In light of the now well-publicized Al Smith Dinner, a number of Catholic commentators, me included, were moved to question Cardinal Dolan’s resolve relative to his handling of politicians who are hostile to the Church. I now feel duty bound in conscience to repent of my presumptuousness.
You see, to suggest that His Eminence lacks the backbone necessary to take a principled stand on behalf of the Faith that comes to us from the Apostles is to presume that he actually holds the worldview that naturally comes with said Faith. Given some of his most recent comments, however, there seems to be ample reason to suspect otherwise; an indication that his decision to trip the lights hilarious with Barack Obama may very well be consistent with his most deeply held, albeit very troubling, convictions.
In hindsight, therefore, it is perhaps more accurate to say that Cardinal Dolan has a spine made of steel.
In spite of numerous impassioned pleas to reconsider his decision from both laity and clergy alike, the Cardinal has proven unflappable. He recently took to his blog to explain and defend himself, ultimately concluding:
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.
Classic Dolan, that: A little dose of humor and maybe all concerned will simply move on confident that everything’s under control.
Those who give the matter additional consideration, however, cannot help but conclude that this particular argument isn’t germane to the present discussion since every meal that Jesus enjoyed in the company of others was consumed at table with sinners; excepting, of course, for those occasions when He and Our Blessed Lady dined alone.
The distinction that His Eminence apparently cares not to make is that simply being a sinner doesn’t equate to being an unapologetic enemy of the Lord and His Church. Barack Hussein Obama is just such a wretch; a man who heaps insult upon injury by claiming recourse to a “Christian” faith that every authentic follower of Christ over the age of reason recognizes as a blasphemous lie.
That said, Jesus did in fact dine with certain of the Pharisees who would oppose Him, but let’s not forget that He used the occasion to call them to account for their sins, and this He did not just in private, but in the presence of others; rebuking His hard-hearted opponents unto conversion while forming the consciences of those who stood witness.
As I suggested in a previous column, the possibility arguably still exists, however slight, that Cardinal Dolan will use the Al Smith Dinner to do the same with Barack Obama, but given his comments in a recent interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of Nation Review, it now appears that the odds are better that Nancy Pelosi will convert to Catholicism.
“Do you not think,” His Eminence rhetorically asked Ms. Lopez, “it’s a cause for celebration in the Catholic community in the United States of America that the two vice-presidential candidates are Catholic? Did you ever think it would come to this?”
“We’ve got two men who — and you can disagree with one of them or both of them — say they take their faith seriously, who don’t try to hide it, and who say, ‘Hey, my Catholic upbringing and my Catholic formation influences the way I think.’ Not bad. Not bad,” he concluded.
Ah… Suddenly, this entire Al Smith affair is starting to make sense.
Al Kresta – the CEO of Ave Maria Radio and a man that I admire and respect – spoke for the majority of faithful Catholics when he said of Cardinal Dolan, “I’m disappointed and bewildered, yes, undeniably.”
That, however, was before the cardinal suggested that Joe Biden — a man who thumbs his nose at Holy Mother Church while supporting abortion-on-demand and same-sex “marriage,” not to mention promoting a government mandate that threatens to cripple the Church’s ability to carry out her mission in the United States — should inspire American Catholics to celebrate.
For me, disappointment in Cardinal Dolan endures, and bitterly so, but in light of these comments, bewilderment is a thing of the past. So too is any suspicion that His Eminence’s actions are in some way inconsistent with his core beliefs.
In spite of it all, members of the Timothy Dolan Fan Club are proving to be a resilient bunch. To paraphrase some of their commentary:
“He only said that Joe Biden claims to take his faith seriously, he didn’t agree, and after all he’s right; there was a time not very long ago when simply being Catholic almost guaranteed political defeat in this country.”
Sure, having two “Catholic” vice presidential candidates would have been unthinkable just fifty years ago, but let’s be honest about how we got here.
It’s not as though we’re enjoying the fruits of missionary success in America; no indeed, this is the result of a surrender of Catholic principles wherein so many members of the sacred hierarchy in this country (as elsewhere) have shelved their Apostolic mission in exchange for the ways of the world.
The Cardinal Dolan groupies can explain away his stunning comments all they want, but who’s kidding who? In what universe is Joe Biden even “Catholic” in the first place? How much less is his candidacy some kind of victory for Christ such that the children of the Church should celebrate?
Here’s the cold hard reality of the situation: If one accepts, as Cardinal Dolan apparently does, that Joe Biden is a Catholic who enjoys even a debatable claim to a serious faith, then there’s absolutely nothing for a godless electorate to fear from the Church. That, my friends, is how we managed to get two “Catholics” on the big American ticket.
For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, Cardinal Dolan’s words and actions demonstrate with remarkable clarity just how comfortable he and so many others have become in selling out Christ the King.
And for what? The unparalleled sense of accomplishment that comes from having placated the fears of Protestant voters and finally gaining acceptance among the political elites who have always hated the Lord and His Holy Catholic Church?
Perhaps His Eminence will understand why ordinary Catholics fail to see this abject failure on the part of the Church in the United States as a “cause for celebration.” Then again, maybe if we’re lucky he’ll promulgate a new blog post explaining the subtle nuances of high political theater that rubes like us just aren’t savvy enough to grasp.
A Prince of the Church who fearlessly engages the lies of hell bent politicians, not with cocktails and platitudes, but with the sword of Truth wielded in defense of the Sovereign rights of Christ the King; calling fraudulent Christians — especially self-described “Catholics” like Joe Biden — to account for their blasphemy while condemning the democrat party for its bloodthirsty crusade against the Lord and His Holy Roman Catholic Church.