Your Eminence, Cardinal Dolan:
I saw your interview with Fr. Dwyer, and I read your recent blog post concerning the horrifying New York abortion law, and the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
I’m just an ordinary laywoman, not one of any particular pedigree or resume such that you should be impressed. But since you candidly asked that we laypeople start speaking up, I will do just that.
Forgive me, but you must stop wringing your hands and whining and act for the sake of the sheep. Your sheep.
The dismal truth is that the credibility of the U.S. bishops is completely shot. That’s the soup you’re in right now. Even so, you must speak with candor and without any care at all for the opinion of the world or the reaction you’ll get.
Your first and last concern, and every concern in-between must be only one thing: the salvation of souls. That is the Church’s mission on earth.
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To that end, your Eminence, may I humbly suggest to you — since you so adamantly insisted we laypeople must “do something” — that you are not helpless here. You are not just a “fat, balding Irish bishop” with no clout. You are a prince of the Church; a son of Holy Mother Church; a shepherd of souls, and one of those souls is Andrew Cuomo’s.
It doesn’t matter whether he will wear your rebuke as a badge of honor. You still must give it. You must give it publicly and plainly, because the scandal caused by his actions is public and severe.
You said more than once that you’re a pastor, not a politician. I wish I could say that I hear a pastor when you speak, but I don’t. Instead, I hear a politician who is concerned about appearances and power plays and public opinion. I even hear you lamenting that you just “can’t win” because you get criticized from all sides.
Prayers are due you, Eminence, but not pity. This is the moment you must give your life for your sheep.
Be the fearless pastor that Andrew Cuomo needs, and speak about the real issues. The Four Last Things. Let them be your only concern.
Why can you not say this?
Governor Cuomo, it is my duty as your spiritual father to warn you that your immortal soul is in grave peril. You are knowingly and willingly advocating a grave evil. In fact, you are celebrating that grave evil of abortion as a positive good. You are arrogantly flouting the law of the Church with no regard for the consequences to yourself or to your Catholic brothers and sisters, whom you have scandalized. You must cease and desist at once, and you must repent of your actions.
If you do not, I warn you again that your soul is in danger of hell. You are Catholic by virtue of your baptism, and will always be. But you have willingly separated yourself from the Church by your obstinate sin, and you are no longer to present yourself at any parish for the Holy Eucharist, unless and until you have made a sincere and complete confession and received absolution. You may choose to portray yourself as a martyr to your cause, and you may succeed in winning the approval of the world, but you do not have the approval of Heaven.
You are dangerously deceived if you believe your actions can ever be justified. The blood of innocents will be on your head, Andrew, but your guilt will no longer be on mine because I have done my duty in warning you.
I urge you to repent now, for the sake of your soul. And I remain ready at any hour to receive you and hear your confession. I desire to see you reconciled to Christ and His Church, not lost for eternity.
Your father in Christ,
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
I’m not going to argue with you about excommunication. Figure that out with the canon lawyers. But do not pretend that is your only option here, and you are otherwise without recourse. I beg you, be a manly shepherd and confront this hideous dissent head-on, for the sake of this man who is in the grip of diabolical persuasion, and for the sake of the whole Church.
The Church is desperate for shepherds who fear nothing more than the loss of souls. We need shepherds who will speak once again of sin, death, and hell, and do so out of zealous love for souls.
Courage, Your Eminence!