Maureen Dowd Wages War on the 'Starchbishop' of New York for Having the 'Gall' to Oppose Gay Lobby

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is a nominal Catholic. She doesn’t believe at all in the church’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin. When Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, opposes “gay marriage” in New York, the best Dowd could do in her Saturday column was call him the “Starchbishop” and drag out (repeatedly) the sexual abuse scandal of the 1960s and 1970s. If this kind of knee-jerk thinking is annoying at the dinner table, who'd enjoy it in the newspaper?

Archbishop Dolan was born in 1950. Maureen Dowd was born in 1952. Can Dowd really blame Dolan for something that she was “equally” as responsible for in the Catholic church of their childhood? Dolan didn't become a priest until 1976 and didn't get a bishop's responsiblities until 2002. But Dowd is offended that the prelate would dare intervene or speak out on a matter of sexuality:

Certainly his effort to kill the gay marriage bill, just one vote away from passing in Albany, shows a lot of gall.

The archbishop has been ferocious in fighting against marriage between same-sex couples, painting it as a perversity against nature.
If only his church had been as ferocious in fighting against the true perversity against nature: the unending horror of pedophile priests and the children who trusted them.

Abusive priests were (and are) a horror. But Dowd drags this out as the liberal argument against any church tradition. If Dolan argued like Dowd, every time Dowd started to write, he’d drag out her scandalous front-page story insisting Nancy Reagan and Frank Sinatra were lovers: “Can you really trust a journalist who has this standard of accuracy?” Or dragged out the Jayson Blair fabrications every time the New York Times editorialized against anything.

Archbishop Dolan’s job is to evangelize the public with the Word of God, not the Word of Dowd.  Dowd thinks the church should overcome the injustice of childhood sex abuse by becoming indistinguishable from the editorial board of  The New York Times.

Dowd also brought in divorced Governor Andrew Cuomo’s shacking up with Food Network host Sandra Lee, using not the words of Dolan, but of canon lawyer Ed Peters. Dowd thinks the Catholic Church is stuffed with hypocrisy for not offering the sacrament of marriage to two men or two women:

And therein lies the casuistry. On one hand, as Peters told The Times about Cuomo and Lee, “men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony.” But then the church denies the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples living together.

Dolan insists that marriage between a man and a woman is “hard-wired” by God and nature. But the church refuses to acknowledge that homosexuality may be hard-wired by God and nature as well, and is not a lifestyle choice.

Dolan and other church leaders are worried about the exodus of young Catholics who no longer relate to the intolerances of church teaching. He dryly told The Times last year that when he sees long lines of young people on Fifth Avenue waiting to get into a house of worship, it’s at Abercrombie & Fitch, not St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The church refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy at its heart: that it became a haven for gay priests even though it declares homosexual sex a sin, and even though it lobbies to stop gays from marrying.

This is a little dishonest. If the church proclaimed that it was throwing out every priest it thought was gay, Maureen Dowd would be out with two sandwich boards protesting that as an injustice. Dowd should just go ahead and announce what she’s thinking: Dolan doesn’t speak for God. Or...God is a fuddy-duddy who needs to get with What’s Happening Now.

Dowd predictably distorted and despised the church’s finding that perhaps the permissive sexual revolution of the 1970s (ahem, especially in liberal states) could be blamed at all for perverted priests, using the “blame Woodstock” line liberals have used. Yes, a truly committed priest would not betray his vows even during radically changing times. But Dowd’s trying to argue the perversion should be blamed on “cloistered” church culture, not hippie pop culture: 

In yet another attempt at rationalization, the nation’s Catholic bishops — a group Dolan is now in charge of — put out a ridiculous five-year-study last month going with the “blame Woodstock” explanation for the sex-abuse scandal. The report suggested that the problem was caused by permissive secular society rather than cloistered church culture, because priests were trained in the turbulent free-love era. It concluded, absurdly, that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality were causes.

Of course, just like the last lapsed-Catholic executive editor of the Times, Bill Keller, Dowd thinks it’s fun to compare the Vatican to communist dictatorships. Neither has the mental agility to realize the church is a voluntary membership organization:

The Starchbishop noted with asperity that “Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America — not in China or North Korea,” where “communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ means.”

Yeah. Not like the Vatican.

In the same blog, Dolan snidely dismissed the notion that gay marriage is a civil right. “We acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a ‘right,’ ” he wrote. "And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?”

And how about the right of a child not to be molested by the parish priest?

Again, Dowd keeps jerking her knee, and not acknowledging reality: the church should always recognize a child has the right not to be molested by priests. They’re not lobbying the New York state legislature to recognize a right to sexual abuse.

For his part, Ed Peters responded in kind on his blog:

Dowd didn’t invent this style of attack, but she employs it with an excess that should embarrass even those who otherwise like her sassy shtick. Dowd does not blush from piggy-backing her "gay marriage" agenda onto the suffering of clergy abuse victims, like some politico attaching a dubious rider to a sure-to-pass bill in Congress, hoping to short-circuit a debate on the merits of the matter.

That's an effective analogy. Peters was a little stunned that he was dragged in to Dolan’s argument, insisting Dowd didn’t seem to care what Dolan’s argument even was:

Okay, yes, I think that Cuomo’s signature on such a bill would add to his Communion-eligibility problems under Canon 915, but Abp. Dolan is not making that argument: he is arguing natural law on marriage and common sense, not sacramental discipline. (I know, I know, one would have to have read and understood Dolan’s arguments to see that point, but even if Dowd didn’t or doesn’t, some of her readers would have and do). So why does Dowd not discuss Dolan’s arguments on marriage in her article about Dolan on marriage, and later, if she wishes, tackle my arguments on holy Communion in an article about me and holy Communion (assuming I was worth her time in the first place)? Why smush these two strains together?

Because Dowd apparently thinks she has discovered some "ah-ha" contradiction in the Church's logic. She writes:“Therein lies the casuistry. On one hand, as Peters told The Times about Cuomo and Lee, ‘men and women are not supposed to live together without benefit of matrimony.’ But then the church denies the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples living together.”

What?

That’s not right. That doesn't even rise to level of being wrong. Instead, that’s what comes from someone who is not even pretending to be interested in what the other side actually holds.

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Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis