Friday, August 10, 2012

Predictable exploitation of Obama invitation to Catholic charity dinner in NY



You won't see me criticizing a bishop very often, even on prudential judgments.  I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and accept the fact they have their own consciences to act on, not mine.  They will answer to God for their prudential decisions, and I will answer to God for my response to any controversy and whether I maintained proper respect and virtue in discussing it.

In this post, you are going to see me over-use the word, "exploit," and it's many variations. I don't think it can be overstated.

As much as I like Cardinal Dolan, and appreciate a number of things he has done, I respectfully disagree with his inviting, or condoning the invitation to President Obama to speak at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York.  It takes place the third Thursday in October.  It happens just before the election. While Obama and Romney are suppose to be self-deprecating, you can fully expect exploitation by Obama supporters to win Catholic votes for him.  The exploitation has already begun. Here is the headline from a blog entitled, "Catholics for Obama."  Emphasis mine in italics.
President Obama to be honored guest at Al Smith Dinner

Pandora's box has been opened.

Pope Benedict XVI did not give Nancy Pelosi any such opportunity when she stopped in to visit when in Rome.  It happened in private.  No cameras were allowed.  Before she got out the door, the Holy See released a statement to make clear what happened (unbeknownst to her as she stood on the steps outside spinning the private audience).

It is the "ground troops" - ordinary, faithful Catholics that will have to exhaust tremendous time and energy trying to mitigate the damage once the exploitation begins to spread. 

We will see an increase of this kind of language.  Cardinal Dolan probably truly believes this is not honoring Obama, but what matters is how it is perceived by others.  Obama's mere presence at a well publicized Catholic event speaks volumes: One side is wounded; another sees it as an opportunity.  Good luck trying to mitigate the damage that will come when opportunitists begin to spin it in venues that all Catholic media together cannot reach, including Archbishop Dolan's own blog, which doesn't reach the average Catholic in the pew.  Most Catholics aren't even in the pew these days, so it is even less likely they will be reading any Catholic media where it is being explained that the invitation is not some kind of honor.

Superpac ads will undoubtedly exploit still shots, video or just make use of distorted headlines and articles. Only God knows how many people will be led to vote for Obama through the exploitation of his being at this event, and all that comes from it.

Salt has been poured into an open wound that faithful Catholics have been nursing for all too long.  This particular one seems to come around every four years and something needs to change. I hope Cardinal Dolan will consider a new tradition in New York - stop inviting presidential candidates and politicians altogether, given the grave assaults on life, family, and religious liberty, as we have seen with the present administration. Are there no other persons - those who have strong Catholic values - who can bring in big money for the Al Smith Dinner?  Do the ends justify the means, especially when there is great potential for the means to be exploited by others for evil? 

Archbishop Lori says the invitation is not an endorsement. That is objectively true, but how is it perceived subjectively?


As you will see in the reading list below, faithful Catholics are split. While some reacted quickly and strongly, one way or the other, there has been much greater silence over the issue.  I count myself among those who just felt like a deer in headlights.  Rather than lash out with my initial feelings on the matter in an emotional way, I wanted to ponder it for a few days, and digest what other reasonable people were saying.  Some of those articles are below.  I have not been swayed by those dismissing this as relatively harmless.  The issue of exploitation is just too great.  All it takes is one photograph that can be used to give the impression that all is well between the hierarchy and Obama. 

While there is much criticism that is making headlines, I think the minimal support out of orthodox Catholic sources, coupled with a much greater silence on the matter, speaks volumes.  This is just going to heat up as the event gets closer and in the days that follow, depending on how it gets exploited. 

Here are some posts I have read in recent days - that are supportive and not supportive.


Al Kresta devoted some time to it in his national radio hour on Friday (audio here).  He is encouraging people to write to Cardinal Dolan and explain how this will affect you and the work you do - respectfully.  The Cardinal can be reached at He can be reached at (212) 371-1000 or archbishop.dolan@archny.org

UPDATE 8-12:  Raymond Arroyo asked Supreme Knight of the K of C, Carl Anderson, for an opinion.  Rather interesting reaction from Anderson.  He was certainly proceeding very delicately.




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36 comments:

Nick said...

Hopefully he convinces Obama to stop being pro-abortion.

And let's pray for candidates to stop making empty promises.

Rick DeLano said...

No chance this was any kind of mistake.

It's the perfect Obama photo op.

It is certain to give him a critical boost pre-election.

Certainly there will be a quid pro quo, probably an acceptable HHS exemption.

In return, we will get another Obama term, and the imposition of same sex marriage.

Any notion that Obama is going to change his fanatical pro-child murder policies is simply ridiculous.

Hope?

Yes, I hope.

I hope I'm wrong.

Nathaniel M. Campbell said...

Isn't it traditional for both major candidates for President to address the dinner? In 2000, both G. W. Bush and Al Gore were there; and in 2008, both McCain and Obama attended.

Or were you just as outraged four years ago when Obama attended the dinner?

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Nathanial,

Yes. It is traditional to invite both presidential candidates to the dinner, which is why I proposed it is time to consider creating a new tradition - one without politicians.

There are too many controversies in the political sphere and politicians are always looking for a way to use the hierarchy since they know the Catholic vote is important.

There is some background on which candidates spoke and didn't speak, in the wake of Roe v. Wade in this wikipedia entry. Here is the relevant portion copied in:

Since 1980 this custom has been affected by friction between the Democratic Party and the Catholic Church over abortion.[4] During the 1980 dinner Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter was booed.[4] In 1984, Ronald Reagan spoke, but his opponent, Walter Mondale, opted out, saying he needed time to prepare for an upcoming presidential debate.[5] Amy Sullivan suggests that Mondale's decision was motivated by "tensions between the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party."[4]

In 1996 and 2004, the Archdiocese of New York chose not to invite the presidential candidates. In 1996, this was reportedly because Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor was angry at Democratic nominee Bill Clinton for vetoing a bill outlawing some late-term abortions.[6] The organizers' explanation was that the candidates had been unable to commit to attending the dinner.[6] The vice-presidential candidates spoke instead. In 2004, Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling explained that the candidates were not invited because "the issues in this year's campaign could provoke division and disagreement,"[6] but some speculated that the decision was due to Democratic nominee (and Roman Catholic) John Kerry's pro-choice stance on abortion.[7]


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_E._Smith_Memorial_Foundation_Dinner

Dismas said...

I trust His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan's discretion in this matter. I see no contradiction in a Catholic organization meant to engage secular politics and the culture of death by inviting the President to a dinner meant to do just that.

I have un-subcribed from the Stop the HHS Mandate website. I can't condone encouragement in sending thousands of distracting and divisive e-mails to His Eminence. This organization was founded to engage and effect secular politics not distance itself from it.

His Eminence has a reason and a plan, for my part, I choose to trust and support his decision.

Manny said...

I agree, he should not have invited Obama. But perhaps it might be an opportunity for Romney to outline right in front of Obama the differences. What can Obama say? Still the fact that Obama is invited undermines the Catholic argument.

Lazy Disciple said...

Diane, I followed Al Kresta's coverage and found myself disagreeing with him. I began to place my disagreement with him over at his blog, but eventually wrote up a piece of my own.

A link is below.

The Scandal that Wasn't: thoughts on Cardinal Dolan's invitation to President Obama

Best,
Chris

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Chris,

Your link is leading to a dead end, but I am offering it here because I intend to quote parts of it, and people should refer back to your post for context.

"The Scandal that Wasn't..."

First, I don't think I made it clear enough that the list of commentaries I put up were both supportive and non-supportive of Cardinal Dolan's invitation, and I do not necessarily agree with those positions, or with everything someone said. In the case of the Kresta interview, I did not listen to it in it's entirety nor did I need to. I only knew that he had covered it, looked for the audio and when I confirmed I had it, put it up along with the other commentaries.

Also, my opinion - which concerns itself mainly with how the event will be exploited by Obama advocates looking to win the Catholic vote - was not formed after reading any of the above commentaries. It was my initial concern, and remained my concern after reading several arguments supportive of Cdl Dolan's actions, or dismissive of the potential harm.

With that out of the way, I did read your post in it's entirety and you laid out your position very carefully. It may be more of a response to Al Kresta than it is to me. I did not use the word, "scandal." I myself cannot be scandalized because I am strong in my understanding that this is not an honor. Rather, what I am trying to drive home is that the person who goes online or opens a paper up the next day is going to likely see an image of Cardinal Dolan and Obama together, and the press, which is in the tank for Obama, will exploit it in such a way as to try to capture every Catholic vote it can get. The people I am talking about do not get their Catholic news from Catholic media or blogs, including Cardinal Dolan's blog; they get it from places like the New York Times. One picture, without any context, is enough to give the wrong impression to a fence-sitter.

I'm going to continue in my next comment addressing some specifics in your post.

Lazy Disciple said...

Diane,

I am looking forward to your commentary. Also, I hope I did not give the impression of arguing with you, directly. Certainly, you are not "throw[ing] Card. Dolan under the bus." I suppose I don't think Al is, either - certainly, his Thursday "Direct to my Desk" commentary segment made it clear that he thinks Card. Dolan is a "mensch" with whom Al has a "prudential disagreement."

The practical upshot, however, is the same.

Best,
Chris

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Now, if Pope Benedict XVI could make former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, who is not only a supporter of the permissive abortion status quo in France, but also a public adulterer, an honorary canon of Rome's cathedral basilica - and he did, on December 20th, 2007 - then the Cardinal-Archbishop of New York can have US President Barack Obama over to dinner.

We are not talking doctrine or dogma here, but prudential judgments. A reasonable Catholic can disagree, even with the Pope, on prudential matters. From my standpoint, I will say again, that it is time to re-evaluate some traditions (small "t").

I used the example of how Pope Benedict XVI treated Nancy Pelosi. He greeted her - privately. He gave no opportunity for a photo-op, and the Holy See - ever aware of how she would likely exploit the visit, released a statement before she could get out the door.

There are concerns over the propriety of giving the most radically pro-abortion President of the United States ever elected in the history of the nation a platform from which to advance his pro-abortion agenda. Anyone concerned about this has never been to (or YouTubed) the Al Smith Dinner.

No relevance when looking at the context of my post which concerns itself with any way the event can be exploited by others looking to boost Obama's Catholic vote. The fact that it will be a humorous event gives all the more potential for a great pose of the head of the USCCB with the president (and time will tell how it gets exploited). Again, Catholics who are regulars in the blogosphere are not likely to be led astray; it's the many Catholics who merely skim headlines and pics.

[To be continued in next comment...]

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

After discussing the Notre Dame scandal you write:

They did not succeed in embarrassing ND and her president, though they did make the POTUS appear gracious in the face of rabid hatred and scorn.

They also burned all bridges with the White House. This is the loss of the field, the result of which was a seriously diminished capacity on the part of the bishops (whether singly or corporately) to press for enforcement of conscience exemptions and institutional autonomy, for the rights of Catholic schools to teach Catholic doctrine in social matters and maintain hiring and disciplinary practices in line with the Catholic vision of the human person and the true good of society.

The outcry never had more than the slimmest of chances to keep the President Obama off the dais on ND's Commencement Day, 2009. It did, however, succeed in placing Catholic health care facilities and schools at greater risk of government intrusion and prevarication, while simultaneously reducing the bishops' ability effectively to champion the rights and immunities of the Church and her organs. Said shortly: the outcry succeeded only in angering a vindictive Chicago pol, who happened at the time to be the most powerful man in the world.

In sum, the end result of the public outcry over ND was a Church with a weakened ability to defend human life from conception to natural death.


This is highly subjective. You seem to believe that those protesting Obama's invitation to ND somehow made him shift (to a worse position). How do you know that? This is nothing more than shifting the blame. I don't believe for a minute that this administration ever had any intentions of dealing with the US bishops on anything when they could go to Sr. Keehan at CHA who would tell them what they wanted to hear. Obama doesn't care about the bishops; he cares about the pro-abortion lobby. This is a man who has shown no qualms about steam-rolling the US Constitution and he could not be stopped if not for the US courts, so the bishops are nothing to him. To suggest that he could be made worse by protesting his appearance is baseless to my mind.

This is a man who advocated infanticide when he voted against the born-alive protection in his state (now a federal law prohibits murdering abortion-surviving infants to die if they come through the painful process alive. A tyrant is, as a tyrant does. I believe dialogue needs to happen, but I also believe you don't set aside such serious assaults on life, family, and liberty for a night of laughs. The danger of exploitation to advance evil even more is great.

[To be continued...]

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

[continued...]

So, perhaps I am scandalized a bit...by my fellow Catholics who would throw Cardinal Dolan under the bus in order to score a few sympathy points with the "home crowd" while simultaneously giving ammunition to the folks who think Christians generally and Catholics especially are unfit to participate in public life.

While I disagreed with many of your arguments, I really thought this was a cheap shot. Raising a concern about exploitation is hardly throwing Cardinal Dolan "under the bus." Moreover, only an act of osmosis could account for a reading of hearts - that those raising concerns are playing to the "home crowd." I, for one, found it very painful to write what I did, and I did so knowing it would bring me some flak, which it has, along with some support.

I stand by my other argument that salt has been poured into a very deep wound with this. Faithful Catholics have endured decades of mixed signals coming from the hierarchy and they have watched the devastating effects in their families. The empty pews are a testimony to what mixed signals can do among a poorly catechized faithful. The Catholic vote in 2008 which helped put Obama into office is another.

Sometimes I think bishops lose sight of the fact that the average Catholic skimming headlines is very poorly catechized and does not come with the same level of understanding they, or their circle of peers have. While you cannot be scandalized, thank God that you understand what you do. Think about those who don't have your understanding.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Chris,

I did not see that your comment of 7:35 came while I was continuing my response to you.

Based on that comment, I understand you weren't referring to me throwing Cardinal Dolan under the bus. Thanks for clarifying.

I will say that I don't think others objecting are trying to throw him under the bus either. I just don't think that's a fair assessment. People are hurt and scandalized by this and there has been no explanation out of Cardinal Dolan.

In the end, I hope to be proven wrong, and that the Cardinal has some great chess move up his sleeve that makes those of us raising concerns look like fools. I'll be the first to publicly acknowledge it if that happens.

But, I stand by my post.

Lazy Disciple said...

Diane, your comments deserve more attention than I have to give them just now. Still, I want to say a couple of things in preliminary reply.

First, you are right about my judgment being "highly subjective" if by this you mean that it is basically speculation. Nevertheless, it is the informed speculation of a guy who has spent his entire adult life observing and commenting on precisely this aspect of political reality. Ask yourself this: why would Obama - a pol raised in the down-and-dirty street fighting tradition of Chicago - deliberately antagonize the Church in the US if he reputed the Church a force to be reckoned with? Now ask: where did he get the idea he could disregard the Church? Now ask yourself: where did Obama get his bone to pick with the Catholic Church?

Next, I think your concerns about "exploitation" are overblown and misguided. Beside the fact that Romney will have his chance with the Cardinal, too, there is really basically no one out there thinking, "I guess that whole thing about the HHS mandate is so much water under the bridge," still less, "Oh, well, I guess this means that Cardinal Dolan supports President Obama." It sounds, though, like your real concern is that some people will somehow see the Al Smith Dinner photos and conclude from them that it is somehow, vaguely, "OK" to vote for Obama. Well, the thing is, it is "OK" to vote for Obama - so long as one does not vote for Obama because of his morally offensive policy positions and actions. You and I might disagree with someone who concludes that Obama is the way to go in 2012, despite his appalling positions on life issues - I know I sure do - and if anyone thinks we are in for a more centrist, conciliatory POTUS BHO in the 2nd term, then I have a bridge to sell him in Brooklyn - but that prudential judgment, while profoundly wrong and wrong-headed, will not consign those who make it to the fires of hell for all eternity.

Let me leave you with a final practical consideration. While it is true that Catholic participation in public life is not merely "poltical", there is an inescapable political dimension to this, nonetheless. Either Barack Obama is going to lose the November election - in which case it will not have mattered whether he came to the Al Smith Dinner - or he is going to win the election in November, in which case the bishops are going to have to deal with him. You have several times expressed concern over the question of "appearances". Well, the bishops - and especially the USCCB president, Card. Dolan - cannot afford to appear petty and spiteful toward him. Indeed, they would hurt the faithful and be derelict in their duty to defend the Church and protect the integrity of Her works, were they to allow themselves so to appear.

Best,
C.

Jack said...

My understanding is that the Al Smith dinner is NOT an archdiocesan event, nor is the Al Smith Society (or whatever it is called) an archdiocesan organization.

Liam Ronan said...

I wonder if Obama will insist the Cardinal cover up his pectoral cross as he insisted 'religious symbols' be veiled at Georgetown when he (Obama) spoke there?

Liam Ronan said...

By the way, I think the words of Our Lord might be instructive in forming an opinion in this matter.

In the Gospel of Matthew at &:6 Jesus warns his apostles and disciples “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

Further, at Matthew 10:16 Our Good Lord warns his apostles and disciples “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

For my part, I suspect lamb will likely be on the dinner menu at this event.

Lazy Disciple said...

Wow, Liam Ronan! You skipped right over Mt. 9:11. Seriously, this is not going to be settled by appeals to Scripture...and Holy Writ is holy.

AM ERICAN said...

Imagine yourself back in 1961. Kennedy is President and the leading board member of USAID (the UN nonprofit agency which helps refugees). Now, USAID has a fund-raiser banquet in Switzerland and invites Mao Tse-Tungt and Khrushchev. The President will be there along with many communists and free thinkers from every nation of the world. All there to roast each other and have a laugh and a nice dinner with a cigar afterwards. It was confirmed by the White house press secretary, and everyone there is perplexed asking the question "Why are all the VFW's and the families and survivors of WW2 and the Korean War soldiers so upset? This is not an American dinner held in American, it has more than just Americans invited and after all, it is a night of jokes and fun. We are doing this as a fund raiser for the poor refugees. What is the big deal, let us show everyone in the world that we all love one another with Christian love because that is what it is all about. because “It gives us an opportunity to act as Christians, and show some love to our adversaries, and even those whose policies we consider to be immoral and oppressive.” yeah right!

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Chris,

I don't even know where to start with your last response, so I won't.

Let's just agree to disagree.

God bless

Liam Ronan said...

I suppose you're right, Lazy Disciple. This isn't going to be settled by appeals to scripture. After all it's not like the Good Lord or the Saints or even the former Auxiliary Bishop of New York, our Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, ever appealed to Scripture to make a point.
Perhaps I might have been more apropos to the present situation in my earlier appeals to Holy Writ.
John 11:35 "Jesus wept."

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Just a quick note... I have embedded a video uploaded by EWTN. Raymond Arroyo asks Supreme Knight of the K of C, Carl Anderson, for his thoughts.

If you were to read what he said in text only, it would not be as interesting as seeing how he reacted to the question.

Liam Ronan said...

I watched the imbed of C. Carl Anderson's response to EWTN's Raymond Arroyo. Anderson seemed taken aback to me as though he'd never reflected on the question before. I suppose therefore that the hemming and hawing answer he gave spontaneously might be forgiven. Too much equivocation for my tastes.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Oh, I didn't think he had never reflected on it before, not at all. He looked like a man trying to tip-toe around a very delicate issue (i.e., his reference to not wanting to lose his presidential nomination which alluded to a comment made by Card. Dolan at the event in which he said he wanted Carl Anderson for president - presumably US president).

Liam Ronan said...

Perhaps you're right, Diane. My days of evaluating testimony are long past. I would say, however, that if this response is the studied fruit of considerable reflection then it has produced something more akin to a grape than a watermelon.
We'll agree to disagree on our respective assessments. Cheers.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I just rejected an anonymous comment because it was not signed (read my note above the comment field). If this can't be followed, I'll have to turn off that option and leave it to Open ID only.

I also rejected it because it was not respectful (see, again, my note).

Let's learn to express our concerns and disgreements in ways that are not condescending. It can be done - it just takes a little more work.

Don said...

Dear Diane:

Thank you for writing such a wise, thoughtful article. You're correct: PERCEPTION is the key.

In 1960, the first year presidential candidates spoke at the dinner, both political parties shared the same values on life, marriage, and religious liberty. Thus, the political differences that were put aside for the evening, were in fact, minor policy disagreements. That isn't the case today, when one party believes butchering children is a "right," that homosexual "marriages" are licit, and that the Catholic Church must be forced to accept these beliefs.

Although it surely wasn't his intent, Cardinal Dolan's invitation to Barack Obama is a slap in the face of all the people who prayed and fasted during a Fortnight for Freedom. One day he tells them the HHS Mandate is a dire assault on religious liberty, and the next day, by his actions, he says, "Fooled you! It's not such a big deal, after all. In fact, I'm going to give the enforcer of the mandate a photo opportunity that could very well secure his reelection."

If this invitation stands, all of Cardinal Dolan's heretofore-noble efforts on behalf of religious liberty and the sanctity of life, will, for many Catholics, mean nothing. They simply won't be able to take him seriously anymore. His reputation, like that of Father Jenkins, will be forever tainted.

Diane is right. It's time for a new tradition. It's time to end this controversy once and for all by having no politicians speak at the Al Smith Dinner.

Don

Bill M said...

Thanks, Diane. I want to publicly express my appreciation for your thoughtful and thorough blog postings.



I think I agree with most everything you said in your post. The one issue I have is concerning the scandal given to the faithful. It seems that many commentators think the average Catholic will consider the dinner invitation to be a sign of approbation for the most anti-life president the country has ever seen. For them the solution to such a scandal is merely to explain that the Church is not honoring the president nor endorsing him.



In my opinion, the real scandal is of another nature. Let me explain. How do we take the measure of a man? Simply, by seeing what he is willing to tolerate and what he is willing to suffer and die for. When Catholics see clips of the Al Smith Dinner (take 2008 as an example) what do they see? They see a Catholic cardinal willing to take the night off and enjoy chumming around with powerful people at least one of whom has done horrific things. And they will assume, not without justification, that such a cardinal is a hireling and not a shepherd.



Even poorly informed Catholics know that President Obama espouses views and takes actions directly counter to the teachings of the Catholic Church. They understand that the cardinal officially opposes these positions. No scandal here. The problem is that his opposition is tepid enough that he can tolerate an evening of jocularity with him. The reaction will be: "Yes, I know that President Obama is seriously opposed to Church teaching. The Church hierarchy tell us that. But if they are willing to joke around with Obama certainly I can be excused for not taking issues like abortion and religious liberty seriously. After all I am no bigger hypocrite than my religious leaders."



This has been the scandal that the American Church hierarchy has been to the faithful ever since Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae in 1968. They were the first "cafeteria Catholics" in opposition to this encyclical and now they wonder why current Catholics choose not to sup from the dinner they are providing.

Bill M.

Andy said...

I do not think that most, if any Catholics will view the invitation of either man as an endorsement. I think that many times we, give to much credence to what politicians might say and not enough to common sense. The dinner is about raising money for charity, not about politicians per se.
I think that if Obama were not invited it would have sent a louder message of making his presidency less legitimate. I don't agree with him, but he was elected and that he is in that office deserves respect.
Andy

David Paggi said...

The bottom line is we really won't know until after the event, or even after the election, which path would have been the more prudent. For me, it all comes down to having an opportunity for Cardinal Dolan to put the HHS mandates into context. Here is a draft for such an introduction, which is admittedly too brutally stark:

"Mr President, I am glad to see you accepted the Foundation's invitation, as you did Notre Dame's for their Commencement. In doing so we may reasonably infer that you recognize the valuable contributions both these organizations, informed by 2,000 years of Catholic thought & tradition, have made to our American society, which would otherwise have been impoverished in their absence.

"Perhaps you could explain why this foundation, Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York, and thousands of other organizations and businesses should be compelled, by draconian regulations promulgated by your Administration, to make their continued existence contingent upon their material participation in manifestly gross moral evil. Of course by now you know that this teaching has been consistent throughout the Church's history, so it could hardly come as a surprise.

"The truth of the Church's teaching cannot be measured by polls. Rumor has it that when Moses came down from Mt Sinai, what he really said was, 'The good news is I got Him down to ten. The bad news is, adultery is still in'. This really isn't funny to anyone who has suffered the pain of infidelity, but the point is that the degree to which Catholics have practiced the Church's moral teaching or its acceptance in society at large is irrelevant to her right under the First Amendment to teach it and for the faithful to give it expression in their lives. Obviously this right must reach beyond the confines of the home or house of worship, else there would be no need for its express protection in the Constitution

"Since it is not credible that you could be ignorant of any of this, we are left with the inevitable conclusion that you regard the promotion of the widest possible sexual license a greater societal good than all the contributions made by these organizations. The specious arguments advanced for these policies really don't bear inspection, no matter how much support can be garnered from an accomodating press. Absent a change in these regulations, by whatever means, the Al Smith Foundation will either cease to be Catholic, or cease to exist.

"It really demonstrates the height of Machiavellian cynicism for you to invest valuable presidential time attending a dinner hosted by an organization whose essential identity you have so clearly resolved to destroy. "

Now I realize that it would be in exceedingly bad taste for the Cardinal to confront the President in so crass a manner. I'm making a point, not offering a ready-made speech.

Still, I think anytime you can put President Obama in the same room as Cardinal Dolan (and others) is a risk worth taking, if for no other reason that it is exceedingly unlikely that he would have any other direct, unfiltered exposure to authentic Catholic thought. He certainly can't get that from Biden, Pelosi, Sibelius, et al!

Ikilope said...

You failed to mention your own self-serving exploitation of this "controversy". I still fail to see how inviting Obama is more of an issue than inviting Romney.

Karen said...

I am going to TRUST in GOD that the Arch Bishop is following the will of God and therefore can not do anything BUT succeed! Of course, the success can not and should not be judged by worldly standards but by God's.
AND people will always spin things their way.....but we are NOT accountable to them. We are accountable to God. Trusting in God's will means doing His footwork and letting the outcome fall on God's mighty shoulders.

Mary Yvonne Dilworth said...

"Fool me once, but not twice". When Cardinal visited the White House the President assured Cardinal Dolan he would respect the conscience of Catholics. Then he called Carinal Dolan to say the mandate would stand.

People of good faith can change their mind but when the President gives his word to visitor in his office and then goes back on it, he cannot be trusted.

So I hope Cardinal Dolan will be wise and clever in not letting President Obama pull another one by exploiting his being at the dinner. Everyone is not equipped to see through a false hurrah of seeing the two together.

Anonymous said...

PS, Now that I find that O'Connor didn't invite Clinton...I agree with those who are scandalized even though I believe Dolan has the best of intentions. --Mouse

Mack said...

Cardinal Dolan's latest column relies heavily on "dialogue" to justify the invitation. There are times and places for dialogue. Recently though I read something from a writer named Leanne Payne: "A principle to remember is that our archenemy seeks to bring us into endless dialogue with himself through those persons he has deceived.”
Dolan should follow the Pope's example and dialogue with Obama in private. The circumstance of the election makes all the difference here. That is why I believe the Cardinal has made the wrong decision. But I feel strongly we need to pray for him and all bishops.

My own solution: I am praying to the Blessed Mother to somehow arrange for Obama to miss the dinner. Please add your prayers to mine! The thought of a photo op of Obama with Dolan, just a few weeks before the election, will certainly seem to give him the Church's stamp of approval.
Sigh.

Anonymous said...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

pjm