Skip to comments.Cardinal Dolan defends decision to invite President Obama to Al Smith dinner
Posted on 08/17/2012 8:21:35 AM PDT by mlizzy
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has defended his decision to invite President Barack Obama to the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.
Emphasizing that Americans wish for greater civility in politics, Cardinal Dolan said that
for seven decades, the Al Smith Dinner here in New York has been an acclaimed example of such civility in political life. As you may know, every four years, during the presidential election campaign, the Al Smith Dinner is the venue of history, as it is the only time outside of the presidential debates that the two presidential candidates come together, at the invitation of the Al Smith Foundation, through the archbishop of New York, for an evening of positive, upbeat, patriotic, enjoyable civil discourse. This year, both President Obama and Governor Romney have accepted our invitation. I am grateful to them.
I am receiving stacks of mail protesting the invitation to President Obama (and by the way, even some objecting to the invitation to Governor Romney), Cardinal Dolan continued. The objections are somewhat heightened this year, since the Catholic community in the United States has rightly expressed vigorous criticism of the Presidents support of the abortion license, and his approval of mandates which radically intruded upon Freedom of Religion. We bishops, including yours truly, have been unrelenting in our opposition to these issues, and will continue to be. So, my correspondents ask, how can you justify inviting the President?
Cardinal Dolan offered several reasons:
For one, an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner is not an award, or the provision of a platform to expound views at odds with the Church. It is an occasion of conversation; it is personal, not partisan.Some have told me the invitation is a scandal, Cardinal Dolan added. That charge weighs on me, as it would on any person of faith, but especially a pastor, who longs to give good example, never bad. So, I apologize if I have given such scandal. I suppose its a case of prudential judgment: would I give more scandal by inviting the two candidates, or by not inviting them?
Two, the purpose of the Al Smith Dinner is to show both our country and our Church at their best: people of faith gathered in an evening of friendship, civility, and patriotism, to help those in need, not to endorse either candidate. Those who started the dinner sixty-seven years ago believed that you can accomplish a lot more by inviting folks of different political loyalties to an uplifting evening, rather than in closing the door to them.
Three, the teaching of the Church, so radiant in the Second Vatican Council, is that the posture of the Church towards culture, society, and government is that of engagement and dialogue. In other words, its better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one. Our recent popes have been examples of this principle, receiving dozens of leaders with whom on some points they have serious disagreements. Thus did our present Holy Father graciously receive our current President of the United States. And, in the current climate, we bishops have maintained that we are open to dialogue with the administration to try and resolve our differences. What message would I send if I refused to meet with the President?
Finally, an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner in no way indicates a slackening in our vigorous promotion of values we Catholic bishops believe to be at the heart of both gospel and American values, particularly the defense of human dignity, fragile life, and religious freedom. In fact, one could make the case that anyone attending the dinner, even the two candidates, would, by the vibrant solidarity of the evening, be reminded that America is at her finest when people, free to exercise their religion, assemble on behalf of poor women and their babies, born and unborn, in a spirit of civility and respect.
"I suppose its a case of prudential judgment: would I give more scandal by inviting the two candidates, or by not inviting them? --Cardinal DolanIs Dolan serious? Is he counting on the faithful of the Church to hold the Church up while he drinks and dances with Death? Does he not realize that Obama is laughing, laughing, laughing, at him? His wife too is cautiously optimistic. With the Catholic vote, she can keep telling people what to eat for four more years (while she girds in her backside heft). Enjoy your dinner, Cardinal, and don't give a thought to the faithful Catholics who are disgusted and scandalized (I mean you did apologize) over the fact you can't bring "scandal" to the Church by standing up for the slaughtered unborn.
The Apostle Paul say we shouldn’t even dine with someone who calls themselves a Christian but denies the Bible and lives a very unChristian life. “What partnership has light with darkness?”
If I recall, there have been periods where the candidates were not invited (1996, 2004).
In case that wasn’t entirely clear, I think this is FAR WORSE than Fr. Jenkin’s invitation of Obama to Notre Dame to receive an honorary degree. Because while Fr. Jenkins knew what Obama was going to do as President, Bishop Dolan knows what he has already done, as a baby killer and an enemy of Christianity.
If he had declined to invite either of the death-eating dirtbags, I’d be cheering out loud.
What faith if any does Barak Obama hold. One reason Dolan gave was that people of faith come together at this dinner.
Do people that support abortion,gay marriage and the removal of Christ/God from classroom/public square, have any faith in Christ?
I say no.
Talk to me Cardinal Dolan after you tell folks that voting Democrat is anti Christian, then maybe I will take you seriously
“It is an occasion of conversation; it is personal, not partisan.”
Figures... the Church hierarchy defending the indefensible while feigning ignorance of the attendee. EVERYTHING with this jug-eared POS is partisan, and its ALWAYS personal.
To suggest otherwise is only justifiable if the person making the assertion has been in a coma for the last four years. Absolutely pathetic.
I think this is FAR WORSE than Fr. Jenkins invitation of Obama to Notre Dame to receive an honorary degree...True Cicero! In a commentary to a Matt Abbott column:
Dolan's demise as defender of the faith is indeed daunting; I thought Fr. Jenkins of ND was talking when I heard these reasons/excuses for inviting Barack. The difference is that Jenkins SHOULD have consulted his bishop if he had any doubts about whether he was violating "Catholics in Political Life," whereas Dolan IS the bishop...and he still gets it wrong...
Outrageous! Notre Dame was awful also. The guy who voted to deny medical care to a baby surviving an abortion was honored and the protesting pro-lifers were arrested.
"It is reminded that in the Church, when it is a question of accusations against a cardinal, the competence belongs only to the Pope; other entities can have a consultative function, always with due respect for the persons."See also:
-- from the thread Pope Clarifies That Only He Can Criticize a Cardinal
Matthew 18:6 ESV
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
I do not subscribe to that premise, as the definition of civility is not a uniform one between the Left and the Right.
The Left believes that "civility" means we accept their views as not only valid, but the gospel truth, and any disagreement is uncivil.
The Right has, for far too long, allowed them that distinction without calling them on it. As a result, we are continually bent over the barrel or having the ball pulled away as we rush to kick it.
(Emphasizing that Americans wish for greater civility in politics, Cardinal Dolan said that)
No we don’t. Screw civility. I want some honest politicians with a spine....
Are you a Catholic, now? When did you convert?
Fine... the Pope may consider my opinion as unpaid consulting.
Who am I to say that a Prince of the Church is wrong?
Maybe after Obama slapped his face with Abortion, contraceptives and forced insurance to pay for both, he is merely turning the other cheek.
In which case Obama gets another free slap.
If it was my face I would NOT turn it for him, but I am just a poor lay person.Not a learned theological scholar appointed to a high place in the Church.
I can promise you one thing, if I was invited to attend this I would decline and let Dolan know in no uncertain terms why.Yes! I would do the same. It seems he is reading his mail.