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Gov. Cuomo Won't Join Dolan, Catholic Leaders At Conference

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- New York's archbishop and dozens of other bishops from across New York State were packing their bags Sunday before heading to a state Catholic conference in Albany.

Breaking from tradition, though, New York's new governor, Andrew Cuomo, won't be meeting with them, reports CBS 2's Magee Hickey.

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan will be leading the two-day New York State Catholic Conference in Albany Monday to discuss issues near and dear to the Catholic Church, including state funding for education, same-sex marriage, the unborn and the elderly.

The Catholic leaders will be meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and GOP Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, but not with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said he is just too busy.

"I think it's a tempest in a teapot," Archbishop Dolan said. "He called the other day and said, 'Archbishop, I hope you don't think this is a snub.' He said he had to be out of town."

Some, however, see the governor's unavailability as possible retaliation after a Vatican consultant, Edward Peters, wrote last month that the governor should be denied communion because of what he called Cuomo's "public concubinage" with live-in girlfriend Sandra Lee.

The governor wouldn't comment on the matter at the time.

"My religion is a private matter, and it's not something I discuss in the political arena," he said.

Many people attending mass at St. Patrick's on Sunday thought the whole controversy was a non-issue.

"The governor should be running the state; the church should be dealing with the church," one parishioner said.

Archbishop Dolan did say that if the governor wanted to meet with him privately for some pastoral counseling about his live-in relationship with Ms. Lee, he'd love to talk to him.

On Monday, the governor has said he'll be presenting his state budget in Syracuse and Rochester.

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