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Play-gate: Archbishop Dolan Vs. The N.Y. Times

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- He leads 2.5 million Catholics, and on Thursday night Timothy Dolan was using his position to take on a media giant.

The archbishop is angry at the New York Times, and he's not being shy about showing it.

Dolan sat down with CBS 2's Sean Hennessey for an exclusive one-on-one interview.

Once again, Dolan and the New York Times are at odds.

"I see that as a real insensitivity towards ... towards Catholics," Dolan said.

O'Connor image
This image is part of an exhibit that has Archbishop Timothy Dolan seeing red. (Photo: CBS 2)

Archbishop Dolan is blasting the paper for what he calls a double standard when it comes to race, religion, and the treatment of Catholics. Specifically, an exhibit that includes a severely critical image of Cardinal O'Connor and a picture of a nun.

"In a gaudy, obnoxious, suggestive pose," Dolan said.

With the paper's positive review of the play about nuns in movies.

"Why give publicity to that? You would never give publicity to somebody who did that to an Islamic revered figure or to Jesse Jackson. They just would never think of doing that," Dolan said.

Then there's an exhibit by the group ACT-UP and an image of a beloved Cardinal. Even though the Times review never mentions the picture, Dolan is upset with the recommendation to go see an exhibit he calls offensive to Catholics.

"To have a poster there and say, oh look, in this enlightened exhibit that everybody ought to see, a picture of Cardinal O'Connor comparing him to a condom and calling him a scumbag. They wouldn't get away with that with any other community," Dolan said.

The Times said, "While Archbishop Dolan may not like the play or the art under consideration, The Times' job is to report on and review such cultural events, even if some may disagree with the content of the art work."

Back where the play got out, offensiveness, like beauty was in the eyes of the beholder.

"There was something there that was offensive to everybody, of any religion," one person said.

"Nobody took it seriously," another person added.

But Dolan is taking it seriously, saying he's not above humor or criticism, he just wants an equal playing field from one of the most respected papers in the country.

"If they're going to say, 'Oh no, we do that all the time,' I'm going to say, show me when you do it to the Islamic community, to the Jewish community, to the African-American community, to the gay community. Show me when you do it there. They don't do it because they know that's out of bounds," Dolan said. 

Last year, Dolan ripped columnist Maureen Dowd, claiming one of her columns was filled with anti-Catholic caricatures.

"The Times was very anti-Catholic in the 19th century," City University of New York professor Paul Moses told CBS 2's Tony Aiello.

However, Moses said he doesn't think the paper has an anti-Catholic bias these days, but added printing the picture of O'Connor was a terrible lapse in editorial judgment.

"That's a really scathing image of Cardinal O'Connor," Moses said. "I think that was a lapse with the Times, not that they're anti-catholic. Maybe it's more they simply didn't do a very good job on that story."

Dolan said the Church loves humor, likes to poke fun at itself, and isn't above criticism.

But in the archbishop's mind, there's a civil way to do it and he said the boundary was crossed in these two instances.

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