**I originally wrote this a week ago for another publication.
This past Pentecost Sunday, I sat in my pew and listened to the reading. I heard how the Apostles, our first Bishops, after receiving the Holy Spirit preached to the multitudes gathered in Jerusalem. I heard how each person, no matter their language, could clearly understand everything said. I thought to myself, what a great miracle. Some of our Bishops speak the same language as I do, but I don’t understand what they are saying at all.
Last week, during a radio interview, Cardinal Dolan was asked several questions about Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation that would actively promote and further legally entrench abortion in New York State. Cardinal Dolan rightly criticized the legislation. When the interviewer asked if Governor Cuomo could still consider himself a Catholic in good standing while also promoting abortion legislation, Cardinal Dolan responded, “That’s something that I talk turkey with him about.”
A short time after the interview, Cardinal Dolan sent out his spokesman Joseph Zwilling to say the Cardinal did not mean to suggest that Cuomo would not be a Catholic in good standing if he went forward with the bill.
In response Governor Cuomo, now publicly declared a Catholic in good standing, said of abortion, Cardinal Dolan, and Church teaching “We agree to disagree, respectfully, and that is where we are.”
Yes, that is where we are.
I find it very difficult to understand Cardinal Dolan. How can Governor Cuomo, a man who has moved beyond vague support for a pro-choice position to the active promotion and legal entrenchment of abortion, a divorced man who very publicly lives with his girlfriend, and a man who obstinately and publicly disputes Church teaching with his ‘agree to disagree’ statements still be considered a Catholic in good standing? And why would a Cardinal of the Church go out of his way to make this clear?
In my mind, this moves way beyond any reasonable ‘pastoral’ approach toward the Governor and can only lead to confusion among the faithful and to further imperil the Governor’s soul. To publicly declare such a man to be a Catholic in good standing, which the Cardinal’s spokesman has clearly done by rejecting the opposite assertion, is the very definition of scandal.
The Gospel reading on Pentecost speaks of Jesus appearing to the Apostles in the upper room where he breathed on them saying, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
After hearing the words of Cardinal Dolan last week, an ordinary Catholic could surely wonder, if a man can actively promote abortion and a married man can publicly live with his girlfriend and be publicly declared a Catholic in good standing by the leading Bishop in the U.S., exactly what has not been loosed on earth?