Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Cardinal Dolan to man who comes out, “Bravo”

March 10th, 2014, Promulgated by b a

Cardinal Dolan was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday (full transcript here). Here is the snippet for discussion:


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


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

One of the most successful strategies that the homosexual lobby has employed over the years has been to keep the issue at a completely surface level and to refuse in-depth argumentation. If you attempt to make an argument against the homosexual agenda you are immediately labelled a bigot and your argument, no matter how rational, is considered invalid before you even start. One way they’ve solidified this strategy is by the use of the “coming out” ceremony (Rorate has an interesting post using Courage’s example). To embolden the “coming out” ceremony homosexual activists attack and deceive Christians by twisting Jesus’ words about “judging not” to mean something other than the way they’ve been interpreted by Christians for 2,000 years. One needs to look no further than Haydock to see this:

Ver. 1. Judge not,[1] or condemn not others rashly, that you may not be judged or condemned. (Witham) — St. Jerome observes, Christ does not altogether forbid judging, but directs us how to judge. Where the thing does not regard us, we should not undertake to judge. Where it will bear a favourable interpretation, we should not condemn. Magistrates and superiors, whose office and duty require them to judge faults, and for their prevention to condemn and punish them, must be guided by evidence, and always lean towards the side of mercy, where there are mitigating circumstances. Barefaced vice and notorious sinners should be condemned and reprobated by all. (Haydock) — In this place, nothing more is meant than that we should always interpret our neighbor’s actions in the most favourable light. God permits us to judge of such actions as cannot be done with a right intention, as murder. As to indifferent actions, we must always judge in the most favourable sense. There are two things in which we must be particularly on our guard: 1. With what intention such an action was done. 2. Whether the person who appears wicked will not become good. (St. Jerome)

But isn’t the Cardinal simply following Pope Francis’ lead with the famous quote, “Who am I to judge?” Absolutely not. Pope Francis (whether you think his strategy a good one or not) provided this response to a much different question. The question Pope Francis was answering regarded a cleric who was known to have homosexual tendencies, but who the Pope thought to be living a chaste life. In other words, the Pope rightfully stated that no one ought to judge the man’s heart. In the case of the young man’s “coming out” that Cardinal Dolan is asked about, there is no circumstance in which this action should be applauded1.  It is objectively wrong and will lead the man further away from true happiness. reports that:

The Archdiocese of New York told such criticisms are misguided.

Communications Director Joseph Zwilling told LifeSiteNews that it would be “wrong for anyone to say, or even imply, that the Cardinal’s words on Meet the Press meant that he was unconcerned about Church teaching on homosexual activity (or any other immoral behavior).”

He said “Bravo” to evil. A reprimand isn’t what is needed. A clarification isn’t what is needed. A retraction is what is needed. How powerful would it be for the Cardinal to admit, “I was wrong. I said the wrong thing and I shouldn’t have”? Everyone would understand. Anyone who’s had to decline a wedding invitation or be present while any sort of immoral activity is celebrated knows how easy it is to slip up and say “congratulations” when you know you shouldn’t have. It happens. But when the stakes are this high, mistakes like this ought to be fixed.

With that, I’d like to follow Diane’s lead and share some good news to go along with the bad news.

  • Penance is God’s gift to us By Bishop Salvatore R. Matano
  • Check out this sermon from Archbishop Sample’s recent Pontifical Mass
  • If you don’t keep up on CF’s comments, you might not have noticed that Bishop Serratelli responded to Diane
  • The Liturgical Year is an amazing work available for free.  It is absolutely amazing how blessed this generation is to have so many resources available at our fingertips.  You can read about the history of Lent and keep up with the Church’s feasts/saints.  (It’s a little trick because many of the dates have moved around, but it’s not hard to find something relevant).


UPDATE 2014-03-10 9:53 PM:

A friend noted this shortly after this posting:

The only point I would raise with you is that we know having a homosexual tendency is not a sin, but since the gay/lesbian lobby regards ‘coming out’ as equivalent to being sexually active with the same-sex, it is reasonable to expect that the usual coming out and the applause accompanying it (as from Cardinal Dolan) also is not differentiating being same-sex attracted from its accompanying sexual activity.

My response:

That’s a good point. I honestly didn’t even consider this – that’s how closely tied “coming out” is with actively practicing homosexuality. So I guess my blanket “no circumstance” isn’t entirely accurate, but Michael Sam would certainly be pulling one over on everyone if he were to later state, “what I meant to say is that I’m a chaste man with homosexual inclinations.”


13 Responses to “Cardinal Dolan to man who comes out, “Bravo””

  1. Diane Harris says:

    Excellent post, Ben, BRAVO! Now that is a Bravo worth having, because your words are clear, to the point, and witness to the truth. I am disturbed by the frequency of prelates of note having to explain themselves, or be explained by others. Aren’t they supposed to be the teaching office, not us? Yet how can we be exhorted to evangelization when the Cardinal of New York misses a sensational opportunity for evangelization?

    Clearly, he bumbled his response, and we have a right to expect so much more, to expect clarity and courage on his part. Is this really the model of response he should be teaching to the people in the pew? Does anyone feel empowered to speak up when he has such a problem speaking out? It is, IMO, scandalous.

    I am also disturbed by the hijacking of the word “judging.” We know we are called to discern the spirits and to make all kinds of moral decisions, including avoiding the occasions of sin. “Judging” and its true meaning is one more thing that is not being taught properly, one more opportunity to teach the faith in its fullness that is being lost.

  2. raymondfrice says:

    Dolan,as a true politician, checks the direction of the wind, and then endorses it.

  3. Richard Thomas says:

    He, as all clerics, needs prayer.

  4. Pianist9591 says:

    As an almost one-year-old Catholic, when I read about this in the MSM, my first reaction was to cringe, then to cry. One of the things that drew me to the Catholic Church (not the first, but certainly high on the list) is her consistent moral teaching. I was tired of the liberalism & relativism plaguing Protestantism. I love being a Catholic, but when I read stuff like this, I have to fight the impulse to slink off and hide in a corner somewhere. UGH!

  5. Hopefull says:

    I truly feel for the pain, confusion and even anger that can be very valid emotional reactions to feeling betrayed by a member of one’s own “family”. Yet, we know that no individual except God Himself calls us to His Church, and sustains us in such tough times. If one must suffer through such betrayal from hierarchy and leadership in any Church, there is no better place to be than as a Catholic, where we can even offer up this suffering for the good of the Church. We didn’t join because of Cardinal Dolan, and we aren’t going to leave because of him.

    I don’t know where I saw this recently (maybe here on Cleansing Fire) but it is worth sharing to give us strength not to settle for what is being forced on us.

    “Not to oppose error is to approve it;
    and not to defend truth is to suppress it,
    and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men
    when we can do it
    is no less a sin than to encourage them.”
    – Pope Felix III

  6. JLo says:

    A couple of my thoughts:
    Thank you Diane and Ben and others for clarity and for speaking up… these things must be exposed and addressed, not accepted by silence!
    Cardinal Dolan should know AND TEACH that we don’t judge others, but we MUST judge actions…. and fit them into or send them out of our lives. That is how we walk the path of the Good News.
    I don’t remember if I ever was proud of Cardinal Dolan. His discretion of speech and action always seems earthbound… when you’re disloyal to the Faith you’re disloyal to Christ, and in the clergy that has wide-ranging terrible effect. Indeed, pray for him and all the other clerics and religious who are supposed to be teaching us yet so often confound us.
    Lastly for converts (and all of us), I enjoy recalling Scott Hahn’s telling of how he spoke to his friends and colleagues upon his own conversion to the Faith…. “I tell them, come on in; it’s awful!” We’ll always be fighting our way along this pilgrim path we are blessed to be traveling, and it’s comforting to have cleansingfire at our back… and usually leading us!
    Stay safe in this latest storm, weather and otherwise.

  7. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Today’s/Tonight’s snow storm is the reason I am at home instead of at Church for a Wednesday Lenten Series on evangelization. So having the opportunity, I went to CF first and then The Vortex. This post and that video could not have been better suited.

    Michael Vorris is right. Cardinal Dolan should stop giving interviews. George Weigel wrote as much in his controversial book on reform.

    Stop giving interviews and pastor: teach/sanctify/govern.

    Enjoy Michael Vorris

  8. Jim says:

    I really want to thank all of you for pointing out the ridiculous antics of Cardinal Dolan. I had very little idea that the Cardinal was so vocal in contradicting Church teaching so often, in the limelight of the liberal media! For you, dear Cardinal, please remember that in your case: “Silence is Golden.”

  9. Scott W. says:

    Jim, I’m trying to wean myself off of doing damage control for Cardinal Dolan, but the problem is not that he contradicts Church teaching. In fact, I almost wish he would clearly contradict Church teaching (in the sense of Rev: “I would thou wert cold, or hot”) because then there wouldn’t be any confusion on where he stands. Cardinal Dolan’s problem is that he can smell a functioning tv camera from three counties away and the second he is in front of it, he tries to make hard teachings palatable to modern minds untethered to anything like a moral center and the result is pap that plays well to the crowds, but leaves the faithful taxed by lack of leadership.

  10. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    I offer an apology for once again misspelling a person’s name.

    It is Voris, not Vorris.

  11. y2kscotty says:

    I posted this on another thread – but now realize it is more appropriate here.
    What was it that Cardinal Burke and Pope Benedict XVI saw in +Dolan when he was transferred to new York? What we may be seeing now is that Cardinals O’Malley and Wuerl have more influence than +Dolan in the American Church. +Dolan is a loose cannon on the deck of the Barque. (I don’t know if this is an apt metaphor!)

  12. Richard Thomas says:

    I am afraid that none of these Cardinals really reflect Christ’s teachings concerning sexual morality.

    Bravo Cardinal Dolan. You are encouraging a lifestyle for this man that is 20 years less than the normal lifespan. You are condemning him to a miriad of sexually transmitted diseases and severe emotional problems that increase his risk for drug, alcohol abuse and suicide.

    And most important you are encouraging him to put his immortal soul in serious danger.

    These prelates hide behind the statement that Jesus was non judgmental. Well, go back and re-read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. He certainly told her her sins and told her not to sin again. I am sick of prelates re-writing the gospal to suit their modernistic agenda.

  13. annonymouse says:

    “…Cardinal Dolan’s problem is that he can smell a functioning tv camera from three counties away…”

    This hits the nail squarely on the head. Thank you, Scott.

    The man is drunk on his own popularity, and has no semblance of humility. He’s forgotten that his first responsibility is to teach. And saying “bravo” to a man who’s admitted, implicitly, to grave sin, is teaching, but teaching 180 degrees from the Truth.

    Let us pray for Cardinal Dolan.

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