That’s Archbishop Lori’s advice in response to criticism of Cardinal Dolan for inviting Barack Obama to the Alfred E. Smith dinner, in an interview with me. This is not an honorary forum — it is not Barack Obama delivering the commencement address at Notre Dame (which I have always been critical of), for instance, as I’ve heard it compared in recent days. It’s an opportunity to highlight the work of the Church — and specifically the children’s and health-care-related charities President Obama’s policies are putting in jeopardy — in front of him.
It’s worth remember, by the way, especially given the president was in Denver yesterday claiming he worked with Catholic universities and hospitals on the HHS contraception, sterilization, abortion-inducing-drug mandate and everything’s dandy now, that the Catholic Health Association has rejected the so-called accommodation and Notre Dame is suing the Department of Health and Human Services to protect its religious liberty.
Mitt Romney will also be at the Smith dinner and as has been noted here, he’s running with the opportunity to educate and on religious freedom this administration’s detrimental politics himself. (My two cents here on his new ad.)
The last person I saw defend the dinner invite got more than a few negative responses. But I’m with Archbishop Lori. Few have been clearer on matters of faith and civic responsibility and fundamental principles as Cardinal Dolan. And do remember he is a pastor. If I decided never to invite Democrats to dinner — even as their platform is what it is and this White House is doing what they are doing — that wouldn’t exactly be Christian, would it?
Be clear and Christian. That’s what Cardinal Dolan models, it seems to me, including here.
There are times when this kind of invite could confuse people. But given the context of these last months, how outspoken Cardinal Dolan in particular has been, along with Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Lori and Chaput and Gomez … standing with the bishop of every diocese in the U.S. … this is different than other years.