Dolan, simply by being present to BOTH parties in this horrifically divided and stressful year, is being a good shepherd, a good physician. Our nation is desperately ill — her very blood is toxic with hatred and it needs the antiseptic of the creed and penance — but no physician can force a difficult dose on a patient. First, he has to get the sick wretch to trust him enough to let begin treatment. I suspect this is what Dolan is trying to do. And there are lessons in what he is doing, for anyone willing to look:
1) He’s teaching that the shepherd must be in the field with all the sheep, even as they are warring. He must be there for the recalcitrant ones over there in the left field; and the skittish, distrustful ones in the right field. Maybe all of the sheep are out to give the shepherd a hard time, but he’s still got to be there, doing what he can, gently but forcefully, or they all perish to wolves and opportunistic predators.
2) If a man can’t even be in a room with some people without causing hysteria and hyperventilation among other people, then everyone needs to take a freaking breath.
3) Jesus went out among the sick and sinful — and we’ve got plenty of sick and sinful all over the place; no partisan tag required. And no, he did not treat the sick and the sinful the way he treated the moneychangers. Let’s remember that when he acted out in the temple, he was doing it with an authority that no one on earth possesses. So, those of you who will be satisfied with nothing less than Dolan making a corded whip and scourging your political opponents? You’re out of luck.