Don’t Get Distracted about Dinner

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.

Agree? Disagree?

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29 thoughts on “Don’t Get Distracted about Dinner

  1. Stop_the_Mandate_Now says:

    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!

  2. Christine Niles says:

    DISAGREE.

    Like a previous commenter said, this is not even 1,000 miles within a close case.

    Obama is attempting to make the Church heel to his imperial will. Do not doubt for a moment he would crush her underfoot and scatter her remains to the four winds if given half a chance. He is not a repentant sinner, but a ravenous wolf who would devour the flock. The Cardinal is ordained to protect and defend his flock from such wolves–and instead, he opens up the doors, gives him a place of honor, and offers him wine, a juicy steak, and photo ops! Just grand!

    Cardinal Dolan has lost all credibility–unless he rescinds this invitation.

  3. Lex Libertas says:

    Hard to believe KJL could miss this one by such a wide margin. This is an easy one. Catholic conservatives and many moderates are equal parts confused and demoralized. Practically speaking, it does not matter what Cardinal Dolan’s intent is or was. There is a fairly simple application of several Catholic doctrines at play here, and the Cardinal’s decision seems to fail in each area IMHO.

    First, in terms of creation or causation of scandal, CCC 2284 – 2287(especially 2285) makes it clear that anything that someone does that might lead others to mortal sin does injury to their soul, and is therefore scandalous. And the burden on those in authority is even greater. Common sense leads one to the inescapable conclusion that many tens of thousands of heterodox Catholics will use the invitation and appearance at the Al Smith dinner to justify a vote for Obama. A vote for the most anti-Catholic, anti-life, anti-family/marriage and anti-religious freedom president in the history of the Republic is objectively and directly sinful, as it represents conscious cooperation with sin.

    Building on that same point, simply inviting someone who has shown such a chilling and unambiguous disdain for life (by their actions and not just rhetoric), has an even more direct appearance of cooperation with sin. It appears to be saying – “We find your policies and leadership of the culture of death to be despicable, but what the hey, lets get together and yuk it up over dinner and drinks” It is as ludicrous as it appears.

    Finally, the Church has a very well established and thoughtful doctrine regarding double effect that directly applies to this case. There are four tests and all must be satisfied for an action to be permissible that can or will have a negative or sinful effect. We already see the tremendous negative reaction and pain from Catholics regarding this decision. This was certainly not the intended effect, but should have easily been foreseen, which is one of the four tests. No matter how narrowly or broadly you consider the Cardinal’s decision, it fails the test(s) regarding double effect and is therefore a decision that should be reversed.

    Kathryn should know better.

  4. Matt says:

    This action by Cdl. Dolan really takes the wind out of the sails of those of us who have been backing him up on his bold stands against attacks on our religious liberty. The message it sends to me is this: “It’s OK, what Obama is doing isn’t really a big deal. Regardless of how things turn out, everything will be honkey-dorey.” It makes me wonder why I have put my rear end on the line defending the Church’s position with my friends and acquaintances. I’m afraid that’s exactly what will happen, too. The HHS mandate will go forward, and life will go on pretty much as normal. Then the next incremental encroachment on our religious liberty will come… then the next… and we will all be like frogs being cooked in a pot where the water temperature is being slowly turned up.

  5. Jennifer F. says:

    Let us remember a most important dinner that is the cornerstone of our faith in Christ – The Last Supper. Was not Judas at that meal? The betrayor of our Lord? What about Peter, who denied Christ and Christ knew he would do it?

    What about St. Paul who was fanatical in his persecution of followers of Christ – yet was transformed and called to follow Christ in a profound way. We never know how God will use our interaction with those around us to His end.

    An invitation to this dinner, to me, is a show of charity in the face of opposition.

    And I have to ask, does anyone REALLY think the media would have presented a lack of invitation in positive light? No, the media is not our friend in this and would most certainly have used a lack of invitation as an example of hypocrisy.

    1. Tom T says:

      Nice try Jennifer, but that spin wont work. We all have free will and Peter and Judas had not betrayed Our Lord.
      Up and until the time they do they were free to change their minds. Here, the persecution has already begun and Card. Dolan who claimed he was honored by his call to the White House, really, honored? Has already been betrayed and lied to once about the HHS mandate. Poor anology. I noticed none of the scribes or pharasees that Christ called ‘vipers’and were responsible for the Our Lord`s death were invited to the last supper. This man
      Obama, is already responsible for the deaths of many countless unborn children. Where, for God`s sake is the outrage or the courage to call a viper a viper. Notre Dame was a disgrace. This is even a bigger slap in the face to devout Catholics across the nation.

  6. Kryzia says:

    Disagree.

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