Fighting the Good Fight for Religious Freedom

One part of the HHS mandate sadly goes into effect today.

You probably know all about the mandate by now.  It’s the decree from the Secretary of Health and Human Services that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employer health care plans to include contraceptive services for women, including drugs called abortifacients. Although, in America’s finest tradition, the bill allows an exemption for religious reasons, it presumes to define just what a church’s ministry must be to qualify, a dramatic and unprecedented intrusion into the integrity of all faiths.  My brother bishops and I – in welcome collaboration with other religious leaders – think that this mandate is wrong and misguided and have tried to work with the Administration to correct it.

What’s most troubling about the HHS mandate is that it carves out a religious exemption that is so narrowly drawn that most Catholic agencies – including Catholic Charities, hospitals, nursing homes, universities, and potentially many others – would not qualify.

How does a Catholic or other religious entity qualify for this exemption?  It must be a non-profit organization under certain IRS guidelines, and must meet all of the following criteria:

  1.  The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the organization;
  2. The organization primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the organization;
  3. The organization serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.

Got that?  The federal government is graciously allowing your parish church to consider itself Catholic.  But, not much else would qualify.


A Catholic hospital founded and still sponsored by nuns, striving to carry out our Savior’s command to care for the sick?  Sorry, not Catholic enough.  No religious freedom here!  After all, its purpose is not the inculcation of religious values, and it hardly asks for a person’s religion before admitting a patient.

A Catholic Charities homeless shelter, providing a bed, a shower, and a nutritious meal?  Sorry, not Catholic enough.  No religious freedom here!  After all, it serves all seeking help, regardless of their religious beliefs.  (Would the government prefer us to turn away anyone who can’t produce a baptismal certificate and recite the Nicene Creed?)

A Catholic high school founded and still run by a religious order, which has proudly educated young men, preparing them to succeed in college, in the work place, as husbands and fathers?   Sorry, not Catholic enough.   No religious freedom here!  After all, the student populations is more than 50% non-Catholic.

Yes, the Archdiocese of New York has joined dozens of others in filing a lawsuit against the administration and HHS, arguing that the mandate is unconstitutional.  And, yes, the administration has granted a one-year reprieve to religious agencies whose conscience would be violated by this mandate.  (That’s right – the government acknowledges that this will be a problem for many religious agencies.  But their response is, essentially, “too bad.”)

What will happen when the year is up?

I suppose one option would be for those agencies to stop offering health insurance to their employees, and pay a $2000 per employee penalty.  While some would argue that the agencies would, in fact, save money by choosing this option, it hardly seems to be the right and just way to treat your co-workers, does it?

Another option is to continue to offer health insurance, but, honoring our conscience, not include these objectionable services.   There would be a $100 fine per day for each person who qualified for the coverage.  Let’s assume that an agency has 50 people for which it would be subject to this penalty.    At $100 per day, per person, over the course of the year it would pay a penalty of $1,825,000.  ($100 x 50 people x 365 days).  That’s a steep penalty from the government in order to try and convince religious agencies to turn their back on their conscience. That’s money that will then not go to serve those in need.  Many of our services could not survive this heavy penalty.

A third option, I suppose, is to capitulate and accept the strangling mandate…I don’t want to go there.  We just finished a Fortnight for Freedom, and the saints we honored – Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher, Saint John the Baptist, Saints Peter and Paul – would not want us to go there, either.

Over the course of the coming year, the effort to protect religious liberty and the freedom of conscience will continue.  In the end, this is not about bishops, it is not about Catholics, it is not about contraceptives.  It is about the ideals our nation was founded upon: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  You can’t do much better than the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The founding fathers got it right.  The HHS mandate gets it wrong.  We are fighting to correct that wrong, in order to make sure that religious freedom continues for the generations to come after us.

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106 Responses to “Fighting the Good Fight for Religious Freedom”

  1. Magdalene says:

    I am finding it VERY hard to believe there is really opposition to the HHS killing mandate. Why is the greatest enemy of our holy Church in America invited to dinner? Pictures of the Cardinal and president will be everywhere–laughing and drinking together as if millions of lives are not at stake here. It is a CONTINUING SCANDAL that our clergy, leaders, and religious even when they say the ‘right thing’ continue on to not do it. Whether is is the sad USCCB givine money to Acorn or CORE or the winking at dissent and heresy–no wonder millions have left the church in disgust! I am disgusted too. There is smiling and nodding at a ‘gay Mass’ while there is talk of upholding true marriage. Smoke and mirrors. The talk is all wind. I do not look for the bishops to stand firm. No way. We can look at history. How many went along with Henry VIII–all but one who is a saint. And our culture is far more perverse than that one.

    But, on the bright side, there may be opportunities for true faithful to be saints and suffer for the Lord in the coming times–how many will be wearing red hats remains to be seen.

  2. Andrew says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    I am not sure how you can write a post like this and then invite President Obama, the very person who started all of this in the first place, to the Al Smith Dinner.

    This is a huge disgrace. Please rectify this or you will lose all credibility.

  3. Richard Maffeo says:

    Regarding Archbishop’s invite to President Obama, despite the flagrant and cavalier attack by this administration on religious freedom — I do not understand this terrible and faith-testing double message he is sending. All I can hear are the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament, along with Sts. John the Baptists, Paul and Peter crying out and rending their garments.

    If there ever was a time our Bishops needed prayer, THIS is the time. Otherwise, what hope is left for the Church in America?

  4. erika says:

    Have you invited Obama to the Al Smith dinner?

  5. Melissa says:

    I second the post by ProLIFEmommyof2: In addition, the MSM will have a field day with the photo op that inviting Barack Obama to the Smith dinner will provide. Further scandal to the faithful will result as they assert that the Catholic Church is just fine with the current administration – implying that the Church doesn’t actually reject abortifaciants, birth control or same sex marriage!

    August 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    It is with a most heavy, heavy heart that I am writing you today. I am absolutely astounded by your decision to invite Barack Obama to the Catholic Charities annual fundraising event, a decision that will certainly cause confusion amongst voting catholics across this nation come November.

    He, along with his administration, has made their position ABUNDANTLY clear. Have you forgotten what happened regarding the same-sex marriage decision in New York? I believe it was YOU, who said, “We were deceived. Shame on us for believing them.”

    You talk in this blog post about “fighting” against this HHS mandate. Cardinal, there is one sure fire way to put an end to this, and that is through the voting booth.

    I pray that you will have the courage to turn your attention away from politicians who clearly have an agenda and say what so desperately needs to be said to your flock:
    “This administration has disqualified themselves from our vote.”

    One way to show this in action would be to deny Barack Hussein Obama a place of honor, a platform with which to speak, at a fundraising event aimed at raising money for the very people HE says are a “punishment:” children. The VERY people he has NO problem with leaving on a table to DIE if they happened to be born alive after a failed abortion.

    Please! I pray that you will “BE NOT AFRAID,” to do what is right…
    God Bless you!

  6. Lordpray4us says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    I find it hard to believe that you would extend the invitation to have Barack Obama speak at the Al Smith Dinner. What could this President have to say that would change any of the facts, or do you expect him to have a change of heart on the HHS Mandate, Socialized Health Care or anything that involves Abortion issues because of this invitation? The thought of any Democratic politician invited to any Catholic Charity function is scandalous and total unacceptable. The Democrats stand for Abortion and Gay Marriage as the two rights that every Democrat must follow behind and support. It is right there, in black and white, in their platform. Which words are we not to read or understand?

    We need to stop negotiations(DIALOGUE) with this President and realize that everything he stands for is evil. How long will your decisions of tolerance and political correctness affect the flock you’re entrusted by God to guide forward.

    Cardinal Bernardin seamless garment theory was an effort to soften the abortion issue and endear himself with the liberal press. We do not need leaders who emulate him. He caused confusion in the last election. You are causing the same confusion in this election. And we will have another 4 years of sin. You must examine your conscience.

  7. concernedcatholic says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    I am writing to express concern that you would invite President Obama to the Al Smith dinner. It seems that the devil, who is the father of confusion, continues his assault on the Catholic Church. What I mean is that your action will cause confusion among voters. It’s hard enough with the media making Catholics to look foolish, but this continued catering to the President and his platform are unbelievable. It goes back to his lying to your face about HHS after we gave him recognition at Notre Dame. It goes back to his covering the crucifix at Georgetown University, a slap to our Lord’s face…just how much more are Catholics supposed to take before the Church wakes up?

    Ultimately we will all answer to God, either in this life or the next. I will pray for President Obama, because that is what we are called to do. However, I don’t believe we are called to stand by and allow evil to progress. If St. Paul were alive today, I hardly think he would be silent, or inviting these people to dinner. Even our Lord expressed passion when he overturned the tables in the temple. When you chose to become a priest, I believe that you were called to be a leader. I have seen your strength, but not in this case. You are a man, so not perfect. But you are a leader, and like St. Paul, the leaders of the Catholic church today need to cut through the confusion. There is a right and wrong, and God made it very clear. I cannot believe that the Catholic Church will stand by while this all transpires.

    I believe that this is a pivotal point in the Catholic Church’s history, and there have certainly been many crises in the past as well. I pray for you and other leaders of the Church to receive God’s grace to know what to do. God will prevail, because He always does.

    Submitted with the utmost respect and prayers.

  8. Christine Niles says:

    Your Eminence,
    I am utterly dismayed that you would invite Obama, who is presently viciously assaulting the Church, to this fundraising dinner. Why did you not follow the example of your predecessor and refuse to invite him? You would have been perfectly justified in doing so, and would have prevented scandal to the faithful.

    As it is, it is not too late. You can disinvite the president, thereby sending a clear message that the Church will not compromise on the HHS Mandate. You will hearten Catholics everywhere with this bold and courageous act.

  9. That Hat Lady says:

    Cardinal Dolan, we the faithful respectfully ask you to write a column or blog post like this one to explain your decision to invite Obama to speak at the USCCB dinner. It is creating confusion with regards to your call to oppose the HHS mandate while supporting the President who created it.

  10. Jay Boyd says:

    I am writing, along with others above, to express dismay at the invitation extended to Obama for the Al Smith dinner. I believe this sends a scandalous message to the faithful, many of whom are already badly confused.

  11. Mitch Smith says:

    To be frank, I have a very hard time taking this post seriously. Considering that we are not supposed to honor pro-abortion politicians, and that the President is one, as well as being the person ultimately responsible for the actions of his appointees, the Archdiocese of New York’s decision to invite him to the Al Smith dinner makes me wonder how serious the bishops are about this issue, or if they are simply indulging a in a little face saving. This becomes especially confusing when I look at the groups receiving grant money from the CCHD, and now Catholic Relief Services. It will be very hard to make a case against the HHS Mandate when TWO of the US Bishop’s own outreaches seem to have no problem with the idea of funding groups that are involved in abortions, contraception and other activities inimical to the faith. NOt to mention, that the Photo Ops at the Al Smith dinner will allow President Obama to have pictures of himself smiling and hob-nobbing with Catholic Prelates, which will further confuse the faithful, along with the “Catholics United” and Catholics for Obama groups, which have been told they are not really Catholic. Perhaps it’s time for the Bishops to separate themselves from their long standing political associations?

  12. Mary Kuhns says:

    The only things I can think of to say are that this hurts me personally and the Church as a whole because it is scandalous. Obama has clearly shown who he is and what he intends to do and what he is doing. At this point it looks as if Cardinal Dolan is bowing down to him. I honestly don’t know whose side Cardinal Dolan is on. Social graces such as inviting the President should be out the window when the President has declared war on the Church and is even now trying to crush it. I personally think that if Cardinal Dolan invites Obama, then some of the blood of the unborn cannot help but touch his hand.

  13. Jim says:

    I concur with those who question why Pres Obama was invited to this dinner. He deceived you and the Catholic Church, and has been in my humble view deceitful about his view on marriage too (4 years ago God was in the mix, according to him, now he abandons God calculating votes instead). Recently with the Chick Fil A controversy he had a golden opportunity to lead by reiterating that our position was not only one he agreed with not very long ago, but that everyone has the right to express his or her opinion on marriage without mayors threatening to exclude them from opening business in their cities. In a heartbeat, if he gets re-elected, I suspect he will cancel the executive order banning federal funding for abortions. Lets not reward him for his open disdain for our religious freedom. And, keep up the fight!!!

  14. wayne says:

    Cardinal, It is my greatest hope that you will stand for our religious rights and for the magesterium of the church.My question concerns Kathleen Quinn……everyone is wondering whether she will be refused communion if she is elected mayor,I say what about now??? Where is this lesbian attending mass and who is presenting her with the body,blood,soul and divinity of our Lord each sunday? Or is it only a scandal if she holds a high political office?

  15. glenna says:

    Cardinal Dolan, I support you 101% on your stand re: this HHS mandate. I just have to wonder if you realize what scandal the Al Smith Dinner is causing in Catholic circles at least?

    Plz reconsider this invite or at least give us some explanation about why in the world you’re doing this. thx.

  16. Mike Cartina says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Given all that has transpired, the HHS mandate, the promotion of the culture of death here and abroad, the unrelenting aggressive adversarial posture against Church teachings on all fronts, and the outright lies with regards to support for matters of conscience, I cannot abide by the decision to invite Obama to the Al Smith Dinner. This decision is unconscionable, ill-advised and a breach of trust that the you are willing to stand firm in the face of this administration assault on our religious freedom. Please restore our faith and trust in you to be a faithful Shepard of the Lord’s people. I pray that you reconsider your decision and rescind the invitation post-haste.

  17. Jeanne Breunig says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:
    1.I kissed your ring at your Holy Hill Mass of Thanksgiving before Mass-you walked by me on your way past the last row of pews before talking to the family behind me about Bessie the Cow before getting in line for the processional.
    2.From that moment on, I made a commitment to pray for you every day.
    3.I bought your books and asked your brother to get you to sign them and then mail them to my pastor. Thank you.
    4.I heard about you inviting President Obama to the Al Smith event for Catholic Charities.
    5.I object to that invitation.
    6.Please cancel the whole fundraiser rather than invite such a person to a Catholic event.
    7.I assume you will make more money if he comes, so you figure you can make more money for Catholic Charities this way.
    8.You can not serve God and mammon, for you will hate the one, and love the other.
    +Jeanne Breunig+

  18. Heather Wilson says:

    As I read the outrage at inviting The President of the United States to the dinner, what runs through my head is:
    And they will know we are Christians
    by our hate,
    by our intolerance,
    by our self-righteousness,
    by our arrogance,
    by our ignorance,
    by our politics, and
    by our racism.

    I am quite sure Jesus is weeping at what has become of us

  19. Mary Kuhns says:

    Your Eminence,
    Some say it is a difficult decision because of the potential fundraising opportinity, but any money made because of Obama’s attendance is clearly blood money because of what he stands for, and nothing good can come from it. Please uninvite him, I beg you. At this point we have “not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood”, but step by step we are headed toward exactly that if the Church keeps falling for Obama’s deceit. If he is re-elected with the help of Catholics and his sure-to-be headline photo op with you, then the Church is assisting in more bloodshed via abortion and death panels.

  20. Marilyn H says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I echo the above comments and beg you to please, please rescind the invitation to President Obama to the Al Smith dinner. It is scandalous and very disheartening to those of us who are in the trenches, trying to convince others that the Church is being attacked. Then when the same Church invites the man to dinner, how do we explain that? I am sick over this invitation.

  21. Carolyn L says:

    I just want to add my voice to those already commenting that I think it is awful that you have invited Obama to the Al Smith Dinner. I am sick to my stomach over this. It is beyond scandalous and I hope that if he has been invited that you will rescind the invitation.

  22. Joel says:

    Even though it is unintentional, holding the Al Smith Dinner right before elections makes it political. Cardinal Dolan, will you please consider rescheduling the dinner sometime after the elections?

  23. Rusty says:

    Cardinal Dolan, I understand that an invitation to the sitting President is customary. However, in light of the attacks against our freedom as Catholics, the invite is scandalous. Please reconsider.

  24. marc w says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    I’m sad and disheartened by the shocking news that you’ve caved and invited Obama to the Al Smith Dinner. So this is the real call for the faithful to oppose the HHS mandate (aka Fortnight of Freedom)? Very disturbing. Please reflect on how Cardinal O’Conner handled this with B. Clinton. The Catholic faithful are shaking our heads in bewilderment over this. It seems lke pure pandering politics and not the march of saints.

    This is a huge disgrace. Please rectify this or you will lose all credibility

  25. Edwin and Evelyn Roberts says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:
    So what gives? What good will the laughter and jokes do to help the unborn and this unjust mandate? Do we all suppose that you have a plan to influence this administration’s horrific stance on abortion for the good with the jokes and laughter made the night of the dinner? Life is full of paradoxs; however, unborn babies need split second decisions that transcend “jokes”.
    We need the Lord’s help on this one……….

  26. Dennis says:

    With the greatest respect and admiration fo your excellency, I humbly ask that you retract your invitation to President Obama. It may seem awkward but it must be done. It will speak volumes more than any words of admonition that could be said at the dinner.

    Again, I want to say how honored I am to have you as Archbishop of New York and President of the US Bishops. You are a man of integrity and piety. Your writings are insightful.

  27. Rosa says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Inviting the most pro-abortion president in the nation’s history to join you at the A. E. S. annual Catholic Charities fundraising event sends mixed messages. Obama stands for Abortion and Gay Marriage (clearly, adverse to our faith). Perhaps, if you reply via a column, blog post, TV etc… to explain your decision to invite him may help clarify this issue. Still, I feel the best message in support of our faith and values is dis-inviting Obama or simply canceling the event.

    God Bless you (and us) in your decision.

  28. Dennis says:

    By the way, financial civil disobedience will not work. There is no way to avoid the fines by simply not paying them. Catholic Hospitals and Schools are too big to hide. The IRS can and will seize the assets. The banks will comply with the IRS and the money will be taken by force. Happens all the time.

    The law itself must be changed or the fines will be levied and collected.

  29. ahstreet says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    How do you expect those of us who are fighting for the dignity of life…fighting in the trenches to continue the fight when the leader of the bishops invites the enemy to a party? We are feeling a sharp pain in the center of our backs!
    Are you seriously thinking that Catholics who are rightly concerned over the abridgement of our freedoms by this evil man will continue to follow you into battle when it is clear that you have a cocktail in your hand and no other weapon? How can we take you seriously anylonger? It is not political to stand up for your faith!
    This sad excuse for a president seeks only to get your smiling face in a picture with him and all the poorly catechised Catholics and the catholics for Obama, and for abortion, etc will plaster it all over the news as a sign that all is well and a vote for Obama is just fine!
    God help us! Who do we turn to? Christ is our only hope; his apostles have fled. Shame on you; I am glad it is you who will have to answer for this damage to Christ’s Church and not I.

  30. Rita Ippolito says:

    Cardinal Dolan, What are you doing?! While so many of us lay Catholics are trying to defend religious liberty in our country and help sadly, too many Catholics who are apathetic to this great abomination against the Catholic Church and other religious institutions and individuals, you set a stage of confusion. It would be better for one to tie a millstone around their neck than to lead one astray! You have compromised the faith, and even though Jesus went out and dined with sinners, tax collectors and stirred confusion amongst the Pharisees, this is playing with the Devil. If you think you can change the present administrations mind through Obama, you are disillusionioned, and that I do not believe. You sir, will be held accountable for those who wil now support this Pro-abort president. May God help us and our Holy, Catholic Church. So much for all the rallies for relgiousmfreedom and the fortnight for freedom, just flush all that down the cesspool. I am one voice on this page, but I represent thousands more in my reactions to your decision!

  31. Karen says:

    Cardinal Dolan, This invitation is almost impossible to believe. Principles trump tradition. Your message is mixed and that is extremely disappointing-your position is high and this decision is a low blow.

    Actions do speak and your flock is waiting for action.

  32. Susan says:

    Cardinal: Your stance would seem more solid and serious if you did not invite Mr. Obama to laugh it up with you at the upcoming fundraiser. Perhaps us Christians stand on our own in this world in the battle for Religous freedom. Where is the Black Robe Regiment?

  33. Jim says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I am very dismayed at your invitation to President Obama to attend the Al Smith dinner. This could not come at a worse time. This is a grave period in the history of the Catholic Church in America, and what I foresee will simply be a photo op for the President to be standing next to you and smiling away for the cameras two weeks before the election. You will be played as a pawn in his political game. Your leadership in opposition to the HHS mandate has been heroic, but this decision leaves that effort impotent. Actually – your past effort becomes – literally – laughable. Is our opposition to the HHS mandate laughable? This event is not dialogue, this event is a comedic night of photo ops. You represent our Church, just as Cardinal O’Connor courageously did when he did not invite President Clinton to the dinner because of his veto of the Partial Birth Abortion legislation. Please don’t trade jokes with a man who is determined to undermine the Catholic Church on every front – from abortion and same-sex marriage to his assault on religious freedom. If you must have him at the dinner and you do not have the courage to dis-invite him, then I implore you to not attend yourself. This invitation is not inviting sinners to the table for conversion – you know better than most that our president is avoiding that true dialogue at every turn.
    I beseech you to make the tough call – dis-invite the president or do not attend yourself. This is a scandal for our beloved Church.
    God Bless,

  34. Mauricio says:

    Your Eminence,

    Has the cock crowed once? There has been a collective gasp among the faithful, we who struggle every day under the burden of this administration’s attempt to box out and suffocate our right worship, practice and live the Faith. Will you now deny the Truth? Will you allow the smoke to enter the Church? Your Eminence, one cannot serve two masters.

    The message being sent by this invitation does not reconcile with the teaching promulgated in the document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship issued by the organization you are the president of, the UCCB. I hope and pray you will reconsider this invitation and not let the cock crow twice.

  35. MaryGr says:

    God help us for the times we live in. First John Roberts, in a stunning and confused reversal, delivers his decision on Obamacare. Now we have the Cardinal prepared to gladhand the most evil leader this country has ever known.

    Lord, to whom shall we go?

  36. Lauren Rooney says:

    Cardinal Dolan, what were you thinking inviting the man who is intent on taking away our religious liberty, and is being sued by you, to the Al Smith Dinner. Are you not away of the mixed message you are sending to the laity. We rely on leaders who are strong in their convictions and don’t practice “do as I say, not do as I do”.
    Jesus was very clear in his message that one must stand strong in his religious beliefs and not be intimidated by “political correctness”. I have spoken with many of my fellow parish members this morning who wonder why we spent our time and talent in working diligently during Fortnight For Freedom holding rallies, petitions, prayer groups, etc. so that this vile Obama HHH mandate is not implemented. Obama ignored your requests for a waiver for Catholics (showing his contempt for Christians) . If you only understand how many Catholics are so disappointed with your intention to break bread and high five it with this poor excuse for a President.

  37. Joan says:

    Please Cardinal Dolan, say it isn’t so!

  38. A concerned Catholic deacon says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan and brother deacon,

    Please reconsider your mistaken invitation to President Obama.
    Joking around with him at the Al Smith dinner could lead Catholics to believe you agree with him.
    You are a great strong voice for the truth, please withdraw your invitation to this radical secular president.

  39. Robert Fox says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan: Regardless of your intentions in inviting Obama to the Al Smith dinner… you gravely underestimate the scandal it is causing.

    By doing this, you legitimize many who have left the Church for a kind of Traditionalism (with a capital T) that rationalizes acting as though the visible magisterium has completely lost it. And so you exacerbate a Church that hemorrhages from the “left” and the “right” when in fact there is no “left” or “right” in authentic Catholicism.

    Servus, Bob Fox.

  40. Therese says:

    Your Emminence,
    Please rescind your invitation to the President to the Al Smith Dinner! Please know you are in our prayers.

  41. MaryGr says:

    I think your love of Catholic Charities has gotten the better of your love of your flock. In these posts we are making a collective baa crying and panicking as we watch you open the gate for the wolf-in-chief.

    Whatever you do now, the message must be: On Nov 6, Catholics must vote for a pro-life president.

  42. marsha tandy says:

    I too am a huge supporter of you and your outspokenness when it comes to my beloved Catholic Church.Still I cannot say it any better than the email I received from American Life League today…

    ” I am confused and deeply
    concerned about President Barack Obama being invited
    to the October 18 Alfred E. Smith dinner. Obama has
    repeatedly attacked the Catholic Church and the Church
    is suing his administration over his contraceptive mandate.
    And now, we invite him to a high-profile Catholic fundraising
    event? Past sitting Presidents were not invited to this same
    event for less.”
    Please Cardinal Dolan correct this scandalous situation.
    God bless you and know that I am praying for you.

  43. Chuck says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:
    You showed great leadership against an enemy of the Church and religious freedom by strongly opposing the HHS mandate. But why do you undermine and confuse the faithful by inviting President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner? President Obama is the person who has effectively established the mandate, increased funding for abortion by recinding the Mexico City Treaty policy and who refuses to defend DOMA in court. It makes no sense and will thoroughly confuse the faithful !

  44. Tom says:

    I was really quite shocked and dismayed to hear that President Obama will be asked to the Al Smith Dinner this year. This will provide him with an enormous propaganda boost. The Church leadership is either quite politically naive or has divided opinions on abortion. What else would explain the entreaties and obeisance to Mr. Obama? In addition to the propaganda value provided to the greatest abortion advocate in the country (the second being apparently practicing Catholic Nancy Pelosi), this only muddies the moral waters for those Catholics who regularly support pro-abortion candidates. First Notre Dame now the Archdiocese of New York. The Church is really loosing credibility on this issue with both the faithful and the faithless.

  45. Sheila Faline says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    Meaning no disrespect, I assure you. I believe a fervent..heartfelt prayer to the
    Holy Spirit for awareness of Gods will concerning the USCCB dinner would certainly be
    in order.

  46. Grandin says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,

    I have a great deal of respect for you, especially for the way you connect with young people. My daughter had the opportunity to meet you at World Youth Day last summer and that helped her fall even more deeply in love with her Catholic Faith. One of the ways you are able to reach younger people is through your humor. Now, I understand the Al Smith dinner is supposed to be non-political and a venue for some humor and enjoying the company of others for a good cause. However, extending an invitation to a president whose administration has declared war on the Church is just misguided. It sends a mixed message about your commitment (and by extension that of the USCCB) to opposing the HHS mandate. We live in a time when Catholics are confused enough about what the Church teaches and what is required of them to live a life of Catholic faith. Inviting a man to spend the evening with you in a setting that is designed to look like a group of people at peace with one another can only send the signal that you aren’t that serious about the HHS mandate, so why should the rest of us be? Please, please, please rescind the invitation to President Obama. This is not the time to be communing with him, not even for what is objectively a good cause. I know at this point it might be embarrassing to rescind, but frankly those who would ridicule you for doing so (mainly the media and the White House) are not supporting you regardless of what you do, plus it would demonstrate a tremendous strength of character and commitment to the rest of us, especially those who are wavering and NEED to see leadership.

    In Christ,

  47. Irene says:

    These comments show that our bishops’ very strong “religious freedom” rhetoric has borne some poisonous fruits.

    Right here on a Catholic website, some Catholics now feel free to call our democratically elected President, (a political moderate by the way) “the man who is intent on taking away our religious liberty”, “a man who is determined to undermine the Catholic Church on every front”,” “the most evil leader this country has ever known”, or simply “the enemy ”

    But, heck, why limit ourselves to just the President, ban all Democrats, as one commenter suggests, “The thought of any Democratic politician invited to any Catholic Charity function is scandalous and total unacceptable.”

    Cardinal Dolan, Is this really the face you wish Catholics to present to the world? Or maybe its time to change tone?

  48. Tom says:

    To Heather Wilson:

    Since when is accusing those you disagree with of hate a Christian value?

    One of us doesn’t belong in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Dolan has only left me confused as to which of us should leave.

  49. Mare Ulicne says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan, When you took over the archdiocese of NY we were glad to see such a strong conservative Catholic at the helm. If you go through with this invitation to dinner with the president, you will be
    harming your credibility by throwing pearls to swine. It’s an insult to your vocation to ignore well meanijng Catholics who are warning you of
    this sin of scandal by dining with a man who claims to be a Christian but ignores God’s commandments ” Thou shall not kill” &” thou shall not commit adultery ” the commandment against fornication as anyone who has relations outside of marriage are committingb adultery. this does not only apply to the married. many sins have many sides to them. For him to promote these sins is a scandal against Christianity.He also has shown no proof that he is a Christian & has publicly mocked Christians in his speeches. We actually don’t know WHO the man is as he has denied every truth revealed by his history, companions & those who knew him. Because of this behavior- who can trust him? The comments here about him using you & the fundraiser as a means to promote him & not Catholic charities or Catholic principles is spot on. what good is all the work to defeat & pray against the mandate if we can’t count on the leader of our bishops to do the right thing. please don’t be one of the bishops who brought Jesus’ church to shame by a scandal you can avoid. By breaking bread with an anti-catholic ( possibly an anti-christ based on his lack of support for Christian values taught by Our Lord. )
    if you do this- you would be betraying Jesus Himself. Words are empty no matter how charming they sound. Actions speak louder than words. it’s also not a great idea to be sharing a comedy show with blasphemous comedian Colbert. You will only make a fool of yourself & the Catholic church if you associate publicly with unrepentant sinners who flaunt their sins. We need more leaders who call a sin a sin. Catholics learn nothing from leaders who don’t set a good example ymeaning what they say. to socially visit with both men who have insulted God himself will not make it appear that you wish to convert them. it will only lead to more scandal. We love your sense of humor, but there’s a time & place for everything. The jews can be forgiving, but they wouldn’t invite hitler to a passover meal. those who promote abortion by defending it are just as guilty as abortionists. This is a time for you to discern & pray about your own lack of discretion. if you want to meet with these men privately to discuss their sins, is one thing. To pal around with them is another. You remain in my prayers with all priests in this time of temptation in the world. . Even the holy have to guard their senses more carefully as we are surrounded by evil which aims to steal our souls. and it is often a subtle theft.

  50. Ernesto Kortright says:

    Dear Father Dolan,
    You have chosen a position of leadership in order to feed your sheep. Please don’t add another scandal with this invitation. Rescind it immediately. We’ve had enough with Obama at Notre Dame, Sebelius at Georgetown, pseudo Catholics like Cuomo, Biden, Pelosi and others taking Holy Communion in spite of their scandalous apostasy.
    HELP US!!! And if you can’t rescind it. Sit as far away from this evil man as possible and don’t let anyone take video ot pictures with the 2 of you together.
    Ernesto Kortright
    Helena, Alabama