The Cardinal, The Public, And The Evil Governor
Cardinal Dolan has found another way to make an ass of himself or, seen from his perspective, to gain more points with the powers that be whilst trying to appear orthodox.
The Cardinal's intervention has already caused an uproar during the weekend, so I will not repeat what many other have eloquently written. I will, though, allow myself a couple of considerations about the motives and the forma mentis of this despicable man.
Cardinal Dolan doesn't care two straws for murdered children, or Catholicism come to that. It is clear to him the habit is a way to pursue a career exactly in the same way as he might have pursued a career, say, in marketing or, rather, politics.
In order to advance his career with the best chances of success, the Cardinal needs to do the following:
1. Be perceived as “strong” by those who do not closely follow his action; basically, he needs to be a “tough guy by hearsay”.
2. Be perceived by mainstream politicians of both colours as a safe bet: one who will never give anyone serious trouble and can therefore be helped to rise high, or at least not hindered from doing so.
3. Create an image of “popular guy”: the smiling uncle Cardinal you'd want at your table at Thanksgiving, obviously hoping he doesn't eat all the turkey.
4. Be seen by his fellow Cardinal as a harmless guy they can elect without fear of surprises; one who will produce himself in that kind of popular waffling they love so much without seriously angering anyone. The Cardinals have just elected one of those, by the way; so it works.
Notice how relentlessly the Cardinal pushes his agenda, and how well it is working for him. Observant Catholics do know he is a bad 'un, but why should he care? His public perception is what counts, and his public perception is doing just fine. The last threat of a “holy war” against a, erm, “Catholic in good standing” may be a total contradiction and an extremely stupid thing to say, but this is not how it will go down in the public opinion. For the masses, the perception will be of a tough Cardinal, because they do not think to the point of wondering what all this though talk will in the end lead to, and how can you threat holy wars without having the gut to say Cuomo is an evil man on his way to hell who must be annihilated. Dolan's wars are, evidently, fought by guffawing.
You can therefore see how the outrage among the fringe group of devout and attentive Catholics does not disturb the Cardinal in the least. Pope Francis will not be Pope forever, and with the years he will grow in stature and in weight (erm, cough) among his fellow Cardinals.
Make no mistake. His strategy is working just fine.