Cardinal Dolan Says Leave Religion Alone

Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks to the press at the North American College in Rome.

.- Religious freedom in the United States has historically been understood as allowing religion to “flourish unfettered from government intrusion,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York.

“Simply put, government has no business interfering in the internal life of the soul, conscience, or church,” said the cardinal, who serves at the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Dolan delivered the John Carroll Society Lecture at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 10.

He voiced concern that “the promotion and protection of religious liberty is becoming caricatured as some narrow, hyper-defensive, far-right, self-serving cause.” (Read more here)


  • Bob Seidensticker

    I must disagree, Your Eminence. When there’s a clash between church and state, the state pretty much wins. For example, when some religious folk wanted polygamy, they lost. Sorry.

    Ten Commandments have no Role in Public

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bob, I don’t think the two situations are analogous. If memory serves, Utah petitioned Congress requesting to become a state in the Union. They were refused. Before they made a second attempt, some sort of “deal” was brokered between members of Congress and those in Utah who were pushing the statehood petition for Utah to write a ban on polygamy into its state constitution. Utah was subsequently admitted to the Union.

      Before being admitted to the Union, Utah was not a state and its residents were not American citizens.

      Cardinal Dolan is an American citizen the the things he’s referring to are situations happening in the United States of America.

      The comparison you make is not valid.

      I wonder, do you support government control of religion? It almost sounds as if you do?

      If government can control religion and the consciences of religious people are to be subject to government control, as you seem to prefer, do you also favor doing away with the right to conscientious objection for soldiers who are subjected to the draft in time of war?

      Do you believe that government intrusion into religion should end there, or do you think it should extend into every aspect of American life?

      • Bob Seidensticker

        I don’t see how these details of citizenship and statehood are relevant. The point is that the Supreme Court is quite happy to put limits on religion. If a religion wants to sacrifice people, for example, the would be breaking the law. Religion has a broad range, but when it gets outside that, it loses to the interests of the citizenry.

        This is nothing new. I’m simply observing how the government works. If a church wanted to place restrictions on who it hires (no African-Americans, for example), tough. It loses. It’s the same when the church wants to impose its limits on what is proper health care. Sorry, Catholic Church: that’s not your decision to make.

        (And BTW, there’s no way at your blog for me to know when you’ve responded to my comment. I sought it out this time. It’d be nice if there were a check box so I could get an email when there was a comment reply.)

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Bob, the question of conscientious objectors in war time is precisely pertinent to this discussion as if deals with an individual being given a pass on military service in time of war because of their personal conscience. Most of the time, these requests are based on religious beliefs. It is relevant. I repeat, do you think it should be done away with?

          One thing I do agree with you about: The Supreme Court does seem “quite happy to put limits on religion.”

          However your characterization of the HHS Mandate is inaccurate. The Church is not and has not tried to keep anyone from “proper health care.” Anyone who wants to use contraception may do so. The question is who pays for it. When the government uses its power to force religious institutions to pay for things which are against their teaching, that is direct government interference in religion. It violates the “free exercise thereof” part of the First Amendment.

          I’ll ask about the check box or whatever. I assumed people were getting some sort of notice when I replied. Thanks for telling me.

      • Katherine

        As an American citizens who does not live in a state, I can tell you we are American citizens.

        As far as the HHS rule, I think it is a fair compromise that the employer need not pay for contraception, but the secular insurance company will be required to.

  • Arkenaten

    I find this a preposterous assertion and somewhat hypocritical. Fundamentalists want to introduce Creationism into the school curriculum and this utterly ridiculous bible based belief should be cut at the quick before children are inculcated with any more religious diatribe.
    Anything religious that threatens to impose itself on normal people should be stamped out.
    “Simply put, government has no business interfering in the internal life of the soul, conscience, or church,”
    How dare he flaunt his religion.
    Besides, how can you take seriously anyone who wears such a ridiculous orange hat! I mean, honestly.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Douglas, I ask that you treat people with respect on this board, including public figures that we discuss. I honestly have lost track of the number of times I’ve directly requested that you not insult people. This is the third time today alone. If you want to post on this blog, please stop using insults to make your points.

      • Arkenaten

        Okay, point taken.