Archbishop Dolan’s ‘Times’ interview.
It’s good to know the newly minted president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops isn’t boycotting a newspaper whose coverage he finds wanting. In today’s New York Times, Laurie Goodstein has an interesting interview with Archbishop Dolan.
Of course, Goodstein had to ask about the condom business, and Dolan said, “You get the impression that the Holy See or the pope is like Congress and every once in a while says, ‘Oh, let’s change this law.’ We can’t.” No surprise there.
And Dolan’s assessment of the health-care-reform law isn’t quite so dour as his predecessor’s [PDF]: ”Archbishop Dolan said the bishops ought to be ‘great cheerleaders’ for the expansion of health care coverage, and could possibly support a ‘refinement’ of the bill. He said he did not yet know whether the bishops would want to ‘overthrow’ the legislation completely.”
But, according to Goodstein, Dolan was most energetic when it came to the issue of attrition.
Archbishop Dolan leaned forward as he cited recent studies finding that only half of young Catholics marry in the church, and that weekly Mass attendance has dropped to about 35 percent of Catholics from a peak of 78 percent in the 1960s.
He said he was chagrined when he saw a long line of people last Sunday on Fifth Avenue. “I’m talking two blocks, a line of people waiting to get into …” he said, pausing for suspense. “Abercrombie and Fitch. And I thought, wow, there’s no line of people waiting to get into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the treasure in there is of eternal value. What can I do to help our great people appreciate that tradition?”
Sounds like he’s been reading Peter Steinfels in Commonweal.
Speaking of, indulge me while I post my favorite moment from the archbishop’s press conference following his election as president of the USCCB. Not to worry, we’re launching a fundraising effort to support our hitchhiking budget to and from USCCB meetings.