Cardinal Dolan to Cuomo Critics: 'I Don't Have Much Clout--Some Fat, Balding Irish Bishop'

Michael W. Chapman | January 30, 2019 | 12:47pm EST
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Getty Images)

While explaining why he will not formally excommunicate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for signing into law a bill that allows abortion up to the day of birth,  Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan dismissed his critics as being on the "far right," and stressed that he personally has little "clout" and is just a "fat, balding, Irish bishop." 

The cardinal, head of the Archdiocese of New York serving 2.6 million Catholics, also complained that people are looking to him to do something and called on the lay people themselves to "do something!" "Don't look at me!" he said. "Look at yourselves!"

Cardinal Dolan, 68, made his remarks during a Jan. 29 discussion with Fr. Dave Dwyer on his program, Conversation with Cardinal Dolan, Sirius XM radio. 

During the interview, Dwyer said, “A lot of Catholics were calling out, what can we, sort of pointing at you, why don’t you do something!? I thought to myself, last week we had someone on the show whose full-time job it is to do nothing but advocate at the state level for life issues, among all the other issues we have.”

Cardinal Dolan replied, “You can’t win. On one hand, the left is criticizing me, led by the governor [Andrew Cuomo]. On the other hand, the far right is criticizing me because, they said, ‘Oh, that Dolan, he’s too conciliatory. He ought to get rid of the governor, he ought to excommunicate him, he ought to punish him."

“Come on, now!" said Dolan.  "That would be completely counterproductive, right? Especially if you have a governor who enjoys this and wants to represent himself as a kind of martyr to the cause, doing what is right. He is proud to dissent from the essentials of the faith. He’s proud with these positions."


"For me to punish him for it? He would just say, ‘Look at the suffering this prophet has to undergo,'" said the cardinal. 

He continued, “This is ridiculous. I say to the people too, ‘What are you all looking at daddy here? You better do something!’"

"You do something! Okay?" said Dolan.  "I don’t have much clout--some fat, balding, Irish bishop talking about defending the church, talking about how hideous this abortion bill is. They’re going to say, ‘Ho hum, they have to feel that way.’ You get committed, thoughtful, compelling lay people who are speaking up – they got votes, folks!"

"Don’t yell at me! Look at yourselves! You're the only ones that can do it, okay? ” he said toward the end of the discussion. 

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who supports gay marriage and abortion up to the day of birth, and
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. (Getty Images)
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