Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, put in a good word for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Sunday’s Face the Nation and said he’d be a good presidential candidate.
Dolan also quipped that Pope Francis could throw his hat in the ring, noting the Argentinian pontiff (who polls far better than President Obama) “has really ignited the imagination of the world.”
“And, for once, finally, it’s almost like people are saying, wow, there’s reason to cheer. There’s reason to hope. There’s a good guy. The good guys are winning in the church. People want the church to succeed. People want religion and faith and spirituality to work,” he said. “People in general are on the side of virtue and goodness and everything that’s noble and decent in the human person. And when you see somebody like Pope Francis that can tap into that and just seems to emanate that and call forth — call that forth from everybody, people kind of take a second look at religion and say, wow, maybe belief is worth it.”
Dolan cautioned the media, though, against interpreting Francis’ reforms as changing the structure of the Church. “Christianity, like Judaism, is a revealed religion. It’s an inherited religion. We believe that God has told us certain things about himself and ourselves. And we can’t tamper with that,” he said. “Now, we can kind of redirect the way we teach it or express it. And, boy, this pope is doing that on steroids. But to the substance of it, can’t, can’t, can’t.”
One example, the cardinal stressed, is gay marriage.
“I believe we can’t camper tamper with that. Would I do things to protect the civil rights of those who are unable to live up to that? You bet I would, whether that became insurance, whether that became housing, whatever,” he said. “Do I believe that society could be affected negatively if we tamper with the definition of marriage? Yes. And that’s just not as man of faith. That’s just as, I would like to think, a loyal American, that if we tamper with that essential of human relationships, marriage, we’re sooner or later going to come to regret it.”
He also tipped his hat to Hobby Lobby: “I think they are just true Americans. They’re saying, look, the genius of America is that religious convictions affect the way we act. America is at her strongest, at her best when people can bring everything into the public square, including their moral, ethical, spiritual and religious convictions. And the government should never force us to do anything that is contrary to those deepest held convictions. That they’re fighting for that, willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court, boy, they sure have my admiration.”
Dolan said Bush, who unlike his Methodist brother George W. is Catholic, will be helping the archdiocese promote Catholic schools.
“I like Jeb Bush a lot. Whether I would be for him as a presidential candidate or not, I don’t know personally. But I sure admire him. And I especially appreciate the priority he gives to education and immigration, by the way,” Dolan said. “I found him remarkably innovative… He said, darn it, let’s see what works. We can’t do business as usual. We got to help our public schools. We know that they are terribly flawed. What can we do improve them?”
“And he experimented. And he went out on a limb. And a lot of things — and things began to click in Florida to — such that he’s rightly proud of this progress that he made in education. And, if you don’t mind me blowing our own horn here, he says one of the best things going is Catholic education.”
When asked if he would like to see Bush run for president, the cardinal replied, “Yes, I think he — I sure think he’d bring something, yes. He’d be good.”