Skip to comments.Cardinal Dolan: We’re not in the business of being “in touch” with popular opinion
Posted on 04/01/2013 9:00:55 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
It's amazing how many commentators seem fixated on judging religious institutions through poll questions, but Cardinal Timothy Dolan pointed out the obvious in his Easter appearance on ABC's This Week. George Stephanopoulos challenged Dolan about a recent poll of Catholics, which showed that 60% felt that the church had fallen out of touch with the views of Catholics in the US. Dolan reminded viewers that the purpose of the faith isn't to change teachings based on polls — and that means that sometimes people will find the church "out of touch":
During an interview for This Week, Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told ABC News George Stephanopoulos that the Catholic Churchs very nature means it will be from time to time out of touch with the concerns of its followers.
Sometimes by nature, the Church has got to be out of touch with concerns, because were always supposed to be thinking of the beyond, the eternal, the changeless, Dolan said. Our major challenge is to continue in a credible way to present the eternal concerns to people in a timeless attractive way. And sometimes there is a disconnect between what theyre going through and what Jesus and his Church is teaching. And thats a challenge for us.
Dolan was responding to a question from Stephanopoulos about a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, which found that 60 percent of Catholics describe the church as out of touch with the views of Catholics in America.
Stephanopoulos also asked Dolan about the church’s position on same-sex marriage. Dolan explained that the church isn’t anti-anybody, but the sacramental character of marriage has a specific purpose and definition that the church cannot abandon:
Stephanopoulos also asked Dolan what the Catholic Church can say to gays and lesbians, who feel unwelcomed by the Church, which does not support same-sex marriage.
Well, the first thing Id say to them is, I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in Gods image and likeness. And and we we want your happiness. But and youre 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, Dolan said. We got to be we got to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we havent been too good at that. We try our darndest to make sure were not an anti-anybody.
This focus on issue-driven polling and religious teachings continues the kind of media approach that became very apparent during the papal conclave. The pundits seem confused as to the purpose of religious faith in general, and the Catholic Church and the papacy in particular. They want to keep applying paradigms suited for popular governance to institutions that exist to teach eternal truth — because whether or not one believes in the teachings of the Catholic Church or any other religious doctrine, that’s what they claim to teach. That is why most of them missed what actually was at stake in the Vatican this month, and what the outcome actually means.
The debate over legalizing SSM makes perfect sense in the popular governance/election paradigm. As people change their minds on any question of government policy, the relative popularity of each position has great significance for politicians and political parties. For religious institutions, though, that’s at best a secondary issue, and only relevant to whether or not effective catechism (teaching of the faith) is taking place. A religion that changes doctrine based on popular opinion becomes a club with a high name-recognition value, and has no real long-term purpose.
The issue at the papal conclave was never about whether to change doctrine on marriage. It was about improving the catechism and expanding evangelization through example and the proclamation of the Gospel, whether or not one finds it “in touch” with current popular opinion. The election of Pope Francis has already proven successful in drawing attention to the evangelization envisioned by Saint Francis of Assisi, who once said, “Proclaim the Gospel — use words if necessary.” We shall see if more effective evangelization results, and whether that impacts popular opinion by more effective teaching among Catholics as to the purpose of the sacrament of marriage. Dolan hit this one out of the park.
No, but we’re in the business of giving communion to rabid pro-abortion politicians.
Not to mention pro-gay marriage.
Psssst ELCA. Get a clue.
The purpose of the Church is to spread the Word.
Not to be in touch with everyday changing popular opinion..
I guess people like him are so indoctrinated in their religion of statism that they can no longer comprehend real religions and steadfastness. And he's seen so many denominations fold to PC pressure he does not understand it when one does not do so.
Yes. The ease and speed that public opinion on same gender sex was changed should be an example to all of the malleability of public opinion.
This is real simple, if the Catholic Church approves SSM then it is no longer the Catholic Church, like the BSA allowing Homosexual leaders, it will no longer be the BSA.
We all do no end of feeling and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. It's name is public opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God." -- Mark Twain
RE: Not to be in touch with everyday changing popular opinion..
I’ve often wondered how popular the opinion was to free Barabbas instead of Jesus when the Jews were given the choice.
We know from the messages of angels in the Bible and the teachings of Christ that we should not be afraid. I believe that when it comes to denying Holy Communion to politicians that support abortion, same sex marriage, and religious liberty that the American Bishops are very afraid. Their fear makes the Church seem weak and timid and that leads me and others to think that the Bishops and many priests do not believe that Christ’s teachings are worth fighting for............
I agree. I need to speak to my pastor about this. Since Catholic doctrine states that the consecrated host and wine are the true body and blood of Christ (Real Presence), it appears to me that the clergy are more afraid of their congregation than of their Lord and Savior. Why do we continually give Communion to people who are knowingly approaching the altar as seriousy in sin against the laws of God and the Church? This is scandalous. Isn’t this triviallizing the meaning of Holy Communion?
Sounds like you would favor the Catholics on the court be denied communion if they vote for gay marriage.
Stephanopolous and his ilk are profoundly religious people - they worship the State with a fervor no Catholic can match.
Wow two posts. I can hardly believe you restrained yourself.
Hey you know what’s cool? Dolan said nothing about this. Perhaps we should discuss the topic of the thread?
Surprising that Stephanopoulos is so clueless on this subject given that his father was a Greek Orthodox priest.
It is remarkable how clueless non-religious people like Stephanopolis are. Even if they are not part of a religion, they should have a basic concept that religious people are following a higher authority than public opinion. That's what makes religions what they are.
It is amazing isn't it? Religions historically are always founded on some sort of dogmatic principle otherwise they have no purpose. When Sakyamuni Gotama came out from under the Bodhi tree he did so to teach something specific. If what he sought to teach could be changed by popular vote then he actually had nothing to say at all. There would be no reason for listening to him. Suggesting that religion should bow to public opinion would be, in my mind, akin to demanding that scientists change what they teach for the same reason. If enough of us dislike the restrictions of gravity maybe we can vote it out.
bumpus ad summus
He talks a good game, but his actions tell another story.
Inviting the moral horror biden for “Communion and Coffee” was an abomination.
Very well put.
This may be related: some great thinky person (was it maybe Jacques Ellul?) said that people usually pair together Religion=Magic and Science=Technology, when actually Religion and Science make a true pair, and Magic and Technology make another.
Why? Because Religion and Science are based on an obedient search for truth, i.e. an obedient conformity to the known facts. We respect the facts; we live in accordance, or in harmony with them. We make logical conclusions from them; we may even draw reasonable inferences from them. But the facts rule: the facts are "magisterial".
Magic and Technology, on the other hand, are based on the usefulness of something: "I'm doing this because I think it'll work. That is, it may work for me." It is not based on a desire to actually respect the bigger facts, the bigger laws: empirical technology, like magic, may not be based on a coherent and fully-fleshed -out understanding at all, or even a desire for understanding: only a desire for immediate-term profit, advantage, gain.
So if something is a religious/moral fact (e.g. "the directly intended killing of an innocent person is always prohibited as murder") it is something you have to obediently live by, whether it "works" for you or not.
Very interesting, and I think that makes definite sense, at least from one perspective. Of course, I may be biased. I happen to be a person of faith, and as far as my incredibly stunted mind is concerned, most technology is magic anyway. Even old technology. More than fifty years ago somebody figured out how to take a moving picture with sound and send it invisibly through the air to a box in people’s living rooms. Magic! Gotta be magic. :-)