Bearing "Hope" -- "Not Last Rites" -- Tim Takes Albany
Amid a furious storm over Gov. David Paterson's reported intervention in an aide's domestic violence case -- and growing calls for the Harlem Democrat's resignation as a result -- the bishops of New York State swooped into Albany these last 48 hours for their annual Public Policy Day, the traditional lobby-press of the Empire State's leadership on the church's issues of concern.
The controversy over Paterson's future happened to coincide with Archbishop Timothy Dolan's first turn at the helm of the capital tradition... then again, having mastered the art of low-key engagement with public officials at the quiet give-and-take sessions on church teaching he happily set up for local politicos in his former charge of Milwaukee, the Gotham prelate toed a careful line on the fracas, posting the following on his blog tonight (emphases original):
One of the highlights of [yesterday] was joining with my brother bishops of the state for a meeting with Governor David Paterson. Many reporters stopped me during the day to ask for my thoughts on the difficulties currently facing the Governor; I was pleased to be able to tell the Governor at the very beginning of our meeting that while we bishops were there to discuss some very serious public policy issues, we were, first and foremost, pastors, and wanted him to know of our prayers for him. He seemed genuinely grateful....And here, video....
The Governor was also very properly concerned over the enormous fiscal pressures currently facing our state; we bishops, who are all facing the same pressures in our dioceses, could certainly relate. While we presented several concrete proposals to him, our underlying message for each of them was the same: during tough economic times, we must do all that we can to make certain that the poor and vulnerable among us are protected. We must not let the fiscal problems of the state further hurt those who are already suffering. I believe the Governor shares our concern.
One other highlight from last night. I had the pleasure of attending the annual Irish Legislators Dinner, and I told those who were present of my admiration for them and the work that they do. Public service, I said, is a noble profession, but there always seems to be those who seek to drag down those in public life (some deservedly so). Two qualities are hallmarks of the Irish people: Hope and helping others.
I urged our public officials, hundreds of them there, not to lose hope, even in tough times, a period of real crisis here in Albany. The green of Saint Patrick’s Day, I observed, symbolizes hope, the rebirth of spring, the triumph of life over death. Don’t lose hope, I exhorted them.
Right now, there's probably no hotter ticket in Gotham than The House That Hughes Built come a week from tomorrow... even so, as Our Sunday Visitor's Mary DeTurris Poust reported earlier today, the rumored cardinal-in-waiting dedicated his Tuesday morning to laying out the "six pillars" of Catholic social teaching for the crowd of 1,200 who took part in the lobbying day:
1. God comes first. "His ways, His law have dominion."PHOTO: Nate Whitchurch
2. The innate dignity of every individual human person. Every man and woman is made in the image and likeness of God and has an "eternal destiny" and a "divine character."
3. The common good is always normative. "We are never in it just for myself but for ourselves."
4. Solidarity. "We are members of a family, and we have a special duty to the poor among us."
5. Subsidiarity. "One of the geniuses of Catholic social teaching is the closer you are to the grassroots, the better you are."
6. Supreme duty to bring values, God's truth and our principles into the public square. There can be no "cleavage" between what we believe and how we act.