John Jalsevac

Card. Dolan ‘would not suggest’ pro-abort Gov. Cuomo not a Catholic ‘in good standing’: archdiocese

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac

NEW YORK, May 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared to suggest during a radio interview this week that he may not view pro-abortion Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Catholic “in good standing,” the archdiocese has issued a statement saying that this is not the case, and that Dolan's remark was misunderstood. 

“Cardinal Dolan would not, and did not, suggest the governor might not be a Catholic in good standing going forward,” archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said in a statement originally sent to the New York Times, and forwarded to LifeSiteNews.

Dolan made the remark during a discussion about Gov. Cuomo’s intention to propose a law to make abortion less regulated and more accessible. Cuomo announced the initiative during his State of the State address in January, in which he pledged to “protect a woman’s freedom of choice” by enacting a “Reproductive Health Act." 

The governor added, repeating three times, “Because it is her body, it is her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice.” 

During this week’s radio interview, the host of the show, Fred Dicker, asked Cardinal Dolan how Cuomo “could be a leader on an issue that the Church fundamentally feels so strongly about," namely abortion, and “still be considered a Catholic in good standing?”

“Well, I don’t mind telling you that’s one of the things the governor and I talk about,” Cardinal Dolan responded. “And look, he and I have very grave differences. And this is one of them.”

The cardinal added that while he doesn’t like to “blab on the radio” about private conversations about matters of conscience, “I don’t mind telling you…that’s something that I talk turkey with him about, and leave it at that.” 

The remark was interpreted by the New York Times as suggesting that the cardinal has reservations about whether Gov. Cuomo, who was also the leading advocate of New York’s 2011 gay “marriage” law, is a Catholic in good standing.

The archdiocese moved quickly to quell this interpretation. 

According to spokesman Zwilling, when the cardinal said he has “grave differences” and “talks turkey” with the governor, he was talking about the governor’s position on abortion, and not about whether the governor is a Catholic in good standing or not.   

“The Cardinal was very clear throughout…that he and the governor have very different positions on abortion, and he has been forthright with the governor on the matter, in public and in private,” said Zwilling. “But he has not made any statement about the Governor’s faith or standing in the Church.” 

LifeSiteNews.com asked Zwilling if Cardinal Dolan would be willing to consider telling Governor Cuomo that he must change his views on abortion or, in accordance with Canon 915 and Vatican pronouncements, be denied Communion. (See below.) The archdiocesan spokesman, however, demurred from answering the question, instead referring LSN to the statement provided to the Times

Cardinal Dolan: ‘Gov. Cuomo wants to work very closely with the pro-life movement’

Throughout the interview with Fred Dicker, Cardinal Dolan emphasized his positive personal relationship with the governor, and expressed his hopes that the governor would not, in fact, expand abortion in the state. 

“I appreciate a lot of things about Governor Cuomo. He and I get along well. And I’m grateful that he keeps in touch,” said the cardinal, adding that while he disagrees with the governor on abortion, he has enjoyed working with him on issues like gun control and immigration. 

Cardinal Dolan also said that the governor “has been very up front with me that he wants to work very closely with the pro-life community to provide alternatives to abortion,” something the cardinal said is “refreshing.” 

Since announcing his intention in January to pass a Reproductive Health Act as part of a broader Women’s Equality Act, Governor Cuomo has been coy about what, exactly, his bill will propose. Originally pro-life groups, including the state’s conference of Catholic bishops, had identified Cuomo’s bill with the same Reproductive Health Act that has languished for several years in the New York legislature. That bill would dramatically expand abortion access, including late-term abortion, and has been described as “the most sweeping abortion legislation in the country.” 

In the intervening months, however, the governor has appeared to backpedal, suggesting that the bill may only protect the “status quo” on abortion by codifying federal abortion law in state law. 

Cardinal Dolan said the governor has made similar promises to him. “He’s told me what he’s said publicly, that as of now he has not decided on the details of the Act, and that when it is revealed we won’t find it as alarming as some of the rumors are,” said the cardinal. 

The cardinal also said that of the 10 points mentioned by Cuomo as part of his Women’s Equality Act, the Church agrees with him on nine of the points. “It’s just this one about expansion of abortion that really gives us pause and makes us say, ‘please, that’s the last thing this state needs,’” the cardinal said. 

Asked by Dicker if the cardinal wasn’t perhaps being too trusting by taking Gov. Cuomo at his word that he doesn’t intend to expand abortion, the cardinal admitted that “a lot of people are saying that to me.” 

“They’re saying, ‘Dolan you’re too trusting.’ I say, look, the governor and I have worked closely together on other issues. I’ve applauded a lot of the things that he’s done…We’ve been with him and appreciated what he’s done. So, I guess I tend to be a trusting person by nature," he said. “I guess I want to believe that he means it when he says he’s not going to expand what’s already a terribly harmful liberal abortion culture, and that he wants to work hard on alternatives to abortion.”

Cardinal Dolan: ‘It’s not all that good to trust politicians sometimes’

Cardinal Dolan has accused himself of being too trusting of New York politicians in the past.

In the aftermath of the legalization of gay “marriage” in New York, Cardinal Dolan admitted to EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo that the state’s bishops hadn’t really launched an offensive against the bill because they had been assured by “political allies” that the bill was dead in the water. 

“So, we had political allies who said, ‘Bishops, keep your ammo dry. You don’t have to pull out all the stops, speak on principle, speak up against this bill, but don’t really worry, because it’s not going to go anywhere,’” said Dolan. 

The chief champion and moving force behind the gay ‘marriage’ bill at the time was Governor Cuomo. 

During debate over the bill, the governor had accused those who opposed it of being “un-American” and saying, in effect, “I want to discriminate.” 

After the bill passed Cuomo was widely accused by Republicans and other advocates of traditional marriage of using coercive and deceptive tactics, including pushing for last minute changes to Senate rules, to ram the bill through the legislature. 

During the Arroyo interview, the cardinal was asked if the bishops had learned anything from the experience. 

“It sort of taught us that it’s not all that good to trust politicians sometimes,” Dolan said. “And I think some of us bishops think we were being deceived. And I think that could be, shame on us for believing them.” 

Cuomo should be denied communion: canon law expert, pro-life leaders

This isn’t the first time that the question of Gov. Cuomo’s status as a Catholic has been the source of public debate, and newspaper headlines. 

In February 2011, Vatican canon law legal consultant Ed Peters made headlines when he said that Cuomo should be denied Holy Communion because of his public support for abortion, as well as the fact that he was living openly with his mistress. 

Peters based his argument on Canon 915, which states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.” 

Other pro-life leaders have also asked that Governor Cuomo be denied Communion. In this they would appear to have strong support from the Vatican in the form of a letter written to the U.S. bishops in 2004 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in his capacity as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. 

In that letter, Cardinal Ratzinger had attempted to end debate about whether pro-abortion Catholic public figures should be denied Communion, telling the bishops that those politicians who have been warned by their pastors to change their views on abortion, “must” be denied the Eucharist. 

LifeSiteNews.com asked Zwilling if Cardinal Dolan would be willing to consider taking this step with Governor Cuomo. The archdiocesan spokesman, however, did not answer the question and instead referred LSN to the statement provided to the Times

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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