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. Sandy

    Dolan needs to shut is month... He is not the pope and its a goood thing... The church is out of touch with the real world... Maybe this Pope will see that...

    August 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  2. Dan

    You would have to be high to believe in that absurd religious nonsense.

    August 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG


      August 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  3. JoeyBags0341

    And people wonder why I despise, rail against and hope for the decay of all things religion.

    Disgusting, stupid, ignorant and blatantly delusional.

    August 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      If that becomes your faith, then who can judge you..?

      August 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thanks for your good work @JoeyBags0341

      keep fighting religion. it's the cancer of humanity!

      August 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        Ode to declare...

        There are more things cancerous then even that which be religious... We all know that the fruits of wisdoms are filled with much cancerous philandering ways far from irreligious eyeing prey... The mothers of aged children and their childish wily patterns which lament much sorrows toward the mothering ways that harken their piteous nurturing will ever be any sanctimonious offspring's waywardness toward their mother's loving means...

        August 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • dannelson1959

      You too will bow down to Jesus.

      August 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        You too will bow before Thor.

        Sounds funny when it's a being you consider mythological, doesn't it.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  4. John Donn

    "Who am I to judge?" You're the Pope! And Dolan isn't...

    August 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  5. Glennardo

    Popes, priests, judges, parents, you, me: None of us should be judging others

    The Catholic Church continues to emphasize this and so should others (believers or non-believers). Let's all get out of the judging business and put CNN and Fox News out of business!!

    August 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Reality

      o The citizens of the USA judge every day as noted by the US Supreme Court, State Supreme courts and analogous judicial/jury venues across this great land.

      And there is some question as to whether Jesus even uttered Matt 7:1. For example, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb118.html

      August 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Reality

      o The citizens of the USA judge every day as noted by the US Supreme Court, State Supreme courts and analogous judicial/jury venues across this great land.

      And there is some question as to whether Jesus even uttered Matt 7:1. For example, see http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb118.html

      August 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      one of the primary reasons people stay in religion is so that they can judge others and feel superior because they think they have their imaginary god backing them.

      why ask religious folk to stop judging others when it is their favorite thing to do!!!!!!!

      August 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • Divdar

        Might be good for you to experience the real world to determine the truth, rather than trying to repeat things you've read from strangers on message boards.

        August 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  6. lamelionheart

    It is one's countrified children who will suffer the consequences of their country's fathered wanton ways which lead all children astray in their seeking of wealth where there is no more to be so found...

    August 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  7. Chris

    When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind." -C.S. Lewis

    August 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      During C.S. Lewis' time as it is today, the large mass of referenced can only logically be the religious as the large majority have been peer pressured and indoctrinated from childhood to run towards the cliff...

      August 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • Divdar

        'Facts' to back that up would be nice, otherwise it's just opinion.

        August 1, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  8. lamelionheart

    As a wise one emanates their wordage ways, they fool themselves and make others become their fools,-Lionly Lamb

    August 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      "I love it when people quote themselves" – My Dog is a jealous Dog

      August 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I like your name Dog.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          Unlike most believers – my handle does speak the truth. I have two dogs, but one of them thinks they own me (and maybe they do since I feed them, walk them, clean up their poop, and generally cater to their every whim).

          I believe that dogs are the greatest accomplishment of humankind – I will never get to go to the moon, but I share my home with products of the most amazing genetic manipulation ever seen.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        At least then one is not a plagiarist then are we..?-Lionly Lamb

        August 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          I didn't change my screen name and pretend I was posting a quote from someone else.

          No one is fooled by the name change – your unintelligible drivel is obvious to everyone.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Sorry D. dog but I lost my lionlylamb password and had to establish a new wordpress name...:-(

          August 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          ionlylamb and lamelionheart are as one and the same while inside of each are sameness...-lamelionheart aka lionlylamb

          August 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  9. Stiven

    i like pope legalize weed he like get high too i talked to the lady of virgin she down with the legalaziation too

    August 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Jim Bob Jones


      August 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • Susan StoHelit

        Someone who sadly doesn't know you can get a high without illegal drugs. It's a sad thing, if you can't experience just being high from life, from good experiences.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  10. Homestead2

    Those who hate God and His church will use abuse as an excuse to hate Christianity until their dying day – but rest assured, God knows their hearts and minds and knows they use this topic instead as an excuse to hate Him and one day soon they will have stand before God and answer for that...

    August 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Reason Over Religion

      Do the world a favor and read up on Pascal's Wager. Before Odin smites you, that is.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      God sees right through your phony piety.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      You're on par with LionlyLamb for word scramble religious nuttery.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • JoeyBags0341

      You are a delusional, stupid person. Plain and simple.

      August 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Dan

      We don't hate god. He doesn't exist so how could we? Just because you don't know how something happened doesn't mean an invisible magician in the sky did it. Talking snakes? Magical ribs? It is absurd.

      August 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      Oooh, scary stuff Homestead.

      Your god is a myth, and you are a vindictive petty pr1ck,

      Jeebus is waiting. Go up to see him

      August 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Homestead2 ... put that little boy down and leave him alone!

      August 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • JR

      What, what a nut. Yes, we hate your pedophile infested cult and the imbecile deluded sheep who protect child rapists. Most sane people do. Only religion can make a horror into something admirable. You're disgusting.

      August 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      If there were a god, he would be more offended by those who turned his church into a haven for abusers, and those who wished to turn a blind eye to this abomination, than those who called it out for the horror it was, and is.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
  11. JR

    My wife's best friend came to stay with us recently for a few days. She's Catholic and I learned some disturbing things about their thinking. Her brainwashing was complete and scary. It was Saturday and she was supposed to fly out the next morning but all good Catholics are apparently supposed to find a church on Sunday morning and go to mass regardless of where they are. The guilt she was going through was ridiculous. She pushed her flight ahead several hours just so she could go to mass. This cult is the worst of them all. And how Catholics shrug off the fact that their cult is infested with pedophiles who rape children with impunity is repulsive. I have zero respect for these pedophile supporters.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Red

      When you generalize, you assume. And when you assume, you make an a$$ out of yourself. Try again.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Ayren James

        “Perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification.”
        ― Christopher Hitchens

        August 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Red

          It would just be nice for someone to actually explain themselves without jumping to conclusions about an entire population based on limited input.

          “The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost their power of reasoning” – Voltaire

          August 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Russ

          "Red is a moron."

          August 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
        • Red

          Thank you for further evidence.

          August 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • i like cheerios

        shut your pie hole

        August 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      JR wrote "I have zero respect for these pedophile supporters."

      So then JR... Your support for the rich folks seeking enslaved children in 3rd world countries are above reproach..?

      August 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • JR


        August 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • lamelionheart


          You know don't you..? Rich world country's most enamored with wealth beyond measure seeking sensual pleasures from the enslaved 3rd world children... Why don't you speak out about them the way you and others do about Catholic pedophiles..? Or is it that your faithfulness lays with the richly of lots who do so their deeds ever so shamelessly against enslaved children I 3rd world nations..?

          August 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • JR

          Wow dude, you really need to change the bong water. I hate anybody who abuses children in any way and those who support the abusers. This is a "belief" blog so why would there all the sudden be a discussion about rich countries and such on this article about some pedophile cardinal? You should expand your horizons past what your priest or pastor is feeding you. Start asking questions even if it frightens you to do so and don't take absurd bullshit answers from cult leaders.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Samcan

      JR, I feel for you and your wife's best friend. It is frightening how religion can affect people. I guess there really are people out there that believe they might go to heaven or h*ll if they don't do as they're told by their church. It's kind of you to empathize with your wife's friend; perhaps by example, you can help her leave the cult that she belongs to.

      August 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • i like cheerios

      you met a catholic that actually shows up to church outside of christmas and easter?

      August 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • SouthernCelt

        There's about 1.2 billion of us. Some faithful, some less so, but we still feel the Holy Spirit calling us. If sanity is a majority opinion, how many atheists are there?

        August 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • Veronica

          If you hear the holy spirit calling you, you need to get your hearing checked. Or more likely your sanity.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • JR

          And there are 6.5 billion who do not believe as you and think you all are in a cult so what's your point? I hear you catlicks throwing around the big number but I bet at lest half are not practicing catlicks and can't get their names off the rolls because the cult won't cut them loose.

          August 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Patti

      JR, in this day and age i too wonder why anyone would consider supporting this "pedophile machine"

      August 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • JR

        It's the worse kind of brainwashing. If they could wake up from their zombie state and see what they are really doing I would think they would be disgusted at themselves.

        August 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • It's Sergeant to you!

      You should meet new people. Get out and see the world. I'm not Catholic but I will stop short of creating a fallacy to try and prove a point. And if your words are fact (rhetorical question coming up) what does it say about your wife if she is friends with people whom you seem to make out as the worse of the worst?

      August 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • Red

        JR, if your wife doesn't report her best friend as a pedophile, she could potentially be convicted of a crime.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • JR

          We did report her for harboring, supporting and financing pedophiles. She's currently hiding out at the Vatican (pedophile central).

          August 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • Truth Prevails :-)

        Wait a minute...how do you go from judging his wife's friend to judging his wife? I'm an Atheist and as much as I believe the cult needs disbanded and the proper steps taken to bring the pedophiles to justice, I also have very good friends who are Catholic and I am able to separate their belief from who they are as people. Not all are bad people and not all who Associate are bad. We're not born instantly believing, this friend is so deeply entrenched with her belief that she has blinders on when it comes to good vs bad...I doubt she's a pedophile-not a great many women are. This 'friend' needs to be around more people like this, over time her mind just might open and she'll see it for what it is.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Glennardo

      JR...this is such a "made up" story.

      Those who accuse....are often the most judgemental.

      August 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • JR

        So, you are saying children who accuse priests of raping them are just being judgmental? You disgusting sick fuck.

        August 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      There are approximately 412,000 Catholic priests in this world. Exactly how many of them do you personally know to be pedophiles? I mean people that have been convicted, not just accused. Do you hate the whole because of 1/10th of 1 percent or do you just hate in general? Blanket hatred is illogical and morally repugnant. If you disagree with the theology let's hear it. What exactly did God do or fail to do that made you so mad?

      August 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
  12. i like cheerios

    the pope and his gang have been banging kids for far too long they all need to go to prison

    August 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • palintwit

      Tea Party Patriots bang their cousins and sisters.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  13. palintwit

    WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin's leadership PAC spent nearly $500,000 during the first six months of the year, and made just one donation ($5,000.00) to a political candidate, new campaign filings show.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  14. i like cheerios

    god doesn't exist

    August 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • JR

      Yes, we know.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  15. Truth Prevails :-)

    This guy is scum.
    "Cardinal Timothy Dolan allegedly transferred church funds into a separate trust in order to proect them from clergy abuse lawsuits"

    August 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • JR

      The pic of him at that link looks like he's either pleasuring himself under his dress or has an altar boy bent over in front of him. What a disgusting pedophile.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Truth Prevails :-)

        I'd love to see them all arrested and the money go to the victims.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • John Donn

        If that picture is taken at the time of the story it heads, he's thinking "we got away with it". It'll be sickening if the church gets legal protection of its funds to prevent compensation payments to abuse victims.

        August 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
      • JR

        Oh...this can be fun to come up with captions. How 'bout "Yes Jesus..ha..ha! We fuked 'em good again didn't we! Those dumbshits don't know that the judge is a devout Catholic sheep and always does our bidding like a good boy".

        August 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • Glennardo

        JR has some insecurity issues. Late to potty train? Gerbil pets gone wild?

        Whatever...clearly needs an outlet and it looks like the CNN Forum is it.

        Logging off now.

        August 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • w00t

          and stay off

          August 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  16. lakishajohnson

    The Pope must have been 'high' to recognize and honor quack spiritist faith hoaxer john of god of Brazil.
    It's one thing for wacko woo mistress Oprah to shill for him. But for the Catholic Church to award him knighthood in Order of St Gregory. Strange but true.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  17. anna

    The pope said 'who am I to judge" – is he gay too?

    August 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Jim Bob Jones

      Do you often concern yourself with others' orientation?

      August 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • .

        Do you?

        August 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • w00t

        Catholics seem to spend lots of time worrying about stuff like this

        August 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  18. palintwit

    WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin's leadership PAC spent nearly $500,000 during the first six months of the year, and made just one donation ( $5,000.00 ) to a political candidate, new campaign filings show.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Sivick

    typical religion. "we're not going to do anything different but look how much better it sounds now!"

    August 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Yes indeedy.
      A tale told by an idiot – full of sound and fury yet signifying nothing.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  20. Doc Vestibule

    Where Benedict came off as officious, Francis seems far more affable – but it's all a game of perception.
    The Pope is the representative of the Catholic Church and as such, would ever publically say anything that contradicts the Catechism.
    So when posed the question: "Do (insert group) go to Hell?"
    Any Pope (or Catholic in general) would give the same answer.
    "Not if they become Catholic!"

    August 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.