The Cardinal's Criteria Fall into Question
Friday, October 19, 2012 - By Judie Brown

Just yesterday, the Al Smith Dinner, which has been the focus of many efforts at American Life League in our quest to encourage Cardinal Timothy Dolan to disinvite President Barack Obama, took place with the totally pro-abortion president attending and in excellent humor—as was the cardinal. 

In his defense of the invitation, the cardinal wrote in his blog, “In the end, I’m encouraged by the example of Jesus, who was blistered by his critics for dining with those some considered sinners; and by the recognition that, if I only sat down with people who agreed with me, and I with them, or with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone.”

The cardinal apparently abandoned his former rules for choosing dining companions. I say that with all due respect because his statement takes me back a few years to the annual Pro-Life Wisconsin banquet which, in 2009, was scheduled for October 3. I had been invited to be the keynote speaker. Then-Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan, had been invited to sit at the head table with me as well as members of the Pro-Life Wisconsin board. He was asked to offer the opening prayer and reflection. When the archbishop discovered that I was the keynote speaker, he sent a letter to Pro-Life Wisconsin president Peggy Hamill stating that he had to decline the invitation to attend the banquet because Judie Brown was involved in the public castigation of bishops!

Personally, as I look at what is occurring today regarding the Obama situation, I find this troubling to say the least.

On the one hand, he found it problematic that I led and continue to lead a campaign to beseech Catholic bishops to obey canon 915 and deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians. On the other hand, he finds it Christlike to dine with the most pro-abortion president in the history of this nation. 

The media is having a field day with the Dolan/Obama encounter, just as we predicted it would. Even before the event one New York Times headline read: “Dolan Will Let Obama and Romney Joke it up at the Al Smith Dinner.” An Associate Press headline read: “Cardinal suing Obama invites him, Romney to dinner.”

I am not attempting to suggest that dining with me in Milwaukee should have garnered any headlines at all, but I am suggesting that Dolan has changed his dining partner comfort zone over the past three years. 

When Dolan wrote, “If I only sat down with people who agreed with me, and I with them, or with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone,” perhaps he didn’t really think it through. Or could it be that he, unlike Christ, would prefer to be the darling of the media elite instead of emulating the good shepherd who, by His teaching and His very presence as the Son of God, brought people to their knees in repentance for their sins?

I cannot answer that, but I remain not only concerned but curious about the double standard. “No Dinner for Obama,” Your Eminence, would have at the very least been consistent with your 2009 mantra, “No dinner with Brown.”


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DachsieLady | 2012-10-23 07:27:18
Drew Mariani, Relevant Radio show host, said he was going to cover the story of Cardinal Dolan and Barak Obama and the Al Smith Dinner. He did cover that in the last 15 minutes of his show of today. He introduced this topic by saying he was going to change channels and lighten up for the final segment of today's show to end the show on a happy note by listening to the "best jokes and best lines" of the opposing presidential candidates, Obama and Romney. Listen to hour 3 in the archives here... http://relevantradio.com/audios/the-drew-mariani-show So there was absolutely no comment or serious attention to the way many many traditional Catholics feel betrayed by Cardinal Dolan and his serious betrayal of the basic tenets of the Catholic faith in inviting Obama to this dinner. AND ... speaking of "double standards", thinking people know which people that phrase most accurately refers to.
Stephen Dalton | 2012-10-21 11:18:40
What a hypocrite Cdl. Dolan is! He won't eat with Judie Brown because she criticizes him and the other bishops for not doing their jobs, but he will have a jolly good time with the abortionist-in-chief.
Riverside | 2012-10-20 21:35:53
His Eminence had moved to New York by then and had every reason not to go back to Wisconsin because his duties had moved there. Don't necessarily agree that this dinner is still worth it but c'mon when I man moves he moves.
Christopher Manion | 2012-10-20 12:41:39
Perhaps Canon 915 is "too hot to handle" for His Eminence. That's how he described Humanae Vitae last March -- explaining why our bishops have not taught it for 44 YEARS! Pray for our bishops, and pray that they respond to Pope Benedict's plea that they teach the entire truths of the faith, even the hard parts.
Sandy | 2012-10-20 12:09:35
I was surprised and alarmed at Cardinal Dolan's invitation and missed what the president had to say. But, Governor Romney got in some excellent political jabs at him through his "joking". Perhaps the Cardinal wanted to give him that opportunity. Unless we know and understand a person's motives, perhaps we ought not criticize quite so harshly.
Mlary | 2012-10-20 11:39:21
I didn't see anything wrong with Obama being at the dinner. It was a fundraiser for the catholic charities. How many years they have been inviting g president and presidential candidates to this dinner? I am catholic and will vote for Romney. But I think it shows that Catholic were being fair in this situation.
paul caron | 2012-10-20 11:33:38
Dear Judie; May I suggest that the difference in the good Cardinal's dinning criteria is political power and money. Most of us in the pews do not have that appeal. The Knights of Columbus seem to have the same problem, by refusing to require Catholic pro-abortion elected officials to live their faith. As of 2010 I have ceased to be active in the KofC, it is to me an unforgiving demonstration of a lack of Charity. Paul Caron
Ray Neary | 2012-10-20 10:23:08
Chris Mathews and not Judi Brown? How sad. Thank you for your courage and perseverance in following His Word and not the world.
Barb | 2012-10-20 08:22:40
Hate the Sin love the Sinner... hey, engineer from EWTN.. Go read this www.gloria.tv/?media=348471. EWTN is not what it use to be. Judie Brown is absolutely correct. Dolan 'goes along' to 'get along'...a true modernist!
Victor J. Lynch | 2012-10-20 08:02:58
Thank you again for your diligence. Cardinal Dolan has lost me. And a message to Peggy: being neglected is easier to overcome than being murdered in the womb where you are being nurtured. Think about it! Oh, and have you ever heard of the Sisters of Life?
michael p. miller | 2012-10-20 07:32:13
I'm with you 100 % on this (and most everything else too!). St. Paul's resume: chained, beaten, stoned, jailed; Cardinal Dolan's sume: Corelbert, Smith dinner, DNC, guess SNL is next. Whatever happened to "nest of vipers, whited sepulchers,
Phyllis | 2012-10-19 22:25:16
If Archbishop Chaput or Cardinal Raymond Burke ever goes the way of Dolan, hmmmm, don't even want to think about it. Thank you for you tireless work Ms. Brown.
Suzie | 2012-10-19 22:20:07
Did you hear what Cardinal Dolan actually had to say in the presence of President Obama? He used the opportunity to call him out on his attacks against liberty of religion and conscience and the unborn. He even underscored the principle of subsidiarity in his comments at the dinner.
magdalene | 2012-10-19 21:15:06
to Peggy: You are wrong in writing that women have to abort because they get no support. The agencies to help mothers and children outnumber the agencies that want to kill unborn children. There is an incredible amount of help available. I carry a little card with me with a list of them in my home town. It is not true that there is no help for expectant mothers and also for years after the child is born.
Joan | 2012-10-19 20:25:46
It's heartening to learn from his now-famous quote that Cardinal Dolan has the humility to not consider himself a saint. However, it's discouraging that one of the most prominent bishops in the nation and a Cardinal some predict may ascend to the papacy in one or two conclaves also does not have the faith, hope or charity to believe that anyone else may be a saint.
M.K. | 2012-10-19 20:05:13
Did you read Cardinal Dolan's speech? He lumped in the "unborn" with the "undocumented", etc. Cardinal Bernardin's seamless garment lives on. Great. Also, Cardinal Dolan chose to quote Teilhard de Chardin: " Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God." Cardinal Dolan is not exactly trying to hide where he stands...what a disgrace. Look to Cardinal Burke, not Cardinal Dolan, for truth and fidelity to the Church.
Marie | 2012-10-19 19:28:53
Bravo, Ms. Brown. Cardinal Dolan is not the staunch defender of the Church that his spin-men make him out to be. Just look at the facts. He refused to exclude the rabidly pro-abortion President from the Al Smith dinner, he told an Albany, N.Y. reporter that he will not uphold Canon 915, he skipped town the week gay "marriage" was put to a vote in N.Y., he is on video giving the thumbs up to a proudly pro-homosexual parish (St. Francis Xavier) in NYC, he celebrates a televised Christmas day mass every year with Fr. Edward Beck, a publicly dissenting priest, etc., etc., etc. At least the scandal of the Al Smith dinner has opened up some people's eyes to Cardinal Dolan's agenda.
Craig Bozzacco | 2012-10-19 18:59:18
It is outrageous that our Catholic Church gave credibility to one of the most pro-abortion persons in history. 1.Obama approves of baby killing up until birth. 2.Obama is giving tax payer money to Planned parenthood. 3. Obama lied to the Bishops. He promised Obamacare would not pay for abortions. It is paying for them today and everyone is being forced to be part of it. Obama at this dinner was not the same as Christ sitting with sinners. Obama offers no hint of repentance. He will use this dinner for his political advantage. We depend on our Bishops to lead us. We have to pray for them. Cardinal Dolan will sit with Obama, But not Judie Brown, Shame on him. Thank God for Judie.
Patty | 2012-10-19 18:29:59
Thank you, Judie, for all that you did to dis-invite the most pro-abortion President Obama from this Catholic Al Smith dinner. From the video at this dinner it looked like George Soros was sitting behind Romney as Romney was speaking? Human Events lists 10 reasons why George Soros is dangerous: http://www.humanevents.com/2011/04/02/top-10-reasons-george-soros-is-dangerous/ I wonder how many Catholics at this dinner will be voting for Obama?
Anthony Panetta | 2012-10-19 16:41:47
The only good thing to come out of the dinner is that Romney was an outstanding speaker, and truly aligned himself with the Catholic Church. I remain disappointed in Cardinal Dolan for no taking a stand against Obama. Thank you for your honesty.
Sky Park | 2012-10-19 16:32:53
As an engineer at EWTN, I was able to watch the event via satellite. The tone of the comments were all in good-natured fun, with Obama and Romney (having read your columns, I was surprised to find that Gov. Romney and his wife were in attendance) cracking self-depricating jokes. I have no problem condemning President Obama for his indefensible positions on the murder of the unborn, but I still believe that if God hasn't given up on him, who am I to second guess Him. Hate the sin, not the sinner.
David E. | 2012-10-19 16:14:53
Um, right ... because some lady named Judie Brown is the equivalent of the President of the United States and the Republican candidate for that office. Get over yourself.
Matt C. Abbott | 2012-10-19 15:36:16
Good commentary, Judie. I'm very disappointed in Cardinal Dolan. He's a likable man, but I just don't agree with him on this.
Peggy | 2012-10-19 13:33:36
Have you ever had to give a child up for adoption? Well i have and the hurt never goes away. I have also worked with poor, young women who chose to abort their offspring because they would have NO support AFTER the pregnaacy...people like you have all the answers, but life for the rest of us life isn't that black and white.
Cesar Arriola | 2012-10-19 13:07:14
Judie, I did not know about Cardinal Dolan declining to attend that event in Wisconsin. If it's true, and I trust you always to tell the truth, then I agree with you fully that Dolan has changed his dining partner comfort zone. God bless you!
Jerry Schmutte | 2012-10-19 10:29:03
Devastating critique, Judie. You've nailed it again!
Terri Greiner | 2012-10-19 09:16:39
So disappointed to hear that about Cardinal Dolan - not wanting to dine with you - a prolife warrior who just wants our shepherds to be true shepherds. I bet you and Lifesite News are not liked by bishops and priests because you print the truth. That's why I donate to your organization and Lifesite News.