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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Categories:Health Care Pro-Life Uncategorized

29 thoughts on “Don’t Get Distracted about Dinner

  1. Bill says:

    I vehemently disagree. We have a same-sex marriage law in New York because of Cdl. Dolan’s tepid response to that challenge in 2011. The Fortnight, all of this bravado, etc. have been nothing more than a sham. Obama has Dolan’s support. Cdl. Dolan ought to recuse himself and step down as both the Cdl./Abp. of New York and the president of the USCCB. Each member of the laity is on his/her own. The Church in the U.S. is leaderless. Do you think Bp. Fellay and the SSPX would ever invite Obama anywhere?

  2. Shamus says:

    Kathryn Jean Lopez,October 16, 2008 10:12 P.M., disagrees and I agree with her. Like her, “I’m sorry to be a buzzkill. And I appreciate the beauty of laughter at tense times. But at a time when I’m not so sure Americans are taking this election seriously enough, I’m not laughing.” Times are worse, not better, now. Here’s the link:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/172195/alfred-e-smith-dinner/kathryn-jean-lopez

    Respectfully,there are “more than a few negative responses” because this is not within a thousand miles of a close case.

  3. ItIStheorientation says:

    Dolan was out to lunch when gay marriage passed in NY. Now he has invited the pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, death panel president to speak and dine with him. This is the president who unilaterally declared he would not defend DOMA (U.S. Law) and the president who has said he will NOT back down from forcing catholics to dispense contraception and referrals for abortion and sterilization (violate first amendment). Like Dolan, Lori would defend inviting Hitler to dinner as long as he got to continue to live in a big mansion in Baltimore paid for by the money given to “the poor”. Their God is their belly. The murder of 50 million babies, the rape of children in the sacristy, the feminaries, the defilement of the worship of God – they couldn’ care less – and it seems neither can you (even as you congratulate yourself (and Dolan) for standing up for life) — I wonder what the 3700 babies who died today think of your “pro life” witness.

  4. Daniel says:

    Disagree. The bishops lead us to prayer, fasting and education during the Fortnight for Freedom. I, like many other Catholics embraced the call of our apostolic shepherds. Yes, I did fast, and I spend four hours every Saturday in front of an abortion clinic praying and attempting to save a handful of lives among the thousands. This dinner invitation appears as if the Cardinal cannot even give up a party. Cardinal O’Connor was able to refrain from inviting President Clinton, when the situation was far less dire, without a HHS mandate. As a native New Yorker we expect our Archbishops to have more backbone. Cardinals Spellman and O’Connor were no pushovers. Even gentle Cardinal Cooke and low key Cardinal Egan knew when to hold the line. Cardinal Egan did not invite John Kerry.

    The pew sitting Catholics are heartbroken. Some of us have been making our disapproval public. Also, I am sure that some of the liberals, such as Father Jenkins and the leadership of the LCWR are snickering. They see that the bishops cannot even abide by their own exhortations about honoring public officials. I am sure that some people now feel very justified in their disobedience. With regards to the hair splitting distinction that “this is unlike Notre Dame”, please do not insult us. That type of rhetoric really brings out the ire in people. The real surprise is that the conservative Catholic media, EWTN and you, CV, are minimizing this with precious little coverage, and filling in the discussion with other news to distract us from this conversation. Media, even Catholic media, controls the conversation. Even then, the people are not so easily fooled.

    There is only one way out. The Cardinal invited President Obama, and he must treat him with respect and as an honored guest. However, the Cardinal must make a public statement of apology to the American faithful, admit his poor judgment and mistake, and ask our forgiveness. If he does that, then this can be salvaged. Also, there should be NO photo opportunities, no red carpet, and none of the high profile accoutrements associated with the dinner. Candidates and Cardinal should meet only in the dining room, exchange cordial greets, and sit separately. If the Cardinal apologies and is truly humble, then all will know that his distance from the candidates is from humility and penance, and not a snub.

  5. Donna Bethell says:

    Disagree strongly, for all the reasons stated. Our problems with Obama are not about matters of prudential judgment. They are profound differences over the most fundamental rights of life and religious freedom. Inviting him for an evening of jollity trivializes the conflict and says we are not serious. I find it scandalous, shocking, and heartbreaking. It undoes what good Cardinal Dolan and the other bishops have accomplished in the last few months.
    Sorry, I don’t see Cardinal Dolan as Leo the Great and I wish Obama were merely a bandit like Attila, but he has shown himself to be a cunning enemy of religion and our freedoms. We better start acting like we understand that.

  6. Antonio A. Badilla says:

    I’m not buying it Miss López, Obama isn’t Hitler, but what if there had been a dinner and the most prominent bishop of Germany had decided to be there with the Führer himself? Cardinal O’ Connor would not have that famous dinner with a pro abortion President, Mr. Clinton, so, why is it the present Cardinal of New York is not having a problem with a dinner in which the main enemy of the Catholic Church sits there pretending not to notice he is persecuting our Church? The Cardinal is the head of the Conference of bishops and he has asked all of us to support religious liberty, and now he will sit with the man who is mostly responsible for curtailing our religious freedom? A pretty confusing message if you ask me.

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