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Transcript: Cardinal Timothy Dolan on "Face the Nation," April 12, 2020

Cardinal Timothy Dolan on finding solace during pandemic
Cardinal Timothy Dolan on finding solace during pandemic: "We still got our faith" 06:06

The following is a transcript of an interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan that aired Sunday, April 12, 2020, on "Face the Nation."

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Easter and Passover holidays are a little different this year. For a look at how some Americans are finding solace in faith, we go to the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Cardinal, thank you for joining us.

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: MARGARET, a blessed Easter to you and your listeners.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you. This is Easter week. It is Passover. It will soon be Ramadan as well. How would you counsel people to observe their faith while in isolation?

DOLAN: Well, you use the word faith. And that's key. Faith, of course, doesn't depend on things physical. And we have faith these days that even though we can't sadly get to the synagogue or- or to our parish churches, we can still be in union with God through prayer, through sincerity, through earnestness, through charity to others. And, thanks be to God, so many are using the technological advances that we have, live streaming, radio, TV, you name it. People are- are plugging in it- at overwhelming numbers to be part of a community at Easter and Passover.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are the archbishop there, as we said, of- of New York. That means that your diocese, you are administering to the people right at the epicenter of this outbreak there. And I think one of the most painful things that I can think of is all those families who cannot hold funeral services, hold all the rituals for the people they just lost. We saw those pictures from New York of mass graves. These are things you see in war zones. You don't see in the richest country in the world. How do you grieve without that- that ritual surrounding death?

DOLAN: It's- it's difficult. Just as you have faith that the person you love is still enjoying eternal life and is still with you, so our faith needs to kick in that even if we can't be next to mom and dad or grandma and grandpa and even if we can't embrace the family at a time of mourning, our faith tells us we're still united. We're still together. I've experienced it myself, MARGARET. I've- I've had to bury a number of priests and people at graveside. And I say to them, you know, your grief is complicated because not only have you lost someone you cherish, you were even unable to be next to them in their last moments. And you're unev- unable even to- to mourn and cry and hug one another here at graveside. This is- this is an extended, enhanced, deepened sense of grief, which I hope whenever we got that loss, whenever we got that emptiness, you know, who wants to fill it: God. So I'm hoping it's an invitation from him that as we're empty, he will fill.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Pope Francis gave an interview recently and he said about the virus, it's a time for integrity. What does that mean from a social justice perspective? What is he asking--

DOLAN: Sure, you--

MARGARET BRENNAN: -- people to do?

DOLAN: --you know integrity means a connectiveness, that what we believe deep down inside is mirrored in the way we act. OK, that's integrity. The opposite of integrity is disintegration, when our life falls apart because there's a- a division. There's a- a fracturing between the inside and the out. The Holy Father's asking us to integrity. You see it- you see it when people discover an interior strength. And they're telling me that, MARGARET. They're saying these days I'm alone in my apartment. I'm missing all the things I usually count on. And yet, I've discovered deep down within a- a resilience, strength and virtue and talent I didn't know I had. I'm discovering the warmth and tenderness and love that I have for family and friends, even though I can't be with them. And they'll tell me I'm even rediscovering a faith that had grown somewhat dormant as I'm sensing God's presence and- and talking to him and- and feeling his consolation. That's an integrity when things come together and when that flows out to the way we love and treat other people, as we see so radiantly all over in our health care workers and our first responders and in neighbors who are looking out for one another, shopping, checking on one another. I think we've got an integrity, a connectiveness, a unity of purpose. And I am rather confident that's what Pope Francis meant.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There still is no vaccine to stop this virus even when we get through the worst of it. How are you going to reopen church doors? Are you going to keep the social distancing? And for someone this morning who wants to get in their car and go to any denomination to- to worship, what would you tell them before they make that decision?

DOLAN: Well, we've- God gave us common sense, and God told us we have to pay attention to the common good. The decision that I would make about opening our churches and please God  it's as soon as- as can be, is that we have to listen to the experts. We have to listen to the physicians, the scientists. We have to listen to our civic officials because they're on top of things. And- and we're people of common sense. God gave- God gave us a brain. And part of the way he answers prayers is in the direction, the guidance, the illumination that we get from other people. When they tell us we can go back, and when those medical experts offer some ways that perhaps, at least until we're sure this virus is behind us, we can protect one another, that'll be the time to go. And that's what I say to God's people who today are really missing- they want to get in the car and drive around until they find a church open. God is telling us use your brain. Use your prudence. Use your common sense. Don't tempt the Lord.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Cardinal Dolan, thank you. Happy Easter.

DOLAN: Thank you, MARGARET. A blessed one to you and your viewers.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.

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