(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)
A prominent American cardinal will soon be honored by an evangelical Christian organization for his leadership on efforts pertaining to social issues and the HHS "preventive services" mandate.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York will be given the William Wilberforce Award at a conference in Arlington, Va. The honor will be bestowed by the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview as part of a weekend of events that will be part of an annual event known as the "Wilberforce Weekend Conference."
Dr. Timothy George, chairman of the Chuck Colson Center, provided in a statement an explanation as to why Cardinal Dolan was receiving the honor.
"We're concerned about the dignity of marriage, the sanctity of every human life, including those children waiting to be born, and religious freedom," said George. "On these particular issues as well as concern for the poor and the marginalized, Cardinal Dolan is a hero to so many of us."
Named after the devout Christian politician whose efforts led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in the early 19th century, the Wilberforce Award was established in 1988. Its first honoree was Filipino Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., who was given the award posthumously.
According to the Colson Center's website, the Wilberforce Award "is given to present its recipient as an example and model of the witness of real Christianity making a difference in the face of tough societal problems and injustices."
Other honorees have included former Senator and current Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, International Justice Mission founder Gary A. Haugen, and Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana of Rwanda.
Dolan is the third Roman Catholic clergyman to receive the Wilberforce Award. Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the publication First Things and Bishop Macram Max Gassis of the Catholic Diocese of El Obeid, Sudan, received the honor in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
Ordained a priest in 1976, Dolan was installed as an archbishop in 2009 and presently serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Dolan has gained many headlines over his efforts against the Department of Health and Human Services' "preventive services" mandate, which many Catholic organizations believe infringes on their religious objections to contraception, birth control, and abortion.
The Archdiocese itself serves as the lead plaintiff in a suit against the federal government over the constitutionality of the HHS mandate. The case is presently in New York federal court.