Updated 03/08/2011 07:47 PM
Cuomo Meets With Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan
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Archbishop Timothy Dolan met with Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday to discuss proposed budget cuts, including those to schools and senior centers.
Dolan is in Albany for the annual New York State Catholic Conference.
The archbishop was joined by other bishops at the lunch in the governor's mansion.
Cuomo had originally said he was too busy to meet with Dolan. Aides to the governor say the archbishop originally wanted to meet Monday, but the governor was scheduled to be out of town. It was only Monday that Cuomo found out the bishops would be in town for two days.
"It worked out better, we got lunch out of it. I told him, I said ‘I hope this doesn’t add to your budget problems,'" Dolan joked to reporters.
There were questions about whether Cuomo intentionally snubbed the bishops, after an adviser to the Vatican said Cuomo should be denied communion because he lives with his girlfriend, celebrity chef Sandra Lee.
Dolan addressed that issue Tuesday.
"The founder of our religion Jesus Christ said be careful about judging," said Dolan. "We bishops would agree we're not about to shy away from matters of faith and morals and we feel strongly about that. But what we're saying to you in all sincerity is there's a time and place for everything. We wouldn't dodge that."
Dolan said he found the governor very receptive to their concerns, especially those dealing with how the governor's budget effects Catholic schools across the state.
A spokesman for Cuomo says the governor looks forward to working closely with the Catholic Conference.
Meanwhile, the archbishop and about 100 other New York Catholics lobbied on issues including gay marriage and abortion.
Reacting to a recent push against abortion rights in New York, a handful of lawmakers has created a new pro-choice group.
"We decided that we needed to speak out in one voice and say ‘not here in New York,'" said State Senator Liz Krueger.
In response, the archbishop said the political climate is swinging in the direction of abortion opponents.
“We’re talking about a premier civil rights issue," said Dolan. "Does the unborn baby have the right to equal protection in the law? We feel that the unborn child does."
The new “Choice Caucus” will have its first meeting next week.