|Hmmm, There does seem to be a certain similarity between Cardinals Wolsey and Dolan.|
I have followed the story about Cardinal Dolan giving the benediction at the GOP convention with a certain amount of disbelief....followed by a great deal of anger and frustration. In my case the frustration stems from cognitive dissonance, and this Dolan/GOP thing gave me a great deal of cognitive dissonance. Such a state always produces a certain amount of outside the box thinking because outside the box thinking is the only way I can solve cognitive dissonance. Hence I have come to the conclusion Cardinal Dolan is the current incarnation of Tudor England's, Cardinal Wolsey.
There are some striking similarities. Cardinal Wolsey was the son of a butcher. Cardinal Dolan is the brother of a butcher. My New Age friends who believe in reincarnation always stress the family connections and their similarities. This particular similarity is kind of unique. I can't imagine many cardinals in today's church have a family connection with a butcher. Other similarities are equally interesting. Wolsey was given the title "Legate a latere", a title that made him an exalted and permanent representative of the Pope, and superseded the authority of the Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury. Essentially, as head of the USCCB, Dolan's authority supersedes any other bishop in the US, and of course, he somehow got that title by circumventing the USCCB's usual protocols. In both cases a form of national clerical rank was achieved that surpassed the usual channel of occupying the oldest historical See. I also find it fascinating that Wolsey was Cardinal Archbishop of York, and Dolan is Cardinal Archbishop of New York.
My New Age friends also say that once you have found the similarities you must look for the total opposites, because those opposites outline the karmic issues a person has reincarnated to work on.
In doing that I found Wolsey served as Henry VIII's Chancellor at a time of economic turmoil in England and that his grasp of the changing economics was poor. What I found pertinent to my hypothetical musing was that Wolsey pursued a more social justice perspective when it came to taxes. He saw how iniquitous and inefficient the tax system was, so he instituted a fairer income tax which placed the bulk of financing Henry's lifestyle and his multiple wars on the wealthier. In this respect Wolsey seems further advanced than Cardinal Dolan. But then Wolsey was a butcher's son, not just a butcher's brother, and probably had a more personal grasp of how the tax system favored the wealthy at the expense of the poor and the trade classes.
Cardinal Dolan's closing benediction at the GOP convention will be seen and interpreted by the right as Catholic endorsement of the economic and foreign policies of republican neocons. These would be the very same philosophies used by President Bush who took this country from a debt surplus to the mess we have now, and whose two unfunded wars were instrumental in creating our national debt. His economic policies of low taxes on our economic nobility and his other unfunded programs like Medicare D are now being used to skewer President Obama who inherited these messes. Dolan's own lack of economic chops has allowed him to make the statement about Paul Ryan that "I am anxious to see him in action." in spite of the fact the Ryan budget severely targets the poor for the never ending Republican meme that lower taxes for the wealthy means more reinvestment in the US economy. The nobility weren't happy to do their share during the reign of Henry VIII---Wolsey made a lot of powerful enemies--as they infinitely preferred to romp along with Henry. It's difficult to imagine the majority of our current 'nobility' doing much different. Too many of them seem to see the government as the never ending bail out machine. On taxation and wealth distribution issues Cardinal Dolan could take a real lesson in courage from Cardinal Wolsey.
Eventually Cardinal Wolsey fell from grace because he couldn't solve Henry VIII's marriage and 'pelvic issues'. Cardinal Dolan seems willing to have the whole American Catholic Church fall from grace over marriage and pelvic issues, and here's another difference between the two men. Another karmic difference I think. Wolsey fought to loosen Vatican control over Henry's sexual life and although, he did his best to fight doctrine with doctrine, eventually Wolsey lost everything. Dolan is attempting the exact opposite, to make Vatican doctrine on pelvic issues the law of the land, and unlike Wolsey, Dolan has nothing personal to lose and even more to gain. That has to be karmic.
In the end, all Cardinal Wolsey accomplished was to delay for a few years the very top down English schism. If Cardinal Dolan doesn't want the same kind of karmic debt, he better start listening to the liberals in his own Church before he finds himself presiding over a very bottom up American schism.
One last thought. In the movie A Man For All Seasons, Cardinal Wolsey is depicted dying alone and outcast and about to be arrested for high treason. He states to Lord Norfolk: If I had served my God half so well as my King, I would not lay dying in this god forsaken place." Cardinal Dolan may indeed be trying to serve his God better than his president, but neither Cardinal will have gotten a very core Christian lesson: God is served best in service to the least of the least, not the richest and most powerful.