The following letter was sent to Cardinal Dolan on May 13, 2020, by the Sisters of Charity Leadership Team.
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
We, the Leadership Team of the Sisters of Charity of New York, write to you not only as women religious, but as faithful members of the Archdiocese of New York. We believe it crucial to express our disappointment in what appeared to us and many others as implicit approval of and support for President Donald Trump and his policies in your communications with him during a phone call with your brother bishops and on Fox News.
As educators and administrators, we understand and support your willingness to praise the positive work accomplished by political leaders, particularly in matters of great importance to our Church and the beliefs we hold sacred. We especially admire your readiness to commend leaders with whom you do not share political beliefs when their work embodies the compassion so necessary in our country. But we also believe that we must never relinquish our responsibility to advocate for the least among us when presented with an opportunity. We believe you were presented with such an opportunity during your recent phone call with President Trump.
As educators, we were keenly interested in your conference call with President Trump concerning Catholic education, a subject dear to those of us who dedicated our lives to sharing our Catholic values with generations of children. For over 200 years, the Sisters of Charity taught children to value truth and honesty and to trust in those who treasure and uphold these fundamental values. That message is more critical today than ever. When Church leaders disregard President Trump’s lack of honesty and integrity while he holds the highest political office in our nation, we abdicate our sacred responsibility to the faithful.
We share in your gratitude for President Trump’s support for Catholic education, and particularly his strong support for the unborn. While we join you in acknowledging the positive, we cannot and should not ignore President Trump’s repeated and callous disregard for those on the margins.
All life is precious and sacred. President Trump and his administration do not support life for the poor and marginalized, for migrants and immigrants, critical climate change policy, nor do they advocate for other social justice issues we uphold as Catholics. Time and time again, we hear him mock others, incite violence, and disrespect those who do not agree with him. When presented with an opportune moment, we, as Catholic leaders, must never relinquish our responsibility to advocate for the least among us. It is our sacred duty to stand for the forgotten, for the neglected, for the stranger, for the other.
As women religious, we are troubled by your reluctance, and that of your brother bishops, to call on President Trump to be a man of truth and integrity, and to be a president who cares for the most vulnerable among us. Because President Trump does seem to value your friendship and opinion, we believe carefully chosen words from you could make a difference for him and, ultimately, our nation.
Please be assured that you remain in our prayers as you continue to lead our Archdiocese. We would be happy to discuss this letter with you in person if you so wish, as well as the challenges that we face in making Gospel values a reality.
Blessings and peace,
Sister Donna Dodge, SC, President
Sister Dorothy Metz, SC, Assistant to the President
Sister Dominica Rocchio, SC, Assistant to the President
Sister Sheila Brosnan, SC, Councilor
Sister Margaret Egan, SC, Councilor
Sister Margaret O’Brien, Councilor
Sister Claire Regan, SC, Councilor