NY/NJ- Cardinal Dolan claims to be “powerless;” SNAP responds

NY Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s PR man is lying. He claims that Dolan is powerless to do anything about embattled Newark Archbishop John Myers.

That’s wrong and he knows it.

Dolan heads the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. As the group’s title suggests, it’s a US organization. As the group’s president, Dolan could easily

--kick Myers out,

--suspend Myers’ membership,

-- forbid Myers to attend meetings, or

-- deny Myers committee assignments.

Dolan needs no “OK” from any Catholic official in Rome or Washington to do this. He’s the president of the group (and the most powerful and visible Catholic official in America.)

What’s more, Dolan has more resources and a bigger bully pulpit than any other US Catholic official. He’s not shy about using either to make pronouncements about how millions should behave. But he refuses to use either to call out reckless, deceitful or callous actions by other Catholic employees who endanger children.

It insults the intelligence of Catholics and citizens alike when a smart, powerful man like Dolan pretends to be powerless to speak or act against serious and potentially criminal wrongdoing by a corrupt bishop lower on the church hierarchy.

Not only can Dolan denounce and discipline Myers. Dolan and his brother bishops have promised to do just that. In November 2002, America’s bishops adopted a “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” (http://old.usccb.org/bishops/commit.shtml). In it, they talk of “the importance of . .  accountability and . . . moral responsibility we have with and for each other.” They admit “we are responsible to act in a manner that reflects . . .fraternal challenge and fraternal correction.” And they “commit” themselves “to assist each other to interpret correctly and implement the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” because they acknowledge that “the requirements of the Charter” also “apply to (them)selves.”

The Catholic church is a rigid monarchy. A bishop is higher than a priest, an archbishop higher than a bishop, and a cardinal higher than an archbishop. Dolan is a cardinal. He’s one of only a few hundreds prelates who get to elect popes. For him to pretend to be powerless over Newark’s Archbishop Myers is incredibly disingenuous. And for him to ignore Myers’ serious wrongdoing is just wrong.

NOTE – this is from today’s Newark Star-Ledger:

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who serves as president of the conference, "is aware of the situation in Newark and has stayed on top of developments," Dolan’s spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, said.

Under the church’s hierarchy, however, Dolan has no authority to investigate or take action against Myers, Zwilling said. Such investigations are the purview of the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, known as the papal nuncio, or of Vatican officials in Rome.


And this from the AP:


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  • Richard Bucci
    commented 2013-05-09 14:42:25 -0500
    Anyone who believes that any “President” of a bishop’s conference has such authority is BADLY misinformed. Only the pope has authority over bishops in their sees and the conference MUST admit all ordinaries with voting rights or anything passed woud be invalid. You need a new canonist.

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