NEW YORK, MAY 9, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Time Magazine put the president of the US bishops’ conference on its list of the top 100 most influential people in the world — a designation that reflects Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s willingness and readiness to take the Church’s message to society through the media.
“I sat with 20 listeners for a Q&A session and discussed topics like how my life has changed since I’ve become a cardinal, favorite flavor of gelato, and what events have influenced me the most in my priesthood,” he explained. “It was a special treat to have Matt Lauer of the Today Show stop by and to have baseball great Joe Torre and my mom call in.”
Replays of that event are available at The Catholic Channel.
Last week, the cardinal also sat down for an interview with MSNBC, and spoke candidly on the Church’s stance on several U.S. policy issues.
He spoke first about the need for immigration reform in the United States. “The Catholic Church is — we call her Mother Church — and she’s traditionally welcomed the immigrant. We are a Church of immigrants, so we’re particularly sensitive to the rights of immigrants,” he said.
The cardinal went on to say that a policy that divides families, that drives people underground, and that requests soup kitchens to ask for documentation before providing food, shelter, and medical care is an unjust policy. “That’s not right, that’s not Catholic, that’s not Christian, that’s not religious, and it’s not American. The bishops are adamant on that,” the cardinal said.
The 62-year-old cardinal spoke clearly about the current administration’s health care mandate, a topic he’s addressed multiple times, as it mandates coverage of abortifacients and contraceptives.
“We bishops have tried our best to make sure that we keep the conversation elevated to one of religious freedom. A particular part of that is the mandate to cover contraceptives,” explained the cardinal. “What we find particularly odious […] would be an intrusion by a bureau of the federal government into the very definition of religious ministry and the extent of the Church’s service. So it’s really that HHS intrusion that bothers us.”
The cardinal also addressed the recent call by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The CDF listed a number of matters of concern such as theological and doctrinal errors promoted at several LCWR assemblies. Cardinal Dolan disagreed with the assertion that CDF’s assessment was somehow an attempt to silence women religious. “I find the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith saying, sisters, we relish our dialogue, and that document goes to great pains to praise the brilliant work of sisters. I think the Holy See is saying we’re trying our best to listen, sisters, we love you, we thank you, we appreciate what you’re doing, we cherish our dialogue, we want it to keep going. Can you bring your attention to some of the things we’re worried about?”
When asked how best he would use his influence as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, the cardinal dismissed the honor, saying that while flattering, it is just a passing moment. “If you count on that stuff, tomorrow that will be diminished. I think what you have to do is try to make sure that you’re always on the side of truth.”