God save me, I love alliteration, so forgive me the title. May we muster the mettle to masticate mightily upon the meat of the matter before the morning melts upon me? Sorry. It’s late, and I have metaphorical miles to go before I sleep. If I sleep. Anyway:
Cardinal Dolan has taken significant heat for inviting Obama to the Al Smith Dinner in NYC, an event designed to support Catholic Charities, given that Obama’s HHS secretary has expressly used the word “war” to describe her actions promoting the culture of death, one facet of which involves the crushing of Christian conscience through the horrible, unconstitutional, and ultimately stupid HHS Mandate requiring health plans to cover abortion drugs, sterilization, and also contraception. (It’s not a “contraception mandate.” It’s much broader than that, and we must keep making that point.) For an example of a restrained critique of Dolan, see here.
Dolan has just blogged a defense of the invitation. The whole thing is worth reading, so I’ll refer you there by hyperlink. But in broad strokes, Dolan mentions his recent time with the Knights of Columbus (a good rhetorical move), the Knights’ new civility initiative, how the dinner will model civility, the good Catholic Charities does for babies born and unborn, the fact that the dinner is not an honor, and that he and his brother bishops continue to fight for life and freedom. He mentions the difficulties involved in this prudential decision:
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?
I think that’s right on the money, and I won’t second guess him.
Above all, he requests the following:
No matter what you might think of this particular decision, might I ask your prayers for me and my brother bishops and priests who are faced with making these decisions, so that we will be wise and faithful shepherds as God calls us to be?
I’ve met Dolan once, though I doubt he’d remember me, and whether in person or through the media, my acquaintance with him tells me to trust him, beyond the ordinary deference owed to any bishop or priest. He’s handled the HHS mandate mess well, and needs our prayers more than our carping. There’s a time to be St. Catherine of Siena. But until Dolan relocates the Archdiocese of New York to Avignon, better to pray for him.