BCI pauses from our normal Boston fare today to report on a situation of national significance to Catholics. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has apparently invited President Obama to speak at the annual Catholic Charities Al Smith dinner to be held on October 18 in New York. Obama is reported to have accepted, and the dinner foundation website lists both Obama and Mitt Romney as speakers. This has sparked nationwide criticism and outrage which BCI feels is justified. A petition has been started to ask Cardinal Dolan to uninvite Obama. BCI finds it odd and troubling that Cardinal Dolan would have invited Obama to this dinner–and we encourage you to sign the petition.
Here are two news articles about the controversy, followed by the petition and a video explaining why you should sign the petition:
Randy Engel, Director, U.S. Coalition for Life, said, “Better to cancel the event than have it become another cause for scandal in the Catholic Church.” Engel says he is trying to get the message to Archbishop Dolan, “Please cancel the Al Smith dinner this year in memory of the millions of unborn children who have died and will continue to die under the government’s many anti-life programs.”
Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, is also unhappy about the event, and says some of the explanation he has heard about the invitation not being an endorsement of Obama’s policies but a courtesy extended to any president, doesn’t cut it with him. “I’m all in favor of protocol and understand the difference between respecting the President’s policies vs. respecting his office,” Pavone said.”But there comes a time when the polite putting aside of differences for a while amounts to scandal.”
“There comes a time when enough is enough and we can no longer afford to give people a reason to doubt our position as a Church. On August 1, the unjust HHS mandate went into effect for Priests for Life and millions of other Americans, and I announced to our staff that we are disobeying the mandate,” Pavone said in comments to LifeNews. “So no, I don’t think the invitation is appropriate at this time.”
Here is the petition text:
We the undersigned respectfully request that the invitation to Barack Obama to be a guest at this year’s annual Al Smith charity fundraising dinner be withdrawn immediately.
Barack Obama has proven himself to be an aggressive adversary of the Catholic Church with regard to numerous policies put forth under his administration.
These include, but are not limited to, his forceful efforts to advance the intrinsic evil of abortion on demand both domestically and internationally; his antagonistic and ruthless efforts to force the intrinsic evils of contraception and sterilization on poor nations through financial enticements and threats; his continued policy of directing US tax dollars to such organizations as Planned Parenthood which traffic in the currency of numerous
Moreover, Barack Obama has lied numerous times, including his controversial appearance at Notre Dame in 2009, about attempts to reach so-called common ground with the Catholic Church on matters including protection of conscience rights for health care workers. His most recent legal efforts to force Catholic institutions to act against their consciences and pay for contraception and abortion inducing birth control products underscore his
total belligerence toward the Catholic Church and Her teachings.
As such .. the appearance of Barack Obama .. such an openly hostile opponent of the Church .. at a Catholic gala attended by high-ranking Catholic clergy would be a massive insult to untold numbers of the faithful who have fought this man’s advancement of one intrinsic evil after another.
In addition to matters of life .. Barack Obama has orchestrated a militant effort against the sacredness of marriage by supporting, promoting and advancing the intrinsic evil of same-sex so-called marriage at home and abroad. He has directed the full might and force of the federal government to impose its will on the Catholic Church in limiting and restricting Her rights and responsibilities to carry out the corporal works of mercy in the
areas of adoption services, and ministering to US military personnel who are Catholic.
We therefore respectfully request that Barack Obama’s invitation be rescinded without delay and a sense of proper decorum restored.”
For those pressed for time, this is what you will hear on the video:
We’d like to begin today with a section from the Church’s Code of Canon Law …It’s from “Canon 212 ..
§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful ..”
Following on from this .. we’d like to invite you to join a petition we are organizing for respectful submission to the Archdiocese of New York to request the leaders of the New York Archdiocese to rescind their invitation to Obama to attend the annual Al Smith dinner.
For Obama to be seen hobnobbing and glad-handing and all smiles and jokes and pats on the back with Cardinal Timothy Dolan will be a source of great scandal and confusion for untold numbers of Catholic faithful as well as many others of good will.
Now .. its very important to note that in 1996 .. Cardinal John O’Connor .. the archbishop of New York at the time .. would not allow then-President Bill Clinton to be extended an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner specifically because of his pro-abortion stance and policies.
So how is that 16 years ago .. a sitting president was denied an invitation to the dinner because he had the blood of pre-born children on his hands .. but now that doesn’t seem to matter?
And recall that in 1996 .. Bill Clinton was exhibiting none of same intense anti-Catholic policies as Barack Obama is today. The bishops of the United States saw no need to sue their president. They saw no need to try and rally Catholics from coast to coast in a two week effort of prayer and mobilization against the sitting president’s policies.
They saw no need to launch an intense media blitz .. writing articles and appearing on large numbers of TV and radio shows and newscasts.
The stakes were nowhere near as high 16 years ago as they are today. Yet in that relatively subdued environment .. the then Cardinal of New York stood up and said .. NO .. Mr. President .. you cannot come to the dinner.
Yet today .. with seemingly everything on the line .. and a president who has demonstrated nothing less than a thinly veiled disgust of the Catholic Church and Her teachings .. who is actively involved in a lawsuit against Her .. THIS man gets the red carpet rolled out for him. And yes, there is a red carpet at the dinner.
Obama is of course glad to mingle with those he considers his enemies because it fits perfectly well his political calculus. He gets the photo op he wants to shove in the face of those Catholic who oppose him .. while at the same time giving him the perfect weapon to sew bewilderment among others.
In one fell swoop .. Obama gets to make his opponents look like buffoons AND score political points by showing everyone the nice picture of him and Cardinal Dolan smiling and back-slapping.
Talk about killing two birds with one stone .. and at least one of those birds will be a Cardinal.
Please sign the petition and encourage anyone and everyone else you know to sign it and pass in on as well.
We keep hearing from Church leaders today to reclaim our Catholic identity which has been stolen from us because THEIR predecessors did not pass on the faith. Well, here’s a very easy way to begin to assert that identity.