ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — There’s been a distinct chill in the relationship between New York’s top Catholic and governor, with the leaders of church and state engaged in an unusually harsh public war of words.

A relationship that’s always been polite, if not downright chummy, is on the rocks of late. Timothy Cardinal Dolan criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo on the front page of the New York Post, and on his SiriusXM radio show.

“It’s a battle that I didn’t ‘start, that I do not enjoy, and that I hope doesn’t continue,” Dolan said.

Dolan took issue on several fronts, including the State of the State presentation when Cuomo claimed he was more in tune with Pope Francis than the bishops when it came to advocating for victims of sex abuse.

“To say Pope Francis is right on the issue and these obstinate bishops in New York are way behind, that’s just not true,” Dolan said. “I found that very hurtful, I found that very disappointing, and most of all I found it terribly inaccurate.”

Cuomo on Tuesday shrugged off the criticism from Dolan, and additional calls from Roman Catholic leaders for his excommunication from the Church over his support of a new state abortion law.

Saying he is duty-bound to separate his religious views from his work as governor, Cuomo, a Democrat, defended his support for the state’s Reproductive Health Act, which he signed last week. The bill mostly codifies abortion rights protected in Roe v. Wade and other federal abortion rulings.

“I have my own Catholic beliefs, how I life my life… That is my business as a Catholic,” Cuomo said. “I don’t govern as a Catholic. I don’t legislate as a Catholic.”

Catholic bishops in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Tyler, Texas, tweeted support for excommunicating Cuomo from the church after he signed the abortion bill last week.

“Excommunication is to be not a punishment but to bring the person back into the Church. It’s like medicine for them,” tweeted Knoxville Bishop Rick Stika. “But this vote is so hideous and vile that it warrants the act.”

Dolan rejected those calls in a statement, saying excommunication “should not be used as a weapon” against politicians who support abortion rights. Another possible sanction would be banning Cuomo from receiving Communion, something Dolan wouldn’t discuss.

Reviewing footage from the 2015 funeral of Mario Cuomo, it’s clear the current governor remained in his pew and did not take Communion.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. Patricia Jacob says:

    What ever happened to Thou Shalt Not Kill? I agree with Bob West….it is not a Catholic commandment…it is in the Bible. God must be so ashamed and saddened. I know I am very sad to think this could possibly happen in our beautiful USA. Who is to determine which babies to discard? This comes from the State of New York that does not believe in the death penalty for a person convicted of a horrible crime. Makes no sense.

  2. Hampton Tonk says:

    Both of you, gentlemen, are correct. The Commandments are applicable not only to Christians and Jews – and to everyone else – because God is Lord of All.

  3. Hampton Tonk says:

    Once the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision is revoked, everyone participating in or holding managerial or other responsible executive positions in Big Abortion organizations will go to prison – because Federal Law trumps State Law – Governor Cuomo.

  4. Hampton Tonk says:

    Governor Cuomo, murdering babies in their mothers’ wombs is in violation of Section 1092 of Title 18 of the United States Code (10 USC 1092), which outlaws genocide, and Section 1111 of Title 18 of the United States Code (18 USC 1111), which outlaws murder. Sooner or later the Courts will catch up to discoveries regarding human reproductive biology and fetal development and revoke Roe versus Wade’s decision, in which the Supreme Court Justices declared that they do not know when human life begins. Now we know – at conception.

  5. Hampton Tonk says:

    Governor Cuomo, I am ALSO a Catholic, and I actually PRACTICE my Catholicism. We are called and expected to lead consistent Christian lives – no boxes. You claim to be a Catholic, but you refuse to act like one. Stop pretending to be a Catholic if you are not going to act like one. If you profess one thing and deny it with your actions, there is a word for that kind of behavior. It is “hypocrisy.” You have to make a fundamental decision, Governor Cuomo: “Am I going to be a Catholic, or am I not?”

  6. Eugene L. Tan II says:

    “I don’t govern as a Catholic. I don’t legislate as a Catholic.”
    So on which guiding principles does Gov. Cuomo use when governing and legislating? What is it to gain the world, at the price of his soul?

  7. Bob West says:

    I totally disagree with Cuomo. Thou shall not murder is not a Catholic belief, it is a Bible command, part of the Ten Commandments. And God detests those who shed innocent blood which is a child in the womb who has no voice.

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