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Cardinal Dolan Defends Himself After Letter Criticizing Him for Trump Call

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan delivers his homily during the chrism Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City April 16, 2019. (Photo: CNS)

By Christopher White, National Correspondent

NEW YORK — More than 1,000 Catholics have signed an open letter in protest of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s phone call with President Donald Trump and a follow-up interview on Fox News, labeling the president as “not pro-life.”

“Your recent phone call with President Trump and appearance on Fox News sends a message that Catholic leaders have aligned themselves with a president who tears apart immigrant families, denies climate change, stokes racial division and supports economic policies that hurt the poor,” they wrote in the letter which was published on Friday with the names of the signatories.

“Please speak truth to power and refrain from giving even the appearance that bishops have their hands on the scales in this election,” it continued.

The Tablet was the first to report on the content of the phone call between Catholics leaders and the president, which took place April 25.

While the call was organized as an effort for Catholic educators to raise concerns about the state of Catholic schools suffering from decreased enrollment and budget deficits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the president used the occasion to repeatedly make a case for his reelection. He warned that a Democratic administration would not support Catholics on issues related to abortion, religious freedom, and school choice.

Cardinal Dolan was the first Catholic leader to speak on the call, where he thanked the president and joked that his mother says he calls the president more than her.

For his part, Trump described himself as the “best [president] in the history of the Catholic Church,” adding that he had gotten rid of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibited religious leaders from endorsing candidates, so that “you can express your views very strongly.”

In his interview on Fox News earlier this week, Cardinal Dolan said that he saluted the leadership of Trump, adding that “Everybody has really come through, but the president has seemed particularly sensitive to the, what shall I say, to the feelings of the religious community.”

“Neither political party fully reflects all aspects of Catholic social teaching. I’m guided by my faith, not partisanship,” wrote the signatories in protest of the cardinal’s recent remarks. “But this president’s extreme cruelty and basic lack of respect for human dignity must be challenged.”

Among the signees are John Gehring, the Catholic Program at Faith in Public Life Action; Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Stephen Schneck,  executive director, Franciscan Action Network; and Father Bryan Massingale of Fordham University.

On Friday, Cardinal Dolan weighed in on the criticism he’s received in an online interview with Jesuit Father Matt Malone, editor-in-chief of “America Media.”

“I’m getting much more criticism from those on what you might call the right,” Cardinal Dolan said of his collaboration with New York’s Democratic leaders on coronavirus relief efforts.

“Are we in the sacred enterprise of accompaniment and engagement and dialogue or are we not?” he asked.

He went on to cite Pope Francis’ call for bridge building, saying that “we can bring up the critical things” if there are established relationships to do so.

The New York cardinal did not weigh in on whether he viewed the president’s bid for reelection support as inappropriate, only citing an Italian expression that “you gotta make gnocchi with the dough you’ve got.”

3 thoughts on “Cardinal Dolan Defends Himself After Letter Criticizing Him for Trump Call

  1. The Left has never stopped attacking this president.He may not be the sharpest of all presidents but i am sure he is one of the most patriotic.The Left,inckuding many of our “bleeding heart” catholic clergy cannot see the “immigration problem” as anything except our southern border should be porous.President Trump and the Republicans want orderly immigration.President Trump has acted bravely and decisively during this pandemic.Yet ANY action taken by him is politicized and used as grounds to attack him.We see what the Left is all about with their double standards and their twisted lying fake news media.Good for Cardinal Dolan for continuing dialogue on every side.The late John Courtney Murray would have taken the pen to these fuzzy mashed potato catholics.

  2. yes I think that it would be better that all our catholic leaders would be wise to keep there opinions about politics as they have for many years. not to publicly discuss their political views.

  3. It is with dismay and disappointment that John Gehring, the Catholic Program at Faith in Public Life Action; Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Stephen Schneck, executive director, Franciscan Action Network; and Father Bryan Massingale of Fordham University.would actually send such an ugly letter to Cardinal Dolan, only because he had an interview with our President Trump. These same people, mostly clergy also went on to falsely accuse President Trump that he is not pro-life yet he is the ONLY president to attend our Catholic March for Life in January and declare life is precious and must be protected. This group lsely accused him of separating “immigrant” families and everyone knows this action is to protecti children. Would like an explanation how Ores. Trump denies climate change, and for economic decision they far from hurt the poor and actually do all to elevate the poor from poverty especially since we had the most dynamic economy ever. It’s easy to accuse but hard to support the accusation, and this is what these accusers have done. It’s a real shame this coming from leaders, from clergy and nuns in our church.

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