Cardinal Dolan answered critics on the Obama. I do not find his arguments convincing. http://deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/cardinal-dolan-explains-reason-he-invited-president-obama/
I am afraid he is a product of post-Vatican II theology. Pray for him.
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.
I have a few thoughts. One, those of us in the pew who fought for pro-life in Illinois when POTUS was in power in that State, have consistently felt let down. This man has a long history of fighting against the Church. Second, if we are the Church Militant, and I am from my baptism and confirmation, am I not supposed to fight against error and evil? When does one keep silent? Even Christ spoke harshly to the leaders of the Jewish religion of His time and over dinner as well.
Third, do not the bishops have a lawsuit against Obamacare? Four, what about the Obama camps use of the photo opps to yet confuse more Catholics in the pew? Some will say “See, His Eminence is with Obama, so why can’t we vote for him?” Photos are stronger than words, in this post-rational society. The media is the message, remember? Five, it is a fund raiser, and I would not give money to a fund with the president as the speaker. Who gives money to the Archdiocese? Are these all pro-Obama backers and pro-abortion backers and pro-civil marriage backers? Six, if His Eminence wanted to do the right thing for all of us lowly ones watching him, he could make a prayer for all the 50 million plus aborted babies in the beginning of the dinner and ask POTUS to give money to pro-life activities in front of all. Challenge the man right then and there. Six, too many bishops are caving into the lie of “engaging the culture” instead of “changing the culture”, and this dinner invitation is engaging in the culture without any indication of changing the culture of death. Call it for what it is, and this does not cover all the other issues this president holds dear, including civil unions and the taking away of our religious rights. Seven, I pray for His Eminence. I call his position on the site a dance of compromise. Either we are hot or cold, not lukewarm. Christ set the bar, not us. I am grieved at this decision.