By John Woods
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York paid an afternoon visit to New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan at his residence Jan. 13 and both leaders promised to work together on a number of issues including the shared desire to have Pope Francis visit New York City.
"If the pope would come, it would be extraordinary for our city. We’ll work together for that goal," said the mayor as he and the cardinal spoke to reporters after their 45-minute meeting.
The mayor said social services and affordable housing are two issues the city and the archdiocese are concerned about and he promised to work toward a "deep and constant relationship" with the cardinal and the archdiocese.
Cardinal Dolan told reporters he appreciated the courtesy of the visit, which came during the mayor’s third week on the job, and said he looked forward to working closely with him.
"My predecessors have enjoyed a great working relationship with his predecessors," the cardinal said, before adding to the mayor, "You’ve got to promise me this is the first of many visits."
The mayor said the city and the archdiocese share "a tremendous common ground" in their efforts to fight inequality and to help the needy. He also greeted representatives of a number of archdiocesan offices and departments who were at the residence.
One topic not raised in his meeting with the cardinal, but addressed during the press briefing, was about the mayor’s personal religious faith and practice. The cardinal was asked if he would work to bring de Blasio back into the "Catholic fold."
Cardinal Dolan, calling himself "a pastor first," said he would be more than happy to respond if the mayor requested his help in spiritual matters.
"We didn’t get into the specifics of his faith," the cardinal said. "If he ever wants to, the door is open."
The cardinal did say that his guest was "extraordinarily gracious" in expounding on the "deep Catholic roots of his own Catholic family."
Shortly afterward, de Blasio addressed media across the street from the cardinal’s residence, and described his meeting with the cardinal as "very energizing."
"We have so much common ground and so much we want to work on together," de Blasio said.
He said he expected to meet with other religious leaders in the city but that the first meeting with Cardinal Dolan was "particularly important" because of the "powerful voice in our city that the cardinal is."
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Woods is editor in chief of Catholic New York, newspaper of the New York Archdiocese.
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