Cardinal Dolan Lectures Democrats and Republicans

His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan took to the podium at both the Democrat and Republican conventions and addressed our leaders with these most forgotten words:

Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.

The personage His Eminence was appealing to was the Fellow who was dropped by an “oversight” and only found His way into the Democrat convention after a fixed vote (the usual way, the Chicago way). But never mind all that. We most of us won’t come to agreement on that matter.

What is important is that His Eminence used these same words at both convocations. Which is to say, he said them twice. First as above at the RNC, and then like this at the DNC:

Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.

What a strange prayer to offer for an assemblage of politicians! Especially (but far from exclusively) Democrat politicians, who during DNC issued an ad which sang, “Government is the only thing we all belong to.” About that, perhaps the best rebuttal came from retired Senator Fred Thompson:

This shows that this election, to simplify, is a neat divide between those who want capital-G Government to care and coddle it charges, above all to dole out “free” stuff to the populace, versus those who want citizens to be left the hell alone to the maximum extent possible. Between those, that is, who believe they always Know Better and those who can admit they don’t. Between those who believe Government is always the solution and those who see it as the source of many ills.

His Eminence, like God Himself, almost did not make it to the DNC floor. Dolan originally offered to attend both the RNC and DNC, but was initially only accepted by the Republicans. In a preview of the DNC floor vote fiasco, word about the rebuff got out, talk about how this would be seen by independent and undecided “bitter clingers” began, and decision makers quickly reversed course and accepted the good Cardinal’s offer, stating that it was “always” going to be accepted.

Since most of this took place behind the scenes and wasn’t put to an embarrassing voice vote, it escaped national attention. But the progressive Salon magazine noticed (they would rather Dolan not have spoken). As did the LA Times which opined, “Democrats had little choice but to say, ‘Amen.'”

There exists in the American Catholic Church a divide which mimics the political landscape. It has its own New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, which each day finds some new “injustice” over which to lament, and its own Fox News, the combined New Advent and National Catholic Register, sites which reminds the faithful of the ultimate and real goals of that faith.

One side wishes the Church would lighten up and allow “gay marriage”, give the thumbs up to abortion, and concentrate solely on empowering Government to take care of the “poor”. The other folks toe the line of the Magisterium, see the necessity of tradition, and wish the Church would keep its eyes on the Prize. In other words, the standard left-right lines.

His Eminence is the de facto leader of both parties, and boy did he hear it from each corner about the invites; but the cry was especially loud after he invited President Obama and future-President Mitt Romney to the annual Al Smith charity dinner in New York. The left was thrilled, as they view Obama as the One (well, perhaps the second One), but the right was incensed. Obama was the fellow who mandated (via HHS) the Church to give up its ideals and fund contraception and abortion for its employees because, well, employees should be given free contraception and abortions because they are employees, and what sadder, needier, more directionless creature is there than an employee?

The Cardinal proved to be an adept politician. At the RNC, he chided pols, gently, on immigration and social programs. But at the DNC, holding strictly to official teachings, he scolded:

Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected…

We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty. May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms. Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding…

Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community.

And at both conventions, he spoke these most important words, which it does no harm to hear once more:

Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.

13 Comments

  1. Briggs,

    You are letting tribal politics cloud your thinking. It was the Republican Party that made this Pledge to America: We will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today’s seniors and future generations.

    The Rpublican Party is as guilty as the Democrats with regard to pandering to special interests through advancing and consolidating the welfare state. To deny this is to deny history.

  2. Jim,

    I would only modify your opinion to say, “The Republican party is nearly as guilty as the Democrats with regard, etc.”

  3. …and the only just (or ethical corporation) is the one that serves its consumers/clients, rather than merely itself.

    p.s.: Mr. Dolan has enough cleaning up to do in his own church before he preaches platitudes to others.

  4. The Republican Party is the only major party now that is still (mostly) not embarassed by God and not into the mass murder of children nor the teaching that two men or two women unions are equal in quality to a a man-woman conjugal unionS for the purpose of raising the next generation. Yes, Republicans have been too cozy sometimes with their big government-big business connections but are now outdone by the Democrats who add big unions to the mix-mess. We in the Tea Party movement wished to take advantage of what we saw as the positive tendencies in the Republican Party listed above and ncourage them to re-escalate their commitment to small government, freedom, and balanced budgets. The many Republican governors around the country are good examples of what happens when these latter principles are applied.

  5. Shecky R

    Said “and the only just (or ethical corporation) is the one that serves its consumers/clients, rather than merely itself.”

    I fine such statements to be bogus, since corporation cannot force their customer to do business with them, if they are not ethical and server they customer in a fair manner they go broke. It only when you have government intervening you can end up with corporation acting unethical and survive, example GM they neglected their products, failed to negotiate sustainable contracts with they employees and failed to make a reasonable profit to attract capital they then turned to government to bail them out. It was unethical for GM to ask for of government to intervene into GM problems.

  6. Considering that the Catholic Church has for centuries been governmental in it’s behavior – authoritarian, paternalistic, oligarchic, prone to covering up it’s mis(mal)feasances – doen’t the chiding of the Parties by one of it’s minions produce at least a bit of self-conscious embarrassment? Not that the Cardinal is wrong, of course. There’s just that pot/kettle thing that makes one squirm a bit.

  7. @Gary
    What part of “all men are sinners” was not clear?

    If we always demand that our chastisers be impeccable, what would we do for a Gandhi or a King? Especially if we demand that our chastisers have no predecessors or associates of our predecessors who are not impeccable? Why should we pay attention to the Democrats, who in the past have supported Jim Crow and even slavery, going so far as to take up arms against the United States in defense of slavery? (You see how easy it is to play the someone who once belonged to your group did something bad game?)

  8. “Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.”

    If someone actually finds a government that does this, let me know. 🙂

  9. Y.O.S., I only note the irony. And, FWIW, bad things still are being covered up by a hierarchy that harms the real church (those exhibiting faith in Jesus Christ) when it behaves as a self-serving government.

  10. His Eminence is making a nice pithy quote…but such generalities constitute simple-minded philosophy. The flaw is in overlooking the fact that a government that serves its citizens MUST serve itself, to some extent, in order to be capable of providing service. The concepts are hardly mutually exclusive.

    But then too, he espouses a very selective recollection of his source material–ignoring Romans 13:1-7: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2013:1-7&version=NIV Quoted here as:

    “Submission to Governing Authorities

    “13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    “6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

    Considering that those are the words from a guy (Paul) that was a contemporary of Jesus, and the government to which he [Paul] refers deferred to a mob (symbolically washing its hands of the Jesus matter) that then, in response to that mob, crucified Jesus — all as a self-serving ploy to aid in its retention of power of the same mob (what Lee Iacoca referred to, from the perspective of a senior manager as a situation much like a small boy walking a very large dog…sometimes one must “lead” the dog where the dog wants to go) –it’s hard to fathom what His Eminence is talking about.

    Or, maybe, he like so many of his ilk, is just selectively refernece his source material & re-writing history to suit modern views or a particular audience…which is exactly the kind of behavior he’s espousing others not to do.

  11. REGARDING:

    “HIS EMINENCE IS THE LEADER IS THE DE FACTO LEADER OF BOTH PARTIES, [EMPHASIS ADDED], and boy did he hear it from each corner about the invites; but the cry was especially loud after he invited President Obama and future-President Mitt Romney to the annual Al Smith charity dinner in New York.”

    SOOOOOooooooo, now you’re asserting that an official of a religious denomination — a Cardinal of the Catholic Church — is a “de facto leader” of BOTH political parties intimately involved in matters of Federal governance in a country [USA] in which religious affiliations are foramlly and officially separated from matters Federal!?!?!?!

    There’s clear evidence that proper understanding of how the USA is structured is quite lacking.

  12. There’s clear evidence that proper understanding of how the USA is structured is quite lacking.

    Ken, you’ve misunderstood what Briggs was writing about – here he is referring to the Catholic split of “right and left” which Dolan is the de facto leader. Whether that is true or not is another matter, but it is not a misunderstanding about the US of A.

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