Sunday, January 29, 2012

The screened out questions for Archbishop Dolan

Law students wrote these and other questions on the cards provided for Q & A after Archbishop Dolan's speech at Fordham, but the moderator announced they wouldn't be taking any "pointed questions" and screened them out.

Questions for Archbishop Dolan
Should Catholic lobbying groups focus on changing behavior primarily through evangelism or by seeking to compel changes through the force of the law?
You have been a vocal opponent of mandatory insurance coverage for contraception.  If oral contraceptives used to treat medical conditions should be permitted, what process should HHS implement to determine the truthfulness of a woman’s description of her symptoms?  Also, what conditions and of what severity would justify affordable treatment?   Would this determination be made by a doctor or by a person with particular theological credentials?
Do you believe organizations run by Jehovah’s witnesses should be exempt from insurance regulations mandating coverage of blood transfusions?
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which you lead, condemned a book by Fordham theologian Sister Elizabeth Johnson and said it should not be used on Catholic campuses.  Do you believe Catholic Universities are obligated to follow this directive?  Do you believe the pronouncement is problematic for academic freedom at Catholic institutions?
Your predecessor Cardinal Egan criticized Fordham Law for giving an award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer because of Justice Breyer’s jurisprudence regarding abortion.  Cardinal Egan expressed his confidence that a “mistake of this sort” would not happen again.  You made statements to the media suggesting you should have been consulted prior to Fordham University giving an honorary degree to Mayor Bloomberg and Fordham Law hosting Senator Schumer as a graduation speaker.  You also criticized Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at its graduation.  Do you believe Catholic Universities should not host individuals who take positions contrary to the Church?  Or employ them? And if so would this apply to all Catholic teachings, thus barring a Republican president who supported the death penalty or welfare caps?
After Catholic hospital administrator Sister Margaret McBride approved an abortion she believed was necessary to save the life of a patient, her bishop made statements explaining she had incurred an automatic excommunication.  A medical provider in Sister McBride’s position might face the further danger of losing his or her job after making such a decision.  In many states, medical providers who refuse to provide a life saving abortion due to their religious beliefs are protected from liability for the death of the patient and from being fired.  Should medical providers who make a decision like Sister McBride did also be protected? 
Banning abortion in the U.S. would entail using the force of the law to make a woman who does not wish to remain pregnant continue her pregnancy.  As a legal matter, if abortion were criminalized, should a woman known to be determined to end her pregnancy be incarcerated or restrained?
You lobbied against New York’s law granting marriage rights to same sex couples, and have rejected accusations that activism against gay marriage, which you have called an “ominous threat”, amounts to bigotry.  Is your opposition to the government recognizing relationships that the Church would not a matter of Constitutional interpretation or Catholic doctrine?
Do you believe the separation of church and state protects religious freedom? 

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