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February 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was met with skepticism by Twitter followers after he invoked the example of St. Peter Damian in connection with the crisis of sexual immorality in the priesthood and with the sex abuse summit held last week in Rome.

In a homily given last Thursday, Dolan noted that the Vatican summit had begun on the feast day of St. Peter Damian in the Novus Ordo calendar and said, “I don’t know, something tells me it’s not a coincidence, that Pope Francis chose his feast day to begin this meeting in the Vatican of the presidents of all the bishops conferences in the world to address the same problem that Peter Damian did.”

“St. Peter Damian, it’s his feast day today,” said Dolan. “He was born a thousand years ago, a thousand years ago. So, he’s just sort of a museum piece, don’t you think? Oh, you’d better think again.”

Calling Damian a “great theologian,” Dolan said Pope Stephen X made Damian a cardinal because he needed his help “in confronting one of the biggest problems in the Church today.”

“And he didn’t have to tell Peter Damian what it was. Peter Damian had already been writing about it and doing something about it,” continued Dolan. “What was it? The immorality of priests. The immorality of priests and bishops, all right? The immorality when it came to alcohol, money, and sex.”

“So Peter Damian began a great renewal in the Church starting with the renewal of the clergy. The pope said to St. Peter Damian, ‘These priests, these bishops are supposed to be a model for the people. They’re the opposite. They’re a bad example. We’ve got to clean this mess up.’”

Dolan posted a link to the audio of his sermon discussing Peter Damian on his Twitter feed, stating “Here’s my homily from this morning. Today is the Feast of Saint Peter Damian. He sought to reform the Church — partially the immorality of the bishops at the time. It seems fitting that Pope Francis would pick today as the start of the bishops’ meeting.”

St. Peter Damian is famous for his crusade against homosexuality and sexual abuse among the clergy of his day, and particularly for his “Book of Gomorrah,” which alerted Pope St. Leo IX to the magnitude of the crisis in the 11th century. Damian also battled against other forms of immorality in the clergy, such as simony (the selling of sacraments), illicit marriages, and concubinage.

Click here to learn about St. Peter Damian’s struggle against an epidemic of sodomy and corruption among the clergy of the eleventh century, a story with great relevance for the Catholic Church today.

Dolan may have been the only cardinal publicly to mention the fact that the Vatican sex abuse summit was begun on the feast day of St. Peter Damian. Other cardinals, bishops, and Vatican curial officials participating in the summit ignored the saint’s feast day, and when they were questioned about the correlation between homosexuality in the priesthood and clerical sex abuse, they roundly denied that any relationship existed between the two.

However, a majority of the reactions to Dolan’s tweet were negative, citing Dolan’s record of endorsing the participation of homosexual groups in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and marching with them, while not supporting the participation of pro-life groups in the parade. They also noted his recent scandalous participation in the Met Gala, which included scantily-clad women dressed up in what appeared to be mockeries of Catholic clerical dress.  

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Others noted Dolan’s ongoing tolerance for homosexual clergy and the promotion of homosexual relationships in his parishes, an ongoing scandal reported many times by LifeSite, as well as Dolan’s very public friendship with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom he has refused to discipline despite Cuomo’s recent signing of a new pro-abortion law facilitating the killing of the unborn at late stages of pregnancy.

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