"Despite his stance on abortion, the Governor’s career was closely aligned with the Church’s social justice tradition
Cuomo’s relationship with the Church in the United States, particularly its bishops, was at times strained, especially over the issue of legalized abortion. At Notre Dame and elsewhere, Cuomo maintained that while he was personally opposed to abortion, he didn’t want to make it illegal in the United States.
I disagree with him on this. As I said during last year’s March for Life, because “progressives believe that society must continually extend its embrace to all persons, no matter who they are…protecting the lives of unborn children should be at the heart of the progressive agenda.”
And despite Pope Francis’s call last year to extend the conversation beyond abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception, we should make no mistake: the Bishop of Rome opposes legalized abortion. As recently as Christmas Day, he said abortion kills children “before they ever see the light of day, deprived of the generous love of their parents and buried in the selfishness of a culture that does not love life.”
But Governor Cuomo’s pro-choice stance can’t be a single litmus test to measure his effectiveness as a Catholic politician. Clearly, his public service addressed many issues at the heart of the faith’s social justice tradition. In particular, he tried hard to transform the Democratic Party from a bourqeosis group concerned with the interests of social elites to a party genuinely concerned about the state of society, the struggles of working men and women, and the lives of the poor.
During the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Cuomo said that President Reagan’s trickle-down economics was reducing his “city shining on a hill” to a “Tale of Two Cities.”
“A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there’s another city; there’s another part to the shining the city; the part where some people can’t pay their mortgages, and most young people can’t afford one; where students can’t afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.”
Nearly 30 years later, Pope Francis offered the same critique:
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
While Cuomo had a difficult relationship with New York Cardinal John O’Connor, Cuomo’s son and New York’s current governor Andrew Cuomo maintains a cordial relationship with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. But more remarkable is the relationship between Dolan and current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio."
- Christoper Hale for TIME