I have received at least a hundred emails asking my opinion of the situation. Having turned it over in my mind, I originally thought that if Pope Paul VI could met with Idi Amin Dada, Card. Dolan could meet with Obama. I reconsidered that analogy: Paul VI was a head of state meeting another head of state. Thus, I remain at a loss.
I know all the arguments on both sides.
Given the fact that the invitation has been extended and accepted, and given that it is not going to be rescinded, I can only say I hope for the best with this intensely irritating development. Obama and his dupes among catholics will try twist this to his advantage and there is pretty much zippo any of us can do about it. But, hey, we call this life a vale of tears, don’t we?
That said, I sincerely hope that something takes place along the line of what happened at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast. Eric Metaxas gave a great talk about Dietrich Bonhoeffer as Pres. Obama was sitting next to him. Metaxas, in the most charming and disarming way, worked his way around to the concept of the dignity of human life and, in doing so, in the nicest possible way, tore Obama to shreds.
In any event, at the National Catholic Register Pat Archbold has a commentary on the invitation His Eminence Timothy Card. Dolan extended to the Hopefully-To-Be-Defeated First Gay President Barack Hussein Obama for the Al Smith Dinner.
Here is part of Archbold’s piece with his view:
A Warning For The Cardinal
by Pat Archbold
Cardinal Dolan, We trust you. I trust you. But I also have a warning for you.
You wrote about what the perception would be if you refused to meet with the President saying “And, in the current climate, we bishops have maintained that we are open to dialogue with the administration to try and resolve our differences. What message would I send if I refused to meet with the President?”
We understand your point, Cardinal. [GRRRR! When will people learn that “Cardinal” or “Bishop” is not a proper form of address? In the USA we properly say or write respectively, “Your Eminence” and “Your Excellency”.] But you must remember that dialogue is a two way street and so is perception. President Obama’s Chief of Staff has made it clear that the President is done compromising. The President is also the same man who gave a speech at Notre Dame touting his commitment to conscience protections. He is the same man who looked you in the eye last year and promised the same. This is the same man whose own Whitehouse website still falsely claims the endorsement of the Catholic Health Association. He lied. He lies. [When I consider Pres. Obama in his dealings with the Church… indeed the country… I am reminded of Mary McCarthy’s famous quip, mutatis mutandis of course: Every word he says is a lie, including “and” and “the”.]
Cardinal, [GRRRR!] our ongoing concern is not merely that this opportunity for dialogue and civility will be wasted on the President. If that were the worst that could happen, I think we could all live with that. Our real concern is that the President will use this opportunity to convince as many people as possible that the Church isn’t really serious in its opposition. One can easily imagine a picture of you and the President smiling arm in arm being posted to the Whitehouse website right next to the false CHA endorsement the morning after the dinner.
Our ongoing concern Cardinal Dolan is that this will not just be a wasted opportunity for dialogue, but an un-wasted opportunity for the President to sell his lies, to the detriment of faith and liberty for all.
Cardinal Dolan, we trust you. But do not ever trust President Obama.
The combox moderation feature is on. I will be severely selective. I will read the comments, but probably pass along very few.
Fr. Byers of Holy Souls Hermitage has posted his view of the situation HERE.