Cardinal Timothy Dolan opened his address to the USCCB yesterday with an observation relevant not only to his fellow bishops but also, in my view, to all Christians who are active in politics. He stated:
It is very clear that we’ve got a lot on our plate as we commence our meeting this morning—urgent issues very worthy of our solicitude as pastors. The suffering in the vast areas not far from here caused by the hurricane two weeks ago; the imperative of the New Evangelization; the invitation offered by the Year of Faith; and our continued dialogue, engagement, and prophetic challenge to our culture over compelling issues such as the protection of human life, the defense of marriage, the promotion of human dignity in the lives of the poor, the immigrant, and those in danger from war and persecution throughout the world; and our continued efforts to defend our first and most cherished freedom—all issues calling for our renewed and enthusiastic commitment.
But I stand before you this morning simply to say: first things first. Because we gather first and foremost as disciples of, as friends of, as believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who exhorted us precisely to seek first the Kingdom of God. We cannot engage culture unless we first let him engage us. We cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with him. And we cannot challenge unless we first allow him to challenge us.
Cardinal Dolan’s entire address can be viewed on the USCCB website here (starting around the 36:30 mark in the Monday morning video).