Archbishop Dolan Wants to Make de Blasio a Better Catholic

A Bill de Blasio figurine, among religious artifacts, in Italy. (Photo: Getty)

A Bill de Blasio figurine, among religious artifacts, in Italy. (Photo: Getty)

As Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio ascends to City Hall, Archbishop Timothy Dolan is hoping the most powerful pol in New York City gives a lot more thought to an even higher power.

Mr. Dolan, the loquacious leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, told ABC7’s Up Close program yesterday that he would like to see the relatively non-religious Mr. de Blasio embrace his Catholic roots. 

“When I met him, however briefly, he told me he had been baptized and raised a Catholic and he was very proud of the fact that he had an uncle, a priest. What his religious status or health is now, I don’t know,” Mr. Dolan said of the mayor-elect.

In interviews, Mr. de Blasio describes himself as a “spiritual person,” but is not a practicing Catholic or an avid churchgoer. “I’m not affiliated with any particular church,” he told reporters in November. As a young man, he was deeply influenced by Christian “liberation theology,” a leftist Catholic political movement that finds in the Gospel a call to liberation from social and economic oppression.

“Would you try and bring him back into the fold?” ABC host Diana Williams asked Mr. Dolan.

“Oh I try to bring everyone back!” Mr. Dolan replied, laughing. “So if he indicates he’ll have an interest–I’ll be knockin’ at the door.”

Mr. Dolan, a relative conservative in the Catholic Church, went on to say that he agrees with Mr. de Blasio’s focus on income inequality.

“If we Catholics don’t have a very pointed [approach to] the poor, well then we’re not obeying the gospel,” explained Mr. Dolan. “We have to love the poor or literally we’re going to hell … So to have a mayor say, ‘We’ve gotta be very concerned about a good chunk of the population of this city that lives in poverty,’ I’d be cheering him on.”

Mr. Dolan also said there is a “date set” for a meeting between him and the mayor-elect, though he did not specify exactly when.