Why Cardinal Dolan is Wrong about the Al Smith Dinner

The Citizen is told that Cardinal Dolan is a nice guy. I’m willing to believe that. I am told that he is highly educated in the Faith – I would hope so. I am also told that he knows exactly what he is doing by inviting Mr. Obama to the Al Smith dinner. Not so sure about that one.  I have even heard it described as ‘the lesser of two evils’. Oh brother!

This issue allows us to look at the history of the event, the acceptability of compromise, and a short primer in why ‘the lesser of two evils’ is never,ever an option for a Catholic.

Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole were not invited in 1996 and Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry weren’t invited in 2004. There is certainly a precedent for not inviting candidates with a history of supporting abortion. Clinton was very pro-choice, and Dole avoided commitment, though his staff had articulated a very weak position on abortion until the RNC pushed a more pro-life position as a plank in the platform. Dole was trying to attract moderate women voters – for some reason, moderates seem to think that killing a baby in the womb is a ‘choice’ but breaking the wrong bird’s egg should be a felony.

Bush was personally very pro-life but didn’t use his executive powers to support this position – unlike Mr. Obama who abuses his power to force his pro-abortion agenda. Kerry – the self-professed Catholic said the following:

“I believe that choice is a woman’s choice. It’s between a woman, God and her doctor. That’s why I support that. I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade.”

So he took the coward’s path. ‘If a woman wants to commit a mortal sin, who am I do impose my beliefs on her?” When people are being forced to perform procedures or cooperate with acts considered immoral by the Church, it is a problem, Mr. Kerry. Perhaps he should read my essay on intrinsic evil.

There certainly is a precedent for not inviting candidates when one or more – Catholic or no – behave in a manner contrary to our Faith. Given that Mr. Obama has abused the hospitality of Catholic organizations before – and has used his money and influence to drive a wedge between us – I think it’s not inappropriate to not have the candidates present this year. On top of his policies, he lied to Dolan and others – including Bart Stupak. Remember him? If Stupak hadn’t caved, the PPACA would not have passed. Mr. Obama made a promise…one that he broke in about fifteen minutes.

People keep comparing Cardinal Dolan to Christ. Enough. I won’t get into Cardinal Dolan’s several shortcomings – including a few big ones. Let’s focus on the loving your enemy bit.

Christ met with these people in private (or as private as he got). He never gathered all the sinners and prostitutes and idolaters and so forth and so on to have a public feast in the courtyard in front of the Temple or the Praetorium. And he never gave the Pharisees a chance to shake his hand for the 1st century equivalent of a photo-op that they would use to steal the votes of the apostles and disciples.

At Notre Dame, Mr. Obama abused our hospitality with the collusion of the president of the college. He abused Catholics at Georgetown – to the point of having the Cross covered up. According to an official statement from Georgetown, they “…honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage.” So, we gave him an honorary degree and a platform at two Catholic universities. He met with the USCCB – why, that would have been the Cardinal, wouldn’t it? Yep. During that meeting, the president made a deal, and the Cardinal came out beaming. Was it even a week before Mr. Obama betrayed that deal too?

Mr. Obama is a serial abuser. He is cunning manipulator who will not stop until people stand up to him. And we are helping him fulfill his secular humanist agenda.


Now, let’s take a look at ‘lesser of two evils’ (yep, there is a reason I put it in quotes!)

As Catholics, we don’t do this. We don’t get to choose evil. Ever. (CCC 1732 and 1955) So, if a candidate or politician or policy incorporates an intrinsic evil – abortion being one of the biggies – we cannot play that card. Not and remain in Communion with the Holy See.

What we have is the principle of double effect. It is a formula that allows us to evaluate the moral dimension of complex issues that will certainly have consequences and side effects that are good and bad. There are some guidelines that we as Catholics need to apply in this process of discernment:

  1.  The intended act must be good in itself and may not be morally evil.
  2.  The good effect must be that which is DIRECTLY intended by the one who carries out the act. Bad effects that result from this good act may be foreseen but not intended.
  3.  The good effect can never be brought about using morally evil means.
  4.  The good effect must be of greater proportion to any unintended evil effect that occurs as a result of the action.
  5.  Acts that have morally negative consequences are allowable only when truly necessary – there are no other means by which the good may be obtained.

If you are still reading, you hopefully realize that abortion invariably fails to satisfy these requirements. Certainly in the case of active advocacy – i.e. Mr. Obama’s aggressive pro-abortion policies – these guidelines clearly indicate that such support is wrong.

Well, what about homosexuality? The Catechism is pretty clear (2357-2359). Marriage is a sacrament between a man and woman only (CCC 2335). All others are called to live chaste lives…yes, that includes unmarried heterosexuals – something that too few priests address these days. What’s the harm in letting them marry? Look at the guidelines. It violates every one of the criteria I have outlined.

Sorry, folks. It’s clear. Catholics are called to a discipline that many others are not. If this is a problem, become an Unitarian – they are good with everything.

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