Al Smith Dinner

FEAST OF ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE

Last week I was out in Anaheim for the annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus. It was, as usual, a most uplifting and inspirational event.

In his rousing address to the thousands of delegates, representing 1.8 million knights, Dr. Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight, exhorted us to a renewed sense of faithful citizenship, encouraging us not to be shy about bringing the values of faith to the public square. This duty, he reminded us, came not just from the fact that we are Catholic, but also from the fact that we are loyal Americans.

He then went on to announce a promising initiative of the Knights of Columbus to foster civility in politics. Quoting a very recent study, he noted that over 80% of Americans are fed up with the negativity, judgmentalism, name-calling, and mudslinging of our election-year process, and eagerly want a campaign of respect, substance, amity — civility!

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.

The evening has always had a special meaning, as it is named after Governor Al Smith, the first Catholic nominated, in 1928, as a candidate for president, who was viciously maligned because of his own Catholic faith.  Smith was known as The Happy Warrior, because while he fought fiercely for what he believed was right, he never sought to demonize those who opposed him.  And, the dinner named in his honor is truly life-affirming as it raises funds to help support mothers in need and their babies (both born and unborn) of any faith, or none at all.

The Al Smith Dinner has never been without controversy, since, as Carl Anderson reminded us, politics can inspire disdain and negativity as well as patriotism and civility.

This year is surely no exception: 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).

The objections are somewhat heightened this year, since the Catholic community in the United States has rightly expressed vigorous criticism of the President’s 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? Let me try to explain.

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.

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, it’s 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.

Some have told me the invitation is a scandal. 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 it’s a case of prudential judgment: would I give more scandal by inviting the two candidates, or by not inviting them?

No matter what you might think of this particular decision, might I ask your prayers for me and my brother bishops and priests who are faced with making these decisions, so that we will be wise and faithful shepherds as God calls us to be?

In the end, I’m encouraged by the example of Jesus, who was blistered by his critics for dining with those some considered sinners; and by the recognition that, if I only sat down with people who agreed with me, and I with them, or with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone.

*Due to an overwhelming response to this blog post, the comment section is now closed.

Tags: , , , , ,

343 Responses to “Al Smith Dinner”

  1. abby schult says:

    You are right Cardinal Dolan. I believed you wrong to invite President Obama, but when you stated that both candidates were invited and coming, I changed my mind. Thank you for this letter.

  2. Tom Stang says:

    I am one who asked you to recind your invitation. I appologize for not understanding all the facts. We live in difficult times for the Church….I guess they have always been that way. I certainly understand the fine line you must travel between Church and State. I ask that you continue to be bold in your defense of what is truely Catholic. I am tired to the government trashing my Church and my country.

  3. Paul & Theresa Haggerty says:

    We support you Cardinal Dolan!

  4. Mary Kemper says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    I think your defense of inviting an avowed enemy of nascent life, Barack Obama, to the Al Smith dinner is weak. Civility does not require this invitation. We are in spiritual combat against the culture of death in the U.S. I also don’t understand why you are doing an event with Stephen Colbert, either. The Al Smith Dinner invitation to Obama only sends a demotivating message to a pro-life Catholics. It’s not to late to rescind the invitation!

  5. John Fayhee says:

    Your Excellency,
    I greatly admire you and the work you do. I furthermore appreciate that you are such a shining example of what it means to be both devout and astute in our faith. I have such a deep respect for being a Catholic. It has saved me many times. After all, we walk by faith and not by sight and consequently faith is our spiritual oxygen and is no less important than needing air to breath to have physical life. Godspeed, God Bless and without a doubt, you and all leaders are and always will be in my faith. Thank you for being such a beautiful inspiration of living out our Catholicism obligations. And let us remember life is such a gift, as I have survived brain surgery for 13 years and now drive. Thanks be to God.

  6. Mary Rath says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for the explanation. I fully understand and agree with your reasoning. I shall pray that the dinner is a great success.

  7. Denise McKane says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I can understand every reason you have given for this invitation. Unfortunatly,
    many Catholics are so confused by the mixed messages that each individual Pastor and Priest proclaims and/or remains silent about that what you have done will only confuse them even more.
    I pray that our Bishops, Cardinals and Priests can all get your acts together and proclaim the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIGHT of Jesus Christ and the TEACHINGS of His HOLY MOTHER CHURCH . Your flocks are falling off the cliffs and we need our CHRIST LIKE SHEPHERDS.
    Denise McKane

  8. Joe Ott says:

    Your Emminence Cardinal Dolan,

    With utmost respect, I have trouble with anti- Catholic politicians being invited to a dinner whose name it honors, whom profusely fought for his Faith? I under stand Jesus had dinner with sinners, i.e. Mary Magdalene, Judas, the woman at the well, etc. Jesus also said to Mary Magdalene “… go and sin no more…” Every year the same politicians, get the nod. A handshake acknowledges an agreement. Excommunication when done by the Bishop, seems to be a harsh response to some, but in reality is the most charitable act their is. You might want to add to your opening remarks the fact you are receiving a lot of opposition for what you are allowing to happen. Let all the attendees know how important your Faith is to you, and you may be martyred for it some day along with millions of others. You have an enormous opportunity to witness, that evening and the time leading to it. Don’t drop the ball, Jesus will be sitting right with you, as my prayers will be too.

    Peace in Christ,

    Joe Ott- Springfield, Ma.

  9. Alex and Felicia Winogradoff says:

    God Bless you your Eminence … yes we’ll pray for you and all our shepherds and for the preservation of religious freedom in our Country. We just wish that pastors in all the churches would be more engaged in educating and communicating the insidious nature of this attack on religious freedom being faced by believers of all faiths – 99% of all parishioners have no idea of what is transpiring. While there was some very limited communication about the Fortnight for Freedom … there has been eerie silence at the pastoral level.

    Yours in Christ!

  10. lou & kathy dalton says:

    Cardinal Dolan
    we understand and you are in our prayers
    we have faith in you

  11. Katherine Garcia says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Pax Christi! Happy Feast Day of Our Lady’s Assumption.

    Please read my comments knowing that I’m writing it in the spirit of charity.

    To be quite honest, I’m quite perplexed. Your comparison of having dinner with Obama and Jesus dining with the sinners doesn’t quite fit right in the situation. I mean, your Eminence dining with prisoners is one thing, and another to be dining with Herod.

    In light of the culture wars and Catholic persecutions happening in America right now, I think it’s more important to be a model and be clear on what the millions of Catholic faithful should stand for, than to reach out your hand to one sinner and confuse the rest. A picture of you and Obama will not send the message “Catholics are open-minded and accepting,” but instead “Catholics love Obama (and are okay with his policies).”

    I am deeply saddened by your decision to invite Obama to the dinner, and all the more saddened that you still didn’t change your mind despite the pleas from your flock.

    Know that you will never eat your meals alone even if you stand and fight for the Truth. Even if all men shun you should you choose to do the right thing, you’ll still have the Holy Trinity, Our Lady, the angels and saints for company.

    You are in my prayers. God bless you!

    –Katherine Garcia

  12. Doug says:

    His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan,
    Thank you for explaining your reasoning behind inviting President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner. Although I still have reservations on the decision to invite President Obama, based on his and his administration’s outwardly aggressive nature towards Religion and especially the Catholic Church, I can understand why you did so. If I may be so bold, I would like to suggest (1) that only the Catholic Press, loyal to the teachings of the Church be allowed to cover the event inside the hall (2) that you take the opportunity as Pope Benedict did with Speaker Pelosi, to respectfully but firmly school the President on Catholic teachings appropriate to the dinner’s occasion.
    Vivat Jesus!

  13. Sherry Long says:

    I would like to reply to give you encouragement for your decision. I believe that the Popes year of Faith is for a very good reason. I believe in standing behind you and all our bishops and our pope. I believe that you are sheparding your people of faith (and of little faith). My heart tells me that you are doing the right thing (and remember that God makes good of things). I thank God for your and your courage. I have you (and all the Bishops, priest, religious, pope, and latiety in my prayers. May God bless you abundantly. P.S. I have never before responded to a blog, but I just feel so strongly about you are doing the right thing and am quite frankly tired of listening to EWTN (some of the ney sayers regarding this issue).

  14. Donal Mahoney says:

    I guess my feeling would be that it would have been better to invite neither Obama nor Romney. I say that simply because inviting Obama may convince certain Catholics that if the archbishop of New York can invite a pro-abortion politician to the Al Smith dinner, then Obama cannot be such a bad fellow.

    While I can understand why the archbishop might want to seem “fair” to both sides, inviting someone who condones the murder of fetuses strikes me as the worst option available.

    If the archbishop is seeking an opportunity to be lied to again by the President, there are probably better venues.

    Although I would vote for a fire hydrant before voting for Obama, voting for Romney will not be easy. Nothing against him personally, but the theology of the Church of the Latter Day Saints is disturbing.

    Mormons have no need for a “new evangelization.” They have always evangelized, two young males in somber black suits ringing doorbells all over the globe forever and ever. Romney himself went on a Mormon “mission” for two years in France. I don’t know what I’ll think if the Mormon Tabernacle Choir provides the music at the inauguration.

    That’s how I see it in St. Louis, the “Rome of the West.”

  15. Joan Bottcher says:

    Your eminence, Cardinal Dolan, you truly need a serious Cardinal O’Connor moment. Your picture(s) with this seriously Pro-Death, Anti-Catholic President will be used as campaign messages that show how very week the Chairperson of the USSCB and a Board Member of the Al Smith Dinner are. I, also, read in scripture that Jesus says ‘Get behind me Satan’ and would not have invited the President to this Pro-Life dinner. Our Shepard’s are sending mixed messages and leading a lot of souls to Hell. God help your soul, and many others in the USCCB, that has become filled with schisms.

  16. Diana Silva says:

    Your Eminence,

    Be assured of my prayers for you in this difficult and controversial decision. My concern is that the so-called “pro-choice” faction will use this meeting and resulting photos as an opportunity convince Catholics with little or poor faith formation that abortion and the HHS mandate isn’t all that big a deal. I’m afraid the Obama team will use the occasion as a campaign photo op, and that your message will be lost in the glitz.

    Sincerely,
    Diana

  17. Bob Gravlin says:

    God Bless you Bishop Dolan. I will pray for you and the church in these times of increasing attacks on the Church. Thanks For sharing your reasons for your decision on this for those who are concerned.

  18. Kathy Kuhns says:

    Dear Eminence, With all due respect, I think your explanation is weak and appears politically motivated. At this most crucial time in the history of our country, the world and the Church, the last thing we need is an explanation such as this. What we really need is tough love. That’s what you do with wayward kids and that’s what should be done with Pres. Obama. To give Mr. Obama any acceptance at this critical time, just before the election, is just plain folly.

    It’s ok to shut the door. It’s not ok to hate him. He will milk this photo-op for all it’s worth and you know it. Why give him the opportunity?

    I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision. What everyone is saying is that this dinner is all about money and I’d like you to respond to that. Is that what this is all about? If it is, Lord have mercy on all of us and especially on you. In Christ, Kathy Kuhns

  19. Arthur and Teresa Beem says:

    Your Eminence,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to make this response. As brand new Catholics, some things are confusing and your response has cleared it up. God bless you and know we pray for you every day and are learning all about submitting to our leadership (which is sometimes hard in the radical independent culture of America!)

  20. Mary Knight, M.D. says:

    The invitation of Obama to the A S dinner is NOT a matter of civility. It will used as a manipulative tool by the administration to justify the horror it is wreaking on our nation
    Poorly informed Catholics (and they seem to be in the majority) will see this as political approval of a man who clearly wants to strip away our freedoms.
    Would Hitler have been invited to the AS Dinner? The Catholic Church has put this as a
    ‘religious liberty’ issue. It is a devastating medical issue, a genocide issue since a huge number of black children are being killed and the spotlight is on other babies as well. It is a serious economic issue since more of our own citizens are out of work than in 1929. It is a failure to defend our borders issue Some ranchers along the Arizona/Mex borders have been killed and their land confiscated. Most of all it is a serious moral failure of the Catholic leaders and people to live their faith. Many do not see anything wrong with the HHS mandate.
    They know nothing about the physical harm done by B/C pills and other procedures. No voice except small pockets of people are speaking out.
    The dinner should be canceled as it portends such devastating harm. Billy Graham has spoken wisely about our current moral failures and their impending consequences
    The Church has been too silent for many – many years. This is not who is more clever than the other issue. It is the collapse of this nation. Why just a fortnight?
    As a physician and a Catholic, I and many people I know are in disbelief of the actions of the Bishops. We pray Oh how we must pray MK/MD

  21. Michael Del-Colle says:

    I want to express my support for the decision to invite both candidates to the Al Smith Dinner.

    I believe we are choosing to become a polarized nation because as mean-spirited and vile as the positions taken may be, it is seen as easier than honest discussion. We have become quick to judge. We want to believe different is wrong when it is not. Yes, there are basic principles and values to be held and for these we need to hold fast. But we have become intellectual pharisees cluttering our minds with details and minutia of what is and isn’t acceptable. We are quick to jump on the soap box to express our views before the other does the same; we seldom choose to rest our feet on the soap box and discuss an issue from the sitting position.

  22. mary allen says:

    I love the Cardinal, but disagree on this one. The very appearance of the Cardinal with President Obama, at a dinner benefitting Catholic Charities gives credence to those Catholics who are looking for the okay to vote for Obama. In their eyes it is a form of approval. The timing is poor and perhaps that should have been taken into consideration, and neither of the candidates been invited,

  23. M. Hoerner says:

    Eminence, enjoy your Al Smith dinner. Aside from that, I want you to know how much I like reading Priests for the Third Millennium. Wonderful, wonderful and most wonderful.

  24. Bruce Sullivan says:

    God bless you, Cardinal Dolan!

    Being gracious towards all is essential to the Church’s mission of evangelization. Our Blessed Lord provides us with the supreme example of an uncompromising message presented with uncommon love.

    Peace.

  25. Jeannene Moore says:

    Most Reverend Cardinal Dolan,
    You are to be congratulated on your decision to invite both Pres. Obama and candidate Mitt Romney to the Al Smith dinner. I for one agree with your decision. The cause is a worthy one, and perhaps it can lead to a civilized discussion of current problems in our country.
    I will continue to pray for you and your difficult leadership, may God bless you with success in your endeavors.

  26. Holly says:

    You are very right to invite both men to this get together. Go for it I trust in God and His Servant Timothy Dolan.

  27. Anthony F Merlino, MD says:

    Your Eminence:

    While I disagree most vehemently with with your choice of invitees, for all the obvious reasons, I will, nonetheless, honor your request for my prayers for you, in particular, and for your brother bishops and priests as well.

    God bless!

    AFM

  28. mrd says:

    What message would I send if I refused to meet with the President?

    You would send the message that there is a political cost to the vigorous support of abortion ( which vatican II called “unspeakable crime”) and that it can not be business as usual if you try to extinguish the religious freedom of Catholics by mandating that they cooperate with and fund what you are telling those of us in the pews is a mortal sin ( contraception and abortifacient drugs) You would send the message that you are serious.

    In contrast it is hard to take seriously the idea that this is about “a conversation”. There is nothing to converse about. Obama and his politcal allies are wed to a defense and extension of the abortion license and the Church is opposed. Obama will not change thus the only recourse is for the Church to work to defeat him in the election. This invitation hinders that goal since it soothes the conscience of those on the Catholic left who plan to vote for him regardless of how pro-abortion he is. It has nothing to do with “partisanship” as his political party is irrelevant. IT has to do with the fact that Obama vigorously supports what you claim is a grave moral evil. it can not be a serious claim that this is not an honor. Obama is a key note speaker! This is ordinarily considered an honor. Can any rational thinking individual see it differently? It would be believable that this was about dialog if there was a historical precedent that suggests such interactions lead the pro-abortion ( or should I say pro- defender of unspeakable crime, to use the language of Vatican II) politican to change or even mildly mitigate their position. Can you cite one instance of a nationally known Democrat who did this? The answer is no. One reason for this is because there is no political cost to thumbing your nose at the desires of the Bishops. If there is no cost expect no change in behavior. In fact there is hardly even a rebuke, Obama does not care if you sue him, as he appoints the judges for the next 4 years should he win reelection. He cares only for winning or losing politically . I am sure you will be photographed joking and laughing with him! Imagine Christ joking and laughing with the Pharisees and you will get the idea how jarring this image is.

    This was a bad decision and will undermine your own opposition the Presidents contraceptive mandate as well as opposition to his pro-abortion agenda in general.

  29. Pamela Massey says:

    Respectfully your Grace,

    You did meet with Obama, several times if the news reports are accurate. The hand of friendship extended was “slapped down”. The bishops of the United States have continued to disappoint the faithful by favoring these politicians with invites to speak at graduations ala Notre Dame, and giving money to Acorn and Planned Parenthood from our contributions to the USCCB. Yes Jesus reached out to sinners but told his apostles that once rejected, to shake the dust of that city off their feet, leave and don’t look back. Obama has continued to reject Life and is willing to trample the First Ammendment of our Constitution to do it. You are giving cover to Obama to continue his lawless reign. Too long have we compromised with evil when we should have confronted it. May God have mercy on the United States.

  30. Anthony F Merlino, MD says:

    While I disagree most vehemently with your choice of invitees to the Al Smith Dinner, for all the obvious reasons, I will, nonetheless, honor your request for my prayers for you, in particular, and for your brother bishops and priests as well.

    God bless!

    AFM

  31. Mary says:

    WE LOVE YOU BISHIP DOLAN AND WE STAND BEHIND YOU 100%. THANKS FOR THE LETTER WHICH I WILL SEND TO EVERYONE AND TO FACEBOOK AS WELL. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, MARY THERESA WEBB

  32. Beth Ann Beatrice says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Thank you for your message about the Al Smith Dinner. I appreciate your thoughtful explanation of your actions.

    Please remember, however, that Jesus ate with sinners who wanted to eat with Him. The sinners wanted to hear what He had to say. They were attracted to Jesus and to His message. In contrast, Mr. Obama and his allies have not heeded your words. Could it be that eventually you should “shake the dust off your feet”? (Matthew 10:14)

    There were many who wanted to kill Jesus. They despised Him, and I don’t think he would have invited them to a public dinner for everyone to see.

    Perhaps, while we live in the age of abortion on demand, and now, as of August 1 of this year, sterilization for girls as young as age 15 without parental consent (paid for by the tax payers), you should reconsider hosting this Al Smith dinner event at all. You must be wise as a serpent, Cardinal Dolan, because Mr. Obama and his friends in the media will exploit film and photos from this Al Smith event. They’ll show you smiling with both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney on all of the major news outlets. Poorly formed Catholics (the majority, I fear) will see those pictures and will deduce (erroneously, of course) that they can vote for the pro-abortion, anti-liberty Mr. Obama with a clear conscience. Unfortunately, we do have a rather large, poorly catechized Catholic population. I hate to say it, but it is true. Catholics voted for Mr. Obama overwhelmingly in the last election in spite of his pro-abortion stand.

    If you want to promote civility, I would suggest that you invited Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney to a purely private affair, either together, or one-at-a-time. You could speak to each one about many things that are of great importance, including the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not to mention religious freedom. You could admonish and instruct in such a setting, which would be much more helpful at this time.

    Please be very careful, as you are a sheep among wolves. You must be cunning as a serpents. (Matthew 10:16) We the faithful have watched as many of our Church leaders have been USED by those who promote the culture of death. I am especially remembering the fiasco when the Obamacare bill was passed, and some Church leaders (including a particularly vocal nun who went to the White House multiple times) and a particular pro-life representative in government “rolled over”. These kinds of mistakes can be very costly. Ultimately, the price is paid in tiny, but precious human lives.

    I do not envy you your responsibilities, and will continue to keep you and the Bishops, the clergy, the laity and the Holy Father in my prayers.

    With respect, in Christ,
    B. A. B.

  33. Cardinal Dolan

    I am so disappointed in your decision to invite a pro death president to the Al Smith dinner that there are no words adequate.

    John Cardinal O’Connor had the courage to stand up against Bill Clinton after he signed partial birth abortion.

    You have let the truly devout pro life Catholic community down.

    I pray you have the wisdom and humility to change your mind. You are in my prayers.

  34. Deacon Joseph Keenan says:

    I wish to congratulate Cardinal Dolan for his decision to invite Mr. Obama to the Al Smith Dinner. It was the right thing to do, notwithstanding the criticisms from the zealots who have criticized the invitation. You are doing the right thing. Keep it up!

  35. Jozef Matasovic says:

    Embrace the person, but let him know that we catholics, strongly disagree with his actions!!!
    Otherwise, we are all just naive, ignorant, and irresponsible fools!!!
    Just to let you know, I lived for thirty years in socialistic paradise called Czecho-Slovakia. Trust me that was more that I could handle.

  36. Tom Reynolds says:

    Cardinal Dolan, thank you for openly sharing your conscience with your sheep!! We need such transparency in these times re decisions such as the Al Smith Dinner invite to President Obama.

    Whether or not one of your flock agrees with your decision to invite the president, your frank and honest presentation of your views on the matter should engender respect. We (I believe I speak for the views of some others) now understand that you are aware of our concerns and have taken them into account. That is most important to us. We do not expect you to “do it our way or else”; we expect you to know, understand, respect, consider, and pray about our views and needs — and then write / do / say what you believe is right.

    [Perhaps you already have some mechanism (besides prayer) to check the pulse of your sheep?]

    God has called you to this office; He cannot / will not fail to guide you!

    You will be in my fervent prayers.

  37. John A Robinson says:

    Your Eminence:
    I will pray for you, but please no photo ops! I am not trying to be funny or disrespectful. Choices have consequences. Unfortunately, the average person, which includes quite a few of my fellow Catholics, will misinterpret the pleasantries and take this as an endorsement. Actions speak louder than words especially for the people who do not listen to the words. We cannot under any circumstances take 4 more years of this man in office or we will no longer recognize the country we live in.

    Respectfully.
    John A. Robinson

  38. Randi Gordon says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan, for such a sensitive and wise response to the questions from the faithful who were uncertain about the decision to invite President Obama. I am thankful that we in the Church in America are blessed to have you and other good, holy bishops and cardinals to lead the flock. Your graciousness and gentleness are inspiring.

  39. Robert Murphy says:

    Your Emminence we trust your judgement in this decision and we know you have made the best choice. You are doing your job and it is not up to any of us to second guess your strategies or decisions. We love you and we thank you for your service, leadership and good example. You are a great blessing to our diocese and our nation. God Bless You and we will continue to pray for you. Rob Murphy

  40. Paul McKenzie says:

    Before he became Pope Pius XII, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli served as the Vatican Papal Nuncio in Berlin, Germany. He never had dinner with Adolf Hitler.
    Later as Cardinal Pacelli, he served as the Secretary of State for the Vatican and during his tenure, he even visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Also, as Cardinal Pacelli, he never had dinner with Benito Mussolini.

    The Al Smith Dinner should be cancelled. If for no other reason than to honor the diplomacy and memory of the late Pope Pius XII. A great Pope and soon to be a “Saint”.

    Let us not forget that in 1950, Pope Pius XII, declared infallible the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  41. Daniel says:

    I will pray for your intentions Cardinal Dolan and I appreciate your candor, honesty, and courage in fighting against the anti-religion, anti-life policies of this administration. However, I do think that sometimes it is not a matter of dining with sinners as Our Lord exampled, but rather a question of giving a platform from which recalcitrant, and dogged haters of all Christ’s Church holds dear can leap forward to do more damage. The media refuses to give time to covering the pro-life movement, arguments for traditional marriage, and honest appraisals of traditional religious practice and they never will. They know the power of a platform. Respectfully, perhaps it is time for the Church to recognize the power of a platform as well and stop giving equal time to unwavering opponents of the Church like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and the like. Give them a microphone and they will always use it to divide Catholics, invoke the seamless garment argument, and ultimately disregard the mission of the Church.

  42. Bernadette Valentine says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for being an outstanding spokesman for Our Lord! Our Lord died for us all–but he came especially for the sinners so they could be saved!! I pray for you, our Holy Church and this Country which is so very confused of what is right and wrong! God Bless you!!

  43. Mary Puncer says:

    I support you and will be praying for you Cardinal Dolan. I signed a petition against it by accident, not understanding what it was. For that I am sorry.

    God bless you and all our Bishops.
    Mary Puncer

  44. Denise says:

    Well said. and a sterling example of Chistianity at it’s best. There is no scandal in my eyes, Cardinal Dolan. Jesus and His Mother are surely smiling down on you.

  45. Christine says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for taking a stand for our Catholic teachings, and against the HHS Mandate. Because of you, and also the statement posted on the Sisters of Life website against the HHS Mandate, and a homily by my parish priest, I came to realize that it is wrong for Catholic employers to provide the healthcare coverage required by the Obama administration, and also for me as a Catholic to be on the receiving end of such coverage. A few months ago, on the advice of a priest in confession, I dropped my healthcare coverage that was provided by my employer. I am now one of the uninsured, and someday, with the help of God’s grace, I will go to jail for refusing to pay the required fines. I live in NYC, and I love that you are my Bishop, and pray for you that you make all the right decisions, especially the hard ones. I keep thinking of the scripture in the Book of Ecclesiates that says there is “a time to break down and a time to build up.” I think that this may be a time to break down, but it will glorify God and help souls just as much or even more than “building up”.

  46. Teri says:

    I am praying for all our religious. These are difficult times, and difficult decisions.
    It is never good to totally shut a door , especially when someone of this moral standard is in the driver seat. Dialogue, of any type is what ‘s needed.
    My best suggestion is to get some of the last messages, from Jesus, to His last messenger on earth, Maria. Jesus has said, it is with doing so, that He can slightly open their hardened souls. , with the Holy Spirit.
    http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com
    Praise be to Jesus.

  47. R Soucy says:

    Having lived 80 years and always interested in reading, if it were not for the Catholic League I would remain dumb about the event called the Al Smith Dinner. Never have I heard of this and I have spent considerable time engaged in on scene support of Military Chapels before retirement 40 years ago, and Churches around the nation since. I would say it has been a well-kept secret.
    Having read every word of this article, I would say that you make a sound case as to why you invite anyone and everyone with opposing views about politics and religion. As a long-time member of the Catholic League I must say, if ever the Al Smith Dinner was mentioned in the past, it is my error to not have noticed.
    May this occasion be fruitful in seen and unseen ways, pleasing to God Almighty. Indeed, may He stretch forth His hand over and support for the best intentions you have in your hearts. We are in need of miracles, may prayers from the rest of us be offered for your success. More public publicity for this event indicating denominational involvement would be highly apropos.
    Thanks for the opportunity to say my piece.

  48. Brad Jones says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    First please know I offer my Tuesday holy hour for you and all our bishops, priest and religious. I am deeply thankful for the way you have stood up for our Holy Mother. Please, If the president comes to the dinner use the opportunity to lecture him. Please do not allow him to distort what this is, as he is already trying to do. Please we need your continued challenging all of us to live our faith more deeply,

    Your servant in Christ

  49. Peg Baumg says:

    The caption is not mine. I would say Dolan’s response is thoughtful and well presented.

  50. Sonyia Brake says:

    We trust you. I am glad you explained. Thank You.