Monday, March 25, 2013

New outreach to Catholics as Biden meets with Cardinal Timothy Dolan in New York

Vice president attends mass and receives communion at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

JAMES O'SHEA, - IrishCentral Staff Writer

Vice President Joe Biden attended mass and received communion on Sunday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York where the mass was celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
At a time when the administration is being sued by Dolan and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference over the Obama health care provision on birth control, the meeting was seen as an attempt to create a new dialogue.
An Irish American Catholic, Biden receiving communion was also seen as significant. Dolan’s predecessor Cardinal Edward Egan refused to give communion to those who differed with the church on the abortion issue.
Biden says he is pro-life but will not seek to impose his views on others.
Biden met with Cardinal Dolan after the mass for coffee but what they discussed was not made public.
Biden’s latest move comes at a time when the Obama administration appears to be using the VP in a new outreach to American Catholics.
Biden represented the administration at the swearing in of Pope Francis in Rome where he again received communion. He was also inaugurated into the Irish America Hall of Fame last week, also in New York, attended by many leading Irish American Catholics.
Meanwhile, Dolan revealed that he had many stories to tell about the papal conclave.
"You know I just got back from three historic weeks in Rome, and you better get used to hearing a lot of stories about those three weeks," Dolan said.
"It was quite an experience, to hear the first-hand stories of how they chose the pope and special inside information we got, it was truly a delight," said a woman who attended the Mass.
Palm Sunday is among the most significant of the Catholic holy days and begins Holy Week which ends with Easter Sunday.
The Vice President languishes in his reputation as “lunch pail Joe”, an Irish Catholic from working class roots in Scranton, PA. The truth of the matter is that his heritage is very minimally Irish and he has not lived in Scranton, PA for 40+ years since he first took his place at the public trough as a U.S. Senator from Delaware. Although it is extremely difficult to challenge anyone’s personal feelings regarding their religious affiliation, Mr. Biden’s public positions regarding abortion and same sex marriage are in direct opposition to those of the Catholic Church. Whether or not he can continue to publically advocate his support for these issues and still consider himself a “devout Catholic” as some have described him is a matter for his own conscience to decide.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree

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