Al Smith Foundation Dinner

Let me share with you my remarks from yesterday evening’s 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

It traditionally falls to the host of this enjoyable evening, the Archbishop of New York, to “call it a night.”

Thank you, everybody, for your gracious company this evening.

What a unique honor and joy to welcome and thank our two candidates, and Mrs. Romney.

Our two candidates claim that both your parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, are “big tents,” containing extraordinarily diverse, even contrary, opposite people and groups.  Well, you don’t have a thing over the Catholic Church.  We got both Biden and Ryan!

Governor Romney, thank you for being up here sitting next to me; although I must confess I was secretly hoping the Republican candidate would be Governor Christie, because I sure would have looked good sitting next to him!

Mr. President I trust you’ll be able to report to Mrs. Obama that I ate my vegetables and salad.  If she had been “first lady” instead of Mamie Eisenhower when I was growing up in the 50’s, I wouldn’t be in this shape!

As you may know, I just returned from Rome a couple of hours ago, where I’m participating in the Synod of Bishops.  Thanks to Mr. Mort Zuckerman’s jet, I will be able to return to Rome right after the dinner.

By the way, just before I left this morning, Pope Benedict XVI asked me to deliver a special personal message to both candidates.  Mr. President, Governor Romney, do you know what the Holy Father asked me to tell you? . . . neither do I, because he said it in Latin.

Both candidates expressed shock that Mayor Bloomberg had a 16 ounce cup in front of him.  Not to worry, Your Honor — I explained to them that it was not a sugar-laden soft drink, but a martini.

The mayor might want to challenge that remark, but, I’m sorry Mr. Mayor, Candy Crowley has already said she agrees with me.

Only the Al Smith dinner could bring together two men, of the same calling, who disagree on almost everything, both of whom think they are the world’s experts on everything, who don’t like even being in the same room together: Roger Ailes and Chris Matthews.

The Al Smith Dinner . . . in thanking all of you for your presence and support, might I suggest that this annual dinner actually shows America and the Church at their best?

Here we are: in an atmosphere of civility and humor, hosted by a Church which claims that “joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence;” men and women; young and old; of every ethnic and racial background;

Democrats, Republicans, and Independents;

Catholics, Christians, Jews, Latter-Day Saints, people of no particular creed;

people of wealth, yes, but some folks as well who barely get by;

guests from Westchester and the Bronx; Dutchess County and Staten Island;

Grateful to be people of faith and loyal Americans;

Loving a country which considers religious liberty our first and most cherished freedom, convinced that faith is not just limited to an hour of Sabbath worship, but affects everything we do and dream;

privileged to be in the company of two honorable men, both called to the noble vocation of public service, whose love for God and country is surpassed only by their love for their own wives and children, and who, as happy as I hope they are to be here with us tonight, would rather be home with Michelle, Ann, and their families.

All of us reverently recalling a man of deep Catholic faith and ringing patriotism, who had a tear in his Irish eyes for what we would call, the “uns;” 

— the un-employed

— the un-insured

— the un-wanted

— the un-wed mother, and her innocent, fragile un-born baby in her womb;

— the un-documented

— the un-housed

— the un-healthy

— the un-fed

— the under-educated.

Government, Al Smith believed, should be on the side of these “uns,” but a government partnering with family, Church, parish, neighborhood, organizations and community, never intruding or opposing, since, when all is said and done, it’s in God we trust, not, ultimately, in government or politics.

Al Smith . . . the “happy warrior” on behalf of the “uns” who were so close to Jesus, or to the Native American Kateri Tekakwitha, and the “Angel to the Lepers of Hawaii,” Sister Mary Anne Cope, both women of New York whom this Sunday Pope Benedict will declare saints; so tenderly close to Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta who reminded us of the “five- finger gospel” — “As often as you do it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you do it for me!”

God bless the memory of Al Smith!

God Bless the “uns!”

God bless the Al Smith Foundation in this Archdiocese of New York which continues his solicitude for the “uns!”

God bless all of you for helping them this evening!

God bless our two candidates!

God bless America!

Thank God for this grand evening!



33 Responses to “Al Smith Foundation Dinner”

  1. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much.

  2. Phillip Thomson says:

    God bless you Cardinal and thank you.

  3. Herman Millet says:

    And God Bless Cardinal Timothy Dolan!

  4. Ch, Lt Col Gary R. Breig says:

    Eminence, well done. After being dipped in social justice with the University of Dayton programs, you are continuing in courage. God bless you in His service and keep working those #s off. I’m sure you’ll be able to look great in the human race as you do ever day.

  5. Cardinal Dolan,
    I enjoy listening to you on the Catholic. Channel. I follow you on twitter and always look forward to your tweets. Thank you for everything you do. Your speech was beautiful.


    Angela Migyanko

  6. Joseph Wood says:

    Fabulous Eminence…..a truly inspirational speech….

  7. You walked a tight line at this dinner Cardinal
    Many people in the Catholic camp disagreed with your decision to invite Obama to the Al Smith dinner, due to his many anti-catholic positions.
    With that being said, I think you did the right thing.
    Christ loved sinners and never turned down an opportunity to sit and eat with them. In fact, Christ came for sinners, not perfect people, thank goodness for us all!
    While it is important to make sure that your invitation/sit-down with Obama at the dinner did not project in any way a Catholic endorsement for the president’s run for re-election, it did show that it is important that we Catholics love ALL people, even when we strongly disagree with them. Christ did that always and we are expected to do the same.
    No one is ever converted by words, smarts, or even zeal. Love and good example does it every time.
    Count on my prayers and please pray for me
    Joe Reciniello

  8. Biltrix says:

    And God bless you, Cardinal!

  9. Cecil Williams says:

    UN-aborted, UN-partial aborted, UN-mandated?

  10. Hello Cardinal,

    Thank you for sharing your remarks with us. I am truly inspired by your conviction, and your great leadership in the Arch Diocese of NY. For you to stand next to two completely opposing political presidential candidates and tell them point blank, that you stand firm with the Church, is indeed an inspiration that our Church will not fail. It will thrive and create more present day Saints. Politics cannot get in the way of religion, especially the faith passed down by the Son of God Himself.

    Thank you again for your blog posts and keeping us up to date with the ARCHNY. I hope you can some time soon, make it to IGNITE Young Adults to share with us and continue to inspire us on becoming better Catholics during this year of Faith. Thank you and God Bless, your Eminence.

  11. Steve Di Santi says:

    Well said and very well delivered. Imagine, a Catholic cardinal talking about “in God we trust” rather than “in government” . Please visit your flock in NW NJ where it seems more priests believe in government sponsored charity these days. Well done Cardinal Dolan!!!

  12. rbj says:

    Cardinal Dolan your decision to invite President Obama was correct, and supported by a “silent majority” of Catholics who don’t want to see the Church marginalized by partisan politics. God Bless You.

  13. Pilar says:

    You are a wonderful shepherd to us all & you inspire me to continue to speak the truth in charity. God bless you!

  14. MaryLucy McGrath says:

    This is an absolutely perfect speech made by Cardinal Dolan at the Al Smith. Thank God for Morty Zuckerman, another great NYer, that gave him wings to get here. Keep up the good work, Cardinal Dolan. When you get home from the Synod and after the election, there are thousands of us looking for you to assit the country by clarifying the misintrepretations by Catholic leaders who are promulaging things about what we believe that need to be clarified by correction. A leader has a greater responsibility and a greater obligation as leaders influence millions of others. I am so glad this Cardinal is carrying the banner for Christ at this time. We are blessed with him and with his brother Bishops such as Chaput and Wehrl. Thank you, Cardinal Dolan.

  15. Liz Alexander says:

    Please, Cardinal Dolan, help us understand why you are allowed to invite the president to speak at your charitable function, but other local bishops tell other Catholic institutions that they’re not allowed to do the same/similar? Think Vickie Kennedy at Anna Maria (called off) and Obama at Notre Dame (happened anyway).


  16. Clare Hall says:

    I’m sorry…..I think you could have done better. While there may have been a time to put politics aside for an evening and laugh with the politicians, I stand with those who oppose Mr. Obama’s presence at the dinner. To make light of the fact that Biden and Ryan are part of the same church is in poor taste. Joe Biden–really? We still consider him a Catholic in good standing with the Church? He mocks the tenants of the church, flaunts his immoral beliefs and we think it’s funny? I think it’s one thing to “love the sinner and hate the sin”, but it seems as if we have moved into an arena where even the sin is tolerated. Joking at the expense of the Holy Father? He speaks in Latin, therefore, you didn’t understand. Really? The HHS mandate still stands; Catholics and Christians who oppose the mandate and who have stood up for their beliefs have been scored and ridiculed, and you sit down for dinner and drinks for the one who ordered the mandate? Mr. Obama–just at the last debate– again!–spoke openly about his allegiance to Planned Parenthood and “protecting women’s rights”. And you sit down to dinner with him to make jokes and praise his wife for eating healthy? Mr. Romney didn’t compromise his beliefs. I think you could take a lesson from him.

  17. Ernesto Kortright says:

    The Obama supporters will ignore the brief pro-life message. The images will be used to give the impression that it’s OK to vote for the most pro-abortion politician in the history of our nation and a tireless enemy of religious freedom. Just go to the “catholics for Obama” website.

    Add to the watering down of evil, “Well, you don’t have a thing over the Catholic Church.  We got both Biden and Ryan.” Biden should be excommunicated, not praised. This has all been very sad for the faithful who earnestly defend the sanctity of life, marriage and freedom of religion.

  18. Carol Mattern says:

    Cardinal Dolan, you are the best! Thank you for your faithfulness to the fullness and richness of the Catholic Church. My prayers for you are many and daily. Thank you for your tweets and joy.

  19. Joe Tabone says:

    Thanks Your Eminence.
    I was originally in the camp of those who desired that you not invite President Obama to this dinner. However, having watched both his, and Governor Romney’s talks on TV, and now reading your dinner comments, I see that I was wrong, and am thankful that you were cordial, and open while staying consistent with the Truth. Again, THANKS for your openness and keeping us informed by this blog.

  20. ginny says:

    Repeat…UN-aborted, UN-partial aborted UN-mandateed and UN-baby killing, Catholic enemy, president.

  21. Rebecca Rosales-Enenbach says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    I am so ashamed of the scandal you have caused by attending this dinner. I think it be time for you to consider a very long retreat where you can study the catechism, canon law and maybe some church history. You are certainly a wolf in sheep clothing. May God save you from His wrath.

  22. Patty Stroble says:

    Dear Cardinal,
    The photo of you and President Obama deeply saddens me (and my son who is now confused as to where we stand as a Church on the issues the President is blatantly opposed to). Believe me, coming from an Italian family in NJ, I am all for “shooting the bull” and having a good time, yukking it up and joking. However, there is a time and place to do so, and with an enemy? It’s akin to doing this with Hitler. I can only hope and pray that you actually used the time to engage our president in meaningful discussion. Two of our Corporal Works of Mercy is to admonish the sinner and counsel the ignorant. I sure hope that you have the moral courage and conviction to continue to engage President Obama in such discussions. Our Roman Catholic faithful need it now more than ever. Love, Patty Stroble

  23. If there was a photographer following Jesus around, would we get photo ops like those at the dinner in New York?

    Jesus told the heritics that truth.

    At least when Mother Theresa spoke to a President Clinton crowd, she chastised them for abortion and the U.S. spiritual poverty.

  24. Diane K says:

    You don’t have to publish my comment if you prefer not to, but I would appreciate my comment being shared directly with Cardinal Dolan.

    I would like him to reconsider how the Al Smith Dinner will be handled with regards to presidential candidates in the future. Many of us were concerned about how photo ops would be exploited. Unfortunately, “Catholics for Obama” has done just that. They have cropped out Mitt Romney and now prominently display, on their homepage, a photo of Cardinal Dolan laughing with President Obama.

    In the future, the Archdiocese of New York should consider raising funds without inviting presidential candidates because of the way photo ops can be exploited. There were also many Catholics shown at that dinner on TV -journalists – who openly advocate for things like abortion on national TV.

    The way to solve it is just stop inviting presidential candidates. Some traditions may need to come to an end. If a presidential candidate advanced white supremacy, there is no doubt in my mind that the Archdiocese of New York would not invite such a candidate or sitting president. But when the matter concerns abortion or same-sex, so-called, “marriage,” it seems not to matter.

  25. TerriG says:

    Jesus sat with sinners when “they” invited him. He also said “go and sin no more”. Cardinal, there’s an interesting article about you on American Life League and dining with those you don’t agree with.

  26. Tom O'Reilly says:

    Well bless you, Cardinal Dolan; just like your invocations before the two political parties, you managed once again to slip in the name of Jesus in you talk. And this time you even put Him at the head of a list of saintly people. You should be proud of yourself.
    You probably did it without even worrying as to whether or not the mentioning of His name might offend some Jew or Muslim. I’m touched and I’m sure Our Dear Lord and Savior who died for our sins and said that anyone who will deny Me before man; I will deny before My Father was touched as well.

  27. Joanne Goode says:

    Your Eminence, Your remarks were as well crafted and as funny as both of the candidates, I was sorry that yours weren’t televised as was theirs. How proud I am of our church to host such a joyous, entertaining event in the midst of such a heated political season, bringing accord, peace, and dignity to the processs.
    We Love You!
    Joanne Goode

  28. Jan England says:

    Your Excellency, Cardinal Dolan:

    I am praying for Mr. Obama’s conversion, for all the Catholics who hold public office who have betrayed, and continue to betray the Catholic Church, and for all the members of the Catholic Church who refuse to be obedient to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and for my own conversion of heart, that I may be more obedient to God in everything.

    I am also heartened by the stands and frank guidance of quite a few of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in regards to who and what faithful Catholics may legitimately vote for in such an election as the one we have facing us. Cardinal Dolan could you add your voice again to those of these courageous Bishops? Could you clearly speak out and let all Catholics know that they cannot support a candidate who supports abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, and at times even infanticide, that they cannot support a candidate that wishes to impose Catholic funding of contraception, abortifacients (abortion, forced contraception, sterilization and forced abortion, like what we see in China, being just down the road)? Will you speak strongly and clearly and tell Catholics they cannot support a candidate who supports the destruction of human embryos for scientific research? Who supports human cloning? Who supports euthanasia? Will you speak out clearly and strongly and tell Catholics that we cannot support a candidate who supports defiance of God’s plan of traditional marriage? Will you speak out clearly and strongly and tell Catholics we cannot support a candidate who ignores our right to religious freedom, second only to our God given right to life? Will you speak out clearly and strongly, Cardinal Dolan, on all of these issues, letting Catholics know they cannot support candidates who support the above issues and remain within good standing in the Catholic Church, and with God’s grace, do everything within your power to get your message to every Catholic in our land before November 6th?

    My prayers are with you and with all of our Bishops, Priests, Deacons, lay leaders and lay Catholics. Let this time be an opportunity for us to grow in holiness through obedience to God in ALL things.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Jan England
    Antelope, CA9

  29. Karen says:

    @Joseph Reciniello: Jesus dined with repentant sinners. The distinction is important. The words on kindness and civility are appreciated, though.

  30. Kk says:

    Emminence, I want to ask something of you:

    Powerful opponents of health care for all would use the Catholic Church to destroy the ACA, rather than amending it. Would you support the principle of universal health care, if the ACA were amended to protect religious institutions and to ensure that the right to life was upheld? The thought that children can be born sick and never be given a chance to thrive breaks my heart, and I cannot just sit by.

    Please, if you would support an amended ACA, please say so. If my voice were loud enough, I’d say it myself, but you would be heard. Thank you, and God bless you.

  31. Juan A. Martínez says:

    What an example of New Evangelization…
    A sincere appel to the most human side of the audience (family, humor, “uns”…) to connect it with the beauty of the Gospel. That’s what Our Lord made with the Samaritan woman at Sicar’s well.
    Well done, your Eminence.

  32. Lisa Unsell says:

    I pray faithful Catholics are able to endure our shepherds who create such confusion within the Body of Christ. What a shameful thing this whole affair was; what a mixed message you’ve presented.

  33. Raymond says:

    Yes, Christ had dinner with sinners, but he confronted them. He preached to them. He taught them the error or their ways. Did you take the opportunity to do that? Or did you play the stooge for him? Did you give him another platform by which to stregnthen his un-catholic base? We got 4 more years of this EVIL Man leading our nation, because of your cowardice.