Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks
Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Rome before the conclave in Rome that elected Pope Francis.
July 31st, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) - The nation's leading Roman Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Pope Francis was "on a high" from his first international trip as pontiff when he said "Who am I to judge?" gays and lesbians.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who traveled last week to Brazil with the pope for World Youth Day, said the massive turnout - estimates ran as high as 3 million - and ecstatic crowds likely gave Francis hope that he would "revive the church on his home continent of Latin America."

Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina from 1998 until his papal election in March.

"The pope was visibly `on a high' from his first international pastoral visit in Rio," Dolan said. "Understandably so. Because I was there with him, I can verify that the superlatives being used — `oceanic' crowds, `frenzied' welcomes, `inspirational, heartfelt' words — are not exaggerations at all."

On the plane from Brazil back to Rome on Monday, the pope gave an 80-minute press conference in which he addressed a number of controversial issues for the Catholic Church, including homosexuality, the ordination of women and scandals involving a so-called "gay lobby" at the Vatican.

Regarding gay priests, Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

READ MORE: Pope Francis on gays: `Who am I to judge?'

The remarks were read by some as a rejection of previous church policy, including a 2005 directive that barred men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from the priesthood.

Not so, Dolan said on Wednesday in a blog post.

"No change in church teaching here . . . or no intended `correction' to a more `dour' approach by his predecessors," said Dolan.

In fact, the archbishop continued, Francis does not have the power to change church doctrine.

"Catholics know that the pope, like all of us, is a servant of the truth of the Gospel, not a crafter. Doctrine is a given; it is settled, inherited, faithfully passed on. That’s his duty, and he’s sure doing it well."

As archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dolan is widely considered the most powerful Catholic official in the country. He was also part of the conclave that elected Francis.

Since the pope's comments on Monday, conservatives have framed them as a change in tone, not substance, noting that Francis quoted from the Catholic Catechism and would hardly announced a change in doctrine during an impromptu press conference.

CNN Vatican analyst John Allen noted, however, that "at a certain point, tone becomes substance if it’s seen as revitalizing the prospects of the church."

READ MORE: How Pope Francis is revolutionizing the church

Rather than a change in doctrine, the pope's "brief remarks were about mercy," Dolan said.

"The church considers unjust discrimination against any homosexual a sin," the archbishop said, adding that "homosexual acts, which are contrary to Revelation...can always be healed by God's mercy."

"And when God’s mercy is sought, it is always given, the sin wiped away and forgotten; because of this, nobody — not the Pope, not a bishop, not a priest — can judge another!"

Other church-watchers noted, however, that Francis himself cited a previous pope while dismissing the possibility of women's ordination during the same airplane press conference.

"By saying that John Paul II had `definitively…closed the door to women priests,' Francis was himself pointing to the fact that popes determine church law," wrote blogger Mark Silk at Religion News Service. 

Dolan closed his blog post by lamenting that so much media coverage has concentrated on "these weary issues" rather than "the noble themes that ran through Copacabana Beach," where World Youth Day was held.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. zangief

    "...conservatives have framed them as a change in tone, not substance...". so, anyone who believes in the teachings of the Church are considered conservative? thanks CNN for painting this story as a right vs. left issue as usual. the Church doesn't adhere to worldly political norms as people on different sides prefer to portray it. it is precisely because the church adheres to the "Truth" that it will continue to confound both sides of the political aisle from speaking out against injustices to the poor and most vulnerable in society (including the unborn, the sick, the homeless, the elderly, etc.) to calling sin for what it is, and not promoting the glorification thereof which is celebrated by the world.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Conservatives are trying to "conserve" the status quo. Most Catholics in the US do not support the status quo church position on birth control. The remaining 10-20% can well be described as "conservative". Similarly for hom.ose.xuality. Whether they are gernerally "right" or "left" is a somewhat different matter.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  2. No True Love Lost

    It's interesting to note that the pope appeared, at least in part, to be reaching out to Gay people at large with his comment on the plane. Yet, Dolan was so quick to come in from behind and try to do some damage control on this matter by quickly saying that nothing had really changed from church teachings. But then let's look at the reality of this. If nothing has really changed from church teachings then Gays and Lesbians from around the world have truly nothing to look forward to in the Catholic Church anymore thus, can save their large contributions to that denomination. They may as well have their Final Grand Exodus and leave the place that does not care enough about them to embrace them as they are and as they were born. By contrast, many of the Protestant denominations actively embrace Gays and Lesbians As They Are. Why hang around with those who would rather hang you upside down rather than hold you up in high esteem as a gift from God that you truly are certainly being one of His Creations?

    August 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • sam

      The church will only accept them if they agree to warp themselves into something they're not.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm |


    August 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Allison

      Excuse me? Catholics do not read the Bible..?
      What fantasy world are you living in? As a practicing Catholic, I can assure you, we read the Bible. All of our teachings & beliefs are based on Biblical teachings. Please, educate yourself before posting anything. Spreading lies like that does not do anyone any good.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  4. lamelionheart

    In the Beginning there was the Word and the Word was God and the Words were with God and of God and about God and all of God's Sons.

    I believe in God of the Creations made celestially and the establishments of each and every evolved creations manifested upon the celestially terrestrial domains... You need not believe...

    I am satisfied beyond doubts that God's first begotten son was with God from Celestial Creations beginning moments to the ending ways of evolved creations manifestations upon any earthen world capable to bring forth life and sustain life in the abundances... You need not be satisfied...

    I cherish the wisdom of and try to honor the professed teachings of Christ Jesus despite our Christian inadequacies to render decisively upon others doubts... You need not cherish Christ's wisdom nor honor his teachings...

    For it is a matter of being proud that many prides of people endure their foolish miseries and infidel jealousies hell-bent against any and all of multi-religiously endearing devotions. It is not our wills to be done but God's will to become of our wills that many prideful people are forcibly against… Love is God's conquering force over God's people. You who despise and hate God's chosen; will He allow the unloving nurtured natures of the depraved prideful to remain... Without knowing of the bad things how can the right things become foreseen, weighed and so measured..?

    God’s loving kindness is enough to sustain me in my unbridled stamina… As I near my ending day, my loving wants to be with God and all God’s family members cannot be over-run or compromised by others salt ladled wounds… As I progressively near death’s gate, my love for Life weakens me and I am found understanding God’s mercies… Alone nowadays, my heart flutters with every beat as I become ever more humbled by mankind’s tribulations. They are worthy My Lord to continue onwards in their living abundances measuring…

    August 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Reality

      And now returning to the 21st century:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (References used are available upon request.)

      August 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • Jim Bob Jones

        You should change your name from Reality to Perception. It'd be more accurate.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Reality

          References used as requested:

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:

          16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, ethics, etc.

           17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
          18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          August 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • lamelionheart


        August 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  5. wisdomVSknowledge

    Okay... so, the Pope isn't any closer to God or more sacred than a cardinal? Well, that should cause a big drop in church attendance as well as the size crowds that show up to see the Pope. Catholic leadership = crap.

    August 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      From what I've observed, the RCC seems to be an insti/tution of hierarchical haberdashery – the bigger the hat, the closer to God.
      The Pope's hat is WAY bigger than Dolan's and is inlaid with far more gold, thus making Francis demonstrably closer to God.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Samcan

        Doc, you talk to much. Don't you have a job? You're on ALL of these belief boards ALL the time.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • .

          Bug off, little troll

          August 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Actually, I'm only ever on THIS board and 95% of the time it's between 0800 and 1630 est.

          If someone else is using my name, I'd be interested to see where.
          I've been Dr. Humoladonne Q. Vestibule since 1998 (and have the AirMiles card to prove it)

          August 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
  6. lamelionheart


    August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  7. Martin

    The pope is a good man, hope he builds more schools and colleges for the under privileged.
    Hope the pope spreads the message of the love of Christ to all around the world!!! 🙂

    August 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • ME II

      RAmen to the schools!

      August 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • aizen

      hi martin,
      i am a product of the catholic school system and NO, they are not built for the underprivileged. me and my siblings had to be schooled after thousands of dollars were paid by our parents, so i dont think you are completely right. oh, and the schools they build for the poor, have you seen them? you wont wanna send your kids there.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • truth

        I went to a poor Catholic school. They were bad but the teaching was magnificent.
        Not the school....

        August 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • ME II

      Just to clarify, I'm not saying they are good schools although many are, I'm just supporting the concept of more and better schools, i.e. Yeah education!

      August 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  8. Canopy

    A few months ago Pope Francis made a similar remark regarding Atheists being redeemed and the church came out a few days later to rebuke his statement. Whats the point of having a leader if they're not free to think for themselves? Just put some artificial intelligence up there to speak to the masses.

    August 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Jim Bob Jones

      The reason the Church had to say anything is that the media lost its mind and started inventing new meanings to his words. The Pope says things very diplomatically and within the context of Catholic doctrine. His style is different that Benedict, but the substance is the same.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
      • Innocent Screen Name

        Are you kidding? He'd pee on Benedict's grave if he were actually dead already.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Jim Bob Jones

          OK. (rolls eyes)

          August 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      This pope has not been rebuked by the Vatican or any Bishop and likely will not be. His comments are consistent with the catechism, as any Catholic should be able to tell you. If you and others persist in twisting the message, that's on you.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Jim Bob Jones

        @ Bill Deacon

        Between the trolls and the cynics, it's a losing battle here. Keep up the good fight.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Automatic Translator

          "Fight the good fight" = "Rabidly uphold your worldview"

          August 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • mindless lackey # 473

      Its why they make sure these guys are very old...so that if they are like this pope, and say inconvenient [for the church] things, there isn't a long wait to 'correct' the situation.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Innocent Screen Name

    Know who Cardinal Dolan is a personal friend of?

    Jerry "Tickle Monster" Sandusky

    August 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Todd

      Interesting that he said "The church opposes discrimination" yet they discriminate against women by denying them access to Ordination....Also, discriminates agaisnt BGLT's.... I am glad to belong to The Episcopal Church which does NOT discriminate !

      August 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        That's not discrimination Todd. It's all about the wedding.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        I'm glad you're Episcopalian too.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • Emory Grad

        BGLT? It's normally referred to as LGBT. BGLT sounds like some sort of sandwich lol

        August 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Joe

    Who is Dolan to interoperate what the Pope meant. The Popes comment concerning Gay men and woman where the most honest and sincere remarks we have ever heard. Apparently Dolan does not agree with the Pope, or did not appreciate the Popes comments so he feels its his moral duty as one who is holy and without sin to remind us in not so many words that the Pope is not infallible there cannot change church doctrine...Cardinal Dolan you are sir a hypocrite, a bigot and a fraud as well as a politician. Your actions in the past when dealing with the movement of church funds should have landed you jail time for hiding assets that should have been accessible to the men and woman who suffered at the hands of sick vile priests. I hope and pray that this Pope continues to welcome everyone into his flock and judge men by the content of their character and not by whom they love.

    August 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Jim Bob Jones

      The Pope didn't say anything different than what the Church has taught for decades. If people would take the time to suspend their vitriol spilling for a moment and actually learn what the Church teaches they would quickly realize that the Church is a home of God's love, mercy and compassion.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        The "true churches" are our embodied physical beings being as but God's husbanded buildings... Read the scriptures and see this to be Truth and truthfulness...

        August 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Jim Bob Jones

          Forgive me, but I can't decipher what you are trying to say here.

          August 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Johnnie my sired youngling...

          Have you not read in scriptures that the kingdom domains of the Godly are held inside our physical being..? It also declares that the godly live inside our bodies which are but godly husbanded buildings..?

          Luke 17:21 and 1 Corinthians 3:9 seem to sum it up quite literally and truthfully...

          August 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Jim Bob Jones

          Oh. Semantics.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          The name changes but the blather remains the same.

          This is the pretentious idiot formerly known as "lionlylamb" – he/she is apparently more enthralled with his/her own colorful misuse of language than actually communicating anything.

          August 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Beelzebub

    I think that all the food that fat, rosy cheeked bishop is eating, should be donated, along with that big ol' hunk a' gold around his neck, to a charity to feed starving children. Put your money where your mouth is fatty.

    August 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Speak Truth

      Spoken like a true follower of Christ. We are all called to give all we have away. Priest and other Catholic clergy give all away, nothing belongs to them. They eat what is given to them just like St. Peter and St. Paul.

      August 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  12. Colin

    Have you ever been to a Catholic mass? It's weird. They actually believe that grocary store bread and wine turns into flesh and blood becuase their priest has powers others do not and says some magic/sacred words over the condiments. I swear, I'm not making this up. Even the adults believe this garbage. It's not just a story for their little kids.


    August 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's as difficult to accept now as it was then for some. It marks the only time in the Gospels that Jesus lost some disciples. He even asked Peter "will you leave too?" Peter replied "Where would I go Lord? You have the words of everlasting life."

      August 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Colin

        That is an understatement......

        August 1, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Steve


      You are sadly ignorant of Catholic doctrine and teaching. The Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist is the centerpiece of the Catholic Mass. It is God, not the priest, who transubstantiates the Host and Wine into the body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The priest merely brings down the blessing, thus consecrating the sacrafice.

      No one is forcing you to attend any Catholic Mass, nor is anyone forcing you to believe anything. Believe, or not believe, anything you want. And if you don't like the Catholic Mass, don't attend.

      But before you insult a religion and its Church – the Holy Catholic Church – perhaps you should have some understanding of which you purport to speak.

      My prayers are with you.



      August 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Steve, you should know, Colin doesn't have to learn anything. He's a teacher.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • Colin

        In other words......you just agreed with virtually everything I said.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  13. What

    Dolan demanded child abuse be covered up in 2001

    August 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  14. What

    ..Dolan moved diocese dollars and then declared bankruptcy for the diocese

    August 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  15. What

    Dolan is a con man

    August 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  16. What

    Dolan works with key catholic politicians to lobby and stop laws that would expose pe dos in New York State

    August 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  17. What

    Dolan moved diocese dollars and then declared bankruptcy for the diocese

    August 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  18. What

    Dolan destroyed children's lives

    August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  19. lamelionheart


    August 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  20. Nnamdi

    Yea, go on and l can smell your diarrhea of the mouth. All you have done so far is spread unsubstatiated allegations of fraud against the Catholic church but non of you gave any example of any charitable work of your own. If running others down with your mouth makes you feel good about yourselves, then go ahead. Blabber on.....you have freedom of speech. I have more important things to do with my time than glorifying you idiocy with responses !

    August 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Doobs

      You've got a real obsession with digestive problems. Maybe eating a little yogurt would clear that up for you.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Someone who needs to look up the definition of irony.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jesus the Christ

      You sound schizophrenic. Schizophrenics not only smell odd things, but use disgusting imagery. They also obsess about god and are often paranoid that people are attacking them or their view of god.

      August 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
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