With very good people still in strident disagreement about the invitations extended to the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates for the Al Smith Dinner, it might be timely to make a few more observations and pose a few more questions:
A good number of opinions focus on the President’s dishonesty with the then Archbishop Dolan about the HHS mandate and the Democratic Party’s direct attacks on Christianity; does anyone really believe that Cardinal Dolan does not regard the Commander in Chief as an adversary? Perhaps there is concern, after many decades of ecclesiastical fumbles and infidelity, that a Catholic prelate cannot be trusted to play hard ball.
That would be reasonable but it does not seem to have been argued per se.
Does it make a difference that the US Government currently is being sued by the Archdiocese of New York along with many other dioceses and Catholic institutions including The University of Notre Dame?
So many of the articles opposed to POTUS’s participation make no mention of the fact that his likely challenger also will be in attendance. Is there a lack of confidence that the Republican is incapable of gaining as much of an advantage from the event as the incumbent? Is it quite possible that the President actually has much to lose and little to gain by this appearance? Is all that just too much political calculus for those who prefer the Church to stay above the fray?
Instead of being simply and completely offended by the President, are opponents of his being on the dais with the Cardinal Archbishop of New York and the former Governor of Massachusetts concerned about a purported moral equivalence being projected possibly by a photograph of the three of them dining in inter-religious dietary harmony?
That is disturbing.
Since that is a reasonable position to take, are opponents of the current President’s attendance prepared to publish a water-tight argument that it is morally impermissible and inescapably immoral for an informed Christian to cast a vote for him this November 6? It is entirely possible, it just does not seem to have been done dispassionately and succinctly.
Are opponents of the current President’s attendance willing to say that neither presidential candidate should be invited for the foreseeable future because their parties’ platforms cannot be presented as equally acceptable? That would be refreshingly impersonal.
“Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Lastly, has the landscape changed with yesterday’s announcement that Cardinal Dolan, after having offered to lead prayers at both Conventions, has been chosen to give the benediction at the Republican National Convention on the night Mitt Romney accepts the presidential nomination?
In the end, will this Archbishop of New York be able to invite to a public dinner an enemy of traditional Christianity and still control the narrative?
The possibility ought not be dismissed out of hand.