the Truths of Jesus Christ found in the Catholic Church. We are called “The Church Milliant.” not “The Church sitting idly by as the evils of the world run roughshod over Christ’s Truths.”

  • Cormac_mac_Airt

    Cardinal Cheesehead is all about political posturing. During the Papacy of BVI he walked a tight rope between orthodoxy and flaccidity. Now he sees a potential “opening” under Pope Francis and he is re-adjusting his political positioning. This laughing gnome is all about political gamesmanship. He is a bigger disappointment than other flaccid churchmen, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, because he feigns to be a “conservative”. He is a placeman.

  • tom

    When Gonzaga, a Jesuit school, bans the Knights of Columbus on campus because it’s a “Catholic” organization….give up all hope. The bishops may as well concentrate on Dancing with the Stars.

  • Arriero

    I really don’t understand why the Church has to discuss about the civil marriage, even whether it allows gay people to marry. That’s a Caesar issue with no “proper” relation with the Church. The state is and has always been an enemy -it does not matter if was Reagan, Obama or a donkey in it. A Catholic only gives obedience to the Pope-, so why discussing those issues? Truly, the only essentially good, beautiful, real and natural marriage is the Catholic (neither the jew, nor the islamic nor any other from any pseudo-christian sect). Why discussing about what the homosexuals do with the state? The Church has to fight for making clear one thing: that “real” marriage there’s only one, trying to convince people -mainly ignorants- about the truth behind the Catholic marriage. Nothing more than this. The coward way -actually the Church’s current strategy- is attacking all of the other marriages, but that’s really too weary insofar as there are too many flawed ways of marriyng someone. Civil gay marriages don’t bother me at all -I even can say that i don’t see any reason to ban it-, they only show me how flawed the civil marriage is. When the Church allows gays to marry, then the Holy Spirit will be nowhere. Until then, I’m relaxed, very relaxed. The Church never will be able to end with the human stupidity and ignorance. Nothing more.

    • carl641

      I’m with you. I don’t know why we waste out time fighting these ugly battles. It would seem to be more productive to carry the message of mercy to those who need it.

  • linda randall

    If people leave the church over any issue it is due to a total mindset reflected this way….” let,s compromise truth and justice for the sake of a false peace “. We are created in God,s image and likeness so why are we trying to make Him into our image and likeness?God knows what He is doing why don,t we?Linda Randall, Nova Scotia , Canada

  • “American Catholicism: A Call to Arms” by Hillsdale College Prof. Paul A. Rahe, February 14, 2012, shows the extent to which this is in large part the doing of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, who was alleged to have paid seminarian Steven Cook $3 million, though he denied having molested him. It’s no surprise that Theodore Cardinal McCarrick should come out against the truth, having been subject to reports of improper activity with ordained men. “With the Pope Against Homoheresy” suggests that this isn’t just the accidental failing of people who are incompetent, but is a much more pernicious trend involving those who will stop at nothing, even murder to get what they want.

  • Ray D

    This article and most of the comments bring to mind somewhat similar situations recounted in the Gospels.

    Our Lord ate with tax collectors, He healed on the Sabbath, He refused to condemn the woman taken in adultery, etc. etc. His critics didn’t seem to like Him, and either carelessly or worse, misrepresented His message and His actions.

    Cardinal Dolan appears to be in good company.

  • Remember when so many Catholic Bishops died from martyrdom? Now they die of old age, with a pension and a male concubine. God help us. JO

  • GrahamCombs

    How does one evangelize in such an environment in which we are as politically circumspect as ambitious middle managers in a large corporation? Cardinal Dolan has been a significant disappointment in the last year or so regarding HHS. And the silence of the January Bishops Conference on this recession that just drags on and on bespeaks considerations above and beyond the sufferings and struggles of millions of Americans. It is demoralizing and makes being a Catholic a sometimes lonely thing indeed.

  • jacobum

    It is time to face facts about Cardinal Dolan. He is a liberal progressive. If Biden receiving communion at St Pats on Palm Sunday w/ a shout out from Dolan from the altar doesn’t convince you, nothing will. His pandering rollovers have become so frequent and obvious it’s being called “Dolanism” which is defined as “the subordination of the Catholic Faith to the prevailing cultural cultural mores”. The Dolan loving quasi-conservative establishment crowd in the Church are now being viewed as “Dolanites”. Michael Voris at has said it all up to now on Cardinal Dolan. His commentary is compelling. Can we do better than Dolan? For sure! It the Father giving us what we deserve? Double For sure!. Pray for Dolan and all the Bishops. This going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. We have mocked God for almost 50 years. He is not a disinterested observer.

    • Blobee

      I agree he is a liberal progressive. I became convinced of
      this when he submitted the cause for canonization for Dorthy Day. Dorthy Day!
      She was a Marxist socialist who was not a very good Catholic either. I did a
      paper on her in in college and was not very impressed with her
      “holiness.” She didn’t seem to have much faith or recourse to a
      supernatural God. But Dolan called her sainthood cause “an opportune
      moment in the life of the U.S. church.” God help us!

  • Judase

    They don’t talk about stealing, lying, calmuny, ADULTERY etc etc etc either.

    Oh, and they don’t talk about the religious hypocrites sitting in their pews, who spend more time on line spewing hatred for the neighbour -, time that would be better spent on their knees praying for something that should be their highest agenda – salvation.

    You are the absolute worst of loathesome hypocrites – whited sepulchres. No one looks to any of your for ‘life’ cause you are all spiritually dead. Go figure !!

  • We live in a world which is quickly turning rotten. Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Benedict spoke of love and Truth from his pre conclave homily on. So we must both love and speak the truth. So we must learn to love the person and yet find our voice to speak clearly the truth. which means to love the person and yet speak truth about the sin they often hold onto as if these sins are their very life which they often are. As the so called same sex “marriage” is an end point to toleration of sexual sins I found this blog to be helpful in looking at how we have gotten here.

  • I do believe as I will soon speak to my pastor about, that we will need to find ways to support more serious discipleship so that we can learn to resist the pull down stream our culture and indeed our world is more actively heading toward.

  • Blobee

    As if this won’t cause even more scandals and charges of hypocrisy of the Church. Oh my, I think our Church is in serious trouble when even our bishops cannot preach the Gospel in good conscience.

  • Chuck Roast

    One would do well to remember that the bishops & cardinals were priests before they climbed the ladder. The “priest” sex abuse scandal is and never has been about “pedophilia”. It is a problem with homosexual religious, starting at the top, covering up, promoting, and engaging in homosexuality. The bishops and cardinals are homosexuals too, and there is probably a much higher percentage in their ranks than in the boys and girls below them. Too bad so many tongue waggers do not and can not see the simple TRUTH!

    • little beeper

      Chuck, you sure hit the nail on the head. The reason this has gone on soooo long is because of the homosexual cardinals and bishops being in a position of power especially over the seminaries that turned into “chocolate bars” rivaling the bath houses of SF,CA. The Church needs to rid itself of the filth and it looks like our new “Papa” is on the road to doing just that!

  • Juergensen

    I am convinced that sodomites and Muslims are the two riders of the Pale Horse of the Apocalypse: Death and Hades (Rev. 6:7-8). Once sodomites control the west and Muslims control the east (both near completion), these two minions of Satan will turn against each other and conflagrate the earth.

  • dbw

    Cardinal Dolan has always been able to deliver a quote on any issue that will address either side to its satisfaction. On the issue of abortion he was pro-life but invited a pro-abort president to a Catholic fundraiser, and provided obama-friendly photo ops for the presidential election campaign. On the issue of homosexuality he ‘sided’ with Catholic teaching and then lead the mass at Church of St. Francis Xavier that has same sex banners in the sacristy, and promotes homosexual unions. There is only one primary example that I can think of that promotes speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth, and he has ever been the enemy of the Catholic Church and of God. I can only assume that these bishops and cardinals, that believe they can appease satan by undermining Church teaching, are condemning themselves and their followers to eternal damnation. Oh, that’s right, Jesus was just kidding about that, right?

  • I do believe Our Lord addressed this pussy-footing around on moral issues when He said, “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ Anything else is from the Evil One.”
    As one Saint said, “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

  • Cinthia

    Interesting that the tongue waggers, writers, the religious figures, the majority of people, keep using the word “gay” marriage, gay this, gay that.
    The bishops and cardinals, especially dolan should go back to school and take a courses on “omission” and “my duties as a religious”.
    Jesus really got upset with “fenceriders” and those that sought to “bend” the truth for their personal advantage or agenda. Check out the intentions for day 9 of Divine Mercy Novena. One would do well to go to a dictionary and look up the word gay. Would one really think that deep down homosexuals are truly “happy”????

  • Pingback: The Catholic Hour » The “New” Tone of U.S. Bishops Sounds Very Familiar()

  • I was raised in the Catholic Church, then left her for a number of years, and now have returned. I love her orthodoxy (at least when I can find it). To me, the beauty of the Catholic Church is that in her 2000 year history, she has remained faithful to her doctrines and dogmas. Instead of allowing the prevailing culture to dictate to her what the Church should be doing or accepting, she has continued to call out to the culture to reform itself and conform its preferences to the morality taught by the Church. When I listen to politicians, or to pundits, or to individuals who rant at the intractability of the Church I want to get mad and rant right back – but somehow this doesn’t seem to be the response that Christ demanded of His followers. After reflection, I think the better answer is that we, His people, need to follow the urgings of II Chronicles 7:14 – when God promises that as the faithful, who are called by his name repent and turn from their own wicked ways (not pointing fingers at anyone else in the process), then He will hear their voices, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.

  • Susan

    Until the Catholic Church reclaims the Catholic Canon—and fights for Truth again—I will not enter her doors where they practice “earth” worship and Kumbaya theology. They need to quit blurring the Truth, especially to the “children” with Marxist ideologies, like women and men are interchangeable (girl altar boys) and that “social” justice is their “major” concern, instead of “Saving Souls”.

    Marxism/Freemasonry entered the Church with Vatican II and it needs to be eradicated. Heretics have to be excommunicated like that Joe Biden–who Dolen praises. Just promotion of Evil—and destroying Truth. Read Fr. Oko’s Report (Vatican approved) to know that there is a hugh “War” inside the Catholic Church (“Smoke of Satan”). They need the Vatican CLEANED OUT–Satan removed. If the pope is a Freemason or Marxist he needs to be removed.

  • GaudeteMan

    The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

  • Aliquantillus

    A child can detect that pre- and post-Vatican II Catholicism are simply not the same religion. The Church has been successfully conquered by a bunch of Modernists. The discontinuity is overwhelming. If historical Popes, theologians, and doctors of the Church were resuscitated they would all condemn the post-Vatican II Church as a heretic sect and a pseudo-Christian religion. Not because of different cultural settings, but because fundamental Church teachings and practices have either changed, or made so irrelevant or de-emphasized, that, speaking in general terms, their substance is no longer the same. Consequently, Catholic life is gone, and doctrinal, moral and liturgical corruption are everywhere.