“There is need for hope and light at this time, particularly because of the darkness that sometimes surrounds us,” says Cardinal Timothy Dolan, “and the visit of Pope Francis to the United States is a carrier of this light.”
After the announcement that the Pope would be visiting the United States in September 2015, Cardinal Dolan expressed his expectation that the visit would be “a boost for the Catholic Church here and across America.”
Dolan said that Francis’ visit “will be a sign of hope,” and he express his own happiness that the Pope is coming. “We will be here to welcome him in the best possible way, with great joy,” he said.
Dolan’s enthusiasm for Francis flies in the face of some recent media reports that pit the US bishops against the Pope.
A recent Associated Press report claims the Pope has US bishops “struggling” and that Francis’ approach “has conservative Catholics and some bishops in an uproar.”
Another piece in the Boston Herald adopted the same foreboding line. It says there is a battle brewing between the Pope and the bishops, citing “turmoil” within the church’s hierarchy that is “setting up a showdown between the conservative bishops and the more liberal pontiff.”
This media narrative seems strangely foreign to the way real bishops like Cardinal Dolan are expressing their enthusiasm for Francis.
Another US bishop, Archbishop Charles Chaput, who will be hosting Pope Francis at the Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, has expressed similar admiration for the Pope.
In an interview Tuesday, Chaput said that Francis is “a wonderful man” and that his visit “will bring a lot of energy and Gospel enthusiasm for our Church, which is something we very much need these days.”
There have been reservations, of course. In a recent interview, outgoing Chicago Cardinal Francis George said he could see “why some people might be anxious” since Pope Francis seems “to bring into question well-received doctrinal teaching.” Looking more closely, however, “you see that’s not it,” George said. Often when he says those things, he added, the Pope is “putting it into a pastoral context of someone who’s caught in a kind of trap.”
Cardinal Dolan has said that Francis is a pope “for everyone.”
America needs the light that Francis brings,” Dolan said, and “so does the rest of the world; he is the Pope and is a gift for the whole world. He is a bearer of love, faith, hope, and dignity of the human person–he preaches all this.”