Let's get some of the niceties out of the way, so I can tell you how I really feel about you and your fellow members of the clergy, yes the Jewish ones too.
You've been promoted to Archbishop of New York and now Cardinal - Mazel Tov! I guess you can now wear any color shmatte, not only black. Good for you, have fun!
Now listen up!
I read your letter below Cardinal, while we can agree that Government should have a very limited role in peoples' lives, your professing to have childrens' interests as one of your claims to fame, is nothing short of nauseating.
Now read the comments from your flock:
Why don't you watch the video CBS 60 Minutes had on the other night - or read the transcript above?
Get Chaim Dovid Zweibel to sit on your lap and watch it with you - I'll buy the popcorn. The disturbing relationship you and C.D. have regarding the Markey Bill - screams about the values you share. 98% percent of Catholic women use birth control, so what's the charade here? Your churches are empty, nobody takes you guys seriously anymore other than the other guys in colorful getups. By the way, I have not seen your outrage expressed anywhere about the tens of thousands of kids' lives your "shepherds" destroyed globally.
So here's one Jew that wants to express to you that while you probably are a jovial type of guy, I don't buy one word of what you're selling. I believe 2012 is the year when the Markey Bill becomes law, learn Russian and consider trying your hand as a driver for a Brooklyn car service. The lawyers are coming.....
Last Friday, a letter was sent by from Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. What follows are some excerpts. (You can read a pdf of the entire letter at the bottom of this post.)
My brother bishops,
. . . Thank you, brothers, for the opportunity to provide this update to you and the dioceses you serve. Many of you have expressed your thanks for what we have achieved together in so few weeks, especially the data provided and the leadership given by brother bishops, our conference staff and Catholic faithful. And you now ask the obvious question, “What’s next?” Please allow me to share with you now some thoughts about events and efforts to date and where we might go next.
Since January 20, when the final, restrictive HHS Rule was first announced, we have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it. . . . As pastors and shepherds, each of us would prefer to spend our energy engaged in and promoting the works of mercy to which the Church is dedicated: healing the sick, teaching our youth, and helping the poor. Yet, precisely because we are pastors and shepherds, we recognize that each of the ministries entrusted to us by Jesus is now in jeopardy due to this bureaucratic intrusion into the internal life of the church. You and I both know well that we were doing those extensive and noble works rather well without these radical new constrictive and forbidding mandates. Our Church has a long tradition of effective partnership with government and the wider community in the service of the sick, our children, our elders, and the poor at home and abroad, and we sure hope to continue it.
Of course, we maintained from the start that this is not a “Catholic” fight alone. I like to quote as often as possible a nurse who emailed me, “I’m not so much mad about all this as a Catholic, but as an American.” And as we recall, a Baptist minister, Governor Mike Huckabee, observed, “In this matter, we’re all Catholics.” No doubt you have heard numerous statements just like these. We are grateful to know so many of our fellow Americans, especially our friends in the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, stand together in this important moment in our country. They know that this is not just about sterilization, abortifacients, and chemical contraception. It’s about religious freedom, the sacred right of any Church to define its own teaching and ministry.
When the President announced on January 20th that the choking mandates from HHS would remain, not only we bishops and our Catholic faithful, but people of every faith, or none at all, rallied in protest. The worry that we had expressed — that such government control was contrary to our deepest political values — was eloquently articulated by constitutional scholars and leaders of every creed.
On February 10th, the President announced that the insurance providers would have to pay the bill, instead of the Church’s schools, hospitals, clinics, or vast network of charitable outreach having to do so. He considered this “concession” adequate. Did this help? We wondered if it would, and you will recall that the Conference announced at first that, while withholding final judgment, we would certainly give the President’s proposal close scrutiny.
Well, we did — and as you know, we are as worried as ever. For one, there was not even a nod to the deeper concerns about trespassing upon religious freedom, or of modifying the HHS’ attempt to define the how and who of our ministry. Two, since a big part of our ministries are “self-insured,” we still ask how this protects us. We’ll still have to pay and, in addition to that, we’ll still have to maintain in our policies practices which our Church has consistently taught are grave wrongs in which we cannot participate. And what about forcing individual believers to pay for what violates their religious freedom and conscience? We can’t abandon the hard working person of faith who has a right to religious freedom. And three, there was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon renowned Catholic charitable agencies, both national and international, and their exclusion from contracts just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception. In many ways, the announcement of February 10 solved little and complicated a lot. We now have more questions than answers, more confusion than clarity.
Two, we will ardently continue to seek a rescinding of the suffocating mandates that require us to violate our moral convictions, or at least insist upon a much wider latitude to the exemptions so that churches can be free of the new, rigidly narrow definition of church, minister and ministry that would prevent us from helping those in need, educating children and healing the sick, no matter their religion.