Cardinal Dolan Speaks on Religious Freedom, Meets with Church Leaders during Visit to Utah

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News editor

  • 2 July 2019

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles inserts humor into his introduction of Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York, during the patriotic service for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

“Freedom of religion has been and is the most driving force for every enlightened, unshackling, noble cause in American history.” —His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York

Religious freedom is not only freedom from repression but also freedom for active discipleship, said His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, at a patriotic service June 30 in Orem, Utah.

“It includes the rights of religious believers, leaders, and communities to engage society and to work actively in the public square,” said the Catholic leader during his first trip to Utah.

More than 3,000 people gathered in the Utah Valley University UCCU Center for the Sunday evening service of the America’s Freedom Festival.

While in Utah, Cardinal Dolan also met with President Russell M. Nelson; President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; and President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Nelson presented the Catholic leader with a statue of the Christus.

In addition, Cardinal Dolan toured Temple Square, Welfare Square, the Bishops’ Central Storehouse, and the Church’s welfare system.

During the Freedom Festival patriotic service, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles introduced Cardinal Dolan—lauding His Eminence as a “bridge builder for all faiths” whose “commitment to the Savior Jesus Christ is evident in everything he does.”

That includes service as chairman of Catholic Relief Services, a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America, and a member of the Commission of Religious Leaders of New York. As the president of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops “he was extremely inclusive of all religions, of all faiths. He was a bridge builder who helped bring those who feel accountable to God together in a very unique and wonderful way,” said Elder Cook.

In addition, Cardinal Dolan’s work “in seminary education has influenced the life and ministry of many priests of the new millennium,” said Elder Cook.

Elder Cook said he was grateful for the opportunity to introduce Cardinal Dolan. On several occasions, Elder Cook has been hosted by Cardinal Dolan, for breakfast, at his residence next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal Dolan is a warm and gracious friend.

He is a “good friend” with “an incredible sense of humor” who has been instrumental in opening important doors and relationships for Church leaders.

He has also supported joint humanitarian efforts with the Church. “Working together we have been able to alleviate misery in disaster situations and have accomplished things together that have been really wonderful,” Elder Cook said.

Following the terrorist bombing at the Brussels airport in 2016, during which four Latter-day Saint missionaries were seriously injured, Cardinal Dolan remarked to the national press, “with tender emotion, his love and concern for our missionaries.”

Longtime friends Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York, and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pledge allegiance prior to the patriotic service for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo at Utah Valley University in Orem on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, speaks at the Americas Freedom Festival at Provo patriotic service, Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Utah Valley University.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan touches the foot of the Christus statue in the North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019.

This “exemplifies the essence of this man” and his commitment to the Savior, said Elder Cook.

During his keynote address, Cardinal Dolan thanked the Church and community leaders for the “cherished invitation and warm welcome” and spoke about religious freedom—“our first and most cherished liberty, in danger, I fear, of being diluted.”

“What are we here for this evening?” he said. “We Americans celebrate what is ever in peril of being taken for granted or lost,” said Cardinal Dolan, quoting former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

The promotion and protection of religious liberty “is being characterized today as some narrow, paranoid, alt-right, self-serving crusade,” he said. “You and I stand together this evening proposing, on the contrary, that freedom of religion has been and is the most driving force for every enlightened, unshackling, noble cause in American history.”

Quoting Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the Freedom Festival three years ago, Cardinal Dolan called religious freedom “the very cornerstone of peace in our world. It gives us all a place to determine for ourselves what we think and believe to follow the truth God whispers in our hearts.”

The defense of religious freedom “happens to be the quintessential American cause,” the “foundation of all other human rights,” he said.

“My proposition to all of us this evening is that in letting freedom ring, we citizens of any and all faiths, or none at all, are not paranoid in self-serving in defending what we hoard as ours, but are in fact protecting the country we love. We act not sectarians, but as responsible citizens we act on behalf of the truth about the human person.”

The civilization called American democracy has roots that reach back to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome—to the Bible “and its teaching about the dignity of the human person,” to the ancient Greek conviction that “reasons that get to the truths built within the world and ourselves” and to the Roman proposition that “the rule of law trumps brute force,” he said.

Cardinal Dolan added, “All we want … is the freedom to carry the convictions of a faith-formed conscience into our public lives.”

The 23rd Army Utah National Guard Band provides music for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo patriotic service, June 30, 2019, at Utah Valley University in Orem.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the patriotic service as part of the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York, speaks during the patriotic service as part of the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York, hugs Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the patriotic service for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

The 23rd Army Utah National Guard Band provides music for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo patriotic service, June 30, 2019, at Utah Valley University in Orem.

The One Voice Children’s Choir provides patriotic music at the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo patriotic service, Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Utah Valley University in Orem.

During the annual America’s Freedom Festival at Provo patriotic service on June 30, 2019, at Utah Valley University, the 23rd Army Utah National Guard Band plays a medley of military anthems. When the appropriate anthem is played members of that branch of service and family of military stand to be recognized.

From left, Timothy Cardinal Dolan meets Sister Mary Cook, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Jeanette Herbert prior to speaking at the patriotic service for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Sunday, June 30, 2019.

President Russell M. Nelson, left, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, embraces Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York, in President Nelson’s office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019.

From left, President Henry B. Eyring, President Russell M. Nelson, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and Elder Quentin L. Cook talk in President Nelson’s office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019.

From left, President Henry B. Eyring, President Russell M. Nelson, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and Elder Quentin L. Cook talk after President Nelson, the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, with a Lladro miniature of the Christus statue in President Nelson’s office in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 1, 2019.

Elder Kent F. Richards, right, and his wife, Sister Marsha Richards, take Timothy Cardinal Dolan, center, on a tour of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, left, learns about the Salt Lake City Tabernacle’s history from Elder Kent F. Richards during a tour of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan greets President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, during his visit to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019. Cardinal Dolan also met with other senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, tours Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019.

Elder Kent F. Richards gives Timothy Cardinal Dolan a tour of Welfare Square facilities in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, participates in a demonstration that shows how humanitarian aid and welfare supplies are prepared for distribution to those in need at the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah. on Monday, July 1, 2019.

Elder Kent F. Richards, right, gives Catholic leaders Timothy Cardinal Dolan, center, and Bishop Oscar A. Solis a tour of the Bishops’ Central Storehouse facilities in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, July 1, 2019.