Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is a practical pro-lifer—yet idealistic enough to believe that the abominable U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Roe v. Wade can—and must—be overturned.
The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reveals his impressive pro-life credentials in the new book A People of Hope, written by Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr.
Dolan views abortion as the most important justice issue of our time.
“We’re talking about human life, an innocent fragile baby, who deserves the full protection of the law. It’s to the credit of the Church that we’ve made this the dominant social justice issue, the number one human rights issue of the day.
“As much as enlightened society would like to say that this issue is going away and it’s no longer considered a major concern, it still is. We all know that. It’s the issue that just will not go away,” Dolan says in A People of Hope.
Dolan also dismisses that notion that pro-lifers’ concern for life ends once a child is born.
“…I know that perception exists, but I don’t think it holds much water. In general, I think we do a laudable job of keeping before us the whole array of issues. Is the protection of the life of the baby in the womb the top priority at this moment in cultural history? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re not savvy enough to know that one of the ways you defend unborn life is to make sure that after its birth, the baby is also protected, and that it can take its place in a society that welcomes and nurtures life at every stage,” Dolan adds.
The archbishop also dismisses the idea that, by lobbying for the life issues, the church is trying to create a theocracy in the U.S.
“If I were calling for a constitutional amendment trying to outlaw hamburgers on Fridays during Lent, you would have every right in the world to say I’m trying to impose Catholic teaching and discipline on American society. As a matter of fact, we’re not. We’re speaking about issues here that are at the core of what we are as a republic,” Dolan tells Allen.
For Dolan, overturning Roe remains a key goal.
“For somebody who just says, ‘Archbishop, I’m with you all the way, but believe me, it’s a losing battle. We might as well wave the white flag, and maybe try to get some cutbacks, but in general we just better live with it.’ That I couldn’t accept, because they’ve given up the fight. I think we’ve got to persevere in the goal,” Dolan said.