Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/13/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (

John Paul emphasized the spiritual (the soul); Benedict the intellectual (the head); Francis the pastoral (the heart).

The Cardinal is willing to contend with the opponents of the Church, but he always does so with velvet gloves and without personal animosity. He confounds his opponents with Truth and wins them over with the Love of God. He reveals Jesus, the one whom he serves with fidelity and happiness. At this critical time in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, Cardinal Dolan is a gift to both Church and Nation. He is also a model for all of us; no matter our state in life or vocation. This is a missionary age and we are all missionaries.

All three Successors of the Apostle Peter, John Paul, Benedict and Francis, have offered their unique contribution to the Church, in continuity with that Council as rightly interpreted and understood

All three Successors of the Apostle Peter, John Paul, Benedict and Francis, have offered their unique contribution to the Church, in continuity with that Council as rightly interpreted and understood


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

10/13/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Pope Benedict XVI, St John Paul II, Blessed john Paul, pope John Paul, Pope Francis, Holy Father, papacy, New Evangelization, Deacon Keith Fournier

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - My readers know of my deep admiration for Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. I have written numerous articles on him over the years.
I was thrilled when he was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I knew he would do an outstanding job. He has exceeded all we could have hoped for.

It is hard to believe that his term in that position ends soon. At their November meeting, the US Bishops will choose his successor. Pray for these important deliberations.They matter greatly, on many different levels. The leadership of the Catholic Church in the United States over the next three to five years is of profound importance.   

When our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, out of humility, stepped away from the Chair of Peter into his monastic enclosure, I made my opinion known to friends that I thought Cardinal Dolan would have made a wonderful successor.  However, the Holy Spirit had a different plan. We are truly blessed to have Pope Francis at this time in Church history, a new missionary age.

Cardinal Dolan loves the Lord and the Church with an infectious enthusiasm borne of a sincere, living faith in the Risen Jesus Christ. Anyone who has been around him or watched him in interviews and public appearances, experiences the obvious, this man is filled with the joy of the Lord. He is an evangelizer, to the bone. He has a relationship with the Lord which is contagious. We need many more Bishops like him.

He is also a preeminent Catholic voice in the United States and around the whole world. This is a man comfortable in his own skin, at ease with the use of the media, filled with the Holy Spirit, and eager to share the Gospel as it is found in its fullness within the Catholic Church - with all men and women. He has a big heart, open to all, and a special charism of joy. 

Bishop Dolan began the challenging assignment of leading the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in June of 2002 by proclaiming those wonderful words of the late John Paul II, the words of the Angel to Our Lady, Be Not Afraid, when he addressed the faithful. Any observer of the work of Bishops must attest that, given the state of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee when he was appointed, he demonstrated his full palate of gifts during his tenure there. 

Wherever he serves, he is dearly loved by his priests and deacons. That is because he has a pastor's heart and knows the importance of a Bishop's relationship with his clergy. The clergy under his authority know he really cares about them, as a father and a brother. Sadly, that is not always the case in the relationship between Bishops and their clergy.

He is also a dynamic and inspiring communicator and solid teacher of the truths as taught by the Magisterium of the Church. Finally, he is a true leader, both naturally and supernaturally. People genuinely enjoy being around him and want to follow him. Noone and no place is off limits to him because he knows no one is a stranger to the Jesus who still walks the dusty streets of this age through those who bear His name.  

His leadership skills were also immediately demonstrated upon his appointment to the Archdiocese of New York, the second largest local Church in the United States. He has led that vital Archdiocese - which the Holy See has called the "Capital of the World" - with a pastor's heart, a teachers wisdom, and a dedication to defending the fullness of truth as found within the full communion of the Catholic Church without compromise. Yet, he has done so with a smile and not a wagging finger, reaching out with the love of Jesus Christ to all men and women.
The Cardinal is willing to contend with the opponents of the Church, but he does so with velvet gloves and without personal animosity. He confounds his opponents with Truth and wins them over with the Love of God. He reveals Jesus, the one whom he serves with fidelity and happiness. At this critical time in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, Cardinal Dolan is a gift to both Church and Nation. He is also a model for all of us; no matter our state in life or vocation. This is a missionary age and we are all missionaries.

In fact, the United States of America is now mission territory. The Church in the United States is desperately in need of the New Evangelization and Cardinal Dolan is a trumpet in the hands of the Lord. He still proclaims, with clarity, charity, authority and hope, those words which the Angel proclaimed to Mary and which are so identified with the late and beloved St. John Paul II, Be Not Afraid.

Finally, the Cardinal has a marvelous way of giving great insights into important issues, just when we need them the most. That was evident on October 1, 2013, when he penned an opinion piece for the New York Post. It was so helpful that I have chosen to offer it in full to our readers. It can be found here in its original source. 

Along with the enthusiastic interest in - and affection for - Pope Francis, there have been a lot of fabricated and inaccurate media reports concerning his message and the meaning of his papacy.  Some have attempted to present this humble Pope who chose the name Francis as some kind of break from his two immediate predecessors, St. John Paul II and His Holiness, Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. I disagree strongly.  

The truth is that Pope Francis continues the trajectory of authentic renewal and reform which the Holy Spirit has been about since the Second Vatican Council. Of course, I refer to the real Council and the true interpretation of its rich and wonderful documents.

Those teachings represent a return to the sources and not a rupture - as some  agenda driven efforts try to imply. Some rupture proponents have hidden their agendas behind the use of the loaded phrase, the spirit of Vatican II, and their analysis of the Council is suspect at best.

All three Successors of the Apostle Peter, John Paul, Benedict and Francis, have offered their unique contribution to the Church, in continuity with that Council as rightly interpreted and understood. After all, we have only scratched the surface of unpacking that Council. The work and its applications remains to be accomplished.

All three have also contributed significantly to preparing, equipping and rousing the Church to engage this pre-Christian age with the fullness of the Gospel, as re-presented, ever ancient and ever new, through that Council . And, they should properly be seen in continuity.

Cardinal Dolan offers us a great lens through which we can understand  the continuity between these three Popes in a simple and insightful manner in his piece for the Post entitled Popes of the Soul, the Head and the Heart.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan on Popes of the Soul, the Head and the Heart

By common reckoning, there have been 266 popes in the 2,000-year history of the church. We've had some giants, and some lemons. Come to think of it, the first one, Peter, had a mixed record, one day bravely professing Jesus as the "Son of God," but then cowardly denying Him thrice on the day Jesus needed him most.

No wonder one of the best histories of the papacy is entitled "Saints and Sinners." Each pope has particular talents and some obvious flaws. That shouldn't surprise us, since that is also true of each of us.

The three most recent ones, the trio most of us vividly recall, are all giants: Blessed - soon to be Saint - John Paul II (1978-2005), Benedict XVI (2005-2013) and now Francis.

A good way to understand the different gifts of each of these recent pontiffs might be to use the imagery of soul, head and heart.

John Paul II emphasized the soul. President Jimmy Carter, welcoming him to the White House in 1979, even called him "the soul of the world."

The soul of the church seemed exhausted and scared when he stepped out onto that balcony on Oct. 16, 1978, and simply proclaimed, "Be not afraid!" - the advice from God most often found in the Bible.

His eloquent calls to prayer; his accent on the revival of the spirit; his concentration on the sacraments and devotions of the church, which bring the grace and mercy of Jesus; his tender trust of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his record "saint-making," cogently reminded us that the soul comes first.

Bring on Benedict XVI, a renowned theologian, and popular professor and author, who had served John Paul in helping him pass on faithfully the church's doctrinal treasures, and we have a successor of St. Peter who emphasized the head. He would renew the church's vast intellectual heritage, and remind us so effectively that faith and reason are hardly at odds, but actually allies.

So, Pope Benedict could revive the church's charism as the engine of truth, humanity's best friend in the pursuit of learning and education.

And now, Pope Francis emphasizes the heart.

After his first sermon as pope last March 19, a hardboiled reporter I know - and you would, too - told me, with tears in her eyes, "I spend every day covering stories about war, famine, murder and violence. And here this good man speaks so softly about tenderness. I needed that!"

Warmth, mercy, joy, tenderness, outreach, acceptance, love . . . all flow from the heart, and those are the words most used by Pope Francis.

John Paul emphasized the spiritual (the soul); Benedict the intellectual (the head); Francis the pastoral (the heart).

Don't get me wrong: All three knew well that the soul, the head and the heart were all essentials. But each had a particular favorite.

And God's been good, as he seems to have given us the pope we needed for a particular era. Every person needs a soul, a head, a heart. So does the person we call "Mother Church." So do each one of us.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.


More U.S.

Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading

Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading

PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading

Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading

A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading

Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading

Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading

The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading

Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.


A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading

When more than 80 percent of California faces extreme drought -- the spigots remain open Watch

Image of At the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, fountains are still operating. The one change is that they turn off at mid-morning, and haven't been running full-time since the spring.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Extremely dry conditions in the state of California has 80 percent of the so-called Golden State in extreme drought conditions. Many couldn't tell the difference in many urban areas: Sprinklers go full blast on many lawns, and lots of waters goes wasted by ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Corinthians 4:7-15
7 But we hold this treasure in pots of earthenware, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
1 [Song of Ascents] When Yahweh brought back Zion's ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:20-28
20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came with her ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 25th, 2014 Image

St. James the Greater
July 25: For James there was no indication that this was the day that his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook

Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter