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Breaking Bread With the Enemy: The Al Smith Dinner
Patheos ^ | Aug 09, 2012 | Kathy Schiffer

Posted on 08/15/2012 6:54:33 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM

Breaking Bread With the Enemy: The Al Smith Dinner

August 9, 2012 By 72 Comments

“So he’s given us a year to figure out how to violate our consciences…”

“You’ve got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church…”

–Most Rev. Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Cardinal Egan welcomes President George W. Bush and Al Gore

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has been an outspoken critic of the health care mandate imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services, requiring all businesses (even Catholic organizations) to offer free contraception and abortifacients as part of basic health care for their employees.

Under Cardinal Dolan’s spirited leadership, Catholics have rallied:  More than 130,000 participated in two nationwide rallies in the Spring of the year, expressing concern and outrage over the government’s intrusion into the conscience rights of churches and individuals of faith.  Now this Dinner wipes the slate clean; poorly informed Catholics and others will think, “If the Cardinal can put aside petty differences for a light night of fun and jokes, this must not be very important.”

The Cardinal, flanked by President John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon

I think the Al Smith Dinner could cost pro-lifers the election and put this radically pro-abortion President back in the White House for another four years.  Coming just a few weeks before the election, this will be a singularly important photo op for the President—and the media will do his bidding, showing the Cardinal and the Prez enjoying laughs and cigars like nothing is wrong.

So WHY would the Archbishop of New York and president of the USCCB extend an invitation to President Obama to join him at the podium along with his political opponent, Mitt Romney, at the annual Al Smith Dinner?

The Al Smith Dinner, a major fundraiser organized by the Albert E. Smith Memorial Foundation, is a light-hearted roast—a jocular black-tie fete named for the Catholic statesman who died in October 1944—and it attracts a veritable Who’s Who in American politics.  Since 1945 the Al Smith Dinner has raised millions of dollars for health care causes.  And the Foundation’s tradition has been to invite presidential candidates during an election year.

But there have been some notable exceptions: 

Why Cardinal Dolan, who has led the American Church in its efforts to overturn the unconstitutional HHS Mandate, would overlook the gravely pro-abortion policies of the Obama Administration and the President’s staunch refusal to defend the Defense Of Marriage Act in the courts, and would invite President Obama to rub elbows at this lighthearted Dinner is a mystery to me.  And I am not alone in my confusion: 

I have always had such respect for His Eminence, admiring his leadership and smiling at his Godly joy; and I can’t believe he doesn’t have a greater good in mind now.  I wonder, Is he having second thoughts, and will the Dinner be cancelled?  Or is there a dialogue going on behind the scenes to which we are not privy?  Keep watching.

TOPICS: Activism; Apologetics; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholicvote
August 12, 2012
Cardinal Dolan's endgame
By Louie Verrecchio

My most recent column, "In Defense of Cardinal Dolan," generated quite a bit of feedback. Some readers were convinced that it reflected a sense of false hope born of naiveté; others thought they detected a rather large dose of satire. For the record, one of these assessments is correct, but I'll leave it to you to decide which one.

The bottom line is this; the gravely serious charges ascribed to the Cardinal's detractors as described in that column are no longer a matter of speculation; that is, apart from one very important, as yet unknown, detail; one that has the potential for turning this entire affair on its head. (Sorry for baiting, but you'll have to keep reading to discover it.)

What is most important now is that we come to terms with Cardinal Dolan's decision.

Ed Mechmann of the Archdiocese of New York touched on the crux of the matter when he blogged, "The politicians who speak at the [Al Smith] dinner are not being given any honor."

Can he be serious?

I'd really like to see a copy of the formal invitation that was sent to Barack Obama in the name of the Cardinal Archbishop. If I was a betting man, I'd be willing to wager that it reads something like this:

"His Eminence is pleased to request the honor of your presence..."

"Oh, but in that case," an apologist might object, "the Cardinal is the one being honored!"

I'm not sure which concept is more disgusting, but in any event, consider a page on the Al Smith Foundation website listing past "luminous guest speakers [that] have stepped from the world stage to honor and entertain Annual Dinner audiences with their light humor and political savvy."

There it is again, honor. So, maybe it's true. Maybe the Cardinal will be honored (not to mention, entertained) by that "luminous" enemy of the Church, Barack Obama.

Either way, among the previous luminaries listed on the Al Smith website is the "Honorable Barack Obama;" one of the speakers at the dinner in 2008.

And now here we are, one HHS mandate, four years and some 5 million innocent human beings later and one wonders, is Cardinal Dolan still comfortable applying the title ""honorable" to Barack Obama? If not, why did he invite him?

More to the point is the fact that dining with Cardinal Dolan as his invited guest, whenever it may be, (like Chick-fil-A, for instance) is an honor. Heck, a high-five from a Prince of the Church would be an honor! The only people who don't recognize that fact (Obama undoubtedly one of them) are those who have no concept of what it means to say that our bishops are the Successors to the Apostles that were handpicked by Christ.

The sad fact of the matter is that many in the sacred hierarchy suffer from just such an identity crisis themselves; their behavior indicating that they see themselves more as political operatives and consensus builders than Fathers who are called sanctify, teach and govern with the authority of Christ the King.

Does that apply to Cardinal Dolan? Ask me the day after the Al Smith Dinner and I'll let you know.

As of this moment, everyone who gives a hoot about the Church has every reason to be concerned that a terrible scandal is in the offing. Naturally, faithful Catholics, after responding so generously to the Fortnight for Freedom, feel betrayed.

Can anyone be surprised by the outrage being expressed by those who fully expect to see, just weeks before the election, images of Barack Obama — an unapologetic enemy of Christianity who is Hell bent (literally) on propagating intrinsic evil — clinking wineglasses and laughing it up with the nation's highest profile prelate?

I certainly don't; in fact, you can count me among the outraged. The actual scandal, however, has yet to take place and there is still a chance (however small) that Cardinal Dolan is simply laying the groundwork for a new shot heard 'round the world at a time when we desperately need one.

Naïve satirist that I am, I cannot help but hope and pray that there's a whole lot more to this story than meets the eye, and if I could write the script, the end will look something like this:

The ever smug Barack Obama will walk into the Al Smith Dinner on October 18th bearing the kind of condescending smirk that only a liberal can muster; certain that he is about to plunge yet another knife into the heart of the Church thanks to the graciousness of his trusting host.

But what the wolf is about to discover is that this shepherd is no ordinary dove; rather, he's wise as a serpent and he's ready to strike. It's a set-up; an opportunity for Cardinal Dolan to set things right in a way that will make crystal clear the fact that the Church, and our nation, is doing battle not just against bad ideas, but against evil itself.

At long last, the two-faced scoundrel from Pennsylvania Avenue will receive at least some of the just reward he deserves for making the mistake of treating Cardinal Dolan like a buffoon some nine months earlier when he looked the prelate square in the eye and lied about his high regard for the Church and his unwillingness to attack her via mandate.

Obama's punishment? The one liars deplore most; listening to the truth.

As the fine dining concludes and the time for hilarity draws near, the unsuspecting Obama will be the picture of a man victorious, believing the photo-op coupe de grace is already his. But what he doesn't yet realize is that he brought a knife to the wrong kind of fight. You see, the Cardinal Archbishop — the man who solemnly pledged before the Almighty to defend the flock unto martyrdom is wielding the sword of truth — and there's no escaping its razor-sharp edge.

Oh, sure, Obama will do his level best to grin through the humiliation of having to listen to the Gospel of Life as Cardinal Dolan, with neither malice nor fear, does precisely what he's been ordained to do; namely, to preach the Word of God to both heathen and believer alike, especially in times of trouble.

But, try as he might to avoid it, the watchful eye of the media will capture in the face of Barack Obama the unmistakable glare of a man who hates the Lord and the Church He founded.

Game, set, match — Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Now don't get me wrong, even if this happens the sun will rise the following morning on our enemies just as it will on us, and rest assured their hatred will be multiplied tenfold, but so what? At least for one night the children of the Church in the United States will go to sleep confident that their shepherd has a backbone as sturdy as his crozier, and what's more, he's on duty; watching over the flock.

Do I think any of this is likely?

No, of course not, but then again, neither do I think it impossible. And so, we will pray.

1 posted on 08/15/2012 6:54:39 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

The e-mail to protest is:

Some friends have already written very good letters. Pray AND act.

2 posted on 08/15/2012 7:01:20 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

We all have a lot of hoping and praying to do.

The Al Smith dinner has never been used as a way of attacking the position of the honored guests before, but I can see no other way out, except to simply cancel the event.

The emphasis has, rightly, been on Obama the Baby Killer and anti-Christian. But the invitation to Mitt Romney, who also has a record as a baby killer and a gay marriage pioneer, is likewise unconscionable. I don’t think we can let Romney off the hook, just because Obama’s record is even worse.

If this turns out to be a lovefest, it will be even worse than the invitation to receive an honorary degree at Notre Dame.

3 posted on 08/15/2012 7:11:56 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero
At Archdiocesan Gala, No Room for Clinton or Dole
Published: August 23, 1996

For 50 years, it has been New York's most prestigious nonpolitical political event. And since John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon took off their campaign gloves to attend the glittering dinner three weeks before the 1960 presidential election, most candidates for the nation's highest office have made the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner a mandatory stop on the road to the White House.

But not this year.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has not invited President Clinton or his Republican challenger, Bob Dole, to its $600-a-plate annual charity dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel next month. It is the first Presidential election year since 1960 that the archdiocese has not invited the Democratic and Republican candidates. And there are conflicting explanations.

The dinner's organizers said that the candidates were unable to make firm commitments to attend, and so were not invited. But other archdiocesan officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the exclusion stemmed from John Cardinal O'Connor's annoyance at President Clinton's veto of a bill that would have outlawed certain late-term abortions. They added that Mr. Dole was not invited to keep the dinner from taking on a partisan tone.

4 posted on 08/15/2012 7:16:02 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM (Sin Makes You Stupid.)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Might retract the invitation when he finds out that he will be required to cover all crosses, not speak of Jesus, allow the Secret Service (former TSA) Agents pat down the Nuns repeatedly, and above all show proper respect to “the One”.

5 posted on 08/15/2012 8:00:14 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (Skittle pooping unicorns are more common than progressives with honor & integrity.)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
I think the Al Smith Dinner could cost pro-lifers the election and put this radically pro-abortion President back in the White House for another four years. Coming just a few weeks before the election, this will be a singularly important photo op for the President — and the media will do his bidding, showing the Cardinal and the Prez enjoying laughs and cigars like nothing is wrong.

Ping for later.

6 posted on 08/15/2012 8:49:30 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

PRAYERS for Dolan.

7 posted on 08/16/2012 12:48:41 AM PDT by Ann Archy ( ABORTION...the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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