(Regrettably For Him) Cardinal Dolan Speaks.
After days of pressure, Cardinal Dolan has decided his chances of becoming the next Pope (“how can you say that?!”, I hear you say! Oh well…) are evaporating fast and it is now better to try to limit the damage by going public and spreading some sugary common place around; no doubt, such common places will be echoed by the liberal press, always ready to help a Cardinal if the Cardinal in question rubs oneself against the gowns of the powers that be (ah, the beauty of Italian: how shall I translate strofinarsi alle gonne del potere?), so the downside is very limited. Be the translation more or less accurate, this is exactly what is happening in the case of our dear Cardinal. Increasingly more embarrassed by the public outroar, Dolan has publicly reacted with three alleged “arguments” speaking, so he thinks, in favour of the invitation of Obama. Let us see them one by one.
For one, an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner is not an award, or the provision of a platform to expound views at odds with the Church. It is an occasion of conversation; it is personal, not partisan.
The hypocrisy of such an argument would leave one speechless, if one wouldn’t be accustomed to such breathtaking hypocrisy. Last time I looked, everywhere on this planet an invitation to speak was an honour, and a platform to expound views. The Cardinal must live on a parallel universe. Mind, I do not think cardinal Dolan is stupid; but I do think he thinks you are.
Two, the purpose of the Al Smith Dinner is to show both our country and our Church at their best: people of faith gathered in an evening of friendship, civility, and patriotism, to help those in need, not to endorse either candidate. Those who started the dinner sixty-seven years ago believed that you can accomplish a lot more by inviting folks of different political loyalties to an uplifting evening, rather than in closing the door to them.
Firstly, Cardinal Dolan pretends to believe he is the only one who still thinks that Obama is a person of faith. No he isn’t and again, I will not insult the Cardinal’s intelligence by telling you he didn’t get what a satanic tool the man is. He knows it perfectly well. He just doesn’t care. Secondly, the italics in civility (from the Cardinal himself) are an open offence to all those who think it a sell-off and an outright abomination to invite the public enemy number one of the unborn life – and of Christianity in general; and of Catholicism in particular – to speak at a Catholic fundraising event. You are being uncivil, you see. Tut, tut. You are very naughty. You should do like the Cardinal, who is very adept at keeping all his options open, and has all his bets hedged like he works in the Square Mile. Thirdly, he flatly refuses to acknowledge reality. It is not that “those who started the dinner” so many years ago have a history of inviting the Khmer Rouges, the Black Panthers, and Saddam Hussein to their dinner so that “folks” of “different political loyalties” could get together to an “uplifting evening”. If you’re the enemy you don’t get invited: what’s difficult with that? Unless you’re Judas, of course; in which case you might well come to the idea of inviting the entire Sanhedrin to the Last Supper. “Uplifting evening”, you know; “dialogue”, and all that. In the end, you can accomplish a lot more by talking rather than following those antiquated pre V-II concepts of… fighting against evil men.
Three, the teaching of the Church, so radiant in the Second Vatican Council, is that the posture of the Church towards culture, society, and government is that of engagement and dialogue. In other words, it’s better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one.
Here, the Cardinal really throws away the mask (when you hear someone saying V II was “radiant”, prepare yourself for a cargo of bollocks…). With Vatican II, says the Cardinal, the Church’s posture has changed. Before, they preferred to ignore, to yell and to shut doors. In other words, to be real Catholics who say it as it is, and don’t pretend to be your friend when you aren’t. Most of all, they didn’t start to lick your plates whilst pretending to oppose you. When you were the enemy, you were the enemy. Extraordinary concept, isn’t it? Not so now. In the “radiant” world of Vatican II, you hobnob with the enemy because it is more productive to the protection of your own backside, and because it leaves a lot of important doors open. Seriously, the brazenness of this open sell – out is embarrassing. He is not merely hinting, he is shouting that he is not ready to make enemies. Cardinal Dolan has missed a wonderful occasion to shut up, retire himself in prayer, and get the courage to do what he had (and still has) to do. Instead, he has chosen to publicly lift his gown like an old trollop in a Far West saloon, and show to everyone he is to be had at the rather cheap price of not shutting his door to him.
I hope there are no takers.
Particularly at the next conclave.