Monday, May 4, 2009

First thoughts on new Archbishop

I have a generally favorable impression of New York's new Archbishop, based largely on certain stray facts I've picked up from the media, such as his authorship of a book defending clerical celibacy. However, now that he has begun his reign here, we can start judging him on his record. So far, I'm seeing positive and negative.

On the positive side, he has made a surprisingly strong statement of what on the surface seems like actual Catholic faith. According to the April 23rd issue of Catholic New York, he "...promised a ministry centered on renewal of Catholic practice in the Church, saying: 'On my first day as your archbishop I dream that we can reclaim Sunday as the Lord's day, anchored in our faithfulness to Sunday Mass, our weekly family meal with the risen Jesus.' 'For us Catholics,' he said, 'Christ and his Church are one."

I welcome such a sentiment. Besides the usual trials of existence in a sinful world, one of the Church's main problems in this age is the erosion of Catholic allegiance and identity, due mainly to the inculcation of an such an attitude from the clergy. When was the last time you heard a priest preach about the Church's divine authority or even speak the words "One, True Church"? In contrast to previous generations, most Catholics I know identify as such without knowing one good reason they should. This ignorance makes them ready prey for the ravenous wolves of the sects. Dolan's triumphal sentiment is a far cry from that of the outgoing Cardinal Egan, who seemed primarily concerned with the archdiocese's financial situation, and it is the complete opposite of Egan's predecessor Cardinal O'Connor, who preached open heresy and whose guiding spirit was a genial kind of multicultural universalism. Nevertheless, Dolan's words are just words. We shall see whether they will be translated into action.

On the negative side, I see that he's already done homage to the zeitgeist and participated in a seder sponsored by the ADL. He was even presented with a mezuzah, which he is expected to hang on his doorway (why didn't he reciprocate with a gift of a crucifix?). I've expressed my thoughts on these ecumenical stunts in a previous post. Needless to say, I'm not encouraged by this decision. It was not the action of a man who really believes that "Christ and His Church are one".

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