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. Nnamdi

    I want to know why CNN shuts down any comment that is not complimentary to gays and lesbians but posts every insult against Christians ? Am I missing something ?

    August 1, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Jesus the Christ

      Well they just posted your comment. Not very clever are you? Oh, and if you're just a hatemonger, you'll be eaten alive on here...I'd go back to Faux news if I were you. Hate with the haters.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • nullhogarth

        He won't go to Faux – they don't allow comments over there.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Observer


      "I want to know why CNN shuts down any comment that is not complimentary to gays and lesbians but posts every insult against Christians ? Am I missing something ?"

      Yes. 2 things.
      1) Reading comprehension. While the majority of comments have likely been supportive of gays, many have said nothing has changed.
      2) CNN has an automatic censor that prevents comments from getting on when certain "naughty" words are used.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  2. Jim Bob Jones

    In all seriousness, and without wasting time with some ridiculous comments, can anyone here say what the official Catholic Church teaching is on gay people? I know some of you can throw around slanted accusations, but do you really know what the Church says about how to treat gay folks?

    August 1, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Saraswati


      1. Grave depravity
      2. Against natural law
      3. Treat with kindness and non-discrimination
      4. Sufferers face a trial
      5. Should lead chaste lives

      August 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  3. Sven

    Timothy Dolan, one of the most corrupt men in America, thinks he can clarify what The Pope says.
    If that's not arrogance, I don't know what is.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • God

      Yep, dolan is just jealous that he wasn't chosen as poop.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  4. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    Pope: "Who am I to judge?"
    Every other Catholic cleric, suddenly afraid of not being able to control people any more: "No! Wait! He didn't mean that! We're still judgmental! Don't go away!"

    August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  5. us_1776

    Let the backtracking begin....


    August 1, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  6. Shaniqua the Antiqua

    I loved scratching my hairy V after reading some of these comments.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  7. Jim Bob Jones

    1. The Pope didn't say anything new.
    2. The Catholic Church teaches to love the sinner and hate the sin.
    3. Dolan did not contradict the Pope.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • God

      1. Yes he did, that's why Dolan is correcting him
      2. Since the Inquisition the Catholic church has taught to hate anybody that isn't Catholic. Period.
      3. Dolan said the Pope was high. I think that's a contradiction. Funny, but still correcting the poop.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • SouthernCelt

        Atheists hate, Catholics do not. Hate comes from one place, Love comes from another. Care to guess which one comes where?

        August 1, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • Jim Bob Jones



          August 1, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • Observer


          "Catholics do not hate". Pure fantasy. They are like any other believers who hypocritically pick-and-choose from the Bible to put people down or to pretend the Bible mentions topics like abortion.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Saraswati

          Unless you have evidence to back that up, it looks like you're the one spreading hate.

          Something for you to consider regarding atheists, the religious, ans compassion


          August 1, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Jim Bob Jones


          Catholics are taught not to hate. That is not to say that all Catholics don't hate.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • sam

          Nice try. Ridiculous, but expected.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:32 am |
        • Shaniqua the Antiqua

          As long as I can enjoy scratching the bugs off my hairy V:
          I don't care if the atheist hate
          And the Catholics judge,
          And the humans berate,
          While the Father's full of love!

          August 1, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • Observer

          Jim Bob Jones,

          In talking with people who attended Catholic schools, one of the first things you are likely to hear is how mean and nasty some of the nuns were and how they hit the students, which is in agreement with the Bible.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          To say that catholics don't hate, is possibly one of the most pretentious, ignorant and megalomaniacal comment I've ever read.

          Everybody hates. The bible teaches to hate more than to love. Catholics have been killing, burning, drowning and hating people for well over 1500 years.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Doobs

          Jim Bob Jones

          Catholics are taught not to hate. That is not to say that all Catholics don't hate.

          See, that's the difference between you and me. No one had to teach me not to hate.

          August 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Jim Bob Jones

        Ummmm . . . not to be insulting, but that really wasn't a very substantive rebuttal. You might as well have said something like, "I know you are, but what am I."

        August 1, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • Rainer Braendlein

          Then read my response above.

          August 1, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • LizM

        I'm a former Catholic but your statements aren't true – the flock is mostly built of very good people who are neither taught to hate non-Catholics nor feel that way in the slightest. Every organization has its jerks and sadly, they are always the loudest of the group. The same is true for this Church, although it appears that purely by position, the loudest person in the Church just happens to be one of the most gentle and humble of the flock. Good for the new Pope.

        August 1, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • glenn stockley

      why hasn't dolan been charged with breaking the law by hiding assets from victims...????

      August 1, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • God

        And pedophilia.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  8. Not Catholic

    You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Jesus the Christ

      Did you just fart?

      August 1, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Saraswati

      Except that God is immortal, so saying "Christ died for us" is pretty much like saying "Jenny donated blood last week".

      August 1, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • sam

        I always did wonder about that point. Jesus was supposedly resurrected and ascended to heaven after dying, so...uh...he didn't sacrifice anything. He had a bad weekend for our sins.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • Saraswati

          That would make a great church slogan: "Repent, for Jesus had a bad weekend for your sins!"

          August 1, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • sam

          "The least you can do in return is spend part of every weekend with us!"

          August 1, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Saraswati

          Oh, that's good. "If Jesus endured torture for a weekend, so can you!"

          August 1, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Doobs

          "You think it's tough getting out of bed on Sunday morning for services? Try getting out of dead!"

          August 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  9. God

    Hypocrite. You don't care about anybody. Look at your profanity, your meanness and your bullying. You're a sad waste of skin.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  10. religion; a way to control the weak minded

    who are you referring to? Dolan or the pope?

    Dolan clearly doesnt care about people as he has protected pedophiles for years

    August 1, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  11. religion; a way to control the weak minded

    Like we should care what a protector of pedophiles has to say.

    August 1, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • SouthernCelt

      Anyone convicted of abuse gets de-frocked and turned over to the authorities. Less than 1/10th of 1 percent have even been accused let alone convicted. Keep your hate to yourself closed minded troll.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • JR

        Convicted of abuse...lol. Your cult has to turn them over to authorities first instead of protecting them and shuffling them onto other parishes to further rape children. You pedophile supporters of your pedophile infested cult disgust me. You are repulsive and make me want to vomit.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • sam

        Someone's here to run defense! Keep trying, it's fun to watch.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The 'Crimen Sollicitationis' explictly states that anybody involved in a clergy misconduct investigation, including the accuser and potential witnesses, are sworn to secrecy regarding any and all details, upon penalty of excommunication.
        This preoccupation with secrecy significantly slowed the investigative process – the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against se.xually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to get a reply.
        According to the John Jay report, 918 of 1872 (49%) substantiated allegations of abuse against Catholic clergy were addressed by sending the priest off for psychiatric counseling and then moving him to another parish, with nary a whisper to law enforcement. This number does not include priests relocated for reasons other than charges of se.xual impropriety.

        August 1, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  12. Thought Purification

    Timothy Dolan – a case of sore loser.

    August 1, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  13. Beelzebub

    If you stood that fat bishop next to a starving child in Africa you'd need 50 children at once to weigh as much as he does. Doesn't he look like the gluttony that the bible warns us about? I mean, he's fat, he has a lot of gold...seems to me that Catholics ought to rethink who they listen to when they go to hear about god....

    August 1, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Beelzebub


      August 1, 2013 at 10:54 am |
      • Beelzebub

        Wow, proving yet again how American schools have failed the world. LOL!

        Childish freak. ROFLMAO!!!

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

      The ancient torture device he wears on a chain around his neck weighs the same as four Ethiopian children and could feed a thousand of them if melted down.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • God

        Amen JR!

        August 1, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Yours? LOL! You act like a little castrated man.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    I wonder how the Pope likes having Bishop Dolan correcting him?

    This will show where the true power lies in the Catholic world.

    August 1, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  15. Beelzebub

    Even if there was a historical dude named Jesus

    it is entirely safe to say that

    he was not a virgin birthed,

    walking on water,

    wizard, zombie

    or demi-god.

    August 1, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  16. Tutuvabene

    The Pope doesn't have the power to change church doctrine? Since the doctrine was made by man, why can't man change it?

    August 1, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  17. Jenifer is a family name

    Hey, if the Pope could say thing "while he was on a high" then Jesus probably didn't mean anything he said either!

    August 1, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      good point.

      August 1, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  18. Jim Bob Jones

    Dolan did not contradict the Pope and the Pope said nothing that the Catholic Church hasn't taught for decades.Unfortunately, the media, which is woefully uninformed about the teachings of the RCC, has blown this up to mean something it is not. Any well-catechized, knowledgable Catholic knows this is not news.

    August 1, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Beelzebub

      What does RCC stand for? Retarded-Centric Cows?

      August 1, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Jenifer is a family name

      It almost looks like you said "catheterized" LOL!

      August 1, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Observer

      Jim Bob Jones,

      How many other popes have mentioned not judging others and referred to gays?

      August 1, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  19. Observer

    Grow up, child.

    August 1, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Beelzebub

      no, you're a freak.

      August 1, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Beelzebub


      August 1, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Beelzebub

      ROFL! AND you're illiterate! It's your, not you're!


      August 1, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  20. JBischof

    "These weary issues" are important to many people. It's close minded to too many issues which are happening today.

    August 1, 2013 at 10:28 am |
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