Dolan on “True Freedom”: A Story of Lies and Deceipt
Cardinal Dolan has published a new ebook called “True Freedom”. I find the title curious. As my regular readers will know, I do not believe he knows what the word “freedom” means. The Catholic News Agency has an article on this book that you can read here. The quotes that I am using for this blog come from that article.
The main point of Dolan’s book is “society faces a choice between true human dignity, and a false concept of freedom culminating in the “culture of death”. Dolan believes that our current culture is inhumane. The source of this problem is “deeply rooted social, philosophical, and ethical tendencies that…find their expression in our laws and attitudes towards others”. This is our “culture of death”. Dolan writes that the Church stands in opposition to this by “boldly and joyfully promot[ing] the culture of life.
I find this curious. I believe the Cardinal has it backwards. The Roman Catholic Church is very much focused on death, dying, and what happens after one dies. The entire organization is geared towards that end—make sure you get to heaven when you die. It would seem that if any organization was promoting a culture of death, it is the Church. The reward of eternal happiness or eternal damnation, and all that those notions encompass is very much focused on death. They are not focused on freedom in this life in any way.
The Church’s focus on life is also peculiar. The Church strives to control or steer our lives in certain directions (focusing on what happens to us when we die). The Church is not interested in freedom at all, not in any meaningful sense of the word. Dolan titled his book “True Freedom”. This is quite misleading. To Dolan, true freedom means following the edicts, dogma, and doctrine the Church. There is no freedom, there is no wiggle room, there are no shades of grey, and there are no choices. Well, I suppose there are choices, but clearly there are those that are “right” and those that are “wrong” in his view—and the Church is looking to remove its view of the wrong choice from the menu (see abortion, same sex marriage, etc). This is hardly any recognizable form of freedom.
Dolan writes that the Church is governed by natural law—“given principles are known through reason and confirmed by faith”. This statement is pure nonsense. As I have written elsewhere, faith has never contributed an ounce to human knowledge. Reason and faith are not compatible—they are diametrically opposed. Dolan is seeking to sway the credulous.
“In only the past few years,” the New York archbishop states, the U.S. has experienced “rampant disregard” for religious faith and human dignity – as shown in the approval of embryonic research, the torture of prisoners, disregard for the definition of marriage, and the federal contraception mandate.”
This is a false statement. In the past few years, if we are counting the last few decades, the rise of Christianity in the U.S. is what has been rampant. The support for the things he mentions does not come from a disregard for religion. Embryonic research, support for same-sex marriage, and support for the contraception mandate stem from our desire to make humanity better. If that comes at the expense of centuries old superstition so be it. It is false to imply that support for these things is done in “rampant disregard” for religion. Many religious people struggle mightily in choosing to support these things because of their backwards faith. They are certainly not motivated to support them from a lack of faith.
Dolan goes on to write, ““We can see that there is a loss here of a sense of truth and objective moral norms – rules of conduct that apply always, to everyone, everywhere,” the cardinal observes.” This is a very misleading statement. Dolan does not believe what he has written. What he means to say is that there are objective moral norms—Catholic ones. He views his brand of superstition as the holders of an objective morality. This is quite curious when we consistently see the moral failures of clergy.
“In his own archdiocese of New York, 40 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion. “And any effort to curtail this unfettered access to abortion,” the cardinal notes, “is turned back by a culture that places a greater value on ‘what I want,’ ‘when I want,’ ‘because I want,’ than it does on life itself.”
This statement needs to be dissected quite carefully. In a sense Dolan is correct. The problem lies in that he sees this as a problem. Dolan views the idea that a woman control if or when she is pregnant as a negative thing. He wants to remove a woman’s right to choose what is happening in her own body. That is not freedom. Dolan rails against “what I want, when I want, because I want” but seeks to replace it with, “what the Church/god wants, when the Church/god wants it, because the Church/god wants it”. I am not sure how he can fit such a concept into a book on freedom.
Dolan goes on to cite the Pope when he notes Benedict’s speech to the German parliament, “the separation of law from morality “fails to recognize the full breadth of human nature, and in fact both ‘diminishes man’ and ‘threatens his humanity.’”. This is a nonsensical statement unless we view it to mean that laws are being separated from a Catholic form of morality and that these laws fail to recognize Catholic nature. Laws to support same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and contraception in no way diminish man or threaten our humanity. What they do accomplish is to diminish the power and influence of the Church. The Church is not exactly the best historical beacon of acting in a manner that supports and recognizes true human nature—see its stance on homosexuality, sex, and masturbation.
Perhaps the most offensive statement in this article or in Dolans book is the following:
“Quoting Pope Leo XIII, the cardinal teaches that authentic freedom is “that freedom which most truly safeguards the dignity of the human person. It is stronger than any violence or injustice. Such is the freedom which has always been desired by the Church, and which she holds most dear.”
I agree. Authentic freedom may be what “most truly safeguards the dignity of the human person”. For the purposes of this discussion, I will grant that point. However, to have the nerve to write that this is an ideal that the Church has stood for or stands for today is nothing more than a blatant disregard for history and outright lie!
Cardinal Dolan and the Catholic Church are not interested in freedom at all. What they want is the freedom to demand that others live their lives according to their faith. They seek to limit the freedom of every person on this planet.
True Freedom? Ha. Hey Cardinal, do you know what true freedom would look like? It would be a woman choosing her own birthing schedule. It would be two people, regardless of their sexual preference, who love each other marrying. It would be supporting the rights of people to choose to use birth control. It would be allowing an abused spouse to seek divorce. True Freedom? The Roman Catholic Church does not know the first damn thing about “true freedom”—other than how to destroy it.
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