Sunday, February 19, 2012

The "Apple" of Tim's Eye: From Rome, The Cardinal Talks New York

Returning again to the "star" of this Consistory, in keeping with an emphatic point of his major Vatican speech on Friday -- that his charge is anything but "some neo-Sodom and Gomorrah" -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan served up the following Valentine message to Gotham, which ran in the pages of this Sunday's New York Daily News, the city's most widely-circulated paper:
I’ve become a New Yorker.

And I like to brag about the beauty and the virtue and the goodness that I see in the New York community.

I bristle and cringe when people who aren’t New Yorkers caricature New Yorkers as cold and unfriendly and rude and almost atheistic and pagan.

I’m saying, wait a minute.

I’ve been honored to be a citizen of New York for three years and I find New York to be one of the most loving, welcoming and embracing communities around!

New Yorkers welcome people.

They welcomed me.

So the church cooperates with that in welcoming the immigrant, for example.

New Yorkers pitch in and help people in trouble.

Look what happened after 9/11.

So the church builds upon that with helping people who are out of jobs, helping people who are sick, helping people who are hungry, and having trouble paying their bills.

New Yorkers work for justice whether that be in labor or whether that be in civil rights.

So does the church work for justice when it comes to the rights of refugees, when it comes to the rights of the unemployed, when it comes to the rights of the unborn.

New Yorkers traditionally go in for the underdog. So does the Archdiocese. So does the Catholic Church go in for the underdog, whether they be homeless, or the baby in the womb or the person dying at Calvary Hospital.

The Church is able to cooperate hand in hand with New York.

The Catholic Church in New York is not looked upon as some outsider.

New York is a place where religion is welcome, where the contribution of the faith community is a cherished part.

That’s the recipe that makes New York such a warm, vibrant, welcoming culture.

The Church in New York is looked upon as a neighbor, as somebody familiar walking down the street. And that’s beautiful.
Given the continuing perception among many at the Vatican of the Big Apple as the capital of the West's "dictatorship of relativism," with the city's eighth cardinal riding a skyscraper-high wave of Roman acclaim after the last week, the message above seems as intended for his hosts of these days as it is for the folks at home.

Speaking of the Gotham press, while the tabloid News' front cover was filled with an image of the singer Whitney Houston's coffin being carried from her funeral yesterday, the rival Post -- which famously covered Dolan's appointment as archbishop by blaring "GODSEND!" on its front-page -- returned its Sunday lead to the new cardinal.

Waving the biretta after yesterday's rites of creation (top), an ever-exuberant Dolan told reporters that "this is the hat I want to put on the Empire State Building and home plate at Yankee Stadium."

Meanwhile, in yet another sign of the Pope's favor for his hand-picked Consistory keynoter, a late-day Vatican briefing on Friday included an unusual direct quote from B16's closing remarks to the private session, according to which the pontiff praised Dolan's address on the New Evangelization as "stimulating, joyful and profound."

The following morning, as a beaming Benedict placed the biretta on the new cardinal's head, Dolan said afterward that the Pope thanked him again for the Friday talk.

Looking down at his new robes, the cardinal added, "And I said, 'Well, Holy Father, thank you for this!'"

Set to return home in time to preside over Ash Wednesday in St Patrick's Cathedral -- by far, the busiest day of the year at the Fifth Avenue landmark -- the eighth cardinal to hold the House That Hughes Built will celebrate locally with two ticket-only liturgies in Midtown next weekend.

PHOTO: Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News(1); Getty(3)