This is what Cardinal Dolan has to say about the reason why the Church has lost teeth in the last decades and can’t transmit Catholic values as she used to do (emphases mine):
For this he faults the church leadership. “We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality.” He dates this diffidence to “the mid- and late ’60s, when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics in general got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught, first and foremost, is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everybody else.”
Very lucidly spoken, one would say. Cardinal Dolan is showing in these last weeks that he is, at least in certain circumstances, not really “gun-shy”.
Still, I would like to add a couple of observations:
1) Cardinal Dolan’s words would carry more weight if he stopped the unspeakable shame of the so-called gay masses in his own diocese. He was certainly more aggressive than our own home disgrace, Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, but the masses are still there, so he still hasn’t delivered. I call this “caving in”.
2) One notices it is so difficult to take V II out of a generation grown in the middle of it, when one reads that the Cardinal comments the problems about conveying the Catholic message about sexuality saying: “that’s a biggie”. That’s a…. what? Does this not give exactly the impression the Cardinal wants to “be chums with the world”?
I am not accusing the cardinal of hypocrisy, as I am sure he is sincere in his work, as the last months abundantly prove. What I am saying is that he himself, like so much of nowadays’ Church, is so imbued with the forma mentis of the post V II generation that he falls – out of habit, probably – in some of the same traps he rightly recognises in V II itself: the desire to appear “connected” and “with it”, and in some – important – occasions the lack of the guts to say the unpleasant things straight.
Again, if cardinal Dolan had acted in an exemplary manner concerning the gay masses in his own diocese some time ago, his word would have carried more weight now, and his opponents in Washington might even have decided to cave in themselves at the first signs of serious conflict rather than allow things to get at this point.
By not acting in the question of the so-called gay masses, Cardinal Dolan has missed a beautiful – if, in itself, sad – occasion to show that he is not one to be trifled with; as a result, Obama & Co. did, in fact, think he could be trifled with. Chum with the world, and all that. They were, apparently, wrong, but this way Dolan has to have his baptism of fire in a confrontation with the President. If he had kept his shop in order before and had not been, well, gun-shy in matters of sexual morality (a “biggie”, as we are told), this might have not been necessary.
Let us hope this battle experience will be the first one of many, and in future the Cardinal will not be so eager to show he is “like everybody else”.