Abp Dolan: “Conversion of hearts, not calls to action”

This direct quote from his presidential address to the current meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) struck me like a knife. In a litany of descriptions about the essence and mission of the Church, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said that the Church’s focus should be on what “Jesus prefers,” namely “conversion of hearts, not calls to action.”

The not-so-subtle critique of Call To Action notwithstanding, Dolan’s words are hard to understand. In an address that one would expect to be unifying those from all points of the Catholic spectrum, is this not a direct self-contradiction? Is not the life of Christ and His followers one that should continually seek both conversion of heart and the Gospel call to live out its mandates in daily action? Is not the Gospel in action evidence itself of the converted heart, or rather, the heart in the midst of ongoing conversion?

Here’s the full paragraph in which this statement was made:

“Our urgent task to reclaim “love of Jesus and His Church as the passion of our lives” summons us not into ourselves but to Our Lord.Jesus prefers prophets, not programs; saints, not solutions; conversion of hearts, not calls to action; prayer, not protests: Verbum Dei rather than our verbage.”

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