Dolan meets privately with Obama

I had gotten wind of this earlier in the week, but this is the first I’ve seen it in print:

President Obama met quietly with New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan Nov. 8, the White House has confirmed. Dolan is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The men discussed a range of issues related to the often complicated and recently fractious relationship between the administration and the U.S. church hierarchy. A spokesperson for the USCCB declined to confirm or deny the meeting.

The meeting came in advance of next week’s plenary meeting of the USCCB in Baltimore at which the bishops will discuss their new ad hoc committee on religious liberty. It was sandwiched between two of President Obama’s foreign trips, to France for the G-20 summit and his forthcoming trip to Asia.

According to a White House official, who spoke with NCR on background, the meeting was part of the Obama Administration’s work with faith leaders from across the spectrum, and was one among many meetings with officials from the Catholic Church and the Administration.

The official also noted that the Obama Administration has robust partnerships with organizations such as Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA to serve individuals and families in need across the country and the world. The official said that the administration looks forward to continuing these critical partnerships in the future.

Read the rest.


  1. friscoeddie says:

    Why the USCCB won’t acknowledge the meeting when the WH has already done so, is more than troubling.. the only reason I can summon up is that the USCCB wants to placate the Obama sneerers, too many of which have high places in the US Catholic Church.. both hierarchy and lay. Secret meetings with the ‘enemy’
    How sad we are led..

  2. naturgesetz says:

    Does this make Dolan the most pro-abortion archbishop of New York ever?


  3. Dolan, who heads Catholic Relief Services, should not be considered pro-abortion merely because he meets with the leader of the free world. He is a strong advocate of human life.

  4. naturgesetz says:

    My remark was tongue-in-cheek.

  5. Friscoeddie,

    This is an oddly aggressive sentiment.

  6. Not sure why anyone would suppose this was anything but the leader of the USCCB meeting with a president who so far has shown himself to be very anti Catholic and trying to give the President the facts and an opportunity to make some changes. I suspect the Bishop wanted to have this prior to the upcoming meeting so there was clear understanding of the Preisdents positions on things to relate to the entire USCCB.

    Of course, like other comments here, it is all speculation, but it seems this makes the most sense. After all, there have been articles about possible litigation between Catholic groups denied contracts and the federal government as well as other serious breaches.

  7. Carl:
    Dialogue on points of disagreement can sometimes be very productive. It seem as though it was the White House that initiated the meeting.

  8. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    “Carl” …

    You seem convinced that Dolan initiated the meeting. That’s not what I heard.

    And given the fact that the only source here is the WH, and that they’re putting their own positive spin on things, I’m sure that’s the case. The WH has a Catholic Problem, and I suspect this was an effort to smooth things over.

    Dcn. G.

  9. Last I checked – Jesus pretty much met with everyone. Why shouldn’t Dolan? You can win them, change hearts and transform people by rejecting them.

  10. You mean come election time, with the president in dire desperation, he’s going to play as if he’s never been the most pro abortion, anti Catholic president in my life time? This is election time propaganding.

  11. I don’t mind Dolan meeting with Obama. But let’s be clear. This is election time propaganding by a president who is in dire straights on his re-election. Obama has been the most pro-abortion, anti Catholic president in my life time.

  12. Instead of finding fault with the meeting from either side (the bishop or the WH)

    Wouldn’t it be novel idea to actually embrace the meeting and that maybe something positive came out of it for both sides.

    Why must we crave hate and division all the time.

  13. Keenan; Aggression is acts.. disgust and sadness are sentiments, It wise to get points correct as we go into a real slinging election in 2012. It’s the USCCB that is trying to put the meeting in a closet… to please whom ?. Those who think Obama is not the legitimate US president?

  14. Henry Karlson says:

    How old are you, Manny?

    Nixon qualifies as the most pro-abortion president. As for anti-Catholic, how exactly is Obama anti-Catholic? Please. These “most” memes of political rhetoric are quite bad.

  15. A couple of things come to mind – the USCCB did not confirm or deny the meeting maybe because Dolan wants to report the discussion to the entire conference? Obama as anti-Catholic – because he proposes actions that Catholics don’t like or that the Church says are wrong doe not make him anti-Catholic. It makes him the president of the United States which is not a Catholic only club. Given the contentious nature of our country today people see all actions as an attack. And to echo what Don from NH said why must we have and have division all of the time.

  16. I have seen nothing here that suggests who set up the meeting and am in no way “convinced” therefore who set the meeting up. The sentence “The meeting came in advance of next week’s plenary meeting of the USCCB in Baltimore at which the bishops will discuss their new ad hoc committee on religious liberty” seems to suggest that the timing driving the meeting was in fact the upcoming Bishops meeting. This might indicate that it was ArchBishop Dolan who wanted to get this set up so he could bring facts and not speculation to the USCCB meeting before any other action was taken. However, it could well have been Obama who wanted to get the meeting to try to stem the growing tide of concern on the part of Catholics as seen in many Catholic blogs and from actions starting litigation on lose of contracts based on religious teaching or forcing issues on Catholic insitutions. I suspected Archbishop Dolan just based on his outgoing personality and desire for truth and understanding.

    I am glad you are in full agreement that the White House has a Catholic problem since some here seem to think there is not a problem.

  17. Curious as to who is finding fault with the archbishop and Obama meeting.

    I thought it was positive when the Pope met with Nancy Pelosi so she could be educated on actual Catholic teaching. I would encourage more meetings with Church leaders and those who support abortion as well as any other actions to stop the holocuast and attacks on religious liberty.

  18. Henry made this statement before on Nixon and backed it up with a link to a massively anti Catholic web site.

    Note the side headlines on this site from Henry..

    150 years of uninterrupted Papal hositlity toward the freedom on the press


    the Vatican blueprint for the inflitration and manipulation of the American Democratic Process at all levels.

    So Henry, since this was one of your proof sites that Nixon was more pro abortion than Obama and is obviously a site lying about the Catholic Church, can you justify this Nixon attack to cover Obama?

    Remember, Roe happened months before Nixon left office. Obama has pledged to Planned Parenthood who have given us 54 million abortions to always have a place at his table on video which can be seen on you tube.

  19. Henry Karlson says:


    Invalid argument — whether or not they like the Catholic teaching, it recounts the facts of the time, and how Nixon and the Catholic hierarchy were opposed to one another because of Nixon’s ACTUAL pro-abortion (not just choice) position. It can be found in other sources, too, if you want to find out about it. Nixon’s stands in the promotion of population control are known, as is his affirmation of abortion for peoples he didn’t like.

  20. I agree with your first 2 sentences, Fran…Is there a typo in the last?

  21. I agree with Don and Carl!

  22. I agree with you, Andy…good for the Archbishop to be willing to talk to people!

  23. Henry, you say my argument is invalid but it is you who made the unsupported claim about Nixon being the most pro abortion president ever. You do not offer any evidence of your claim about Nixon not only being pro abortion, but that as president he did anything that promoted and supported abortion. We know that Obama has committed firmly to supporting any and all abortions and that he is also committed to supporting planned parenthood. He has brought a huge number of pro abortion people into his administration.

    You say Nixon and the Catholic heirarchy were opposed to one another on the abortion issue but offer no proof. The only sources are rabid hating anti Catholic sites and one that pointed out that Obama was a rabid pro abortion president. PLEASE try to give some basis of your claim or stop making it.

  24. Again, no one I see here is against the meeting. Catholics have a right as citizens to question a president who is coming out with positions that harm them and their beliefs. I note that the union bosses have been into his office far more than Catholic bishops and he has bent over backwards to cater to them as his largest donar. He is president of all people, not just the unions and they often see anything that happens as an attack on labor or unions. It is the nature of our government to have divisions as individiuals we have different beliefs, different interests, and different areas that concern us on a personal and community basis. We voice our differences and we have elections and those who win the elections, usually get their issues addressed more effectively. Yes, a president is supposed to be over all the people, but is there anyone here that does not believe if their candidate wins or loses that it impacts them one way or the other. When not in an elections cycle (they start to early and last to long now) we have means of addressing our concerns with the freedom of speech, the right to assemble as a group and petititon the government, and through the courts as last resort.

    Now we also have the internet and blogs and twitter and all forms of social media to enable us to do this far more easily and far more effectively. I find it interesting that when one side whens a major majority and control, there is no call on their part of discussion and debate and the concerns of the losing side. However, if they lose power, even if only in one house of congress, we suddenly hear that the new winners are not playing nice and giving in to the other side. Lets face it, there are very major disagreements between the two parties on some very important issues. I believe as many Catholic and other faiths do that the holocaust of abortion is top on the list since 4,000 babies are being killed each and every day. The USCCB tried to get people to realize that by asking anyone who supported the party of abortion, the democrats, to identify a proportionate reason to vote for them. In all my anti abortion discussions, I have yet to see a single person stand up with a proportionate argument that compares to 54 million dead innocent children being slaughtered. In the last news cycle, we see the outrage, as we should, over the scandal at Penn State on a number of boys who were abused and how it was not addressed rapidly. Compare that to each and every day 4,000 children being killed day after day after day.

  25. First I would suggest reading what Fiscoeddie, his post seems to say that this was a ploy to placate the Catholic vote. I would also ask you to think about our previous President and how he ignored the Just War Philosophy, ignored the request of the Pope and other religious leaders and started a war with Iraq. I know I will hear that it is not as bas as abortion, yet Mr. Bush also did nothing to stop abortion. What we see when a person becomes President is that he (she maybe someday) has to/feels compelled to/is forced to “turn away” from what religions teach.
    As far as Obama meeting with unions didn’t our previous president have an incredibly cozy relationship with the energy sector – his major contributors.
    My point is that the constant drumbeat of this president is the most anti-Catholic or that another President is totally pro-abortion does little to heal the divisions in this country, and as long as there are those divisions you will never heal what you call a holocaust. By the way as you lump all democrats as the party who supports abortion – my wife who is a staunch democrat opposes abortion as do I a registered independent. That very statement makes it hard for me to take anything you say seriously. I guess then I can say that all republicans are anti-aboriton only because they do not believe that the government should take care of the sick…Over generalizations a weak form of convincing people of your seriousness.

  26. I’m almost 50. I was too young during Nixon, but I’ve never heard he was anti Catholic. So if you want me to qualify, I will. Obama stands as the most pro-abortion, anti Catholic president of my ADULT life.

  27. There can no longer be mixed messages for political gain. Archbishop Dolan needs to use his voice and his gift -to reach our young. Catholics have been marginalized by those who do not stand for their faith. I do not see Archbishop Dolan doing his job when he waters down the issues as he seems to”want to get along”. I hope he does better than what we have seen on the public stage. He calls Obama “sincere”- so is he saying sin is capable of being sincere? I call it deception/DECEPTION in capital letters.

  28. I keep forgetting to pray for Archbishop Dolan. With meetings like that, and comments like these, it would seem he needs all the uplifting he can get.

  29. Richard Johnson says:

    “You do not offer any evidence of your claim about Nixon not only being pro abortion, but that as president he did anything that promoted and supported abortion. ”

    Well, if the tapes of Nixon’s own words are to be believed, he seems significantly more pro-abortion that some here would have us believe. Of course, I am citing a biased source on this (the NY Times), so I am sure that some will question the veracity of the report.

    WASHINGTON — On Jan. 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But the next day, newly released tapes reveal, he privately expressed ambivalence.

    Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.

    “There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

    But perhaps the best source for this is Nixon’s own words. No doubt some will question even this since it is easy to tell an Obama-basher but hard to get them to listen. But, others may benefit from it.

    What do we get from this? That Nixon was, at best, uncaring about abortion, and that he saw mixed-race pregnancies as cases where abortion might be appropriate.

  30. naturgesetz says:

    byz —

    “He calls Obama “sincere”- so is he saying sin is capable of being sincere?”
    This is breathtakingly illogical. For one thing, sin is not a person, therefore sin cannot be either sincere or insincere. More to the point, the implication of your rhetorical question that sin is insincere proves nothing about Obama unless Obama is sin. But no person is his sin. Sins can be removed without annihilating the person who committed them. Beyond that, you seem to be concluding that Obama is a sinner in a way that others Abp. Dolan might meet and call sincere are not. Remember that sin is imputed only when one willingly does something that one knows is wrong. Sin is not imputed when one is in invincible ignorance. In Obama’s case, he did not have the benefit of a Catholic upbringing to form his conscience correctly; but he has been subject to all the influnces of a society in which many believe that abortion is a woman’s right. So it is entirely conceivable that he sincerely believes that women have a natural right to choose to have an abortion. Objectively, of course, if he believes that, he is wrong. But sincerity is not a matter of being objectively right or wrong, it is a matter of saying what you think without dissimulation.

  31. Richard Johnson says:

    “I believe as many Catholic and other faiths do that the holocaust of abortion is top on the list since 4,000 babies are being killed each and every day. The USCCB tried to get people to realize that by asking anyone who supported the party of abortion, the democrats, to identify a proportionate reason to vote for them. In all my anti abortion discussions, I have yet to see a single person stand up with a proportionate argument that compares to 54 million dead innocent children being slaughtered.”

    Does the USCCB focus *solely* on the abortion issue to the exclusion of all other issues? From what I see I believe that they place abortion as one of their primary issues to be addressed (perhaps co-primary to homosexuality) yet they are also able to make cogent statements about other social justice issues.

    This contrasts with some conservatives who seem to push the abortion issue to the front simply to drown out any questioning of conservative policy that might run afoul of Catholic social justice teachings. I honestly have to wonder if these folks are truly concerned about abortion that much or if they simply employ 4000 dead children as a shield to deflect any challenge to the destructive elements of their political philosophy.

  32. It was my pleasure to spend some time with Pat Buchanan who worked for Nixon in the White House and knew him very well. Pat is a strong Catholic and very devout person. I exchanged some emails with Pat on this topic after it came up here. He never felt that Nixon was anti Catholic as much as he was simply a flawed human being without strong attachments to anyone. He also never sensed in him any strong views on abortion, but that he did believe that governments had to focus on the growth of humans on the planet and he believed that birth control shold be something that was supported.

    Not sure where Henry gets these fantasies as he has given no solid supporting information.

  33. Andy, W. Bush as president stopped the support of funding for abortions around the world on his first day in office which Obama reversed on his first day in office to support abortion funding. W. Bush, although not perfect in the area of embryo research, limited it far more than what the left wanted and caught a lot of flack on that topic. Obama has opened up the scientific experimentation on human embryo which of course kills each one of these humans. W. Bush put Alito and Roberts on the court and the left fought both of them as they are seen as pro life in their beliefs. Obama has given the court two appointments which are seen as strongly pro abortion and both supported by Emily’s list and Planned Parenthood. Both of these organziations fought to keep the W. Bush appointments from the bench. Bush as far as I know had no pro abortion appointments in key cabinet positions and Obama has a cabinet and agency executives firmly in the hands of the pro abortion crowd as with HHS and Sebelius. There is a long list at Lifenews that lists over a hundred things Obama administration has done to support abortion. There is no such list anywhere on W. Bush being pro abortion.

    As to just war, there are a large number of Catholic Bishops and Theologians that supported Iraq as just war and as a Catholic, we are to inform ourselves on this issue giving strong preference to the what the Pope has to say, but in the end unlike abortion, the just war position is one that we must decide on our own. Abortion is non negotiable.

    You miss my point on meeting with various groups. I am supporting the President meeting with the archbishop. You seem to be saying that the Catholic leadership somehow did not have the right to their views or to assemble or petititon or to go to court. My example was the unions which also have the same rights. Not sure you even read what was written.


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