What Did the Pope Say to Cardinal Dolan?

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Yesterday I posted some clips of Pope Benedict XVI’s final moments as pope, specifically as he greeted cardinals from the United States. Although he has entered into what we expect to be a relatively cloistered life, the college of cardinals were encouraged to correspond with him. 

Cardinal Dolan, who, of course is both the cardinal archbishop of New York and the current president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is filing daily radio reports on Sirius XM 129′s Catholic Channel and shared: 

To see him for the last time, to greet him and express my love and gratitude and my prayerful unity, that was extraordinarily touching.  To have him look at me, remember my name – which is good when the boss remembers your name – remember the visit to the Archdiocese of New York in 2008, reciprocated the good wishes, that means a lot.

I can add that when I met Cardinal Dolan’s former “boss” in October, among other things, I thanked him for Cardinal Dolan’s appointment. The Holy Father responded with: “He is an excellent cardinal.” He also gave me an enthusiastic “New York!” when I told him where I was from. It was the kind of “New York!” the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus would have loved to hear, and from Pope Benedict! 

In his book, American Babylon, published just after he died, Fr. Neuhaus (former NR religion editor) wrote: 

I confess to being more or less at home in New York, and, truth be tell, to being something of a chauvinist about the city. I expect my friends are wearied of hearing me say it, but I have on occasion described the city — only half-facetiously, of course–as the prolepsis of our hoped-for destination, suggesting that over the gates of the Heavenly City will be a large sign: “From the Wonderful People Who Brought You New York City–THE NEW JERUSALEM.” One adds–with a smile, of course–that people who do not like New York City in this life will have another place to go.

Back to Rome, though, and the invitation from the now-pope emeritus. Cardinal Dolan shares:

We were told ahead of time, before the Pope came in, they said, ‘Now, we don’t have a lot of time each to visit with the Holy Father.  We don’t want to rush you.  But the Pope has asked me – the monsignor that was telling us – to let you know that he would love correspondence with the College of Cardinals.”  Isn’t that beautiful?  So we’ll keep in touch with him…by mail, with letters and stuff.  He’d welcome letters and cards.

We know the Pope Benedict hasn’t left us and his greatest lesson may yet be taught. (As if this wasn’t enough.)

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