Disinvite Obama from Al Smith Dinner

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:

Obama Attendance at Catholic Charities Dinner Sparks Criticism

Dolan criticized for inviting Obama to Al Smith Dinner

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request that the invitation to Barack Obama to be a guest at this year’s annual Al Smith charity fundraising dinner be withdrawn immediately.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
intrinsic evils.

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.”

Click here to to sign the petition.

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.

Just click on this link to sign.

67 Responses to Disinvite Obama from Al Smith Dinner

  1. Bill Redmond says:

    Maybe this is a Matthew 9:9-13 type of invite.

    • Bill, It could be; however, it seems to BCI and others that this is no more a Matthew 9 invite than was Notre Dame inviting Obama to speak at their commencement.

      Jesus, when questioned, said he was dining with the tax collectors because because he called sinners to conversion. Do you really think Cardinal Dolan has this as his intention with this event?

      Also, Cardinal Dolan, as President of the USCCB, would know this invitation is in conflict with the USCCB guideline that Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles or give them platforms that suggest support for their actions. Surely, an invitation to keynote a nationally recognized Catholic fundraiser gives Obama a platform and it is obvious he acts in defiance of our moral principles.

      If we are wrong on this one, we will gladly acknowledge our error.

      • Bill Redmond says:

        We do not know Cardinal Dolan’s intent, but we can look at his past words and actions. I think his track record is not at all like Notre Dame’s.

      • James says:

        BCI is right on. There is nothing more scandalous at this point in U.S. church history than to break bread with this outright enemy of the Church. This isn’t calling Matthew the tax collector to conversion. It’s dining with Herod on the night of the Passion. It’s completely wrong. Doesn’t matter Dolan’s intention. Doesn’t matter what’s said at the event, or who wins the PR war. People will see the photo-op with Dolan shaking hands and laughing with Obama, and will be thoroughly confused as to where the Church stands on the critical issues of our time.

    • Mary Reilly says:

      I agree with BCI’s post and with James. Whatever Cardinal Dolan’s intention or what’s said at the event, people are already confused and will be even more confused about where the Catholic Church stands on the critical issues of the day like religious freedom, abortion, contraception, “gay marriage,” and more. People will see the photo-op with Dolan shaking hands and laughing with Obama – and Obama will look like he’s in good graces with the Catholic Church. This is EXACTLY what Obama wants a few weeks before the election, and is EXACTLY why the USCCB put out their guidelines in 2004 that said Catholic institutions should not give “awards, honors, or platforms” to “those who act in defiance of [Catholic] fundamental moral principles.” I take issue with the U.S. bishopes on more than a few areas where they’ve been milquetoast, but on this point, how much more explicit could they have been?

  2. Chris Whittle says:

    I signed the petition.

  3. I don’t think Cardinal Dolan is doing this out of true respect of Obama. Dolan is a smart man. I believe he knows Obama will show his ignorance, stupidity and arrogance to the people who need it most – the “dyed in the wool” democrats who will be voting Obama back in no matter what. Their party comes before their faith. This takes in even some of our clergy!!!

    • Michael says:

      Forget the tactics where you hope that the enemy reveals their true colors. Why not try the proper Catholic approach which is to boldly speak the truth.

      No need to invite Obama to call him out. Just call him out.

      I doubt Dolan is playing some wishful tactical maneuver. More likely, Dolan just can’t help himself to not be with the POTUS, even if the POTUS isn’t even legally the POTUS and even if the faux POTUS is crapping on his religious freedoms.

      Rubbing elbows is far more important than courageous principled positions. Too many courageous stances might get one disinvited to the next political party with tea and crumpets.

  4. gpmtrad says:

    For a slightly different perspectve, [I] dropped by an infamous establishment in Boston recently to ask Cliff Clavin, one of the regulars, for an explanation of what’s going on….

    “Well, let’s see….

    “You got your one lone Masonic imperial superpower – into whose hip, cool society your supposedly Catholic prelates have been relentlessly attempting to thrust their not-so-infrequently corpulent selves for, lo, these past two centuries, right?

    “Then, you got your whole Americanist heresy thing goin’ down without so much as a peep of serious disagreement for just about the same span of time, right?

    “Then, you got your episcopal selection process over there in sunny Nova Roma that just can’t get out of its own way in its rush to maintain solidarity with all things trendy and non-judgmental and slap-happily ecumaniacal, right?

    “Then, you got your prototypically gabby Midwestern bishop type, the kinda guy that likes wearn’ fermented milk on his head before a football game, who ends up in the Big Apple, runnin’ the whole enchilada, right?

    “Soooo, there’s your whole problem right there starin’ ya in the face, Mr. Catholic-guy-in-the-pew! Those guys runnin’ your church ain’t no different than anybody on the crew of this here TV show – ALL’S WHAT COUNTS IS RATINGS!”

  5. teddyballgame says:

    I knew Dolan was too good to be true. gpmtrad and Cliff Clavin are right!

  6. […] Disinvite Obama from Al Smith Dinner – Boston Catholic Insider […]

  7. Bill says:

    Dolan’s a showboat who loves to see his name in the paper. Nothing better than rubbing elbows with the prez.

  8. Brian Watson-Colter says:

    I am really quite disappointed in the Cardinal. Even if his intentions are good, what it looks like will never b e changed.


  9. David S. says:

    I called Cardinal Dolan’s Office today to express my concerns.

    Perhaps some of your other readers might call and leave him a message as well. His office can be reached at (212) 371-1000.

    Part of me wants to believe that the Cardinal has something up his sleeve. But then again, this is the same Shepard of the Church who said the homosexual marriage law in New York caught him by surprise.

  10. Mack says:

    I’m deeply disappointed with Cardinal Dolan on this, and have sent an email message expressing that respectfully. I’ll sign the petition too.
    More and more, being a member of the Church today feels like being without a shepherd (except for the Pope).

  11. Jack O'Malley says:

    Regarding the pope as a shepherd, he stated that Summorum Pontificum was merely an act of toleration for those attached to the ancient rite.

    Ratzinger is a [deleted by BCI]. Dolan is a [deleted by BCI]. O’Malley is a [deleted by BCI]

    The one true church? I have my doubts. Very grave doubts.

    • alinskyrules says:

      Jack O’Malley – I’m a traditionalist that attends SSPX Mass, but I strongly disagree with your very disrespectful words towards our Pope and Bishops/Cardinal.
      Besides, your quote is inaccurate – “he stated that Summorum Pontificum was merely an act of toleration for those attached to the ancient rite.”
      While I may agree somewhat with your frustration and sentiment, I strongly disagree with your uncharitable words.

      • Stephen says:

        The players and hierarchy are just parts of the one true faith.
        Like parts on an old car, some need to be replaced. That does not
        mean the car is not a car. The SSPX appears to be emerging as the most important Catholic institution founded within the last 3 centuries or more. Totally contemporary, totally historically accurate and totally dialed into the future of the One True Church.

        Cum deesset in caritatis deesset Jesus.

      • Jack O'Malley says:


        I take your point. The problem is that they are replacing the worn out parts with recycled parts from the modernist junkyard. Yes, the car is still a car, but it will be hard-pressed to get you from point A to point B. Point A being this vale of tears and point B being the Beatific Vision.

        I agree with your characterization of the SSPX; I have said a number of times that Lefebvre ought to be canonized. Perhaps he will be when true Reason and true Faith again prevail. I won’t be here to see it in all likelihood.

        In the meanwhile, I’m tired of all this episcopal and sacerdotal crap.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Interesting. Between alinskyrules and Richard Williamson, we have a glimpse of big-tent SSPX: [deletd by BCI] at prayer together.

      And thou of the shameful moniker, you have access to a diocesan Mass here in the archdiocese so there is no need to attend the SSPX. Besides, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is a far more beautiful church than a basement function room in a strip mall. You are wrong to attend the SSPX when there is a canonically regular traditional mass available. You explicitly contemn the Pope by so doing.

      My disrespect towards the Pope encompasses neither disobedience to him nor the crypto-sedevacantism that is widespread in the SSPX. If and when he celebrates the so-called “extraordinary form” publicly and frequently, I will retract the “con-man” remark. Otherwise he is just another modernist who exchanged a necktie for a mitre.

      My contempt for Dolan and O’Malley shall likely remain unrepented, as they shall remain unrepentant.

      To your point: I did not quote the Pope. I wrote a simple declarative sentence with a subordinate clause in indirect discourse. You may think that I reported the Pope’s meaning inaccurately, but you would be wrong again.

      What Benedict XVI said was (now pay attention – this is a quote): «ce Motu proprio est simplement un acte de tolérance, dans un but pastoral pour des personnes qui ont été formées dans cette liturgie, l’aiment, la connaissent, et veulent vivre avec cette liturgie.»

      How pray tell, o censorious critic and mincer of words, have I reported the Pope inaccurately?

      My uncharitable words are nothing compared to the hypocrisy, casuistry, cravenness, scandal, hubris, avarice, heresy, apostasy, blasphemy, issuing from many bishops, some of it from the Bishop of Rome.

      If Dolan doesn’t rescind this invitation, I would not blame any Catholic who decided to change allegiance from a Bishop with Pradas to a Patriarch with a Breguet.

      • alinskyrules says:

        Jack – What the heck are you talking about? “Communists” “Nazis” “Mary Immaculate of Lourdes” “basement function room in a strip mall” “crypto-sedevacantism”? You have no idea who I am, where I live or where I assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

        I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Latin and cannot comment on the accuracy of your quote of the Pope. Perhaps you’d like to send a link to an English version of your quote. Then, if I was being a “censorious critic and mincer of words”, I will gladly retract my comment about your quote being inaccurate.

        Also, what are you referring to with “a Patriarch with a Breguet”? What does a watch have to do with this?

        Please pray for me and I will pray for you.

        In the meantime, please remember the words of St. Paul:
        “If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

      • BCI asks all those commenting to a) stick to the topic of this post, which is about the invitation by Cardinal Dolan to Obama to keynote the Al Smith dinner, and b) refrain from personal attacks on anyone–whether it be a Cardinal or Pope, or another reader.

        a) Sticking to the topic of the post–this should be self explanatory

        b) Refrain from personal attacks. That means, please do not label person (name) a “____” (pejorative term) in your comments. You may personally believe that about a person or judge the person that way, but if so, please do NOT post such judgments or personal attacks to public comments here at BCI. If so, your comments will be moderated. BCI has very little time to moderate comments, and by doing so, you make things more difficult for BCI–or, we have to moderate all comments, which means a delay in them being posted publicly.

        How to express you opinion without a personal attack? It is OK to say, “based on actions/behaviors objectively observed or words spoken by (name), they give the appearance to me that they are _____ (untrustworthy, deceptive, politically-motivated, misleading, etc.).

        So please, focus on the topic of the post, and no judgment calls or personal attacks where you call someone else a ___. Thank you for your cooperation.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Alinsky – I had assumed you lived in the Archdiocese of Boston. This is a Boston blog after all. If you are merely cybertouring from Chicago, then perhaps you might ask Cardinal George to send our peripatetic ordinary a wee dram or two of fortitude potion to spike his Jameson’s when he’s unwinding from a grueling week of photo-ops.

        If you are not from Boston you are not familiar with the Tridentine locations here nor with the location of the SSPX chapel.

        The quote is in French, not Latin — you wanted a direct quote from the Holy Father, so voilà. It means «this motu proprio is simply an act of toleration with a pastoral aim for those who have been formed in this liturgy, love it, know it, and wish to live with this liturgy.»

        As to communists and nazis, Alinsky is as red as they come and Williamson has been recorded more than once as having made anti-Semitic remarks, evidenced by but not limited to the denial of the Shoah.

        The Breguet line was fairly tongue-in-cheek and you will have do your own googling to track down the allusion.

        Parenthetically may I add that I am also tired of people who, based upon their spoken or written words give the appearance to me that they are sanctimonious prigs, as objectively instanced by, for example, a supernumerary citation from St. Paul. It contravenes the theological virtue of Charity to quote Scripture as a veiled insult.

      • Stephen says:

        Many of us know exactly what you are talking about and your references. At this point in Boston the total number of believing Catholics left would probably not fill a school gymnasium. If Mr.
        alinskyrules lives in Boston and attends the SSPX Mass he does so in a strip mall basement in Woburn. – Because that is where the Mass is offered.

        You are no clanging bell, you are a voice of reason with an entertaining and much needed perspective.

        When I hear church people get all righteous about other peoples ‘harsh’ words. I try to remind them the first Pope cut off a soldiers ear, or that Jesus picked fishermen not florists and hair dressers.

        Dolan breaking bread with Obama given his very clear stated positions on abortion is an outrage to authentic Catholics. The blood of these holy innocents splashes at this Bishops feet. There are not words sharp enough to describe the betrayal.

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        thank you for confirming the catechesis on the deacon issue BCI….

        my last comment on this for MR J O malley……
        from the brilliant Father Barron citing the Holy Father


        Jack, it’s not that i don’t like you….it’s just that i am suspicious of any human being who act’s like ” they see clearly all that is going on here…who acts like they are in control here… ( you’re not, my friend….)

        we should all pray for our church and for our holy Father, for Cardinal Sean and for all priests who lead us

  12. bona says:

    Let the Cardinal know of your urging him to disinvite the abortion president to the Al Smith Dinner. His e-mail is:

  13. Stephen says:

    Is abortion a big deal to The Church or isn’t it?
    What a disturbing turn of events.
    The laity should have consolation that the USCCB has no formal ecclesial authority and is designed to foster clericalism not faith. Pray for good Bishops.

    Yes, dinner with Herod

  14. Lazarus' Table says:

    Bl. John Paul II raised alot of eyebrows when he went skiing with the Communist mayor of Rome. On the slopes the mayor politely waited while JPII prayed before shushing. (The shuss of the fisherman??) Anyway, JPII was continuing what he had done as Cardinal Wojtyla in Communist Poland– where Catholics believers worked side-by-side with the Communist government in efforts aimed at the common good, i.e., the building of hospitals/schools, health care issues, etc. Noone had any doubt where Card. Wojtyla stood in regard to Communist philosophy/atheism, and none got the impression he was giving Communism his support when he was willing to work together with them for the common food. And, as we know… in time… Communism went kaput and the Church endures.
    I’m inclined to give Card Dolan the benefit of any doubt. (I can’t read his mind to determine his motives, anyway.) But I am certain of his absolute commitment to Jesus, the faith and the Church. So let’s say a prayer for him/them, and see what happens.

    • Mack says:

      Lazarus, I can appreciate your point of view, but I think it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Poland was a Communist state. And Karol Wojtyla was not afraid of confronting the communist authorities when need be. For example, when he insisted on building the church in a town (I forget its name) that was supposed to be a “model” communist town–without a church, of course. He opposed the authorities full force. And he won. He did not pretend he accepted their philosophy or give them “cover.” He did not invite them to dinners which had the purpose of getting money for the Church. The Al Smith dinner is essentially that, a fund raiser.

  15. tryingtofigurethisout says:

    BCI… you are letting things onto the board that are making it irrelevant….this board could /should/ has served as a useful exchange of ideas and legitimate critiques of our archdiocese and our faith… Jack Omalley and his most recent comments make the board border on not legitimate….you run the board anyway you see fit…you are the one who puts in the time to maintain it.. but I am telling you , you are killing yourself by letting this guy post his insane rants…. do you really think anyone from the archdiocese is going to take anything on the board seriously when they see comments calling the Holy Father a con man…? Get rid of the guy BCI… he is not helping the cause at all and is in fact hurting it greatly….he is an embarrasment….

    • tryingtofigurethisout,
      Thank you for your feedback, and what we will interpret as a compliment that this blog has served as a useful exchange of ideas and valid critiques of our archdiocese and our faith.

      Having a blog where comments are openly posted is the ideal, with certain standards maintained so comments need not be moderated before they are publicly visible. We regularly post our comment guidelines and they seem to hold for a while–but then sometimes readers in their anger/frustration with a particular individual or passion for an issue write a comment which violates the standards we want to maintain. If we queue up comments for moderation such that BCI must read and review each one before the comment is seen publicly, there could be delay of several hours as the BCI team has other responsibilities besides blogging. That would be frustrating to readers and an added burden on BCI. So, we prefer to keep comments open and ask readers to not only stick with the topic at hand, but also avoid personal attacks.

      We have reiterated the guidelines for comments, and have also edited several on this thread that we felt violated our standard.

    • Stephen says:

      Our Pope was photographed wearing a tie and not clerics at Vatican 2, he also was at one time officially suspected of heresy.
      There is a strong and accurate historical record of our Popes personal theological journey. He has harsh critics from the left and the right. I like him. Jack does not.

      Your johnny-come-lately advice to BCI is rubbish. This blog is a reality check on a diocese falling into complete apostasy.

      Your idea to ‘professionalize’ in order to be taken more seriously by the diocese indicates you have no idea what we are up against here.

      RE: embarrasment. If you empty yourself of pride and listen to truth it will go away.

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        bci.. it was complimentary.. u took it correctly… but if calling a cardinal a clown is not a personal attack then i don’t know what is…
        stephen… why not post links to the charges you lay out against B16….is it that there are not any? is it that the charges are spun and fabricated… I’ll read anything that you want to post to back up your accusations…..

    • Jack O'Malley says:


      Why is Dolan a clown? He gladhands the governor of New York at his mansion wherein he fornicates with his semi-homemade concubine. He chews his spectacles as he is hectored by sodomites in one of his churches. And now he invites the most anti-Catholic politician in history, one who makes the Know Nothings look like papolaters, to be honoured at a Catholic dinner.

      Are you beginning to get the message here? Or are you a Connors stooge who trolls this blog to foist your corrupt agenda on faithful Catholics?

      You need not answer. Your vitriol and vituperation is answer enough.

      • Michael says:

        Maybe clown is too uncharitable … but have you watched the video that Jack is referring to? … Cardinal Dolan chewing on his glasses, while God is being mocked in the Church where Dolan is present? Does he lack character? Does he lack courage? Does not his invitation (to the most aggressive destroyer of religious freedom in US history) evince a similar lack of character and lack of courage? Or does he somehow have some secret trick up his sleeve that previous martyr’s should have employed instead of foolishly choosing martyrdom?

        If clown is too uncharitable, what is the proper name for a person who lacks the character and courage that God is asking Cardinal Dolan to demonstrate?

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        yeah ok sure .. whatever you say…if you check the record , i have posted before and obviously have concerns about the direction of the archdiocese and some of the leadership’s decisions… you may have missed that since you obviously do not read much outside of your own colorful color commentary….I am very much against the current president being a featured speaker at the al smith dinner…but i am equally concerned about a useful tool and information exchange being made illegitimate my the rantings , of by all objective standards, an unstable person… but asking you to be objective , in light of all your postings, may in and of itself be insane…

        again BCI, i get your point about the free exchange of info and discussion, but you need to clean this up a little bit or you will have lost me…How is it realistic to expect anyone from the archdiocese to take anything here seriously if they think that this board condones the rantings of guys like this…GO back and look and this guy’s postings… although i do not know his heart ,he APPEARS TO present himself as someone who is no more catholic than the extremists on the left like catholics for choice or some other lefty organization…. I will not participate in a board that allows attacks on the holy father … you don’t need this guy and his heresies to get your very valid points across….just my opinion

      • tryingtofigurethisout,

        Thanks for your comments. BCI has seen your prior comments. In fact, we reposted one of your comments as a standalone post a few months ago: https://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/boston-catechetical-congress/

        We operate on the assumption that the blog posts themselves by BCI are the basis for our credibility. We have substantial evidence that the Boston Archdiocese is following the blog and that it is making some small difference. We try to keep our blog posts factual and objective, but sometimes you get the opinion of BCI–and when that happens we tell you it is our opinion. Readers tell us that we are a clear voice of the truth and of Catholic orthodoxy, where that often is missing elsewhere by the Boston Archdiocesan hierarchy. A long-time reader said via email just last week: “Many of us are very, very, grateful for Boston Catholic Insider. You continue to speak the truth with great charity as well as clarity. BCI is like fresh air after breathing the smog of the archdiocese of Boston. Keep up your good work for our Lord and His Church.”

        It remains our hope and part of our *modus operandi* to have a comments forum where readers can share their insights and perspectives openly. If there is one thing we have learned in more than two years at this, it is that we cannot please everyone with our posts and we cannot please everyone with what we moderate or do not moderate in the comments. When someone steps over the line, we moderate comments. Sometimes we communicate behind the scenes via email.

        As far as the criticism of the Holy Father, we wish people did not feel like they needed to vent that here. But, rewind 20 years ago, and this writer would have been uncomfortable with public criticism of any Cardinal Archbishop or the Pope, or with writing a blog like this which calls out our Cardinal by name and criticizes his actions, inactions, or what we believe are flawed decisions. This is a different world. In the current climate, at least here in Boston, the only way it seems possible to get attention by the Cardinal and his leadership team is either via threat of bad PR and public criticism, lawsuit, or loss of money. Letters, emails, phone calls, and the like generally get no response unless they include one of these aforementioned threats. So, if this blog has resorted to public criticism of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, and we just posted criticism of Cardinal Dolan for inviting Obama to the Al Smith dinner, it would be hypocritical for us to ban a reader for criticizing others in the Catholic Church hierarchy, even if the target of that criticism might be the Pope, and even if we might disagree with that criticism.

        We hope and pray that our posts get across our valid points and that those carry most of the weight with BCI readers. We like having a comments forum and feel that the huge majority of our readers that comment on the blog bring color and perspective that are welcome here–as long as they avoid personal attacks and stick to the topic at hand. We will continue to consider how to moderate comments to maintain the best aspects of the forum and avoid anything that would damage the credibility of BCI.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        tryingtofigurethisout, I sometimes get the impression you don’t like me. No matter. I can live with that. BTW, what’s with the abuse of the rules of punctuation? Three periods after phrases, not even sentences? And you accuse me of heresy? I would not deign to commit a comma fault.

        BCI, thanks for your toleration of my quirkiness. It comes from a heart that is pained by the state of affairs in the Church and especially the local Church here in Boston. Your yeoman’s service in exposing the rampant corruption, be it spiritual, financial or personal, in this archdiocese is a work of faith that is greatly to be praised. I know it is not easy to research and write the in-depth articles that you do, and your time and effort are works for which the Good Lord will reward you. Keep running the race and fighting the fight and the Faith will flourish again.

        Thanks to Stephen and Mr. D. for the kind words. I would guess that most regular readers know that a lot of what I write is tongue-in-cheek but with a kernel of truth in it. Still, it’s hard not to be fed up with the state of affairs here.

        As a small parenthetical, my general starting point is that the Mass is everything and it motivates my criticism of every hierarch from the pope on down, even to the novus ordo married deacons, who apparently don’t realise that they are required by canon law to be continent. So if you’re a married deacon and have not renounced sexual relations with your wife, you are in a state of mortal sin. I just wanted to stir the old canonical pot a bit.

        Mr D.’s suggestion that I would make a better archbishop than my confrère of the same cognomen is interesting. I do have a goodly resumé of qualifications: I like free travel, free food, free lodging, and I love posing for photos. On the negative side I would make Gregorian Chant a compulsory subject in the seminary along with Latin. I would close St. Cecilia’s and reopen Holy Trinity. The Tridentine Mass would be required at all parishes at all masses within two years. That means intensive Latin and no golf for the “parochial vicars” or whatever they are called. Mary Grassa O’Neill would retain her current salary but she would be promoted to Principal Laudress of Altar Linens and she would agree to donate back her salary to the archdiocese under pain of, well, maybe not excommunication, but at least a session in the comfy chair. (Do I have to explain that one too, alinskyrules?)

        OK, I have to go get measured for the purple. Did you know it costs over $100K to dress an archbishop? Signor Gammarelli, Jack O’Malley qui. Sono il prossimo arcivescovo di Boston. You take-a the Visa card?’ Good. Jacka Connors gonna sign for it before I fire him.

        Back to our sheep: listen to Michael Voris’s followup video on the Dolan clownfest. It’s on youtube. You can’t make this stuff up.

      • Stephen says:

        Do your own home work.
        I’d suggest a google image search.
        Easy to find – Dolan wearing a piece of foam Wisconsin cheddar
        on his head, while in clerics.
        You tell me = Clown or no clown?

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        BCI, you make legitimate points…I appreciate your efforts … I just don’t want to see them ruined or wasted by certain people who have crossed over and are operating on the margins… thank you for pointing out , even though i don’t post frequently , that i am not someone who is in the tank for brooks drive.. I guess J o’ M missed the post i made that you cited

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        and BCI…. i know it drives you crazy not staying on point and i hate to contribute to that, but Jack O’Malley is wrong about claiming married deacons have to abstain …He is never going to admit it , but his contention is wrong

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        trying in vain to figure anything at all out,

        I don’t mind your accusing me of heresy, since you don’t know what heresy is. You are spouting sophomoric blather.

        But to claim I am wrong about married deacons, you show a woeful ignorance of canon law as well. I’d recommed some of the statements of Cardinal Burke and Ed Peters. As you were instructed previously, do your homework and you might just figure a few things out.

        Though it appears to me, that, based on the objective evidence of your written words, that you are an ignoramus, you are at least adept at singing the same tune over and over again. Do you practice it in a psalm tone?

      • Jack O’Malley and tryingtofigurethisout,
        BCI is going to ask both of you to cut the other slack. You are both going at it–and on the issue of whether married deacons must abstain from sexual relations, it is not only off topic, but BCI believes it is perfectly reasonable for faithful Catholics to come to two very different conclusions on this issue.

        On the one hand, canon lawyer Edward Peters has written a lengthy piece on this topic, with canon law citations, that documents how married deacons are canonically obligated to observe perfect and perpetual continence–in other words, to abstain from sexual relations. You can find the piece here:


        The key points are broken apart and explained in more down-to-earth language here:


        1983 CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.

        When you read the above, the canonical obligation sounds very clear.


        Now read the following, posted about the diaconate at the USCCB website:


        May married men be ordained deacons?
        “Celibacy Affects Every Deacon: In one way or another, celibacy affects every deacon, married or unmarried. Understanding the nature of celibacy—its value and its practice—are essential to the married deacon. Not only does this understanding strengthen and nurture his own commitment to marital chastity, but it also helps to prepare him for the possibility of living celibate chastity should his wife predecease him. This concern is particularly unique within the diaconate. Tragically, some deacons who were married at the time of ordination only begin to face the issues involved with celibacy upon the death of their wives. As difficult as this process is, all deacons need to appreciate the impact celibacy can have on their lives and ministry.” — National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, par. 72.

        In other words, the above says that sexual relations are permitted for married deacons until such point as the wife may die, and then thereafter the deacon is to remain celibate. This is in conflict with what canon lawyer Peters cites canon law as says.

        Now read this from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:

        If married, he must be married for at least three years and be in a stable and sacramental marriage, enjoying the full support of his spouse who is willing to participate actively in the formation program. Should his wife precede him in death, he must be willing to remain unmarried and celibate

        Now read this, from the Archdiocese of Chicago:


        Is celibacy a requirement?
        The definition of celibacy for the Church is in contrast to a secular definition. Celibacy refers to the station in life of not being married. Applicants to the program may be either single or married. The secular world adapts a definition of celibacy that centers on sexual conduct. The Church utilizes the word ‘chastity’ when referring to the correct moral behavior and conduct based on divine, natural and Catholic moral law that all Christians need to faithfully follow. Chastity—correct moral conduct and behavior—pertains to all the baptized, whether single or married. Ordained clergy, in a particular way, are public people whose lives must always faithfully reflect all aspects of Catholic moral teaching.

        In view of the fact that the USCCB and most dioceses are communicating it is OK for married deacons to have sexual relations with their spouses, BCI believes it is reasonable and understandable for any faithful Catholic to believe the same–especially since Peters’ position has not been validated by the Vatican. So, we ask that there be no criticism of any readers here for believing one viewpoint or the other.

      • Liam says:

        News bulletin for folks who are unaware of developments from Rome earlier this year regarding diaconal continence (in short, the position argued by Ed Peters was *not* embraced by the Curia):


      • Liam,
        Thanks for sharing this. BCI was unaware of this.

        In recent months, published opinions have appeared in scholarly journals and on Internet blogs that have raised questions about the observance of diaconal continence by married permanent deacons in the Latin Catholic Church. The opinions have suggested that the clerical obligation to observe “perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (c. 277, §1 CIC) remains binding upon married permanent deacons, despite the dispensation provided to them in canon law from the obligation to observe celibacy (c. 1042, 1° CIC).

        In response to repeated requests for an authoritative clarification on this matter, the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations and the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance requested the assistance of the USCCB President in seeking a clarification from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

        Earlier this week, we were informed that Cardinal-designate Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, with Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Secretary, has forwarded to Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan the Pontifical Council’s observations on the matter (Prot. N. 13095/2011). The observations, which were formulated in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, clarify that married permanent deacons are not bound to observe perfect and perpetual continence, as long as their marriage lasts.

        Case closed!

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Good stuff, this.

        Ed Peters argues a jurist’s interpretation of canon law. The USCCB, which seems at first glance to confound the notions of chastity, continence and celibacy, has no authority to overrule a particular bishop’s ruling. So the USCCB, as most bishops’ conferences, are merely an opportunity to dine on the dime of the faithful.

        I don’t know what authority Coccopalmerio has to abrogate canon law. I am but a reader of blogs. I am going to forward these comments to Dr. Peters for his input.

        But I am skeptical of the pseudo-magisterial pronouncement of an uncredentialed blog author to issue a blogum locutum, causa finita. I very much doubt that the case is closed.

        Perhaps the relevant canon will be changed or abrogated. But until then, dura lex sed lex. These things being so, I would not want to be surprised by a heart attack in the midst of a conjugal act, were I a married deacon or priest. Verbum sat sapienti.

        Et Verbum est Verbum Dei.

      • Jack,
        You should be skeptical of any pseudo-magisterial prounouncement by an uncredentialed blog author!! BCI fully realizes this matter is not “case closed” canonically, but we ask that it be “case closed” for purposes of this blog and comments.

        Dr. Peters has responded to an initial opinion by Coccopalmerio and in short says that what was issued was Coccopalmerio’s opinion, not a rigorous canonical opinion nor an abrogation of canon law.

        Click to access PDF-Cocco%20Reply.pdf

        This page covers everything Dr. Peters has written on the topic:

        The bottom line is that faithful Catholics can easily come to either of two different opinions on this matter. Surely, you would agree with that.
        We are not going to settle those differences at BCI. Let us leave that topic behind.

      • tryingtofigurethisout says:

        thank you for confirming the catechesis on the deacon issue BCI….

        my last comment on this for MR J O malley……
        from the brilliant Father Barron citing the Holy Father


        Jack, it’s not that i don’t like you….it’s just that i am suspicious of any human being who act’s like ” they see clearly all that is going on here…who acts like they are in control here… ( you’re not, my friend….)

        we should all pray for our church and for our holy Father, for Cardinal Sean and for all priests who lead us

      • Liam says:

        Ed Peter’s reply ignores the detail that the dicastary apparently did in fact consult with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in formulating its reply.

        So far, the bishops have every reason to rely more on the Curial response than Ed Peters’ argument. Ed Peters may not like that, as he has unfortunately turned this issue into something of a hobby horse (which I think was imprudently done, much as I respect and admire so much of his work), but I would forego making pot shots at the bishops over this given the development.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        BCI: we ask that it be “case closed” for purposes of this blog and comments.

        Sorry – I misinterpreted that.

    • Mr. D says:

      Is that you, your Eminence? Or some 66 Brooks Drive troll?

      I, for one, think Jack O’Malley is the most interesting and well informed commenter in this space. Not only that, but he does it with a terrific sense of humor and flair. I think he’d be a vast improvement over the current Archbishop of Boston on any number of grounds.

      Keep it up, Jack.

  16. Ellen P says:

    Cardinal Dolan had the wool pulled over his eyes by the heretical Catholic Governor of NY when the law was passed to allow gay marriage as well.

    Cardinal Dolan is the President on the Board of Directors of the Al Smith Foundation which hosts the dinner. Obama’s picture in on the Foundation web site as a former speaker and is linked directly from the Archdiocese of NY web site.

    Cardinal Dolan is creating a scandal that will far out weigh any good that can come of PUBLICALLY laughing with Obama which will be used as a political tool by Obama supporters.
    They should meet only in private.

    CCC: ” 2286 Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
    Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.”
    This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.”

    CCC: ” 2285 Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
    Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

    • Michael says:

      Ellen P said: Cardinal Dolan had the wool pulled over his eyes by the heretical Catholic Governor of NY when the law was passed to allow gay marriage as well.

      Absolutely not!

      Did Dolan miss what happened in Massachusetts? Did he not know that Judge Bork (speaking at the Red Mass, the mass for lawyers) said that if we lose Massachusetts to same-sex “marriage” we will lose the country?

      If he didn’t know that, why not? If he did know that, then where was he when we were in the process of losing Massachusetts?

      I will tell you where he was … he was hiding in the chancery hoping that Bork didn’t mean to include NY as well. Why would he rely on the claims of a heretical politician? Makes no sense. Dolan, like O’Malley, was either hoping the issue would go away on its own or was hoping for plausible deniability.

      Similarly, is the Governor faking Dolan out every time he steps in line on the way up to receive the Eucharist? Or does Dolan simply overlook that as well … hoping it too will just go away.

      We need bishops with character and courage. Cardinal Dolan where is your courage? Tough words … but actions speak louder than words.

  17. […] polite putting aside of differences for a while amounts to scandal.”The Boston Catholic Insider writes, “…This has sparked nationwide criticism and outrage which BCI feels is justified.” Al […]

  18. Mary Sweeney says:

    And what about this? Maybe you should cancel the dinner?

  19. saintpio1 says:

    I would like to read what everyone says after the dinner on Oct 18!! I feel many will be surprised. Cardinal Dolan is one of the smartest men in clergy. His position in NY was well put.
    I have noticed in all comments, many come to conclusions that are impulsive and soooo wrong!

    • Lynne says:

      We’re going to read negative press about Obama the day after the dinner? Where? In the godless Boston Globe or the New York Times? Or we’ll see honest and fair reporting of the event on ABC or NBC or CBS. I’m not going to hold my breath.

      Cardinal O’Connor DID NOT invite Bill Clinton to the dinner.

  20. J.Peter Lyons says:

    Do not invite him. His vision is to destroy our church

  21. Michael says:

    See http://blog.archny.org/steppingout/?p=2525&cpage=9#comment-44043

    Then watch this:

    Just posted the following on the NY Archdiocese blog.

    Mr. Mechmann, your blog post was foolish. Now, as a result, you have become the scapegoat for Cardinal Dolan who didn’t have the courage nor the character to defend his immoral decision. Now that Michael Voris has given you the public spanking you deserved, you really should get on your knees and ask for forgiveness. Lastly, in case you think that the Kingdom of Heaven works like NY politics, Cardinal Dolan probably will not be waiting at the Gates of Heaven to usher you in with his party. He’s gonna be a little late.


  22. Stephen says:

    Thanks for the info on the ‘modern’ diaconate.
    Another innovative solution looking for a problem.

  23. ladybugranch says:

    I just had a GREAT IDEA!!! If Cardinal Dolan wants to show Mr. Obama about the REAL CATHOLIC FAITH…..I have a GREAT IDEA! Cardinal Dolan and Mr. Obama can be the ones SERVING the guests at this GALA Dinner!!! That’s RIGHT! Show Mr. Obama the lesson of Jesus to be the GREATEST in the Kingdom of Heaven you must be THE SERVANT OF ALL!!! Just break the news to Mr. Obama that he is still invited but that the Catholic Church is going to give him an opportunity to get to be REALLY GREAT like the Catholics do it! NO Speeches, No Dinning on sumptuous food or drinking gin toddies…..just GET THE APRON ON and hey! If you want to be REALLY FAIR…invite Mr. ROMNEY to ALSO do this!!!

    Then you invite NOT THE RICH….but you be sure to make a certain number of seats available for the POOR on the Streets of NY! Be sure to invite those that you find on the streets that are there who were once home owners and productive citizens but due to the mishandling of the country’s wealth have lost their jobs and their homes!
    I think it’s BRILLIANT….I think it will WORK…….AND….THE PRESS WILL BE ALL OVER IT!!!

  24. What an obvious scandal!!! It is true that Jesus ate with sinners. However, Jesus only ate with sinners in order to attempt to bring about their conversion or, at least, attempt to lead them to conversion! However, in this case, Cardinal Dolan absolutely has no intention of calling Obama or Romney to task for their present support of the wicked homosexual agenda and Obama’s and Romney’s past and present support for the horrific slaughter of untold numbers of unborn babies.

    A very pointed rhetorical question for all of you. Herod was a “wicked” sinner – we know he slaughtered the innocents at the time of Jesus’ birth. Would Jesus have wanted Mary and Joseph to wine and dine with Herod after this horrific event had occurred, based on the oft quoted reference to “Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors.” The answer, of course, is; “No!” Use common sense. Instead, God guided the holy family to flee from this wicked baby murderer — Herod, into the land of Egypt.

    When dealing with the obviously notorious and reprobate (unrepentent) sinners of history, such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Lenin, Obama, etc., the Church should flee from such wicked political leaders, rather than compromise with them. These evil leaders should be prayed for and told to repent of their wickedness from a very very very safe distance. The “ate with sinners” cliche is being used, I believe, by Cardinal Dolan as a cover for some other hidden agenda.

    Jesus has very clearly warned in scripture that lukewarm Christians will be rejected by him — and of course we should all pray for the conversion of many of our current wayward Catholic leaders within the Church, including Cardinal Dolan.

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