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An Insult to Catholics': Empire State Building Refuses to Honor Cardinal Dolan's Appointment


"[The building] has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures..."

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Earlier this month, Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, was granted an esteemed honor when he was named a Catholic Cardinal. Considering this noteworthy accomplishment, one would assume that his home city would be jumping at the opportunity to honor him. But, while many New Yorkers were certainly excited and invigorated over the news, The Empire State Building -- a structure that is know for honoring big event and occurrences -- has declined to support the faith leader.

The New York Daily News reports:

The Empire State Building refused to honor Timothy Cardinal Dolan — setting off a torrent of outrage against the iconic structure that has honored everything from athletes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In 2009, the building even honored the 60th anniversary of China’s communist takeover of China. But this week, they showed no love for Dolan — a global ambassador for New York City.

Considering the intriguing choices made regarding who and what gets honored, for many this inaction causes a severe bout of head-scratching. After all, the building was turned green and blue on Monday to commemorate Corporate Philanthropy Day -- something most New Yorkers likely have little knowledge about. And on Tuesday, the same colors will remain to mark National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

In the past, in addition to praising China's communist regime and the Ninja Turtles, as stated, the building has lit up for blue M&Ms and singer Mariah Carey.

Considering these examples, many New Yorkers see the refusal to give Cardinal Dolan the same honor as a slap in the face to the Catholic faith. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has been a vocal voice on the matter.

"It’s an insult to Catholics and to the vast majority of New Yorkers who love Cardinal Dolan," Donohue said.

But it seems there is some light (literally) at the end of the tunnel.

After Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin denied Rep. Michael Grimm's (R-S.I.) official request to honor Dolan, the Port Authority decided to step in and offer its own commemoration. On Friday, 1 World Trade Center was lit up red (this is also known as the Freedom Tower -- the lead replacement building at the WTC site) and will remain that color until the end of this week.

This isn't the first time Malkin has found himself at the center of controversy. In 2010, he refused to allow the building to honor Mother Teresa -- an action that came with much angst from Catholics and others who revered the world's most known nun.

"The Empire State Building celebrates many cultures and causes in the world community with iconic lightings, and has a tradition of light ings for the religious holidays of Easter, Eid al Fitr [end of Ramadan], Hanukkah, and Christmas," Malkin said in a statement at the time. "[The building] has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations."

In the past, though, Cardinal John O'Connor, who died in 2000, was honored with red and white. Pope John Paul II, too, was given consideration in 2005 when the tower went symbolically dark. These instances seem to add question to Malkin's past statements on the matter.


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