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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. oneSTARman

    Half the Vatican including the Previous Poe are Gay; so Francis has to either be accepting or Boot out EVERYONE instead of just the ones who were Laundering Money for the Mafia and Billionaires.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Michael

      It's been estimated that between 60% and 80% of the priesthood is day.

      Dolan is a prime example of that one.

      July 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
      • Michael

        gay, not day....

        July 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  2. Michael

    I'm totally confused. So who is the fat queeny gay guy pictured in the orange frock?

    July 31, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm pretty sure that's a drag queen named The Crimson Taint

      July 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    Vatican Quickly Performs Damage Control On Pope’s Tolerant Remarks
    The Onion News in Brief • ISSUE 49•31 • Jul 29, 2013

    VATICAN CITY—Following Pope Francis’ tolerant remarks Sunday about h.omos.exuals and the Catholic Church, Vatican officials reportedly went into crisis mode, announcing that the Pope’s thoughtful message of understanding was clearly taken out of context. “It is not the official stance of the Pope or the Catholic Church that all people of good will who seek the Lord, especially g.ay people, should be accepted by Christ,” a visibly nervous Vatican spokesman told reporters, adding that the Holy Father was clearly tired after his long trip to Brazil and never meant for his comments to sound caring or realistic. “H.omos.exuality is a disorder. And this in no way means that, going forward, the Catholic Church will be an open-minded, more sensible organization. I assure you we are just as prejudiced and backward today as we were yesterday. Thank you.” According to an anonymous source close to the Vatican, the Pope is currently being yelled at by Church officials, who are telling him, “You don’t just go off script like that. Who the fvck do you think you are?”

    July 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Beefburger

    Love the sinner, hate the sin.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no such thing as sin. next.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • SarahTX2

      It's a good philosophy. Why doesn't it apply to women who seek to become priests? They are excommunicated. Which makes the philosophy fake.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Techno Viking

      Hahaha

      Sin doesn't exist. It's just made-up cult trash.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
      • Marc

        So murder is OK with you? If that is the logic that you use, then one could say that human rights are made up cult trash too.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          no one said murder is okay, don't be ridiculous. christians act like they made up ethics. there has never been a town where people could just run around murdering everyone. murder was wrong in every society on earth before christianity was a f.art in the wind.

          show me a Humanist website that tells people to kill g.ays, non-virgin brides, disobedient children, non-believers and anyone working the weekend. all of that is in the bible. that's why it's cult s.h.i.t. see the difference?

          July 31, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Michael

      Go find a black person and tell them, "Hey, love you but hate your skin color" and see how well that goes over.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  5. No one

    Soon there may be a New New Testament.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  6. Techno Viking

    Holy christ on a unicycle with no seat. There are a ton of pope articles. All of it over a guy that speaks for an imaginary cloud-man.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I guess it just goes to show that religion is really kind of boring on a day-to-day level.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  7. swohio

    May God have mercy on my soul for saying this, because I truly wasn't sure if I should. But this is twice now that the new pope has made ambiguous remarks regarding controversial matters, and all it has done is caused confusion.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • SarahTX2

      I don't know if it caused confusion or if it confirmed the belief that women have no role in the Church beyond babies and housework.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It really, really sad that you choose to follow a religion where judgement and condemnation is so commonplace that you become confused when the leader actually admits that it's not his place to judge others. Humility is a foreign concept to far too many believers.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • swohio

        On the contrary, I'm not confused by his admission that it's not his place to judge. In fact, I'm not even Catholic. What confuses me is the inconsistency in the church. During one generation it vehemently professes one thing, and then in a different generation it softens its tone. Contrast Benedict XVI's stance toward gays and lesbians with Francis'. Which is it? Which stance are we to adopt?

        August 1, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • LinCA

          @swohio

          You said, "What confuses me is the inconsistency in the church."
          Do you have a basic understanding of the baloney that this whole church is based on? If you do, your confusion should easily be removed. The basic beliefs, and their holy book are so outrageously silly that it should come as no surprise that their entire religion is complete nonsense.

          You said, "Contrast Benedict XVI's stance toward gays and lesbians with Francis'. Which is it? Which stance are we to adopt?"
          Neither of the religiously inspired ones. I recommend one based on common decency.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  8. Greg in Arkansas

    Someone please explain, where in the bible, it forbids "unjust discrimination"....as opposed to "justified" discrimination...???
    I think the Pope was SPOT-ON when he said "...who am I to judge".....but then again, most so called Christians are VERY judgmental of those that don't subscribe to their way of thinking....

    July 31, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      the bible is full of judgements and people judging. that's pretty much the pope's whole job. lol.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  9. dorothy

    Comments like Dolan's are consistent with the religious leaders of Jesus' time as well. They love the letter of the law and ignore the spirit of the law. The religious hierarchy has been an embarrassment to the church since its founding. Gays are advocating for marriage, family, and service to their country. The religious right advocate for control over women's reproductive rights, control over who a person loves, defense of those who abuse the week, and protection of their worldly possessions from taxes and lawsuits. It is quite obvious that the religious right has lost all moral authority. The gay community and those who support them have taken the moral high road and are obviously the ones who would be embraced not only by a just and loving deity......and now maybe even by a religious leader who has some insight into "true holiness."

    July 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  10. SarahTX2

    The headline combined with the clown outfit is hilarious. Props to CNN for not backing down in ridiculing this perverse religion. They should also throw a picture up of Catholic women doing their housework while the Pope wishes there was more for them to do.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Terik Ororke

      So the church should give into your plurality of ignorance?

      July 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • SarahTX2

        No, Terik, the Church requires a plurality of ignorance among its women. Much like the Muslim women who don't dare show their hair. Catholic women must accept, as the Pope said on the plane, that they simply have no role in the Church beyond housework and babies. Did you read that part of his press conference? Or do you prefer to skip over it?

        July 31, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  11. anti-christmas

    I didn't know Catholics had bicycles that could back-pedal that hard...wow, it looks like "business as usual"...

    July 31, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Tired of the Atheist Lobby

      Here we go again, another atheist setting himself up at his computer for a night of knocking people of faith. Is your incredulousness so anger-causing that you have to spew your drivel constantly whenever a story about anything to do with faith arises? Enjoy your exisitence as it ticks away toward its end.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • LinCA

        @Tired of the Atheist Lobby

        You said, "Here we go again, another atheist setting himself up at his computer for a night of knocking people of faith."
        Now, if these dimwits that cling to their infantile beliefs would learn to keep that nonsense to themselves, and not try to pollute society with it, you'd never hear from me, and likely a lot of others.

        You said, "Enjoy your exisitence as it ticks away toward its end."
        Let me guess, you waste the one life you have on your knees, muttering to your imaginary friend?

        July 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
        • Tired of the Atheist Lobby

          Oh Lin, you "progressive" soul you. LoL Is it really so hard to acknowledge that there is something a little more going on here that just the amazingly superior intellect of "man" at work here in the universe. So, by some crazy chance you find yourself with an NDE, please promise to reject any of your parents, grandparents, or any other loved one who attempts to welcome you into the next life. Promise that you will tell them in the strongest terms that they do not exisit and that you reject anyhting to do wth the love or peaceful transition they are trying to provide. You choose to live by your disbelief, so you shold also choose to die by your disbelief no matter what happens. Deal?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Tired of the Atheist Lobby

          You said, "Is it really so hard to acknowledge that there is something a little more going on here that just the amazingly superior intellect of "man" at work here in the universe."
          There may very well be, but the notion that desert dweller had any of it figured out is ridiculous beyond compare.

          You said, "So, by some crazy chance you find yourself with an NDE, please promise to reject any of your parents, grandparents, or any other loved one who attempts to welcome you into the next life."
          NDE isn't anything like an afterlife, because you're not dead.

          You said, "Promise that you will tell them in the strongest terms that they do not exisit and that you reject anyhting to do wth the love or peaceful transition they are trying to provide."
          OK.

          You said, "You choose to live by your disbelief, so you shold also choose to die by your disbelief no matter what happens. Deal?"
          As part of that deal, will you keep your infantile beliefs to yourself?

          July 31, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
  12. JELLY DONNG

    Give the Pope a chance.

    I'd love to tongue-punch his chocolate starfish.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • anti-christmas

      Put a "finger of God" in his "quivering rabbit nostril", while you're at it...;)

      July 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  13. Rock

    Dolan, a bitter bridesmaid at the last conclave, now leads the Bigot Lobby in the Roman Catholic Church.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Terik Ororke

      Amen1 Watch out for the headline seeker from Boston too.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
  14. Chaos

    "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. "

    "[T]truth of the Gospel" schtick pretty much lost any remaining credibility after it was used to persecute others for saying the that the Earth wasn't flat.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Junior

      You haven't read about the life and times of Copernicus?

      July 31, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  15. SarahTX2

    Awesome headline. It explains the Pope's lament that women have nothing more to do in the Church beyond their housework and their babies. He was on a high imagining that women have made no progress in the last hundred years. Dream on. It might actually turn out to be true that the only women left in the Catholic Church will be the ones who have nothing better to do.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Junior

      You need to read about the blessed Mother if you want to get a perspective on women and the Church

      July 31, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • SarahTX2

        I already read about it. She was a virgin. Catholic women bearing children and doing housework are not virgins.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Derek

          Your bitterness is uninspiring.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Christianity is uninspiring to people who are willing to think for themselves.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • joanie

          The Catholic Church has nothing but respect and dignity for women. You compared us to Muslims in a previous comment and that is so far from the truth. So women can't be priests. So what? That's a revealed Truth. Were women counted among the Twelve? No. Jesus called men to be his Apostles. But who did He appear to first? Mary Magdalene. Men and women are different. Men can't bear children. Having children and cleaning aren't demeaning 'tasks'. I know a lot of men out there like to read that women are to be subservient to their husbands in all things. But they stop reading there. St. Paul goes on to say that men should love their wives as Christ loves His Church. Does THAT sound demeaning to you? Christ died for his Church. So, yes, a man is asked to love his wife so much that he would die for her. Women can hold positions of authority, sure. But not as priests. I don't know any Catholic women who are bothered by that fact. Why does it bother you? Reading about St. Catherine may inspire you. Because of her letters, a pope returned to Rome. Here's a link: http://www.britannica.com/women/article-9404147

          July 31, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • tallulah13

          @joanie

          Let's see... Women are not allowed the dignity of controlling their own reproductive organs according to the catholic church. The catholic church has also decreed that "female ordination in same category of crime under church law as clerical sex abuse of minors.”

          That's right. According to your religion, giving women equal power to men is tantamount to pedophilia. If you think that is respect, you are a very sad human being.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • SarahTX2

      Hi, Derek,

      What is your point? Are Catholic women supposed to aspire to be like the Virgin Mary?

      Sarah

      August 1, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  16. Gerry Daley

    Is there a bigger hypocrite in the Catholic Church than Dolan?

    July 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Junior

      yes

      July 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Junior

      yesss

      July 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
      • SarahTX2

        Yes, Junior?

        July 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  17. Boy, have I got the runs!

    I spent an hour on the toilet just now. It was absolutely brutal.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • JR

      You too? I'm going on 6 days now. I think I got that Cyclospora outbreak that's going around.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  18. Sarah

    I have never heard people speak about something they know nothing about. Why would a church change its fundamental beliefs for an abnormal group who are only interested in themselves. The catholic church is way above this!

    July 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Kristin

      Ignorance is not your friend, Sarah. The church has changed many times before, and if Pope Francis is trying to subtly advocate for a change now, he might be in time to save the RC church before it dies in almost every part of the world. Or, he might not. And Dolan needs to shut his trap.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
      • Derek

        Kristin, the Catholic Church has not changed it's doctrine "many times before". Name calling doesn't exactly make you look like a concerned follower of Christ either, so please hold your tongue. Also, why should we care if the Catholic Church "survives", but has changed doctrine? We want the Church to teach the Truth as given to us by Jesus and His Church. If the Church ever deviates from this Church, then she deserves to die.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Oh, okay.

      I would give more credence to the Catholic Church if they would prosecute the criminal pedophiles within their church instead of persecuting gay people who may have thought of joining.

      The RCC has changed all throughout history. If you don't know anything about the RCC, don't presume to speak.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
      • Derek

        No, the RCC has never changed fundamental doctrine. Please name something that's in the Catechism that the Church has made an about-face on if you disagree. Otherwise, please stop spreading falsehoods regarding Church history.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Oh, okay

          You're kidding me, right? Are you saying it has stayed the same throughout the years and hasn't been added to at all? Get out of your bubble, boy.

          And once again, start cleaning house with your predilection of harboring your pedophile priests instead of snarking on gays.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • joanie

          Exactly, some things can be changed, some things can't. Revealed truth can't be changed. I think people think the Church should be a democracy. But I don't remember Jesus every asking peoples' opinions before He taught the truth. The Catholic Church has been given to us by Christ, the Son of God. it's laughable that we could even presume to challenge Our Lord as to what is true and what is not. Who are we? Mere creatures. He's the Creator. We are to serve Him, love Him and know Him...and hopefully be happy with Him in Heaven.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Observer

      Sarah,

      Sadly, the intelligence level of your comments is not abnormal for many believers.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Gerry Daley

      There's plenty of abnormal people in this world and you are among them. Do you always speak about something you obviously know nothing about?

      July 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • SarahTX2

      Sarah, you didn't really get the gist of it. The real message was that gay priests who fornicate will be forgiven and it will all be forgotten. But women who seek to become priests are excommunicated. Do you see the difference? Perverse men will be kept in the fold while moral and virtuous women will never be allowed in. That's your church, not mine. And your church is becoming completely indefensible, for women especially.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • Junior

        the difference between sin committed through carnal weakness and pride to promote heresy

        July 31, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • SarahTX2

          What?

          July 31, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      There was no "infallibility" until the 1880's. Many of the Marian doctrines were cooked up relatively recently. There was no "sacrament" of matrimony, until Trent invented it. Augustine cooked up "Original Sin". Take a class, and maybe YOU'll know something.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
      • Junior

        Jesus gave us the 7 sacraments

        July 31, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • Rhysem

          The seven sacraments were not formalized until 1274. They are a relatively "recent" phenomenon. Baptism and the Eucharist are significantly older and can arguably be said to date from the time of Christ, but only the Eucharist is specifically derived from the teachings of Jesus. Baptism itself is much older and predates the ministry of Christ.

          July 31, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
      • Derek

        Infallibility always existed, but was defined in the 19th Century to combat the Modernist heresy. Nowhere in history would any Catholic have made the claim that the Pope, when speaking ex-cathedra, was merely voicing his own personal opinion. As for Original Sin, I believe that comes from the book of Genesis, which is a little before Augustine's time. It seems like you got your Church "facts" from the Atheist subsection on Reddit.

        July 31, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Terik Ororke

      Nothing changed –you mistake a condition from a sin. The sinner can also be forgiven but we are not the ones to judge or as Jesus said: the manner in which we dish it out will be the same for us.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "an abnormal group who are only interested in themselves"?

      Aw, Sarah, don't be so hard on your fellow believers.

      July 31, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  19. Dr

    I knew my faith would bring truth.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • JR

      Faith brings delusions.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  20. Dale Zalewski

    Who is this pompous ass, Dolan, and what planet did he arrive from? In this day of an intelligent and educated faithful, we no longer need his kind to interpret the remarks of the Holy Father for us!

    July 31, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Good good. And next maybe you'll realize you need no "holy mothers", and no "holy fathers" either.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Stercus Tauri

      Da pope is his boss! If'n he keep 'interpreting' the pope's words for us, he soon may find himself demoted to bishop of Escanaba, MI.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:38 am |
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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.