"Face the Nation" transcript: April 8, 2012
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: No, I don't think so at all. I think-- I think politics, just like business, just like education, just like art, just like culture, only benefits when-- when-- when religion, when morals, when faith has a place there. I think the American-- the public square in the United States is always enriched whenever people approach it, when they're inspired by their-- their deepest held convictions. And on the other hand, Bob, I think the public square is impoverished when people might be coerced to put a piece of duct tape over their mouth, keeping them from bringing their deepest held convictions to the-- to the conversation.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, there was certainly no duct tape on-- on-- on your mouth when the President came out and let it be known that his health care plan included Catholic institutions having to buy birth control pills for their employees at church-- in churches and in schools and in hospitals. I want to ask you about that because I interviewed the vice president last week and he told me that it all had been resolved. Here-- here is what he said.
JOE BIDEN: On the substance, the President ended up exactly where he intended, where he began. Which was that, one, every woman in America should be able to have insurance coverage for birth control if she so chooses and that the Catholic Church and other churches should not have to pay for it or provide it. That's exactly where we are now.
BOB SCHIEFFER: For the record is that what you advised the President?
JOE BIDEN: Yes. But that's also where the President was in the front end.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So I guess that question I'd ask you, Your Eminence, are you good with that?
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: No, although I appreciate very much the Vice President. He has been helpful and I-- I-- I have benefitted from his counsel and I look forward to talking to him again. So I am glad he weighed in on it but I would disagree with him. It hasn't helped us much, Bob, because-- because we still have to pay for it, because most of us are self-insured and we are still worried not just about our institutions but also the individuals. So we still find ourselves in a very tough spot, and we're still going to continue to express what we believe is just not a religious point of view but a constitutional point of view that America's at her best when the government doesn't force a citizen or a group of citizens in a religious creed to violate their deepest held moral convictions.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree with what the vice president seemed to be saying that this-- that the President really didn't change his position?
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: Yes, I-- I think so. Although I am a little confused, because the President told me his convict--- his position, his conviction is that the government would do nothing to impede religion. And he-- he was very gracious, and especially complimenting the Catholic family in the United States in their work for health care charity and education. And he'd say I don't want this administration to do anything to-- to impede that. It's tough for me to see how the strangling HHS Regulations do anything but that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this: Do you ever worry that sometimes-- do you like to be careful about getting too involved in politics? I know since the--
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: You do.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --new Pew poll out that says sixty percent of Catholics say that churches and other houses of worship should just totally steer clear of politics.
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: Yeah. I do worry about that, Bob. And this-- this is a good place for me to-- to remind everybody, we didn't ask for this fight, I don't enjoy it at all, I wish I was on here FACE THE NATION answering other questions and you probably do, too. We didn't ask for the fight but we're not going to back away from it. What I'd say is this: Yeah, I don't think religion should be too involved in politics but I also don't think the government and politics should be overly involved in the church, and that's our problem here. You've got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church that bothers me. So hear me say, hey, I'd like to back away from this, I got other things to worry about and bigger fish to fry than this. Our problem is the government is intruding into the-- into the life of faith and in-- in the church that they shouldn't be doing. That's-- that's our-- our read on this.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Your Eminence, this is bound to come up in the campaign. Do you think Catholics would have a problem with a Mormon President because Mitt Romney is a Roman-- is a Mormon?
CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: No. I don't. I hope-- I hope not. No, we have been through that a couple of months ago, Bob. Abe Foxman at the Jewish Anti-Defamation League was kind enough to invite me to address their-- their annual meeting and I was honored too and he said, tell us a couple of ways that maybe the Jewish community and the Catholic community could cooperate better in the United States. And I brought this issue up. I said, listen, everybody, we Catholics and we Jews have felt the sting of the other side, and now one of the ways we can cooperate is-- is to see that religious prejudice, religious bigotry doesn't enter the campaign. I said there-- there may be reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney as President of the United States that he is a Mormon cannot be one of them. And that the-- the Jewish community stood up and gave a standing ovation. I-- I think-- I don't think Catholics should have any problem voting for a Mormon at all.
BOB SCHIEFFER: One final question, what is your greatest challenge now as a Catholic leader?
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