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.

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343 Responses to “Al Smith Dinner”

  1. I heartily agree! God bless you, Archbishop Dolan. May He bless you and keep you…

  2. Rob Chalhoub says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan! Your message is one of love, tolerance, and dialogue as opposed to all the strident voices who have called for disinviting the president, or worse, canceling the dinner altogether. Our church exists in a messy, diverse world and the only way we can be effective is when we engage everyone- especially those we disagree with, not shut them out. I hope others can examine their hearts and follow your, and Jesus’, example.

  3. Kim Layton says:

    Thank you Jesus for such a charismatic, balanced Bishop such as his Archbishop Dolan. He has what it takes to lead the church in these turbulent times. I pray Lord, that you would use Archbishop Dolan in a powerful, and influential way for the church . Blessed Mother, on this your feast of the Assumption, cover your church with your mantle, protect us from the evil one, Amen.

  4. Barbara Garfield says:

    My great fear is that the president will use this occasion to promote his acceptance by the Catholic Church. I admire Cardinal Dolan’s intentions, but I do not trust Obama.

  5. Bob Krause says:

    Cardinal,

    Then I wish you idea works! But I will be curious if you will act as St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta when she pointed out items to then President Clinton and what she choose for her Nobel Peace Prize award meal.

    Bob Krause
    Diocese of Syacuse

  6. Joseph J Galea says:

    Dear Arch Bishop, Don’t do it unless you have the healing power our Lord gave to St. Benedict when he converted Atila The Hun!

  7. God bless you Cardinal Dolan.

    It will be good for both candidates and all who will hear and view the event to see that, in deed, Cathloics are willing to listen and learn.

    Have a wonderful time at the Al Smith dinner.

    Sincerely,

    Cynthia Kramp
    Franklin, Wisconsin

  8. Rev. Msgr. Maurice O'Connell says:

    Your Eminence, you make me proud to be a Catholic American. Keep up the good work.

  9. Thank you Cardinal!!

  10. Teresa Trujillo says:

    Your inclusion of both candidates for POTUS 2012 is a blessing.

    Our society has become more hateful, less charitable, less educated, less humble, less civic minded, and overwhelmingly secular. We have watched the government’s power grow and it is increasingly easy for Americans to say, “It’s not my problem, let the government fix it.”

    Dialogue will give Catholic voters a snapshot of the two candidates to compare and contrast. While neither is perfect, one may be a better fit than the other.

    God bless you and the work you do!

  11. Julie Ann Courville says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan, 8-15-12
    With all due respect; you are the Shepard that many sheep look up to for guidance in this life to help them reach salvation of their souls in the next. You are also a “Father” to many, many, many of God’s Catholic children here on earth. A father must nurture and direct his children so they may grow in holiness so we all may become saints after death. A good father embraces humility and makes many sacrifices to protect, guide, and love the children that were entrusted in his care. Good, strong moral, loving children are raised when parents walk the walk not talk the talk. Trust me kids tune out the talk many times. (We have five,ages 21-8). They are always watching everything we do, even when we least expect it. Giving President Obama media time at the Al Smith dinner, and allowing him to charm millions and millions of people, will only validate support to those who are attracted to his personality and he will be placed back in office. Remember it was the Catholic vote that placed him in office despite the intrinsic evils he defends, supports, promotes and pushes through in to laws of the land. So much confusion and turmoil has been set upon this earth due to sin and corruption of Gods laws and precepts. God’s laws and precepts were made to protect, guide and free Gods people. Now chains have been set due to iniquity and sin. Cardinal Dolan your Catholic people are your responsibility, their souls are more important than a very public engagement and dialogue. Meet with President Obama in private if you are called to do this. This will not be an “uplifting evening” for the true Catholic Church and people of faith. The Al Smith dinner 2012 will be a charade on “behalf of poor women and their babies born and unborn” if President Obama is allowed to speak. We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. The pain of this impending event is felt throughout the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church.
    With the love of Christ,
    Julie Ann Courville

  12. Yvonne Fuller says:

    Thank you for your explanation. Wise words that I hope to follow. My prayers are with you and your fellow Bishops. God Bless YOu.

  13. Bea Biederman says:

    I must admit I was flabbergasted when I heard that President Obama was invited to this fundraiser– especially because I fervently believe in our popes’ messages to evangelize, as well as have been a vigorous supporter of the USCCB and the Catholic Church on the HHS law.

    However, I am also as upset that I got the information from ChurchMilitant.TV that only the President was invited… I am fed up to here! with all the distortions in the media; but when it comes from our own church, I feel it more deeply. I don’t know what is truth sometimes. Now that I see that both were invited; I’m actually okay with that. But somehow, the issue of HHS better come up in small circles with the President…

  14. Paul says:

    Jesus invited the humble lost sheep (sinners), not rightious leaders (sinners). I do understand the concept, and I certainly do not think it is a scandal. He’s trying to persuade the rightious leader to see that he is a lost sheep. I don’t know if that was Jesus’s message… but He could see who is humble, we cannot.

  15. Carol Howard says:

    Thank you for your Christ like decisions. This is one of them.

  16. I trust Cardinal Dolan to make the right decision in this matter. As for my opinion – I DO NOT trust President Obama – his background has been hidden by the liberal press – if the president of the United States does NOT KNOW how many states there are in our United States and this fact was shown right on television, and there was no follow up by “our” press, our country is in deep distress. My hope and prayers are that Our Blessed Mother will take care of this great and wonderful country.

  17. Donald McKeown says:

    God bless you Cardinal Dolan. I truly believe the Holy Spirit is guiding you in these very difficult times. I pray for you every day.

  18. Faye Zych says:

    Your Eminence

    I disagree with your decision, and do not think that your explanation is reasonable. The Al Smith dinner is a publicly recognized event during campaign season, and the happy images of you and President Obama that will be circulated will not help to defend the Faith and the Church from the President’s, and the Democratic Party’s, serious and determined attack on religious freedom. Your actions, and the images, will confuse and scandalize people further. These images will be used to neutralize your opposition the the HHS mandate, thereby prolonging confusion and scandal. After the 2008 Al Smith dinner with then Senator Obama, how much did he change his position on abortion, homosexual marriage, or euthanasia? Jesus was very direct with the authorities of his day, and He did not participate in political photo ops. He chose to lay down His life in defense of the Truth. Again, I will remember you when I make the Passio Domini on Thursday evenings.

  19. carolinmd says:

    I’m sure your intentions are well meaning, however Mr. Obama should not be included, regardless of how Christian this gesture may be.
    Catholics everywhere will take it as an endorsement, and you can be sure that Mr. Obama will also play it as that. In this very close political race, any sort of endorsement for him will diminish Mr. Romney as well as his chances of winning the race. If we are to be able to dismantle Obamacare and his madate to the
    Church, it is imperative that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan wins, for the good of the Church, the people and the country.

  20. adele young says:

    Your Excellency, you have given several good and moral reasons why this event should take place as usual. You have cited Pope Benedict’s example of receiving those opposed to Church teaching with grace and charity. I might also remind you often he did this in private, with no press or photogs allowed. ( e.g. former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi)
    Many of us are worried about this event being used by President Obama as a photo-op
    to promote his re-election by assuring that the Church is really “cool” with him. Many of us hope and pray that this is NOT the case and that all media will be excluded from the
    event. That way no invitations need to be rescinded while at the same time the occasion for scandal will be minimized.
    Thank you Your Excellency for seriously considering this suggestion from one who has
    remained faithfully in the pews. God bless you!

  21. Eileen says:

    Cardinal Dolan your stance is exactly what I would expect from you and I agree with you completely!!! I am also looking forward to you having the last word at the Al Smith Dinner! :) I am praying for you daily! God bless you!

  22. angela connor says:

    A ‘private’ dinner, NOT a public photo-op session would be more appropriate. The primary message to the public will be, “See The Bishop approves of Obama. The Health care plan must be OK”

  23. Brandon Posvar says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Is it possible to postpone the Al Smith dinner until after the election? I think this would be an appropriate response to the situation at hand. This would allow you to not take the uncomfortable position of having to rescind your invitation. It would also be interesting to see if Obama still plans to come. The fear that I and a large number of faithful, pro-life, Catholics have is that Obama (and his media surrogates) will utilize this dinner as a photo-op to show how cozy he can be with those of the Catholic faith, even as he assaults many of the essential morals of our faith. All of this within the month leading up to the election. How much more poorly could this event be timed so as to have the greatest risk of producing scandal–especially given the extremely anti-life/anti-Catholic views that some politicians are taking more and more routinely? As a physician, I am directly affected by his continuous assaults on innocent human life and our religious liberties. As someone who could some day set up my own private practice (I’m in a large group practice now), I cringe at the idea that I would be expected to provide coverage for contraception, sterilization, and even abortion inducing medications as part of a health plan I provide for my staff. This law limits my career options and prevents me from even considering private practice at this point. I do believe that it is a scandal to have Obama recognized in any way at a public event associated (directly or indirectly) with the Catholic faith, and I pray that an appropriate solution can be negotiated prior to October 18.

  24. David Savidge says:

    Well, Holy Father appears to have been guided well in his decision to elevate you, Cardinal Dolan. Your love and the love of our Lord shines through in your thoughtful and edifying comments. And as always, a fun read about a very serious topic – from Anaheim to Al Smith. Please keep teaching us to open our doors and our hearts.

    Cheers and God’s blessings to you –

    David (Boulder, CO)

  25. Robert Sledz says:

    Excellent and very well spoken, Card. Dolan!

    Rob J.
    Diocese of Rockford, IL

  26. Mrs. Catherine Hayes Ulasinski says:

    Your Eminance:

    God Bless You!!! I wish more politicians and yes church leaders thought like you do. Maybe there would not be so much sadness and strife in the world. The exampe of our Lord Jesus Christ is so simple and graceful to follow but people just do not choose to follow. I think they are afraid too. I think they think it would be some kind of show of weakness when really it is a show of greatess strength and strength. Maybe I am being too simple but that is what I believe. I still have faith somehow all this will work out. Maybe all these politicians will see your wonderful example and the teachings of Our Lord. All we can do is hope and pray. I know I do.

    Again…God Bless You Cardinal Dolan….Thank You for looking after and taking care of my beloved home town New York City

    With much respect and love,

    Mrs.Catherine Hayes Ulasinski
    now living in North Hollywood California

  27. M.T.Cuervo says:

    Excellent pastoral communication!!!

  28. David M Paggi says:

    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!

  29. Carole Lazinski says:

    Your Eminence:

    What a thoughtful and loving response to your critics. I pray that He will
    continue to bless you and endow you with wisdom as you lead His flock.
    May He give you the words to touch the souls, minds and hearts of our nation’s leaders.

  30. Fr. DeBellis says:

    Well Done, your eminence. There is clearly a militant, reactionary group who would have given Jesus Himself a hard time for the people with whom he broke bread. I believe they fail to understand the role of the Church in global culture. Like Jesus, without compromising our values, we are invited to engage the modern world not isolate ourselves from it.

    God Bless.. Perhaps we can get back to Jerusalem on of these days

    John

  31. Sacerdotus says:

    Very well put! This dinner is an opportunity for grace to do some work. I wrote on this in my own blog: http://sacerdotvs.blogspot.com/2012/08/dolan-and-tax-collector.html

  32. Leeda Crawford says:

    The scandal is not the main issue here. The smiling faces of Cardinal Dolan and Obama together will be plastered all over the papers and internet. It will be misinterpreted as solidarity and support for Obama. Many Catholics will be led to believe it is okay to vote for Obama. Well the Holy Father has clearly informed us we are not to vote for a politician that supports abortion and same sex marriage etc. Timing is everything in the manipulation of votes and support. Obama has his PHd in this area. Your question regarding prudential judgment regarding scandal needs to go a step further to the word harm. Scandal if it causes harm has another name sin. You are not Jesus, and the sinners Christ was dining with had already acknowledged their sin and the need for repentance.

  33. Geraldine Callaghan says:

    The Knights of Columbus embody the Holy Spirit. President Obama and the Vice
    President are in need of the gifts of the Holy Spirt especially wisdom. We should be an example
    to all and extend an invitation to the dinner. I do not like what President Obama
    stands for but, I will keep praying for them and all people who are trying to change
    the face of America.

  34. Nancy Pelet says:

    Thank you for this response and for clarifying your position. I signed a petition against the President coming to the dinner but now I understand why you invited him. Thank you for your faith filled guidance of our church.
    PS My main opposition was that the main stream media will somehow use the photos to marginalize the church’s teachings.

  35. Gary Seaton says:

    With deep respect, your Excellence, you give more scandal by inviting the President.

  36. Bobby says:

    Cardinal Dolan:

    Ideas matter, words matter, acts matter. You have been staunch and clear in your defense of Catholic teaching against abortion, in support of marriage, and in opposition to the HHS mandate, and in support of religious freedom. You therefore have the foundation and footing to invite President Obama on this basis, upholding the long-standing tradition of this dinner. It would not be so if you did not so clearly defend the faith as some other Catholic figures (LCWR, are you listening?).

    This is a longstanding tradition, not a new thing, or an award of some sort. That does make a difference. Unfortunately, the war that is waged against Catholic/Christian teaching may bring us to the point where such invites just matter too much. The only real negative is that others, like Georgetown, will use this invite to provide Obama and other abortion proponents a platform – as this keeps up, maybe down the road the invites have to stop.

    You are doing a fantastic job leading the faitfhul. Keep it up!!

  37. Christy Williams says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Thank you for your wisdom, your courage and your prudence. The decisions you have made and your actions in the past indicate to me that you truly live your life as an apostle of Christ. I truly believe that you are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that you look to Him before you make any decisions or take any steps. The fruits of your previous actions speak to this.

    With this confidence in Whom you seek guidance, I pray that you will not be discouraged by the mud-slinging of the legalist Catholics who are attacking you. I also pray that you will, as Christ did, convert the sinners through love of them, ALL of them. Yes, He loved them all, didn’t He?

    In Christ’s love,

    Christy Williams

  38. Mike says:

    Cardinal Dolan – I agree with all that you have written. I assume that you will, like Jesus while dining with those that some considered sinners, point out the Truth to the sinner and the others at the dinner as is recorded in the Gospels. The events recorded in the Gospels allow all of the faithful to read and be lead to the Father. Jesus never missed an opportunity to correct people in a loving way that also made it clear to others what actions are required of a faithful disciple. The Gospels also do not give an account of the sinners speaking in a manner which would have confused or led the faithful astray. I am sure that there is not any intent to allow President Obama (a very polished and crafty speaker/politician) to have any opportunity to speak at this event in order to prevent his misguided ways from being published. This could certainly mislead the faithful.

    May God bless you, all of our bishops, and clergy to lead us in the ways of Christ. May God also bless all of the faithful to be obedient to our faithful shepherds.

  39. Kudos and thanks to Cardinal Donlan for his prudential decision. His invitation of both candidates demonstrates the true power and strength of Catholicism as the path that leads to the new Jerusalem as we make our way through the streets of this earthly Babylon. EVERYONE should be welcome at a Catholic event – both sinners and saints.

    Fr. Tim Moyle
    Mattawa, Ontario
    Canada

    p.s. George & Joan W. send their best from their cottage up here in the Ottawa Valley.

  40. Caroline Walsh Bazinet says:

    Your Eminence,

    Thank you for the efforts you are taking to fight for the Church in America. I have read your arguments and understand why you are doing what you are doing. Of course, we must engage with people to change their hearts, but I don’t think this is the place to do it.

    Respectfully, what I take issue with is the fact that it is unthinkable that the NYT and other media sources that the majority of people read (I’ll admit, I don’t read things on CNS or by the USCCB myself, too much to keep up with) are going to report on President Obama’s actual (respectful, but not honored) treatment at the dinner. They’ll write about the nice drinks and merry laughter and dialogue and quote Obama saying how happy he was to find common ground.

    I did not hear a hoot about Eric Metaxas’s speech at the Prayer Breakfast. We heard nothing about the March for Life, barely anything about the Fortnight for Freedom, but oh so much about the Nuns on the Bus and NYT sends out a “News Alert!” whenever there is any new information on a clergy scandal (NOT to tone these down, but there is a clear double standard here). Bottom line: we can’t afford to throw them any more bones.

    Best,
    Caroline Bazinet

  41. Anthony Swanson says:

    Your Emminence,

    I have great respect for you and for your leadership. However, I must strongly disagree with your decision to invite Mr. Obama. His appearance will cause scandal to those faithful Catholics who know the true teachings of the Church and try to live their lives by them. For those nominal and undercatechized Catholics (of which there are many) this will act as a instrument of confusion or will validate their decision to vote for him in the election.

    Many of them will have no idea of the controversy this decision has caused and will only think that because he has been invited to a Catholic function by the President of the USCCB so he must be okay to vote for. Many of them will not know the history of the dinner as a non-partisan event and will only see that Obama was invited and think “this guy and his policies can’t be that bad if he was invited.” I have been amazed by how many church-going Catholics that I have spoken to who really have very little idea of the threat and scope of HHS mandate and that has been very well publicized. The Al Smith Dinner and its purpose will be much, much less known.

    With all due respect to the history of the dinner – there has never been a president that has presented such a threat to our religious liberty. I am the father of five young children and I may very well have to make the choice between protecting my family with health insurance and following the teachings of the Church. From all I have heard from you and the bishop’s conference, it appears that you are going to ask me to do the latter. Anything that you could do to prevent me and millions of other Catholics from having to make that decision would be appreciated and, in my mind, that would be to NOT do anything that might be construed by anyone as an endorsement of Mr. Obama. This is going to be an extremely close election and every vote is going to count.

    In closing, I would respectfully request that you rescind the invitation to Mr. Obama. He has proven to be totally untrustworthy and has repeatedly used the Church for photo ops that have intensified the confusion among Catholics about being able to vote for this man. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

  42. Kelly Mortensen says:

    Your Eminence,

    What an excellant response to the situation. It is a teaching moment to all.

    Ad Gloriam Dei
    Kelly Mortensen
    Past State Deputy – Virginia

  43. Pat Hickey says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Well said, Your Eminence! Like my Archbishop Francis Cardinal George, you are a true voice and fierce sentinel.

    More so, your invitation to a President openly hostile to not only our Faith, but religious freedom itself, is a signal opportunity to present the Church as an intrinsically American institution.

    God Bless You!

    Pat Hickey, Chicago

  44. Mary Anne Little says:

    Bravo, Your Eminence! There should be do doubt that you know exactly the right thing to do in this regard as in all others. May the Good Lord guide you in your dealings with this President and with whomever will emerge as the President-elect in several months. Perhaps in January, there will no longer be a battle between your office and that of the resident of the White House.

  45. Jeanette Soukup says:

    I will pray for you and for all Catholics. We need to stand firm on principal and defend our faith and we should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to why we disagree with the type of policies this president and the Democrats promote. We’ve talked with and been civil to the opposition for more than 40 years and it has gotten us NOWHERE. So, Cardinal Dolan, that is why people are so upset. I understand that pastors want to take care of all people and work to persuade them to do the right thing. But it’s time for the Church Militant to come forth and protect our beliefs. We need to see that you really care about us. I will not condem you for trying to be civil and persuasive; I do hope, however, to see our pastors fight for us. God bless you and I’m sure you’ll do what you can to convert and persuade Mr. Obama.

  46. Gene Leger says:

    Thanks for the explanation. It was very helpful. You have my prayers!

  47. Leah Squitieri says:

    Although I don’t agree with Cardinal Dolan’s actions, I believe he is trying to do good. I think not inviting him at this point would have done a lot more good (especially with elections coming soon). Catholic voters are already very confused and this is going to add to the confusion….I will pray for him. If our intentions are good, God will bless them.

    I will pray for Cardinal Dolan and all our Bishops. May God be with them!

  48. Mike says:

    I will pray that you are faithful to our Lord, Cardinal Dolan! I hope & pray that your actions aren’t as scandalous & wrong as they seem to be to me! I can assure you that i am not the piety police & i am only a sheep looking for what is good & right & true.

    In Jesus example, he did eat with tax collectors & “sinners”. I believe one of them was Levi, who became an Apostle. I don’t think he ate with Pontius Pilot or Caesar or even King Herod. Scripture doesn’t tell us he ate with the “sinners” in the ruling class. They also didn’t choose their own leaders in the time of Christ.

    Whether you realize it or not, there is a distinct possibility that your public socializing with a leader who is not only a “sinner” as all of us are, but who has proven “evil” in his direct actions as president, could by the manipulation of the biased media, cause Catholics to believe that it is OK to vote for someone who blatantly attacks the right to life of the unborn.

    In fact, in 2008 a majority of Catholics voted for this man who has not rested in his attack on the very core principles of Christianity.

    I simply pray & ask & beg that you make sure what you are doing is right in the eyes of Almighty God! If you’re telling me that is what you’re doing then we’ll all just pray that God’s Will be done!

  49. John Calabro, MD says:

    God Bless you, Cardinal. We need to trust in Jesus Christ, and to trust you as you seek to carry out His will.
    Today’s gospel points out the importance of forgiving one another. Perhaps our best course of action would be to forgive Mr Obama for all he has done to us, and help him to reform his life by giving him a sound and unmistakable defeat in the November election, so that he may be less tempted and less able to repeat or extend his immoral and evil actions.
    One way to combat Satan is to pray that his best friends repent and undergo a conversion to the Lord.