Church & State
This morning, Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich took to his Facebook page to post a scathing review of Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in The House of God, an HBO documentary on the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. Mr. Ulrich had several issues with the film, which he characterized as “an exploitive and biased account of a dark chapter in the history of the Catholic Church.”
“As a proud Roman Catholic, I am truly offended by the blatant bigotry contained in HBO’s so-called documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in The House of God,” Mr. Ulrich wrote. “It accuses His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI of being complicit in covering up sex abuses cases involving Catholic priests and unfairly criticizes the late Pope John Paul II. Above all, its chock full of anti-catholic rhetoric and demonizes members of the clergy (most of whom are dedicated, compassionate and pious men).”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan may have some fans in his native New York, but it doesn’t seem likely that he will be tapped to replace outgoing Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his surprising abdication earlier today. According to David Gibson, a longtime chronicler of the Catholic Church whose work includes a biography of Pope Benedict, Cardinal Dolan’s problem is simple: American citizenship.
“The United States still has this cultural, military and political footprint in the world,” he told Politicker this afternoon. “We’re Bigfoot, and to add the papacy to that American portfolio would potentially cause a good deal of resentment elsewhere in the world, where, frankly, there are a lot more Catholics.”
Earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly announced his abidcation–the first time a Pope has stepped down since 1415–setting the stage for the dramatic process of electing a new Vatican leader. And, although Congressman Michael Grimm doesn’t get a vote in that select process, the Staten Island lawmaker wants everyone to know he’s backing New York’s own Cardinal Timothy Dolan for the holy vocation.
“It is too early to determine the full extent of Pope Benedict’s legacy; however, New Yorkers will never forget the gift he gave us with the elevation of Cardinal Dolan,” Mr. Grimm announced in a statement. “Cardinal Dolan has lifted the spirits of Catholics and non-Catholics throughout New York and the world, and renewed the faith of many. If it were up to me to pick the next pope, Cardinal Dolan would have my vote!”