Cardinal Dolan:  Tossing Andrew Cuomo From Catholic Church Wouldn’t Work

Printed from:

The archbishop of New York has no plans to excommunicate New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from the Roman Catholic Church for signing a bill making abortion legal in that state up to the moment of birth, saying he thinks it would backfire.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, one of the prominent leaders of the Catholic Church in America, addressed the issue during an appearance on Fox & Friends this morning.

Cuomo, a Democrat and a Roman Catholic, asked for the bill, signed the bill, and ordered certain landmarks in the state to be lit up pink to celebrate the bill.

What to do about Catholic politicians who support legal abortion, which the Catholic Church teaches is murder, has rankled bishops, Catholic commentators, and many laypeople since shortly after abortion became legal nationwide in 1973.

Steve Doocy, one of the three hosts of the show, asked Dolan about it Wednesday, January 28. Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

Steve Doocy:  There are calls from people in the Catholic Church for Governor Cuomo to be excommunicated, from the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan:  You’re telling me. I get wheelbarrows of letters every day. I think that would be counterproductive, myself. For one …

Steve Doocy:  Well, he’s not following Catholic doctrine.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan:  Well, I don’t know if Catholic doc- — but there’s my point, Steve. We would be giving ammo to our enemies who say, ‘This is an internal Catholic disciplinary matter. This is really not civil rights. This is really not biology. These Catholics don’t have freedom when it comes to this.’ I think we’d be giving our enemies ammo.

Steve Doocy:  But the Catholic Church, Cardinal, stands against abortion. And here is the most prominent Catholic in the state of New York, and he’s saying, ‘Hey, this is a good thing.’

Cardinal Timothy Dolan:  And the canon laws, which you – thank you – quoted —

Steve Doocy:  — Nine fifteen

Cardinal Timothy Dolan: — Would also say that you have to use it for medicinal purpose, and you think that there’s going to be a good effect that can come out of this. We have a governor that brags about it. We have a governor that uses his dissent from Church teaching as applause lines. We have a governor that takes quotes from Pope Francis out of context to draw an artificial cleavage between the bishops in New York and the Holy Father himself. He’s not going to be moved by this. So what would be the use?

At that point, host Brian Kilmeade jumped in with a public statement from Cuomo.

“Here’s his quote,” Kilmeade said. “He says, ‘I’ve experienced that all my political life. I experienced that when I said a woman had a right to choose. I experienced that at an exponential level when New York was the first large state to pass marriage equality, against the Catholic Church. So they’ve been against me on all of these issues’.”

Dolan responded, “And what did he get? A standing ovation. So he likes this. He likes being the Peck’s Bad Boy when it comes to the Catholic Church.”

Doocy then asked Dolan about punishing Cuomo with a lesser penalty, sometimes referred to as “excommunication-lite.” Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

Steve Doocy:  What about denying him communion?

Cardinal Timothy Dolan:  Well, look, that’s — you’re making me —  I don’t rarely get restless, but I am. That’s kind of a pastoral issue that I think one has to talk to him about. And I think proper people have. And I’d be uncomfortable going into that. Rather spiritual and pastoral. But, that is, that’s a good point. Not denying him. He may have already said ‘I cannot approach the holy sacrament.’

Dolan didn’t elaborate, but he may have been referring to Cuomo’s personal life. Cuomo is divorced and living with another woman, which may itself prevent him from receiving holy communion.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that communion is the actual body and blood of Jesus, whom Catholics worship as God. The Church also teaches that only Catholics who are in a state of grace can receive communion.

A state of grace means not being mindful of having committed a serious sin that has not subsequently been absolved by a priest in the sacrament of confession. Engaging in sexual intercourse with a person who is not one’s spouse with full knowledge and full consent of the will is a serious sin, according to the Catholic Church.