News Release

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Honored With Visionary Leadership Award

Elder Holland Gives Keynote Address at New York City Event


Downloadable video: Event b-roll and SOTs

His Eminence Timothy M. Cardinal Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York City, was recognized Thursday at an interfaith event for his focus on issues involving faith, family and religious freedom. He was honored that day with the Visionary Leadership Award from the New York Latter-day Saint Professional Association. 

“One of the reasons I jumped at this chance [when I got the invitation to attend the interfaith event],” said Cardinal Dolan, “[was that] I've been wanting to sit down with LDS leaders in this community.” 

More than 450 people attended the interfaith event held at the landmark nondenominational Riverside Church in upper Manhattan. The honorary keynote speaker at the event was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both church leaders were greeted with standing ovations throughout the night.

“I feel very much at home with you. And I think that's because you and the LDS family seem just to radiate a very sincere friendliness and hospitality that I've experienced,” said Cardinal Dolan.

“It seems fitting that we are paying honor to Cardinal Dolan here in The Riverside Church, something of a legendary venue for interfaith activities,” said Elder Holland, whose grandparents were Roman Catholic.


He continued, “With his Irish charm and unshakeable faith, he has won our hearts. He has been as firm in his friendship to us in the LDS Church as he has been resolute in his many clerical responsibilities to his mother church.”

Elder Holland also praised Cardinal Dolan for his efforts to preserve religious freedom while serving as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2011, when the Catholic leader called it “the foundational principle of our country — its first freedom.”

“His Eminence certainly has been a stalwart in defending religious freedom, another interfaith bond he has forged with us and others,” he said.

“When religion flourishes, and when people are encouraged to bring their deepest-held beliefs to the public square, that's when America is greatest,” emphasized Cardinal Dolan.

“Religion has been the principal influence — not the only one, but the principal one — that has kept Western social, political, and cultural life moral to the extent these have been moral,” stressed Elder Holland.

He added, "It doesn't need to be my religion over anyone else's religion but we can cherish — and protect — our shared religious rights and a belief in God. I don't know of a single society that has ever remained moral without that.  I don't want to lose that virtue in this or any other country."

Cardinal Dolan said the two faiths have a “real cherished concord” on many issues, including issues of “religious freedom, the dignity of the human person, the sacredness of human life, a solicitude for the immigrant, the poor; a preference for peace over war in the world; [and] the defense of marriage and family as God has revealed. You and I also enjoy a beautiful amity and agreement when it comes to the defining nature of faith. We believe the sovereignty of almighty God. We believe in the objective truth of revealed religion. And we believe, yes, that one of our sacred responsibilities is to bring the truth of that religion to the public square.”

The New York Latter-day Saint Professional Association said Cardinal Dolan has called on lawmakers and others to “obey their religious consciences when it comes to the sanctity of life and marriage.” He was also commended for his interfaith relationships, dedication to the youth through advocacy for Catholic schools and other programs, and his work with the mayor of New York City to help provide beds for the homeless in New York last winter. He also recently hosted a discussion about police shootings and race relations within the city. Cardinal Dolan is known for his faith-building homilies, radio shows and speeches.

Cardinal Dolan is considered a longtime friend of the Church. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles developed a friendship with the Catholic leader before his passing.

Elder Holland outlined recent interaction between the two faiths in the metro New York area that includes Mormon volunteers from New Jersey partnering with Catholic Charities of the Paterson New Jersey Diocese to refurbish a residential treatment facility; local Latter-day Saint missionaries volunteering time at food pantries; and the Piscataway, New Jersey, LDS bishops’ storehouse making various in-kind donations to several Catholic Charities food pantries throughout the area.

Last spring, Cardinal Dolan further demonstrated his friendship toward the Church when he spoke out in admiration of the faith of a Mormon missionary, Elder Mason Wells of Utah, who was injured along with three other missionaries in the terrorist bombing at the airport in Brussels. Cardinal Dolan told FOX News, "This horrible thing is happening to him, but yet in spite of this evil, in the face of this horror, he is able to profess his faith. What a great example for us. When you look at the world today, there is so much darkness, there is so much reason to doubt and get cynical.”

Elder Holland concluded, “We are grateful tonight to honor His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan for the light he shines in such a selfless way. May his unique candle beam brightly for many years to come.”

The Visionary Leadership Award, now in its third year, honors members of the community who have shown visionary leadership in making the world a better place. Former recipients include Paula Gavin, the chief service officer of New York City, and Robert George, a professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

The association’s membership includes 10,000 Latter-day Saint professionals and friends of the Church in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The banquet is held to raise money to fund scholarships. The group has awarded more than 230 scholarships in the past nine years, totaling over $300,000.

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