Mormons honor Dolan for visionary leadership

by Dennis Coday

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Religious ideals have inspired every cause that has advanced human dignity in the course of U.S. history, New York's Catholic archbishop told a gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that honored him with an award for visionary leadership last week.

The American Revolution, the abolition of slavery, workers' rights, the right to vote, the peace movement, the civil rights movement, the fight against poverty, and the right to life all have been religiously inspired, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Oct. 13 at a meeting of the New York Latter-day Saint Professional Association.

Faith groups that believe in the right to life, human dignity, the sanctity of marriage and religious freedom should “stand together in solidarity,” Dolan said. Among those groups, Dolan included, “You and I … with our Jewish brothers and sisters, and yes, with our Islamic brothers and sisters.”

The LDS church made a video of Dolan’s talk available via YouTube.

“We need to be together, shoulder to shoulder, because a lot of those values are no longer considered chic,” Dolan told the gathering of about 500. “They're no longer considered acceptable in a world that sometimes considers faith and religion superstitious at best, dangerous at worst."  

The Mormon professional association honored Dolan with its Visionary Leadership Award at its annual Fall Banquet, which raises money for needs-based scholarships for New York area youth. The event was held at The Riverside Church in Manhattan.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the keynote speaker for the event and set the stage for Dolan’s talk by speaking about interfaith endeavors between the LDS and Catholic churches and the importance of having and defending religious faith, according to a press release from the LDS church.

“Religious faith has proven itself to be the most powerful and enduring force in human history," Holland said, quoting R. R. Reno, editor of the conservative Catholic magazine First Things.   

Dolan continued on the theme of the religious belief as a force for change. "We also share a basic belief that all those tenets … that we hold in common are not only utterly religious, they are basically down home American.”

“They are not alien to the genius of this grand republic,” Dolan said. They are, in fact, at “the very heart of the American enterprise.”

“Every cause that we consider to be enlightened, every cause that we consider having enhanced the ability of the human person in defending the sacredness of human life has been religiously inspired," Dolan said.   

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