The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Dolan on the pope, prophylactics and preaching

The American Church’s most prominent prelate has given his first extended news media interview since his election as President of the U.S. bishops:

In an expansive interview in the front parlor of his residence on Madison Avenue — the only news interview he has granted since he spoke to a Catholic television station after last Tuesday’s election — Archbishop Dolan discussed his surprise at his election, whether the bishops will push for repeal of the health care overhaul and what Pope Benedict XVI said about condoms.


“The Pope didn’t say, ‘Oh good, you should use a condom,’ ” Archbishop Dolan said, referring to a controversial comment the pope made in a book that is being released worldwide on Tuesday.

In the book, the pope said that a male prostitute who used a condom to prevent the spread of AIDS might be taking a first step toward moral responsibility. Some Catholic analysts claimed that the pope was floating a possible exception in the church’s ban on birth control. But Archbishop Dolan said the church could not simply change its doctrine.

“You get the impression that the Holy See or the pope is like Congress and every once in a while says, ‘Oh, let’s change this law,’ ” he said. “We can’t.”


He was most animated on the topic of disaffected Catholics. Archbishop Dolan leaned forward as he cited recent studies finding that only half of young Catholics marry in the church, and that weekly Mass attendance has dropped to about 35 percent of Catholics from a peak of 78 percent in the 1960s.

He said he was chagrined when he saw a long line of people last Sunday on Fifth Avenue. “I’m talking two blocks, a line of people waiting to get into …” he said, pausing for suspense. “Abercrombie and Fitch. And I thought, wow, there’s no line of people waiting to get into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the treasure in there is of eternal value. What can I do to help our great people appreciate that tradition?”


He also turned his attention to what people are hearing in the pulpit, and the news that he’s declared next year the “Year of the Mass”:

He said he had heard complaints from Catholic laypeople on his pastoral council that although they love their priests, the quality of their preaching is poor. Archbishop Dolan said he hoped to reinvigorate Mass attendance by declaring 2011 the “Year of the Mass.”

The Mass will be changed significantly at this time next year when, for only the third time in history, the church adopts its new Roman missal — the text that contains the prayers for the Mass. The text has been fought over for years, and many priests in English-speaking countries have protested that the final translation is formal and awkward. But Archbishop Dolan said he was happy with it.

“I think there’s a renewed awe, a sense of reverence, a greater fidelity to the ancient texts,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

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posted November 23, 2010 at 8:14 am

He speaks clear and concisely. He clarifies the message and speaks directly to all who will listen. He upholds the faith.
Ad Multos Annos Cardinal Dolan.

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Annie Stith

posted November 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

Well, hey!
If Dolan wants to turn 2011 into “The Year of The Mass” by turning back the clock with the use of the Missal which he declares “has greater fidelity to the ancient texts,” then we in other churches will make sure we’re ready to welcome more ex-Catholics with our informal services that have an even greater fidelity to the teachings of Jesus himself, rather than the Apostles and the Pretender Paul.
Scoot down on those pews, y’all. We’ve got another wave coming. And don’t forget to thank Mr. Dolan in your prayers.

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posted November 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

Annie, what’s your church? I’ve never heard of a Christian demonination that has a problem with the Apostles and St. Paul! What does your church think about the New Testament since the whole thing was written by Apostles and the diciples of Apostles?

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Your Name

posted November 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Could you have chosen a more pompous-looking picture of such a pompous, hollow man who holds such pompous, self-serving, destructive beliefs?
Talk about self-defeating.

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posted November 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

“hollow man who holds such pompous, self-serving, destructive beliefs?”
Your Name, you really should not speak of yourself that way. A little projection?

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Your Name

posted November 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

It ain’t MY picture Greg posted, cathy.

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posted November 23, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Annie — Unless you’ve got a time machine in your backyard, the only way you can possibly know the teachings of Jesus is through the teachings of Jesus’ apostles. So either reveal that you’re a Time Lady (or member of a similarly chronomobile society); or pay attention to the fact that God chose to incarnate His Son in history, and spread the word of Divine revelation through ordinary human methods.
But then, logically, you couldn’t possibly have any problem with a translation being more authentic instead of less. You probably don’t sit down to watch an anime, and then throw popcorn at the screen if the subtitles don’t call Tadematsu Hiroshi something like Jack Mason.

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Anne Bender

posted November 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm

The year of the Mass is a brilliant idea by a beautiful, intelligent and holy man! Thank God for Archbishop Dolan, a man who has the strength to stand up for the Church and to draw us ever closer to the love of God! Thank you Deacon Greg, for this story!

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Your Name

posted November 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm

“He speaks clear and concisely. He clarifies the message”
If that were true, Deacon Greg wouldn’t have had to have posted EIGHT threads about the topic, at least three of which have UPDATES!!!, and one even begins, “further clarification”. Many of them have links to yet others’ “interpretations” and “clarifications” and “analysis”.
Clear as MUD, I’d say.

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