I need to watch Francis closely

Cardinal Dolan

Cardinal Dolan

The following comes from a July 24 interview of Cardinal Dolan by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

You were one of the cardinals who elected Francis, and presumably you had some idea of what kind of pope he would be. To what extent has it turned out the way you expected?

In some ways, it’s been exactly what I expected. One of the things we looked for was a very savvy pastor, a good man on the ground. To use the expression of [Cardinal] George Pell [of Australia], we wanted somebody with “dirty boots,” because he’s used to going through the sheep fields. We got that, and we got it in spades.

The simplicity, sincerity, humility, that ability to speak from the heart which the world is seeing now, are all things we’d heard about him. One of the cardinals said we needed somebody with the mind of Benedict and the heart of John Paul, and I think we got it. He’s been called the world’s parish priest, and I think that’s right on target.

If there’s a surprise, it’s that he’s even better at it than we had anticipated. We thought he was pretty good, and the reports we got about him in Buenos Aires were excellent, but he’s doing it all on steroids.

What would your biggest surprise be?

We also wanted someone with good managerial skills and leadership skills, and so far that hasn’t been as obvious. It’s a little bit of a surprise that he hasn’t played his hand on that front yet. However, I think that’s part of his strategy. He knows that the things we talked about a moment ago are more important because, in many ways, impression is reality. Having created this extraordinarily appealing impression — which, by the way, is very genuine — that he’s a man of simplicity, holiness and simplicity will make it easier to do other things down the line. I think that was his first goal, and he’s done it.

I would expect that after the summer lull, we’ll see some more signs of management changes. In the meantime, I think calling the eight cardinals together was brilliant. As you know, that came up in the meetings before the conclave. Many of the cardinals said the new pope would have to look at some sort of “council of wise men,” some more precise way to exercise collegiality beyond the Synod of Bishops. (By the way, the congregations said the synod needs to be reformed, too.) The idea was an ongoing exercise of collegiality that would assist the pope permanently. His “G8” with the cardinals was a good move in that direction.

Are you surprised, for instance, that it’s taken this long to make a change in the Secretary of State?

If something doesn’t happen by October I’d be surprised, but I don’t think there’s anything surprising that he wants to take his time with it. First of all, this is a man of exquisite charity, and I don’t think he wants to hurt anybody’s feelings. Second, he realizes that he needs somebody for a transition period. I mean, he’s got to have somebody who knows where all the keys are. I thought maybe it would come at the end of June or July, but it hasn’t, and so now I think it’s probably going to be the fall….

You’re a big fan of Benedict. How do you react when you see people praising Francis for being different from Benedict?

It bothers me. Personally, I love Benedict, but beyond that a lot of it just isn’t accurate. Take all this talk about how Francis has rejected the “opulence” of the Apostolic Palace. I’ve been in the pope’s apartment, and sure, that public study is very nice, but the rest of it is just functional. It’s as if Benedict is being caricatured as this more regal, monarchical kind of pope. It’s the same with the business about Francis not going to the “palatial” summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, which is actually fairly simple, too. All these comparisons bother me, both because I think they’re probably hurtful to Benedict, and I also think they’re not accurate….

Is there any way in which Francis is having a personal impact on you?

I find myself examining my own conscience … on style, on simplicity, on lots of things.

For instance, I saw the pope open his own car door, close his own door, and carry his own carry-on bag. That says something to me. I used to do those things for myself, and it’s not that I think I’m above it now, but it’s just that as archbishop of New York people are doing it for me all the time. That’s a very down-to-earth example, but I’m beginning to say that I need to watch this guy closely because he’s a good example for me.

I also find myself thinking about living arrangements, because that’s a pretty nice house I’m living in. In some ways it’s not clear what I could do about it, because it’s the historic, traditional residence of the archbishops of New York, and it’s not like we can sell it. [Note: The residence is attached to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.]

In general, I find myself thinking about some of the perks, the cushiness, we associate with being a bishop. He’s pushing me to ask whether they’re necessary, and if they might actually be counterproductive.

To read entire interview, click here.



  1. Michael McDermott says:

    “Down to Earth Examples” — and goodness knows we could sure use some at the local levels around here. Church Militant hit on the point very well:

    Spiritual Failure of the ‘Masculine’ in the Church = Failure to be a Father to the Flock


    • I hope Card. Dolan follows P. Francis in being true to Church teachings and values and stops paying insurance premiums that go towards abortion producing drugs. How can he be taken seriously telling others to stand up and fight the HHS mandate when he has already caved?

      • Anonymous says:


        Re. Dolan and the HHS mandate, you sure got that right!

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

  2. Canisius says:

    This blowhard, applauded the openly gay group at St Francis Xavier, is closing parishes here in NYC that were offered to be taken OFF the books of the diocese and run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. No explanation just outright malice towards a great order of fine priests that were willing to help the Archdiocese of NY. Let’s not forget his invitation to Pharoh Obama to the Al Smith dinner, yet he denies the crisis in the Church

    • King Clovis says:

      sadly…he comes off as a “blowhard”…he loves to chat up reporters (especially females)…he comports himself in manner not congruent with his ministerial “station”…try’s to be to hip, to contemporary…the Pharaoh line was really amusing as well

  3. We get it already humble humble humble, my great sadness is that Francis moved in on the The Franciscans of The Immaculate and crushed them with one blow and took away their RIGHT to celebrate The Traditioanl Latin Mass as of August 13th 2013. Summorum Pontificum was created by our wonderful Holy Father Pope Benedict the XVI that freed up the Mass of All Times and it was struck down. Who is next the F.S.S.P. or The Institute of Christ the King? We all knew this was coming when he was elected, but just not no fast, very disturbing to say the least and some blogging priests out there are spinning this as if nothing to worry about the future of the TLM and of Tradition.

    • Blah, blah, blah — the priests of the Order in question are GRATEFUL for the Pope’s crackdown, because some woman in charge of the order is moving toward heresy and schism.
      They want the Holy Father to bring some…order…to their Order, to cleanse it.

      • Anonymous says:


        Are you actually trying to deny that Pope Francis’s approval of actions against the Franciscans of the Immaculate does not in fact fly in the face of Pope Benedict XVI and his Summorum Pontificum?

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

  4. Read the apostles, read the other saints, read the doctors of the Church … read faithful priests and nuns … Dolan is not even a semblance or a shadow of the glory of the Church; he has no point in being.

  5. Anonymous says:

    On blog.archny.org, Cardinal Dolan responds to What the Holy Father Said and reiterates that no church teaching has been changed. 7/31/2013 The interview above is from 7/24/3013

  6. Charles in CenCA says:

    ” Dolan is not even a semblance or a shadow of the glory of the Church; he has no point in being.”
    Skai, with due respect, no matter whether one agrees with the former judgment, the latter statement is beyond the pale of anyone who assumes the Holy Name of Christ. I pray you retract that portion of your post.

    • King Clovis says:

      Charles…Skai is right…because a man wears a collar or a mitre does not make him holy…we only have to look at the fallen figures of Ziemann in CA, and Marino in Atlanta and a score of other’s…Mahony in fact as well as Levada, how about Bugnini in Italy…disastrous examples of the ministerial priesthood and the bishopric…you Charles need to rethink…

      • Charles in CenCA says:

        King Clovis (great handle)
        Skai may well be righteous towards her assessment of a priest or prelate’s integrity, but to declare “he has point in being” is a heinous insult not only to the office of said ordained, but an egregious personal condemnation. Here’s my re-thinking: In the parable, when the younger (prodigal) son says “Father, I want my share of inheritance now,” in essence that means “Father, you are dead to me now, you are no more to me now, and I am not your son at this moment and evermore.” There’s no other way for Jesus to have captured that meaning any more clearly.
        I’m not asking Skai to respect Dolan personally. I’m asking her not to bring condemnation upon herself. Okay with that?

        • Anonymous says:

          Charles in CenCA,
          You assume too much, how do you know what gender Skai is?

          Perhaps the Church would not be in the sad situation it is in today had more Catholics not given so much unearned respect to too many bishops and clergy!

          God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
          Kenneth M. Fisher

        • “Here’s my re-thinking”: That’s what you call it, Chas in SinCA? Well, it’s a start anyway. Just keep at it and it should improve eventually. You might also base your “thinking” on commonly recognized facts; otherwise … ooooh, well, better not go there.

  7. Anton L Seidl says:

    I find Cdl Dolan’s warm feelings for Pope Benedict touching. But I don’t see him emulating this humble Bavarian very much.

    • I liked Pope Benedict just fine, but “this humble Bavarian?”
      He brought back such pomp and circumstance (lacey stuff over his already white cassock, red hats lined in ermine, etc.), the word “humble” doesn’t precisely leap to mind when looking at his pontificate.

      • Martha Dancy says:

        I happen to like the pomp and circumstance. Does Queen Eliabeth wear jeans when she greets people in public? No! This is all part of the tradition of respecting the office being represented. If God bedecks the meadows with awesome flowers, then why cannot man use his artistic and musical talents to give glory to God? The red shoes represent martyrdom, not wealth. The stoles and robes have traditional meaning and there is nothing wrong with them. There are dress blues in the military and wonderful parades, etc. People love pomp and pretty things. The poor do, too. Humility is in the character not in the dress. Hippies thought they were humble but to me, they were tacky moochers. I have no inspiration from sterile looking churches and bare walls. It reminds me of padded cells in a psych ward.

        • “Queen Elizabeth”?!?!?! When is the English throne going to be sold to the scrap collectors, once and for all?

      • Anton L Seidl says:

        Sam: Joe Ratzinger comes from the most humble of backgrounds. He grew up under circumstances that make it appear miraculous he even made it into the priesthood. I was not referring to his robes and shoes. If he did dress that way, it was out of respect for the office, as had many popes done before him. The Throne of Saint Peter deserves to be treated with utmost respect. During his final year as pope, he suffered grievously under the weight of his ceremonial garments; he was after all in his mid-eighties. Give the man a break! I am sure he would have preferred wearing a leisure suit. His legs began to buckle under him, which was the reason he began using a moving platform. So, please, stop using words such as “pomp”. Except for Mad King Ludwig, Bavarians don’t go for pomp!

  8. Carries his own bag on & off the plane……..reminds me of Jimmy Carter.

  9. Thomas Edward Miles says:

    Good for the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, now, take the subway!! The Pope as a JESUIT is a wonderful teacher, it took a JESUIT!!! THANK GOD!!! A.M.D.G!!

  10. Cardinal Dolan does not seem to care that the “National Catholic REPORTER” had been BANNED by their Diocese Bishop since the 1960’s and this ban has been restated by their Diocese Bishop in 2013.

    No Prelate should given any interviews to the “Reporter”.
    No Catholic blog site should print anything from the “Reporter”.
    DO NOT give them FREE advertising.

    The “Reporter” is heretical and schismatic. They support women Priests, politicians who support abortion and same-sex marriage, etc.

    • I don’t think Cardinal Dolan cares about much, except being popular, and getting more money from the government.
      He doesn’t care that his Diocese is paying for abortions and contraception through union insurance requirements.
      He doesn’t care about helping to re-elect Obama with his Al Smith dinner photo-ops.
      He doesn’t care about Sacrilege or Scandal, heresy and schism or he would act against them.
      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
      I also wish ALL Catholic blogs would STOP using the heretical and schismatic NC REPORTER as a source.

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Thanks Andy…I agree

  11. King Clovis says:

    I am alarmed by Pope Francis decision to not allow these Franciscan’s to celebrate the TLM…I hope he is not the modernist from Latin America, that many cautiously feared…

    • Anonymous says:

      No reason for alarm. It had something to do with internal probs in the org.

      • Maryanne Leonard says:

        I fail to see how internal problems within the “org” should result in the elimination of the traditional form of the Mass being celebrated. I can’t think of any problem that could be seen as sufficiently significant in the history of mankind to result in such an action. A light needs to be shone on this situation, as it is a staggering “sentence.” No mere woman could have caused such a stunning decision, even if it did come from a personally charming man. We need to know why this decision was made, and are more like it coming?

        • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

          Even the need for an Indult to celebrate the Mass promulgated for all time by SAINT PIUS V is an insult to the intelligence.

          Pope Benedict XVI tried to make it so a priest did not even need permission from his “bishop” to celebrate the Mass of St. Pius V, but most of the bishops ignored even him!

          May God have mercy on America, Viva Cristo Rey!
          God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
          Kenneth M. Fisher

        • Arrogance is the answer. Just look at the way they present themselves in photo ops … if you look straight up you can see the bottoms of their chins. I think they forget about the story of David and Goliath.

  12. Martha Dancy says:

    If I were within a group of priests who had previously had the right from Benedict to celebrate the old rite, I would just go on doing it regardless of what anyone says. Then that would force the modernists to kick the priests out, then I would emphasize that the present pope is against Benedict because Benedict allowed the old rite to be said, etc. It would be obvious that there is a discrepancy and then I would mention all the liberals against true doctrine and morals that are allowed to remain in the priesthood and in the sisterhood communities and then the people could see that the true faith was being attacked from within. I think we have to stand up as Lefebvre did in the eighties or the old rite will be done away with except in schism. I guess I would go with the schism because I do not believe in these changes since the sixties at all and since the modernists do not really believe in hell but in universal salvation, then we would not have to worry about following our consciences to continue the true faith whereever it is practiced.

    • When there is an ineffective pope or even an evil one, then is “schism” a fact or merely an idea?

      • Anonymous says:

        The effectiveness or holiness of a Pope is not an issue. If one refuses submission to him in the Catholic Church, it is schism. The Catholic Church teaches that a schismatic cannot be saved unless he reconcile with the Church. The authority of the Pope is from the Divine Master. It is given to a man but it is not of man.

  13. Michael P. Mc Crory says:

    This is a man skilled at saying what he
    thinks will further his own interests and
    then acting out differently.
    Good to see that he knows the truth but
    then we’ve guessed that; he just never
    follows through, if it means upsetting
    ‘important people’ like his friend
    ( and militant enemy of the Church) Pres.
    Maybe we should just stop reporting on
    him and be better off for it.

  14. I’m concerned about what Dolan means when he says he needs to look at Pope Francis more closely.

  15. We all need to follow Pope Francis actions closely.

    Confirming Monsignor Ricca at the Vatican bank and Vatican Hotels is a concrete action that should worry us.

  16. Abeca Christian says:

    Please watch a short video on YouTube titled “What’s my line? Bishop Fulton J. Sheen “….it shows how Bishop Fulton sheen was well known and respected and when he was on air, he did not cause scandal…….I wish more Bishops would model after Fulton Sheen…..they have him as a good example….our Lord sure blesses us with gifts….people that lived during Bishop Fulton Sheen’s time were blessed.

    I pray for our youth to have more positive role models today that lead them to good and holiness in our Lord. I know we lack that, its a pity that our church leadership in many cases have lowered the standards and have water down the seriousness of sin….too bad people like Obama and others have gained so much power that they are more accepted as positive figures than others.

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COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.