Take a few minutes to watch Bill O'Reilly interview Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the bishops's continuing battle again the Obama administration. Cardinal Dolan seems to suggest that secularists in the Obama administration are using the issue of birth control, which is used by most Catholics, to further their secular agenda. O'Reilly goes one step further, claiming that there is a concerted effort driven by politicians and the secular media to drive religious people away from the public square. Cardinal Dolan doesn't quite take that bait, but does nod approvingly at O'Reilly.

 

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

What do you think? Do you see evidence of a war being waged by secularists against religious people? Does that imply that all religious people are against contraception and the HHS mandate (they're not, by any means), and those that favor it are not as authentically religious?  Are the bishops being caricatured?

Michael J. O'Loughlin

 

Comments

Amy Ho-Ohn | 3/30/2012 - 8:13am
@ Helen Marie, I believe Dr. O'Leary was referring to inclusion of contraception in the employers' mandate when he said "failed grasp for power," not the individual mandate in the ACA. For a physician, who knows better than anybody how many people are not able to get adequate health care under the present system, to oppose the ACA in toto would be almost scandalous.

@ A A, Young people are not contemptuous of you because you stand for un-PC  positions, but because all the arrogant contempt you showed them turned out to be arrant hypocrisy; because they discovered (mainly through the offices of the criminal justice system) that all the while priests were denouncing lay people for onanism, pre-marital relations and cohabitation, they themselves were committing acts a hundred times filthier. The answer is not for the Church to try to make it harder for young people to afford contraception, but to clean up their own act.
Helen Mc Devitt-Smith | 3/30/2012 - 7:46am
Tim O’Leary:
In response to your comment:
“In any case, listening to the oral arguments at the Supreme Court earlier this week, it appears the mandate will go down in history as a failed grasp for power by this secular regime.”
You call a failed grasp for power - the attempt to reform the health care by providing among other things insurance to those who have been denied it for preexisting conditions and insurance for young adults?
I am dumbfounded.  My jaw has dropped lower than my double chin.
Thomas Piatak | 3/29/2012 - 5:35pm
I think Cardinal Dolan did a very good job.
Vince Killoran | 3/30/2012 - 8:57am
"Secular" is the new "communist" spitword for some of our friends.

I refuse to worship at the Altar of Dolan. He's a political player, and not a good one. Hand-picking friendly interviewers in the "No-Spin Zone"?! Gimme a break.
Tim O'Leary | 3/30/2012 - 4:35pm
Ed #31
You have too much faith in the Mandate. The Mandate is coercion to buy insurance, not the coercion to take care of people. In the case you linked to, it appears the poor woman complained of a sprained ankle and had no other signs. She later died of a blood clot. If she had been able to go to a doctor in a regular clinic, he/she might not have done anything different. Also, it is ironic that you raised this case, since the mandate the president is pushing right now is for free contraception, and it is well established that the contraceptive pill increases the incidence of blood clots of the type the poor women suffered. I don’t know all the facts of the situation, but I do think the poor women should have been treated more charitably by the ER staff.
 
You may be a proponent of nationalized healthcare, which goes on in the UK. Everyone is covered by the government. The religious conscience issue does not apply there. But, even in this situation there are horror stories of how poor people are treated. Here is one but I have seen many: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000824/NHS-indignity-Peter-Thompsons-body-ignored-hours-corridor-Edale-House-unit.html.
Carlos Orozco | 3/30/2012 - 2:47pm
"...Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science..."

-Obama's Notre-Dame 2009 speech.


"-What do you read, my lord?
-Words, words, words."

-Hamlet.
Tom Maher | 3/30/2012 - 2:23pm
Vince Killoran #27 

Actually Vince much of the momentum and following that secularism has today comes from the more than a century and half of Marxist communism doctrine and practice which was secular with a vengence and totalitarian where only the state retatining all moral and political power.  All Religions were a threat to the state and were not tolerated and were violently suppressed.. Marxist states were completely hostile to religion and taugh that religion and belief in God is a primitive superstition unworthy of existance in a Marxist state or ideology. You could not be a member  of the communsist party if you even belonged to a religion.   Marxist goal was total worldwide elimination of religion.  As Marx very cynically said "Religion is the opiate of the people"

Today many people still believe that religion is a bad thing and only the state is good.  Much of the pro-governemnt, anti-religious secularism we see today is dervided from the long politcal, intellectual and cultural dominace of Marxist around the world during the 20th century.  Marxist secularism lives on even though the marxist political and economic system collapsed.  And yes this is a vile  ideology but old habits and practices of billions of people die hard.   The state as a dominant moral agent or force in society,  is still the unquestioned assumption and very popular concept in all unversities who after the horrors of 20th century marxist communism attacks on religion and individual freedoms ought to know better but don't.  
ed gleason | 3/30/2012 - 2:17pm
Here is the future with no individual mandate. except for people like the Supremes. Yesterday, .. St Mary's Catholic hospital had the police drag a homeless young black women complaining of leg pain, out of the it's emergency room and she died of a blood clot very soon after.But Scalia has funny analogies tohttp://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/29/10926817-hospital-mom-booted-from-er-who-died-in-jail-was-treated-appropriately
Tim O'Leary | 3/30/2012 - 10:26am
Helen: 
I am of course fully in support of finding ways to get everybody the healthcare they need, but the mandate that this administration put into ObamaCare was a bridge too far. While they claimed it was a way to have everybody share the costs, it is in fact a coercive method to make everyone pay for whatever they decide is healthcare. While limited government folks were already aware of the dangers in the legislation, many Catholics, including many well-meaning clergy, have only seen the negative effects recently. You can get a good idea of the depth of the religious liberty controvery at http://www.catholicliberty.com/ where you will see that many non-Catholics and even secularists have raised objections to the law. From a purely political point of view, it appears the Obama administration miscalculated badly, announcing a mandate forcing Catholic institutions to pay for services that were against their moral teachings, just a couple of months before the Supreme Court justices, that is 2/3rds Catholic (6 of 9), heard oral arguments. Even the supposedly liberal justice, Sonia Sotomayor (appointed by President Obama) raised major concerns on the mandate.
 Tom #31
It is indeed sad to see that America has gone so far from its Jesuit roots. As far as I know, they are the only order to profess a fourth vow of obedience to the Pope. But I live in hope that the good remnant of the Jesuit order will renew the whole community. ad majorem Dei gloriam.
david power | 3/30/2012 - 10:15am
I am a Pro-life catholic and think that the Pill could be and probably is having a negative effect on different areas of our lives.
That said , there are a miniscule amount of catholics who follow the teaching of the Church.
This situation would never happen in Italy.The Church would lose all of it's tax money which comes from the "otto per mille" scheme.
So basically the Vatican has to play very nice with Italians or face a monastic lifestyle.
Jehovahs Witnesses should ask for an exemption for Blood transfusions as they will be paying for free transfusions for Catholics etc when it goes against their beliefs.Those lovely people over at "Culture of Death" INC could claim that palliative care is an infringement on their worldview.Muslims could whine about having to pay for alcohol related illnesses which is material co-operation in what for them is a great evil.Jewish people could complain about having to pay at all.....:) .
There is a thing called the "Common Good" and the Greater Good.
Surely there is a Jesuit somewhere who can  explain this to them.  
Helen Mc Devitt-Smith | 3/30/2012 - 9:05am
Amy Ho-Ohn:

Thank you for clarifying my thinking and correcting my error.  My apologies to Dr. O'Leary.
ANTHONY ANDREASSI | 3/30/2012 - 7:20am
I think His Eminence is right on the money.  Maybe some of the readers of this blog live in Catholic ghettoes, but living in NYC I have across lots of young people who have real contempt for religion, especially the RCC since we stand for positions that are very un-PC.  The use of the term "war" is, of course, a metaphor.  Nations wage wars.  I don't see how imdividuals can do this in an uncoordinated way.  However, make no mistake, the tide is against believers.  But did Jesus promise us anything more?
Amy Ho-Ohn | 3/30/2012 - 5:09am
@Jack Rakosky,

When most people say "secularism" they are not talking about atheism or indifferentism. A secularist is somebody who believes that arguments in favor of public policy should be based on objective, empirical evidence which can be publicly measured and evaluated. "Let's lower taxes because lowering taxes stimulates the economy," is a secular argument. "Let's lower taxes because Zeus told me in a dream that he'll send a plague if we don't" is not.

People like Dolan call this "removing religion from the public square," but that is demagogic nonsense. If your god tells you that rotation of crops is good for agricultural productivity, then you can and should argue in favor of rotation of crops on grounds of agricultural productivity. But when David Koresh's god commands him to marry every twelve-year-old girl in town, that should have no influence on child molestation laws.

Most secularists are not atheists or "nones." I am a relatively devout Catholic, but I am a secularist. Nothing good has ever come of basing public policy on supernatural phenomena, IMHO.
Tom Maher | 3/30/2012 - 2:14am
David Smith:
Carlos's reference to youtube presentation of Father Barron on the HHS Mandate makes excellent points expalining secularism in America as a politcal force. 

NARAL is an example of militant secularism.  NARAL will attack any candidate that is not for abortion on demand.  NARAL attacked Scott Brown in his special Senate race in January 2010 for tryig ot include a conscience exemption for health care workers while he was in the Massachusetts legislature.  (The all Democratic Massachusetts legilature most of whom are Catholics is strictly pro abortion and dose not tolerate anything else.)  Major parts of the northeast with extensive help from nominal Catholic support not only abortion but abortion on demand as a statndard. They expect the Church to conform to their secular politcal demand for open ended abortion rights.

 The moral ethic in the northeast even among Catholics is the government is the final arbitrae of morality.  What the governemnt says is the highest moral authority which the Church is expected to conform to.  Little sentiment for freedom of religion can be found.    

Tim O'Leary | 3/29/2012 - 11:49pm
I was very pleased to see the religious liberty controversy discussed on the most popular and most watched primetime news show on TV today. When in the last 50 years did we see such strong agreement (unanimity!) on an issue among the Catholic Bishops? The broad support from committed Catholics across the country for the priests and bishops on this issue is a great example of the sensus fidei that was just highlighted by this magazine (See Sign of the Times http://www.americamagazine.org/content/signs.cfm?signid=967) in their article on the new (Mar 9) study by the International Theological Commission.
It is a pity that the majority of comments on this thread appear outside the sense of the faithful on this issue. I think the continuous and uncritical Bishop Bashing in many comments above, and the mostly ad hominem attacks on Cardinal Dolan evince a much deeper antipathy to the Church.
In any case, listening to the oral arguments at the Supreme Court earlier this week, it appears the mandate will go down in history as a failed grasp for power by this secular regime.
J Cosgrove | 3/29/2012 - 11:11pm
For those who doubt that the Democratic Party is secular, I suggest they read, ''Can a Catholic be a Democrat?'' by David Carlin.  Here is the Amazon link


http://www.amazon.com/Can-Catholic-Democrat-David-Carlin/dp/1933184191/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333076411&sr=8-1

Here is the first review written in 2006 to give you a feel for the book:


''This book, written by a 68-year-old Rhode Island politician who has been a lifelong Democrat, should be a wake-up call to the leadership of the national Democratic Party. Unfortunately for the party, those leaders who most need to read the book are the people least likely to do so. Their minds are closed.

The book explains, in a brief and easy-to-read manner, what should be obvious - but apparently isn't - to leaders of the party. The Democratic Party is losing the support of church-going traditional Catholics, just as it earlier lost the support of church-going traditional Protestants. Why? Because it has taken money, lots of it (it's needed for TV advertising), from what the author calls ''affluent secularists,'' i.e., well-to-do cultural liberals who are strongly hostile to traditional Christianity and its moral code, especially its code of sexual morality. As everyone knows, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

This political alliance with America's anti-Christian forces might be a smart idea if the US were an anti-Christian nation. But since it isn't that kind of nation, it is an alliance that has produced a string of electoral defeats for the Democrats. Oh, we Dems may get lucky and win control, or at least partial control, of Congress in November of 2006, but this will do little to alter the party's long-term downhill slide.

Strongly recommended.''

 
Eugene Pagano | 3/29/2012 - 10:08pm
It is impossible to consider this subject without considering the RC church’s ban of “artificial” contraception. As David Gibson has pointed out, the RC episcopate’s objections contradict their church’s own moral theology:
http://www.religionnews.com/culture/social-issues/are-bishops-ignoring-their-own-moral-theology. If the prohibition of artificial contraception is as important as the RC bishops give the impression of thinking that it is, perhaps the time has come for dissenters to seek a spiritual home elsewhere. But large scale explicit departures over an issue so peripheral to the Decalogue and the Good News would undermine the RC bishops’ pretentious to represent close to a quarter of the U.S. population.
Carlos Orozco | 3/29/2012 - 9:45pm
Father Barron on the HHS mandate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZV7wFYeVK0

Bill Mazzella | 3/29/2012 - 8:55pm
If you are going to behave as badly as the American bishops you should at least be 
smart enough to avoid the media. Dolan is making the serious mistake in believing that his jovial personality can override the absurdity of his positions. It is so clear that he is partisan that he is bringing more shame on the bishops. Saying that he would probably "help the opponent" if he told Catholics to vote against Obama, is a serious act of partisanship by a bishop. No less the head of the American bishops. Attempting to make this whole issue an effort by the secular world to hurt religion is pure fantasy. Dolan and the bishops just can't seem to avoid getting deeper and deeper in trouble. 
Tom Maher | 3/29/2012 - 8:45pm
David Powers: 
Obam is working hard to raise enough money to reach his billion dollar campaign fund goal which so far has been well below track.  On the other hand Dolan does on one interview with O'Reilly and he becomes his own superpac.  Dolan's is publically disapproval of the Obama administration no accomodation health care policy which politically exploites the Church.  It is only fair that this politcal exploitation be brough to the attention of the widest audience of Catholics as possible so they can decide what they want to do about Obama's policy which blatantly disregards the Religious LIberty of the Church.
Jack Rakosky | 3/29/2012 - 8:43pm
What about secularism?  Who are the secularists? Are they a problem? 
 
Survey after survey has indicated that only about 5% of Americans are atheists. Even that may be an overestimate since some of these admit to praying and going to church. Often people seem to chose to identify themselves as atheists or agnostics simply to indicate they are against organized religion. As one German sociologist said “Both I and my Russian colleague are atheists, but he is an Orthodox atheist and I am a Lutheran atheist.” The problem about atheism is that it tends to be against something rather than for something. Atheists have a very difficult problem of passing their atheism on to their children! Atheists are overwhelming on the politic left and of course are visible in academia, Hollywood and the media. I suggest secularism for the Dolan and O’Reilly is merely a way to smear Liberal Democrats by suggesting that are all like a small minority.
 
What about the people who respond None to the question of ''What is your religion?'' Again the evidence is very clear that almost all these people believe in God and are spiritual. They simply are turned off by organized religion. Often they are simply looking for another religion. The evidence indicates that the large increase of these in the past two decades has been due to the young and liberal Democrats becoming increasing alienated by the fact conservative religion and those who attend church regularly are becoming allied with the Republican party. In other words Dolan and O’Reilly are turning the young against organized religion and toward the Democratic Party. The young know that secularism is a code word for dislike of people with liberal social and political attitudes.
 
Secularism can also mean worldly, i.e. concern for money, status and power. I suggest that pursuit of these by our religious leaders is at the heart of why young people think that organized religion is hypocritical.
david power | 3/29/2012 - 8:12pm
Jesus could have done a deal with the Romans and had his message spread all over the empire in no time at all.A couple of miracles done for the right person and a diktat from the top man at the time would have saved so much time and effort.
Why am I mentioning Jesus while speaking about Cardinal Dolan's political scheming?I don't know!
Really no idea.But Tom is right, Fox news is where it is at.I find it fair and balanced.
Also and this is worth bearing in mind to those who would speak ill  of my favourite channel, Rupert Murdoch is a knight of St Gregory.  
Oh Gawd, I am having a crisis of faith now that I realize Cardinal Dolan is smarter than Jesus....
When Obama comes to realize this he is gonna get real nervous. 
Tom Maher | 3/29/2012 - 8:00pm
Well fortuantely for Cardinal Dolan he recogniozes that if you want to get out your message you go  to a network that has a large audience many of whom are Catholic.

John Kerry in his aloofness boycotted the Fox netwoek during his 2004 campaign which only prevented him from reaching a very significant audience. 

The Obama campaign will however not be so foolish.  Dolan on Fox is big trouble for Obama.   The comments miss the politcal obvious dynamic going on: Dolan message of disapproval of Obam's policy is reaching a large Catholic vote by being on O'Reilly. 

How dull can Catholics be about politcs? 
Michael Appleton | 3/29/2012 - 7:08pm
Without commenting on the substance of his remarks, I believe that Cardinal Dolan's decision to appear on the O'Reilly show cheapens his message and detracts from the seriousness of his intentions.
Tom Maher | 3/29/2012 - 6:18pm
The author does the reader a great service in re-presenting the O'Reilly interview of Cardinal Dolan   This interview is a major news event where Cardinal Dolan as head of USCCB amd speaking for all the Bishops in America very successfully and artfully presented a stategic vision of Catholic Church's and religion in gerneral role in American including America's political life.  This was a mjaor historic event and was loaded with staements of strategic direction. 

How could anyone miss the breakthroughst statement encouraging Catholics as individuals to fully paticipate in the politcs and public affairs of the nation?. ?? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????T?h?a?t? ?b?y? ?i?t?s?e?l?f? ?i?s? ?a? ?m?o?b?i?l?i?z?a?t?i?o?n? ?o?f? ?e?f?f?o?r?t? ?t?o? ?p?r?e?s?e?v?e? ?t?h?e? ?c?h?u?r?c?h?  

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
????????B?u?t? ?y?o?u? ???????????????should re-play the interv?iew again if you missed the ?p?a?r?t?? ?a?t? ?1???????????????????????????????????????????:?4?5? ?o?n? ?t?h?e? ?c?l?i?p??:? 
???????"B?ut ? w?e? ??c?a?n? ?n?o?t? ?b?a?c?k? ?d?o?w?n? ?from this fight becasue it is about religious freedom. It is close to the very heart of what the democratic enterprise that we know and love as the United States of America is all about." ? This is the central statement of direction? by ??Dolan who ?means every word? of it.?
Joshua DeCuir | 3/29/2012 - 5:51pm
Cardinal Wuerl was on MSNBC's Morning Joe a few weeks back.  He was on air with the co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinksi (daughter of the Carter's NSA), along with Huffington's Sam Stein and the Wa Post's Eugene Robinson. 

I didn't see people make a such big huff over that appearance.
T BLACKBURN | 3/29/2012 - 5:42pm
The question, from the start, has been: Is the Obama administration so dumb that it would pick a fight with the Catholic Church in an election year?

A secondary question would concern what someone would include in universal health insurance if he were designing universal health insurance for this country. Cardinal Dolan remains silent on why contraception shouldn't be part of a universal health insurance pool (Catholics would not be required to use it), where it would be covered along with other things. Some of the other things might be morally objectionable to some, like treatment for smokers. Some of them might be shunned by some potential beneficiaries, like end-of-life feeding tubes, which many Catholics will be required to have even if the bishops and states like mine succeed in keeping dying Catholics from being able to have access to the Vatican's latest don'ts for end-of-life decisions.

Cardinal Dolan is almost skywriting that he believes the answer to the first question is, Yes. I think it is, No.
david power | 3/29/2012 - 5:17pm
Cardinal Dolan is a most unconvincing speaker on anything he touches.His usual effort is just to trot out something he heard at the rectory table and say it in a pop culture way and then it comes off as lame.
Bill O Reilly would be a better defender of the Catholic faith as he does not feel the need to  mince his words and "win" over   his audience as much.
The problem is that Dolan is the leading catholic in America and is not in touch with the culture of today.He is not thoughtful in his approach and people can sense he is out of his depth.
He is now responsibe for drawing up the blueprint for the Irish seminaries and so the Church there may eventually revert to the triumphalist clerical cesspit it was in the glory days .
Before going to the matresses with Obama he should have checked his stats on the Pew survey.   
Marie Rehbein | 3/29/2012 - 3:44pm
Cardinal Dolan says something like religion is behind all great movements in history.  Let's all think about that for a minute.  I'm thinking not.  I'm thinking the Enlightenment was a great movement.
JOHN SULLIVAN | 3/29/2012 - 3:16pm
Dolan and O'Reilly are quite a pair; it is unseemly for Dolan to be playing O'Reilly's straight man. Is it any wonder why so many find the hierarchy irrelevant. He should just be forthright enough to start campaigning for the Republican party, instead of hoisting the canard of a nonpartisan observer. As I've said before, he is overplaying his hand.The days of pay, pray and obey are long gone!
David Pasinski | 3/29/2012 - 2:54pm
On second viewing, this is even more disturbing. He accuses the Administration of calling the bishops "bullies." That has nowhere been even implied - nor would it be politically smart. I'm not naive and I surely believe there many forces at work that would paint the bishops as such and some have the ear of the administration, but his very overt attribution of sinister intent to "split" Catholics (as if we were not such already! It is the bishops who are most split on contraception, not the laity.) as well as ascribe such motivation to the administration is really not worthy of him.

 Can you imagine the outcry by the Catholic League or the Carinal if someone from the administration accused him or the Church of trying to alienate voters from support? Theree would be an ooutcry - "NO.. WE'RE DEFENDING OUR PRINCIPLES!!!"

I more and moe think this energy is about the recent decisons  - same-sex marriage, immigratin and adoption policies, and to deflect atten tion from the ongooing issues in Kansas City and Philadelphia. And I'll admit that that's a  judgment!

The Cardinal attributes all virtue to himself and others in the hierarchy and disparages the motives and integrity of those who disagree.  This is classic counter-offensive when attacked. I feel sad and discouragfed about any real dialogue on this.
David Pasinski | 3/29/2012 - 1:29pm
Cardinal Dolan accepted or picked a very partisan audience. I don't know if he's also invited to MSNBC or if he's accept it.  That would be an interesting interview with Rachel, more condrontational with Lawrence, and more bombastic with Ed - matching his own persona best.

I continue to find him controntational and unpersuasive in his argumentation and playing the "religious liberty"and "secularism" cards loosely. He does seem to show his savvy and humor where he points out that if he were to tell people to vote foroone candidate they would choose the other. What does that really say about his sense of the bishops influence apart from the obvious political meddling that implies?

I think he continues to cast himself and the bishops as the Don Quixotes fighting the windmills of "secularism" rather than allowing that faithful Catholics can disagree both on the substance of the teaching about contraception and on the issue of this impingment on "religious liberty."

His quick affirmation - quickly withdrawn and rephrased - about the "role of the Church in politicss" reframed to the "voice of the American Catholic people" in politics was fast, but I think his first reaction was the most telling.

I would like to hear the question, "Cardinal, why do you think it is that after 40 years, the vast majority of Cathoiics, by any count, still do not accept the formal teaching on the evil of artificial contraception? Whose failure is it? Or do you think it possible that it is it sign that the Spirit is moving the body of believers in another direction?"