The flap over Cardinal Dolan inviting President Obama to the Al Smith dinner continues, and the explanation by a senior official with the Archdiocese of New York for inviting President Obama to the dinner left much to be desired. The last part of their explanation sounds like it is straight out of the Boston Archdiocese playbook:
The message is also that we can set aside our deeply-held differences and leave the partisan politics at the door for an evening, speak nicely and politely to each other, and work together for a common cause in the service of the poor.
Sound famliar? The key principle of the “Church of Nice” is to be nice and polite to each other and work for a common cause. To paraphrase what several commenters have said elsewhere, if we were in Germany during the Holocaust, would we “set aside our differences” and invite Adolf Hitler to such a dinner where we have nice, polite conversation, despite his role in the slaughter of millions of innocent people? Is being “nice and polite” to work for the common good why Cardinal O’Malley keeps Jack Connors around despite his support for pro-abortion political figures whose policies work against the mission of the Catholic Church? Is this why Cardinal O’Malley did not criticize Mayor Menino for his position that Chick-fil-A should not be in Boston because their leadership supports traditional marriage? The list goes on and on.
Play the ChurchMilitant.TV video below, or read excerpts below:
Here are some of the key points you should note from this video and a prior one:
The high-ranking NY archdiocesean official who responded said: “people need to take a deep breath, relax a second, and think carefully about this.” The tone is condescending and the implication is that anyone who disagrees with the archdiocese hasn’t thought carefully enough.
The archdiocese, through this official, is saying the “dinner is not a religious event in any way” because it’s administered by the Al Smith Foundation, not the archdiocese. Also wrong or at best, misleading. To suggest it is not a Catholic Church event is a lot of baloney. What this official fails to tell us is that ON the board of the foundation itself and head of the board is Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Auxiliary bishop Dennis Sullivan, Vicar General of the New York Archdiocese, is also on the Board. It has their seal of approval. To try and suggest there is some healthy separation between the Foundation and the Archdiocese is insulting. The money raised by the dinner goes to support the Archdiocese of NY Catholic Charities. The primary figure at the dinner is the Cardinal archbishop of New York. The Foundation’s board of directors has seats occupied by the two highest ranking clerics from the archdiocese, and the archdiocese heavily promotes the dinner and benefits from greatly from it. While it’s technically true is isn’t a religious event such as the Mass, it most certainly is a Catholic event. Catholicism is celebrated at the dinner, right down to the very reason for the dinner–that Al Smith was the first Catholic to run for president on his party’s ticket in 1928. So, it’s disingenuous to try and paint this as merely a civic event.
The NY archdiocesan official said “politicians who speak at the dinner are not getting any award or honor by the Church.” Though Obama is not being given an “award,” it most certainly is an honor to be invited to keynote a prominent dinner. Exactly what situation arises where someone is invited to speak at a fundraiser – as THE headliner – and it is not considered an honor? Do the organizers not consider it an honor when they extend the invitation? What is it to honor someone? It’s to call them out, set them above others, and call them out as someone worthy to listen to, follow, or emulate.
If the archdiocese doesn’t REALLY have that much to do with the event, then why did Cardinal Dolan extend invitations to the keynote speakers. Why is an employee of the archdiocese writing on the official archdiocesan page about it? Is the archdiocese in the habit of paying employees to write their own personal opinions on its page about things with only a passing relation to the archdiocese?
The official said, “When everyone wakes up the morning after, the struggle will resume.” This comment is perhaps the most grating of all, as well as the most telling. It says plainly and implies that the struggle can be broken from. Show us anywhere where the Blessed Lord, the saints, doctors of the church, fathers of the Church, and martyrs suggested you could break from the struggle. Why are we taking a break from the struggle? To hob-nob with the man who wants to strangle the Church? Do we really suppose his administration at the White House is taking a break from enforcing the wicked HHS mandate on the Church?
The official said, “we can still show respect for his office, and for him as a person, and treat him with civility. It gives us an opportunity to act as Christians, and show some love to our adversaries.” Again, a very telling comment. The implication is that to oppose him (Obama), is to somehow not show him respect. That to call him out for his death-dealing policies is to not treat him with civility. And that is showing love for our adversaries.
THAT, in one short phrase sums up EVERYTHING that has gone wrong in the Church in the past 50 years To speak the truth boldly and plainly is somehow not love. Love has been absolutely confused with the concept of being nice and politically correct. This distortion has allowed the leaders of Church to totally abdicate their roles as fathers who love and die for their children. Fathers say the tough things.
You want to talk about love and true charity? The most perfect way to demonstrate true charity would be to set an example for not only Barack Obama, who is trapped in his own evil and needs rescuing as well, but to lift up the spirits of tens of thousands, if not millions of Catholics dismayed and shocked over this and un-invite Obama. That would be a true statement of authentic charity.
In the “Church of Nice,” what else is there to see other than this weak-kneed statement by the NY archdiocesan official, “The message is also that we can set aside our deeply-held differences and leave the partisan politics at the door for an evening, speaking nicely and politely to each other.” There it is–at the end of the day, it all boils down to just being nice. The Church of Nice. Sacrificing our Lord to be nice.
Here is the petition to have Obama disinvited. Please sign it. For the sake of true charity, we ask Cardinal Dolan to rescind the invitation or, as one writer put it at RenewAmerica, “Cancel the Dinner.”