The columnist wondered, where does religious fanaticism come from, and Dolan replied, religious belief does not equal fanaticism.
But the columnist, Thomas Zachek, never said that it did.
Interestingly, Dolan is sympathetic to most of Zachek's critical observations pertaining to all those other religions, until Zachek gets to Dolan's particular religion of choice, Roman Catholicism.
In the meantime, Zachek correctly observes that "most believers are pretty sensible and not given to [fanatical] extremes." Despite that clear enunciation, Archbishop Dolan inexplicably accuses Zachek of "reduc[ing] all religious belief to fanaticism."
Zachek invoked Joseph Ratzinger, a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI, and the latter's admonition that Roman Catholicism is the only one "true" religion, and that all the other religions are in some way defective.
But that's not the same as saying that Roman Catholicism is fanatical per se, only that bold claims to the one true religion are the seeds of fanaticism. Much unfortunate history supports this.
Thomas Zachek certainly wasn't the first person to point that out:
Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.And those claims say nothing — which is to say, quite a lot indeed — about all the non-Christian religions, none of which, by definition, are "true" paths, according to Ratzinger.
Nor is Zachek the only one to have challenged Ratzinger's assertions:
The statement brought swift criticism from Protestant leaders. "It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of 75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries.Dolan didn't rebut Zachek's point, he reinforced it.