Meet the Press   |  December 01, 2013

Dolan talks papal impact on political issues

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, talks about how outspoken Pope Francis wields influence on the political landscape.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> what is his effect on american politics , for instance, on some of these issues, be it abortion or gay marriage ? what is the impact?

>> on politicians or on catholics ?

>> well, on the public debates, on the political debates in this country around these issues.

>> i will tell you this. i would say for committed catholics , and thanks be to god there is a lot of them. i love them, i'm grateful for them this thanksgiving weekend, they would say what pope francis has done is reminded us of the latitude of catholic believes and catholic principles. those who would try to closet us, maybe, and just in what you might call below the belt issues be that gay marriage or abortion or prostitution. that's important and the teaching on that is unwavering. but pope francis has said wait we forgive, the way we help the poor, the way we reach out to the sick, fort gthe forgotten, those on the side of the road , that is as strong an imperative as anything else.

>> what about obama care? you have voiced your displeasure with certain aspects of it in terms of man dates for hospitals and so forth. what about the overall goal of it? do you think it will ultimately prevail? would you like it? do you think it's important for the country that universal health care insurance is available?

>> yep. and i'm glad you allow me to make that distinction, david. we bishops have really been in a tough place because we're far universal comprehensive life-affirming health care . the bishops of the united states , can you believe it, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal health care . that's how far back we go in this battle, okay? we're not johnny come latelies. we've been asking for reform in health care for a long time, so we were kind of an early supporter in this. where we were bristling and saying, uh-oh, this is excluding the unborn baby so we began to br bristle at that. and secondly we said, wait a minute, we catholics are kind of among the pros when it comes to providing health care , do it because of the dictates of our conscience, and now we're being asked to violate some of those. that's when we begin to worry and draw back and say, mr. president, please, you're really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. we want to be with you, we want to be strong, and if you keep doing this, we're not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders. that, sadly, is what happened.

>> are you disappointed on another debate on immigration, that it appears that republicans in this case don't see a pathway any longer toward getting this done?

>> immigration would be one of those issues that shows that those who try to pigeonhole bishop's pastor's catholics are wrong. on health care we might be upset with the democrats, the administration. on immigration we're saying to the house of representatives , which is dominated by the republicans, you guys got to get your act together. this is the best chance we've had in fair and just immigration reform . it's in your lap and doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and we're not going to let you off the hook. so yeah, we're disappointed there as