Opinion

A Q&A with Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Keeping the faith & faithful

Nice to stop the world occasionally and talk to those who run parts of it. Being Jewish High Holy Week, here’s equal time to the other side, His Eminence Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan: “Baltimore, in early USA, had the most Catholics: 14,000. Today, that’s a parish in The Bronx. As we expanded so did religion. 1808 the diocese of New York was established.”

Q: Do cardinals go to confession? A: “Yes. They need it more. Behind a screen nobody knows who you are. I’m in street clothes. Once the priest mentioned a great article by the archbishop on the sacrament of penance (or confession). I didn’t say I’m the one who wrote it.

“Cardinals retire at 75. That’s in 3 ¹/₂ years. I’m at home in New York. Odds are I stay in New York. Depends on your successor. I’d ask the OK to take an apartment here or live in a rectory.”

Q: Born here but with allegiance to the Vatican state, what’s your passport? “I’m a proud US citizen with an American passport not special enough to get me through customs. The Vatican gives cardinals a diplomatic one when they’re on some mission like when I went to Cuba. Then, a Vatican passport helps.”

Q: The official residence is so palatial, is your porridge from golden bowls? “I’m up early, around 5, go down to the kitchen microwave and make my own instant oatmeal and coffee. The ground floor’s so ornate it’s like Campbell’s funeral parlor but my quarters are simple. What clothes have I? Black cassock and black shoes. My room’s simple. I can handle my own cigar collection, I put my feet up, I read mysteries, but I won’t let you examine my bar area.

“When I’m retired, I’d go home more, see my mom, 92. Every few months I go home to spend a few days with her, maybe play gin rummy or horseshoes with my nieces and nephews. Whatever hair I have left, it’s hair down. Eventually I’d have more speaking engagements, give retreats to priests, take longer vacations, spend more time with my dog Pickles. I’d still have priestly duties. Offer Mass. Count me in to do confirmations. But there wouldn’t be restrictions.

“I worry about decrease in religion. Jewish, Islamic, Protestant friends say allegiance to a faith in which you were raised and belonging to a church is not strong anymore. It’s sidelined. An official in this state said the end of corona had nothing to do with faith and prayer — it’s all science. I say, ‘Baloney.’ Science is a way God answers our prayers. I’m worried.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan gestures as he attends the traditional Easter Sunday service, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at St. Patrick's Cathedral, in New York, U.S., April 4, 2021.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan gestures as he attends the traditional Easter Sunday service, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York, April 4, 2021.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

A toothsome tale

Australia’s Col Allan, New York Post former editor-in-chief, told this never before heard story. Sworn to secrecy years back when it happened, I never repeated it. But now, for a first, he opened it to the whole world. Col — back in the safety of Sydney — just told this. Out of his own mouth. On TV. I can only tell you it happened with Tom Cruise. They were in the famous but now closed Circo. If you want the exact word-for-word story and how it happened, you need to catch the fourth final episode of “Gossip,” my now streaming documentary on Showtime which just aired.

Tom’s two front teeth fell out. He snapped them back into the empty space. However he managed to speak he managed to ask Col to never tell. Col didn’t tell. But . . . now . . . Col’s told the whole story.


Scene & heard

Thanks to “Variety” writer Addie Morfoot’s interview with my “Gossip” documentary director, Emmy nominee Jenny Carchman. I’m appreciative . . . Bill O’Reilly’s e-mail message is: “The Biden presidency may be unravelling” . . . David Arquette’s podcast tells of when he fell through the roof of an airplane on the Universal lot. And I wish everyone a peaceful blessed Jewish holiday.


Newly reopened outside curbside restaurant. Lady diner complains: This unfamiliar person’s been hanging around me 15 minutes. He’s doing nothing. I don’t know who he is, what he wants. Owner: Please don’t upset him. He’s our new busboy and he needs to learn to serve you.”

Only in the current state of New York, kids, only in the current state of New York.


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