Al Smith Dinner a Scandal? Cardinal Dolan Defends Himself
“Some have told me the invitation is a scandal. That charge weighs on me, as it would on any person of faith, but especially a pastor, who longs to give good example, never bad.
So, I apologize if I have given such scandal. I suppose it’s a case of prudential judgment: would I give more scandal by inviting the two candidates, or by not inviting them?”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S Conference of Catholic bishops, has written a new blog in which he says he is sorry if he created any scandal concerning his invitation to pro-abortion President Barack Obama to attend the annual Al Smith Catholic Charities dinner this October.
The event has drawn criticism from pro-life advocates and the Archdiocese posted a response on its blog and essentially defended the invitation saying it extended an invite to Mitt Romney, who is running on a pro-life platform, and has extended invitations to both presidential candidates in the past.
Dolan is now going further, with the criticism continuing even after the defense of the invite. Below is the full text of the blog he wrote concerning the event:
Last week I was out in Anaheim for the annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus. It was, as usual, a most uplifting and inspirational event.
In his rousing address to the thousands of delegates, representing 1.8 million knights, Dr. Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight, exhorted us to a renewed sense of faithful citizenship, encouraging us not to be shy about bringing the values of faith to the public square. This duty, he reminded us, came not just from the fact that we are Catholic, but also from the fact that we are loyal Americans.
He then went on to announce a promising initiative of the Knights of Columbus to foster civility in politics. Quoting a very recent study, he noted that over 80% of Americans are fed up with the negativity, judgmentalism, name-calling, and mudslinging of our election-year process, and eagerly want a campaign of respect, substance, amity — civility!
For seven decades, the Al Smith Dinner here in New York has been an acclaimed example of such civility in political life. As you may know, every four years, during the presidential election campaign, the Al Smith Dinner is the venue of history, as it is the only time outside of the presidential debates that the two presidential candidates come together, at the invitation of the Al Smith Foundation, through the archbishop of New York, for an evening of positive, upbeat, patriotic, enjoyable civil discourse. This year, both President Obama and Governor Romney have accepted our invitation. I am grateful to them.