Cardinal Dolan's Response to the Al Smith Dinner Backlash

“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?”

Thoughts or comments?


God bless.


We need respectful and animated discussion by both sides of the issue to get the truth of the matter. I support the effort of the bishops at the Al Smith Dinner to talk with both candidates.
Godspeed and May God Bless this charity dinner event.

Trust Cardinal Dolan on this one. Thanks to Brother JR, I am adopting the Franciscan model of obedience in all things other than sin.

Why not invite both candidates to the dinner with the provision that there will be NO photo-ops? That is what Pope Benedict did when he had Nancy Pelosi to the Vatican!

I’m not sure its possible to avoid a photo-op, Lego. It is one of the most public and media-covered event of the entire fall campaign.

I suppose we shall find out.

God bless.


For Obama, his conflict with the Church is a political one where he can justifiably drop his gloves for a non-partisan dinner. For the Church, however, this is a battle to the death. If this HHS mandate continues as planned, Catholics could potentially be getting persecuted and jailed for living out their faith. This is not a political issue for the Church, it’s survival… If Obama loses this battle then he will find another high paid job easily as a lobbyist or a politician, if the Church loses this battle then this will be the beginning of legal Catholic persecution in America. So I feel that whatever legal ability the Church has to stall or halt Obama’s re-election efforts, then it has a responsibility to take advantage of that ability (even if that means appearing to show favoritism towards the republicans this time around).

Now, this dinner with Obama isn’t necessarly a bad thing. In fact, I would support this dinner if two things were to happen during Obama’s attendance: 1) There would be no opportunities for PR benefit to the Obama campaign (ie. no photography) and 2) This dinner would be used as an opportunity to call out and discuss the evil nature of Obama’s policies in the interest of showing him the error in his ways. Even Christ had dinner with sinners, but I can guarantee that Christ was spending this time to help save their souls and certainly did nothing to stroke their ego’s or make them feel justified in their ways.

I certainly don’t mean to show disrespect towards the Cardinal and I’m sure he has no deliberate intention to hamper the Church’s efforts agains the HHS mandate. But we have to realize that the Church in America has never had to fight this type of religious persesuction before, it’s easy to just keep these issues in the political arena and forget just how close to home they could be hitting after election day… :frowning:

Da Ja Vu of Obama at Notre Dame. Civility with pure evil doesn’t compute. It gives some Catholics and others the idea that the church isn’t really serious about its tenets. Our enemy will get that photo op and without civility plaster it all over the pro Obama liberal media.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope you will try to register your protest to this invite by posting it at

I am from Malaysia, the peninsula above Singapore.

I am humbly offering an outside look at your predicament.

You need to take a stand on this. Stand up and be counted or you will loose a lot of the freedom you now enjoy.

I believe the media and the internet ,as far as I can perceive, brought President Obama into his own at the White House. I never realised how anti-Catholic he is until now!!!
I was so proud that he could be a President ,…then.

But what he has proposing in his term of office, has been anti-Catholic and anti-Life. I urge you to make a difference. As a leader of the world, the US has always been looked upon for direction, nothwithstanding dangerous trends that it has undergone the last decades.

You need a turn-around. Those on the internet, please get your friends and relatives to assist in making your voice heard if you are a Catholic., register your protest and pray for your Bishops to have the backbone they need to lead the Church in US…

God bless,
Kentcara2003 (SSCC 3rd Order)

After feeling very fed up about bishops, I prayed about it (sometimes I am a little slow :o ) and God reminded me of the battle in the OT when He asked that only a very few men be in the battle against the enemy who had many more fighting.

The victory of such a small number over such a huge force meant that the glory of the victory was most clearly attributed to God.

Instead of complaining about what Achbishop Dolan is doing here, we should be praying hard that God’s will be done, that at least a seed will be planted. This is a venue in which this can happen.

We all know that petitions and whathaveyou won’t change anything. What has much more potential for change is prayer. Let’s ask God for His help rather than relying on ourselves!




Christ said His would be tested, or persecuted for His namesake. He also said that even the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church, and promised to be with it until the consummation of the world.

Are we forgetting that the Church was born through much worse persecution than the type we are facing today?

I don’t see how one can think the Cardinal could be hampering the Church’s efforts against the HHS mandate, since the Cardinal is one of those who filed a lawsuit against this administration. That lawsuit is still pending.

Whether it’s a mistake or not, only one will judge; we need to stand united as Catholics in support of the Cardinal. The public display of division does not go unnoticed by those who would find advantage in the division…

That ought to be obvious. There’s less harm in inviting the two candidates to the dinner than in showing that we are not united behind the Cardinal, which can be used against us.

And, it is indeed a charity event. No political speeches will be expected nor made by either Obama or Romney. The both know the rules.

I still would not agree with Obama’s invite, but it would look better if there were no photos taken. Phil Lawler says

When Jesus sat with tax collectors, the dinners were private. They were not “photo ops” for political candidates. The Lord could speak directly to the hearts of his dining companions, and convert them. Remember, St. Matthew left the tax-collecting business to follow Christ. Does anyone believe that after the Al Smith dinner, Obama will decide to rescind the contraceptive mandate?


On the morning after the dinner, millions of Americans will see, prominently displayed on the front pages of their hometown newspapers, pictures of President Obama and Cardinal Dolan smiling together. What message will they receive? Can these be the same men who are fighting a bitter political battle on a matter of conscience? The same two men who are the principal forces behind opposite sides of a landmark lawsuit? If they’re laughing and back-slapping together, the disagreement can’t be all that serious, can it? So maybe that “matter of conscience” isn’t so important after all? Apparently it wasn’t important enough to interfere with a night of fun


I agree with you on that. Obviously, there is a problem with Obama’s positions, but it is not a bad idea to have the candidates meet with Cardinal Dolan.
However, I would not agree with Cardinal Dolan meeting with the comedian Colbert. It is not for me to decide of course, but I find some of Colbert’s jokes and skits relating to Catholicism to be offensive.

  1. Lawler is as entitled to his take on the event as is anyone else. His opinion does not count for any more than that of others just because he runs a Catholic blog.

  2. “Prominently displayed on the front pages of their hometown newspapers”? Nonsense. Mentioned in a number of newspapers, but hardly worthy of front page display. Very few newspapers in the United States concentrate so much on Catholic news, particularly about a charity dinner in New York City.

  3. Neither Cdl Dolan nor Pres Obama are back-slapping types.

  4. The Cardinal is under no obligation to do Lawler’s bidding. Dolan is far more important than Lawler who spends half his time begging for money to support his website. (I know because I am a regular contributor to it - he often does have interesting links to Catholic news related stories). So, like most people here, I’ll take the Cardinal’s side in this matter.

Comedian who? I do not participate in any form of secular media. I am happier because of that.

Amen! The last I heard, God was still in charge of all things.

I agree - What option do we have other than to trust God, submit to our leadership and its’ decisions (as I’ve heard it put, it isn’t the democracy of heaven that is at hand…), pray earnestly for this dinner, Priests and Bishops, our nation, etc. - and do our own little part here in our own little patches of the woods? God will work through it all if we just trust. Petitions won’t do anything.

Besides - Christ frequently railed against the Pharisees for their errors and their hypocrisy, but he still ate with them (and he railed against them at these meals too, come to think of it, Luke 11:37-53). Yes we have the complication of media and photo-ops these days, but the principles haven’t changed. What message would the Archbishop send if he shunned Obama? “Hate your enemies and avoid them” sounds more worldly than it does Christian…

Oh, and Ephesians 6 for those who speak as though the source of evil lies with Obama or with any flesh and blood. Let’s keep in mind that it’s a spiritual battle. “The god of this world has blinded them…” I will certainly not vote for someone who holds the positions that Obama holds, but he is not Satan in the flesh either. I pray for his conversion.

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