Cardinal Dolan on the Ethical Questions of Our Time & Generation (Full Text of the Interview)

Cardinal Dolan (center) with Michael Menconi FCRH '14 (left) and Ken Ochs FCRH '14 (right)
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York (center) with Michael Menconi FCRH ’15 (left) and Ken Ochs FCRH ’15 (right)


On Thursday, June 5, 2014, Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education Ethics and Society student editors Michael Menconi (FCRH ’15) and Ken Ochs (FCRH ’15) interviewed Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Cardinal Dolan is former President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a member of the Board of Trustees at the Catholic University of America, past chairman of Catholic Relief Services, and he also serves on the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization and Pontifical Council for Social Communications in Rome. His Eminence and the editors were joined by Father Thomas Berg, a moral theologian and advisor to Cardinal Dolan, at St. Joseph’s Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York for the interview.

Ochs: Thank you once again for having us. We would like to get started with our first question. You have had a great deal of interaction and dialogue with young people, and college students, particularly Fordham students. You’ve been to our university many times since you’ve been installed as Archbishop of New York. What values—ethical values, religious values, societal values perhaps—do you believe are most important for those in our generation to hold and put into practice?

His Eminence: Well, first of all, thank you for reminding me of my extraordinarily happy visits to colleges, beginning with your own Fordham University. Those have been magnificently uplifting occasions—and the more, the merrier. Fordham’s president, Father Joseph McShane has been very diligent in inviting me to visit often.  I assume he thinks, ‘If I invite you to twenty things, and you show up to one, I’m in good shape.’ I try to make sure at least once a year I show up at Fordham because I cherish and respect it so much. So I have to say to Fordham: thanks for inviting me to so many of those special occasions. But you asked about the ethical values I think should be most compelling for our students on university campuses, and let’s get precise: at Fordham. What would be the values? What would be the ethical dimension? High on the list of virtues I would look for in college students, and which—by the way—I find in places like Fordham, would be the virtue of generosity. Most of the time we don’t think of generosity as a virtue.  One of the most common and challenging temptations young people face today is to be “ungenerous.” There is a heavy stress today on individualism – what Pope Francis calls the ‘cult of convenience’ – that it is my needs, my wants, my career, my degree, and my time would be dominant in our lives. Now, for an ethical person, and especially for a person for whom Jesus Christ is Lord, Savior, and Teacher, that is very insipid: what we need instead is a generosity of heart that would show itself in openness to others, such that I am not the center of the world – God happens to be the center of the world, and other people come after God, and then finally myself. The beauty of generosity is, of course, that we quickly find in many ways a generosity of heart also leads to a spirit of fulfillment. So, in a way, paradoxically, there is a selfishness to generosity, because in the long run it is rewarding. We look around to see the people who are locked into themselves – those who almost live within a personal gated community, for whom other people are distractions or means to an end. They end up being extraordinarily unhappy, whereas people who have this virtue of generosity are the happiest of people. Now, the one who expressed it best—well, it would be Jesus—but the one who in our memories expressed it most poetically would be Saint John Paul II, who spoke about the ‘law of the gift.’ You might remember what he called the ‘law of the gift’ was simply: we are at our best, we are acting most consistent with the way our Creator intends us to be, when we give ourselves freely and lovingly away to another person. And the ‘law of the gift’ is at the heart of the whole Christian ethic. So the ethic I would look for most in our college students today is that of a spirit of generosity. Generosity is an antidote; generosity is penicillin to our culture of entitlement that is avalanching all of us. And young people are particularly susceptible to the insidious belief that there are certain things coming to me, that I am owed certain things, that I am simply here for other people to serve my needs and take care of my necessities. That culture of entitlement is strangling western civilization. The virtue of generosity is an antidote to that.

Ochs: When you talk about the culture of extreme individualism, and you also mention the mindset that people have to be served, how do those two things reconcile with each other? If one is an individual and wants to be removed from the world, how do you reconcile that with entitlement?

His Eminence: People who are living in an internal gated community recognize that there are others out there, so it is not a complete solipsism. But they also believe that those other people simply exist to take care of them. So people become objects. As Pope Francis says, ‘people are not a means to an end,’ they are an end in themselves, and they need to be loved and respected. So we don’t look at people from a utilitarian point of view: how can they serve me? How can they satisfy my needs? We look at them not as objects but as subjects, and they are not means to an end, but an end to themselves. I see that generosity of spirit, which I would hold up as a primary virtue for young people, at Fordham, when I see students come after school to tutor; when I visit a soup kitchen and I see Fordham students serving the hungry; when I go to pro-life rallies and see Fordham students defending the dignity of all human life. When I had the honor of celebrating the Baccalaureate Mass here in 2012, I met a large group of seniors who were going to spend a year as volunteers in the Catholic Relief Services, so I know that there is the virtue of generosity alive on this campus, and bravo for that. Now a second virtue that I would encourage, that I feel would be pivotal to our young people, would be the virtue of openness to truth. I don’t know what that virtue is called. I am simply saying that this characteristic is certainly virtuous. We live in a culture—in a society—that would almost be based on relativism. That means that the only constant in life would be our own subjective desires, drives, and urges – our  own hopes and dreams. These things would therefore be the only constants, the only normative values in our lives. But, of course, we are driven to seek truth. And there is an objective truth for us, as Catholics, and it is so real that the truth has a name: Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We believe that, at the heart of both Christian ethic and Catholic wisdom, God has told us a lot about himself, and has told us a lot about ourselves. And the best, most effective way He has told us about Himself and ourselves, is by sending his only-begotten Son, the Incarnate Word. As Saint John Paul II so often said, it is impossible to understand ourselves without God, and without Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God’s revelation of what humanity is intended to be, and Jesus said “I am the Truth.’ That sort of truth is so beautiful. The reason you are at a university, and why the Church is in that sacred enterprise, is because you are longing for the truth. You want to know the truth. Not just the truth about math and physics, but the truth about life. Now, we don’t have the whole truth. Sometimes we have a lot more questions than we have answers. But at least we know that there is truth, and it is an extraordinarily noble way to spend one’s life to be open to that truth and to pursue it. Those two virtues—generosity of heart and openness to the truth—are key for all of us, but particularly for young people. But, again, congratulations: I see these virtues evident in students when I visit places like Fordham.

Menconi: We hear from Pope Francis about duty and about obligation and responsibility toward vulnerable populations, toward the elderly, toward the poor, both in our communities and on a global scale. Oftentimes moral principles are portrayed by what we must not do rather than, instead, what we are obliged to do. What unique responsibilities do young people have today, particularly in regard to social justice, and how do these correspond with the rich history of Catholic moral thought?

His Eminence: Let me try to respond in a number of different ways. Unfortunately, words like ‘obligation’ and ‘duty’ are somewhat frowned upon today. Pope Francis is wise in always reminding us that duties and obligations are not something that are imposed, but are something that come from within. If we properly understand who we are in God’s eyes, who we are in the eyes of our Creator, and in relation to other creatures and all of creation, we will sense that there are certain duties and obligations that simply flow from who we are. This is not only an ethical, moral, religious, Catholic insight: it’s also a very American insight. It is at the heart of what our founders meant when they speak about the common good.  As a civic society, especially at the very core of an enlightened democracy, who we are as privileged citizens of this republic have certain duties which arise from within, upon which a democracy is to depend if it is to flourish.  I would congratulate Pope Francis for reminding us of this. It is not an onerous imposition from beyond. The most brilliant person to remind us of this is his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict would often speak about it, and one of the best ways he did it was through what is often called his ‘September legacy.’ Each September of his pontificate he would travel —  there were trips to England, France,  two trips to Germany, one of which we all remember when he made the comments about Islam. On one of those talks, he said that, in the Biblical view of life, the ‘ought,’  — that is, the ethics, the duties, the obligations – always flows from the ‘is.’

First we emphasize the ‘is’ of something. Who are we? Who am I as a human being? Who am I as a child of God? Who am I as a citizen? Who am I as a participant in the human project? From this ‘who,’ from this ‘is,’ will flow the ‘ought,” and from this ‘who’ will flow the ‘what.’ Now, Pope Benedict would tell you that he was not the first to say this, and that it comes from scholastic philosophers. Actions flow from who we are. If we, at the core of our being, have the identity of being a child of God, made in His image and likeness, redeemed by the precious blood of his only begotten Son, destined to enjoy eternity with Him, if this is all at the core of our being,  then that ‘is’ leads to a lot of ‘oughts.’ So we ought to treat another person, who, like I am, is also a child of God. A woman who often speaks about this is Dorothy Day. In fact, one of her beautiful biographies is called ‘The Duty of Delight.’ Duty for her was not imposed, it was not a burdensome obligation, it was delightful. So, her feeding of the poor was not a duty as in ‘I have to do this, because the Church tells me to.’ It was so spontaneous and natural, because it flowed from who she knew she was, and who she knew they were. When we speak about duties and obligations, what we have to do as a Church is to reclaim the fact that duties are not arbitrary, obligations are not impositions, but the basic duties and obligations that we have flow from who we are. And then it becomes liberating. I don’t think that’s a novel idea. I see it when I meet soldiers. I see it when I go to their wakes and funerals. Last summer I went to the wake of a young man who was killed in Afghanistan, and his family was understandably mourning his loss, but proud that, for him, service was a sacred obligation and duty that he felt flowed from his very identity as a responsible American citizen. People might argue with this particular war, but no one could doubt the valor of what he did. Where you most readily see this sense of the ‘ought’ flowing from the ‘is,’ I like to think, is in married couples. A father does not complain about the burdens—although, sometimes if your father were like mine, he would gripe – but his sense of obligation, whether it would be going to work every day, coming home and loving us and my mom, cutting the grass and painting the house, the things we might take for granted, was all something that simply flowed from who he was as a husband and a father. And the same for moms in all the things that they do for their husbands and families. So our identity is so important. Pope Benedict has helped us recover that, and now Pope Francis is building upon it. It is a beautiful Biblical and Catholic tradition of the ‘is’ flowing from the ‘ought.’ People will often say: why does the Church have all these rules? Why does the Church have all these directives? Why does the Church have all these commandments? The simple answer is, we don’t. The Church says, ‘our beautiful duty is to share with you the good news that we have received from God, especially as lived out by the Church for two thousand years.’ There is an exciting adventure here: an adventure in fidelity, and we want to share that with you.   Once you get a sense of who God is, and who God has destined us to be, certain ‘oughts’ flow from that. The Church is not typing up new sets of rules; rather, the Church is reminding us that our actions are consonant with who we are. It is like when a wife says to a husband after he slips up in something, ‘Honey, did you really do that? Is that what a faithful husband would do?’ At that point, the husband can hardly say, ‘Why she is barking at me with all these rules?’ The wife is simply saying that, if you are my loving and faithful husband, which you are, ninety-nine percent of the time, can you see that what you did is not consonant with that? This is what the Church is into, and I would like to think that this is a very urgent ethical challenge that we have today.

Ochs: That goes really nicely into our next question. Because some in our generation, as you probably know, might have a negative impression of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has mentioned an overemphasis on certain polarizing moral issues. Some in college, Catholics and non-Catholics, might feel excluded, perhaps that their lifestyles and choices are at odds with the Church’s teachings, especially those of sexual ethics. What advice would you give to young people whose ability to fully hear the Church’s expansive Gospel message of love, justice, and charity is injured by their disagreement on very specific moral teachings?

His Eminence: Sure, sure. I would like to invite them—because there are a lot of them, you’re right – to be as patient with the Church as they are with themselves and their good friends, and to be as patient with the Church as they are with their families, because indeed the Church is our spiritual family. I would ask them to be as patient with the Church as they hope God is with them. The Church is made up of an extremely awkward and bumbling group of sinners. I happen to be a big one, and so are they. So when we look at the Church, we see a group of people who are striving, due to God’s grace and mercy, to live in accord with God’s expectations as revealed in Jesus Christ, but who more often than not do not live up to them. Pope Francis – and I am glad you cited him, because once again, he is right on target – observes that, if we start with the rules, if we start with the regulations, if we start with the moral do’s and don’ts, we risk turning a lot of people off. Instead, Pope Francis says that we must return to the initial strategy.

Ochs: I recall that in a recent interview, you refer to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, as a shrewd leader.

His Eminence: Yes! He is a shrewd pedagogue, as he says let’s return to the strategy that was given to us by the most successful teacher ever: Jesus. When he met his first disciples at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus did not say: Come here, I want to teach you about the Trinity. Come here, I want to teach you that abortion is a sin. Come here, I want to teach you about why divorce is wrong. No. He said: Come and see. Come, follow me. Get to know me. Talk to me. Love me, and fall in love with me, and gradually, gradually, gradually, your path in life will open up to you. An analogy that I personally like comes from Father Bob Barron, who I consider perhaps the best catechist and evangelist around today, a new Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Father Barron says that as rector of a seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago that he has a lot of young men here studying to become priests for the Archdiocese who are not American. They come from Poland, they come from Africa, they come from Ukraine. He told me once, “Alleluia! Thank God we have them because that is the reflection of the Church in Chicago.  One of the things I insist upon is that they cannot be ordained until they understand baseball because, as Jacques Barzun said, you cannot understand American life without understanding baseball.   So, I take them to Wrigley Field, and they smell the hot dogs, they see the stadium, they watch the crowds, they’re looking at the batting practice. They start to get into the rhythm of the game. They’re intrigued. They’re fascinated. Pretty soon they begin to like it, and start to ask me questions. But when they ask me, I do not start by explaining something intricate like the in-field fly rule. Instead I start with the beauty and the majesty of the game. And then they say to me: explain why does the game have this rhythm and majesty? Only then do I begin to say, ‘here are the rules.’” That is, in a way, what Pope Francis is saying Christian discipleship is all about. It’s all about one person: Jesus. And when we begin to love and serve him, then we begin to say: what are the implications of fidelity to him? What are the results of me saying, ‘Jesus, I love You. You are my Lord and Savior.’ What are the implications of that? That means that now there are certain choices I make and don’t make—and that of course is morality and ethics. These moral and ethical choices, by the way, do not oppose, but rather enhance, the human project. It is the way to true freedom. It is very similar to the choice that men eventually make about a vocation. Some may choose the priesthood—alleluia, if that—but most men someday fall in love with a woman and say ‘I would like to spend the rest of my life with you, and I would like you to be the mother of my children.’ That choice of love means other choices are excluded. It means: I can like another woman too, but now I cannot go out with her. That is how it is with faith. That is how it is with Jesus, and with ethics. Morality becomes not the starting point but the consequence. You would not say to a young person preparing to be a catechist in one of our schools, ‘I am only going to teach you moral theology,’ without also teaching the future catechist about the human person. Before we can get to the beatitudes and commandments, right and wrong, we first have to talk about revelation, the Bible, and doctrine: the Trinity, the Incarnation, Christology, because, here we are again, what we do flows from who we are. If we are going to re-engage and re-fascinate our young people, we have to modify that widespread belief so many people have that the Church is some sort of celestial rotary club, whose leaders meet every once and awhile to issue new policies. I still meet with journalists who say to me, ‘with the new pope, is the Church going to change its policy on abortion?’ They think it is just a rule, a position, like a plank in the Republican or Democratic platform. No! We don’t have a ‘policy’ on abortion. We have an exciting belief that human life mirrors God’s life, that it is sacred, deserving of dignity and respect, and, most importantly that it is intended to be forever!  Ergo, we don’t tamper with the most frail and vulnerable, namely the baby in the womb. This is not a ‘policy,’ voted on and passed at some convention. This flows from our beliefs.  We must reclaim that excitement, that priority, that the Church is not a rule-making ethical society, or an N.G.O. with an agenda – which Pope Francis has warned us against – but a group of extraordinarily free, rational individuals who have fallen in love with a teacher, a man, the Son of God—who has literally done for us like what he did for St. Peter, who was crucified upside down—he has turned our lives upside down and given us a whole new vision and outlook on life. It does have cogent and real moral consequences. But it flows from our faith and love.

Ochs: Before we move to the next questions, I would like to ask you a quick follow-up on this. You mention that some might view the Church as a sort-of rotary club. What effect do you think the Second Vatican Council had on the public’s perception of the Church’s constancy—for both Catholics and non-Catholics? Do you think that the impression of the Church as seen as an unchanging bulwark moving through history is now a little different because of the reforms of Vatican II, as perhaps an unforeseen consequence?

His Eminence: Let me be honest: the Second Vatican Council has had an extraordinarily providential effect on the Church. One of the things it did was to fulfill the dream, the prayer, uttered by Pope Saint John XXIII when he convened and convoked the Council, and preached on the feast of the Maternity of Mary on October 11, 1962. He said, in Latin: ‘Gaudet Mater Eccelesia’ – Rejoice, Mother Church. And he said that while what the Church teaches is unalterable, how she teaches it can change. The Second Vatican Council reminded us of that in an extraordinarily potent way. It reminds us that the core beliefs are immutable and timeless within the Church.  They are there forever. That is the patrimony; that is the pearl of great price that we have received. And we do not tamper with that. We receive them. We accept them. We rejoice in them. How that is expressed, how that is emphasized, how that is presented—to use the term of Saint John XXIII,  how it is gift-wrapped – that can change, as the Second Vatican Council reminded us. So, now, you have the changeless and the changing. There would be some, and I speak as a Church historian, who say: to have accented that in the life of the Church is very providential. Looking back to how things were prior to the Council, there was an overemphasis on the unchanging. After the Council, there may have been an overemphasis on the changing. If you talk to someone who was an adult before the Council, they might say that nothing ever changed, that everything was the same from the time of Jesus—which assuredly wasn’t true, as practices do change. But that was a certain perception. And that was not healthy that we live in a completely unchanging, kind of frozen atmosphere here. But now there are some who seem to think that everything is up for grabs, nothing is immutable, there is nothing that we inherit, nothing passed on, and everything is subjective and everything is subject to alteration and change. That is equally toxic! As equally toxic as the frozen approach, isn’t it? The Church is not some frozen lake. The Church is more like a river, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say. There are flowing waters that run, in our belief, in the sight of Christ. These are constantly fresh and life-giving waters, constantly flowing and moving. Yet this water is defined by clear banks, which make it a river. It is not a lake, but it is also not a flood. So we have to stress the two of them: both the flowing water and the discernable banks, the two boundaries that will contain the flowing river. Today, perhaps, we stress too much the flowing water, and not the defining riverbanks. In the past, we probably stressed the defining banks and not the flowing water. The danger of that is that the water turns stagnant. The danger now is that the water is turning into a flood, which destroys instead of nourishes.

Menconi: For the next question, oftentimes, students during their young adult years might feel pressured to identify with a political party and blindly adopt all of its viewpoints without examining them in relation to one’s own ethical principles. What dangers do you see with this approach? Are there issues that the young Catholic, or the young college student, must be sensitive to, that are conventionally associated with both the American ‘left’ and ‘right?’

His Eminence: First of all, I would not find it bad that young students are actively investigating political parties, and might find a particular affinity with one or the other. I am glad that they are. I would like to see more students involved in politics. One of my fears, though, is that politics has unfortunately become so tawdry and that young people who are idealistic do not want to get involved in it. The tenor of your question is very good, because for us, as thoughtful human beings, and as committed Catholics, no earthly system can be dominant in our lives. The only thing dominant, the first and foremost feature in our lives has to be the one, ‘Dominus,’ the Lord. Part of the dominion, or ‘Dominus,’ of the Lord, are political implications: a sense of and desire for justice, for virtue, for right living. As organized in the political sphere, this would be a very urgent demand for anyone who is a thinking, rational, human being, but especially for a follower of Christ, or for anyone for whom God’s revelation is forceful. Where the problems arise is if we allow anyone or anything else to have the sway over us that we believe only God can have. It was Saint Thomas More who said, ‘I am the king’s good servant, but I am the Lord’s servant first.’ Now that could be tough. That is a tough juggling act to do. No one and no thing in this life can have dominion over us that it does not deserve, that only the Lord deserves. To do otherwise would violate the first commandment: ‘I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me.’ This is idolatry. Sometimes, we can elevate the state to an idol. That is called nationalism. Or, in the American chapter, it would be called an excessive partisanship—where really, my affinity for the Republican Party or my allegiance to the Democratic Party would trump my faith, and that can’t happen. By the way, that is not just a Catholic idiosyncrasy. That is an American viewpoint, one that our founding fathers would believe: that faith and religion are extraordinarily important, so important that this American proposition probably cannot thrive without their influence. And, that the state is always second to one’s faith and religion, such that the state can never impede it. So, we are not dreaming of something new and novel and radical here. We are dreaming of something that has found a home in the United States of America.

Ochs: This next question pertains to research ethics. The ethical treatment of human subjects and animals in scientific research has recently become a more prominent source of debate in both academic and theological communities. Many scientists and medical professionals often impose a utilitarian cost/benefit analysis in the name of scientific advancement. Do you think that Catholic theology takes into account, or assigns, moral value to human and non-human organisms when considering their involvement in research, particularly when the research involves potential harm to the participants? If so, what measures or values are employed?

His Eminence: Definitely! Enthusiastically so when it comes to the human person. The human person can never be the object of experimentation. The human person can be a free, voluntary participant, in some experiment where there is an overwhelming chance of enhancing his human dignity, with a cure or treatment. But we can never allow the use of a human person as a guinea pig, or to use a human as some number in some type of medical experiment.

Ochs: What about animals?

His Eminence: Animals, I would say, are a part of God’s creation, the pinnacle of which is the human being, and they thus deserve unique respect. All creation deserves respect and dignity. That having been said, any abuse of nature, of any of God’s creatures, for a less than noble purpose, would be immoral. The Christian wisdom, the Biblical wisdom would be a noble purpose for the use of animals can be the betterment of the human project—whether that be for food, or whether that be for some type of benign experimentation that might better the pinnacle of God’s creation, namely the human person. So while creation—the environment—and creatures—like animals—can and should never be disregarded and abused, they can, under controlled circumstances, be used for something that would enhance the human project.

Menconi: Society today often stigmatizes young women who become pregnant, regardless of whether the pregnancy was intentional or unintentional. In the current education system in the United States and around the world—even in Catholic institutions—resources for undergraduate and graduate parents in universities are limited and sometimes non-existent. Is this absence of supportive infrastructure for young parents in educational institutions contradictory to the ‘consistent ethic of life’ and respect for the dignity of the human person? What can be done in light of this reality?

His Eminence: Yes. We have to put our money where our mouth is to promote the culture of life, don’t we? I love that, here in the Archdiocese of New York—and it doesn’t happen often, because it is obviously not optimal—we have cases, in our Catholic high schools, where a girl would get pregnant. She arrives at a beautiful, faith-driven choice to give birth to her baby who she loves and wants to care for, and her desire, along with those of her parents, can be that she can continue her education, without disruption. I am delighted when Catholic high schools say: come on in, you are welcome here, let’s rally around you. Now there is some sensitivity, of course, regarding the parents of her classmates, so that they can understand the rationale behind the decision.  If you want to extrapolate to colleges, I don’t know all the policies, but I hope there would be nothing punitive against a young woman who would find herself in an unexpected pregnancy. I’d like to think what if Mary of Nazareth were a student at Fordham – did she not have an untimely pregnancy? So, what you are asking is a very good question: would a young woman in such a pregnancy find a university atmosphere less than receptive and against the consistent ethic of life? If that is the case, it is a good thing you are asking that, because then perhaps we should try to change that.

Ochs: One final question, Your Eminence. Many students at Fordham University, and many college students across the country, will go into the sciences—especially medicine. Many will go into law and public policy. These same students, particularly at Fordham, were marked during their undergraduate years with informed moral principles, whether they are from the Catholic faith, another religion, or a secular normative tradition. You have spoken extensively on the right to practice one’s own faith in the public sphere, and healthcare is one of the largest areas of this public domain. How can we as a society, with multiple understandings of the good, protect individuals’ principles in the healthcare environment, without infringing on the autonomy of others?

His Eminence: You know, when I visit hospitals in New York, which I often try to do quietly, without anyone taking notice in order to visit a patient, usually someone will recognize me and before long, by my side is the head of a department. Almost unfailingly—and these are non-Catholic hospitals—they will say: we love hiring Catholics, because people of faith are particularly good in the healthcare professions. They have a sense of hope, they have a sense of delicacy and tenderness of human life, they have a sense of service and generosity that make them excellent. We do not want robots. We do not want machines. We do not want mere technicians. We need people with not only brains, but with a heart and soul—and they do the best. So anybody that wants to get into healthcare needs to know that it is an apostolate: faith is not just some baggage, faith is extremely effective and important.

Michael Menconi (FCRH ’15) is currently completing a B.S. in Cognitive Psychology, with minors in Bioethics and Sociology. An aspiring physician and public health professional, Michael’s research interests include public health and community medicine, with particular emphasis on the social mechanisms behind child abuse and the consequent effects of toxic stress on child development.

Ken Ochs (FCRH ’15) is a Neuroscience major (concentration in cell & molecular neuroscience), Theology secondary major, and Bioethics minor. His research interests include bioethics, pharmaceutical issues, and the intersection of religion and science.

Editors’ Note: Special thanks to Dr. Celia Fisher, Dr. Elizabeth Yuko, Monsignor Joseph Quinn, Father Thomas Berg, the Cardinal’s assistant Peggy Ward, Director of Communications for Archdiocese of New York Joseph Zwilling, and the staff of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, NY. We are extraordinarily grateful for Cardinal Dolan’s reception of our request for an interview and are profoundly appreciative for the time he spent with us.



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