The two major party presidential nominees, John McCain and Barack Obama, both showed up last night for the 63rd Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York. The event is occasioning some chatter in St. Blog's Parish because Obama is a supporter of abortion rights, and the event supports programs of the Archdiocese of New York; four years ago, Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kerry was not invited because of his support for abortion rights.
"The American bishops have generally agreed that political candidates who favor unrestricted legal abortion should not be given opportunities to speak at Church-sponsored events.
•unless the events raise $5 million for Catholic Charities
•unless the events are hosted by the cardinal-archbishop of the nation's most prominent city
•unless the events are covered by every imaginable major media outlet
•unless the events are light-hearted, humorous affairs.
Because under those circumstances, you see, the archdiocese isn't endorsing the pro-abortion candidate. It's just showing that someone can support the deliberate slaughter of unborn human beings and still be a heckuva fun guy."
"There are at least a couple of ironies here. One is that the political bloodletting in the Catholic Church has reached such a point that a dinner honoring the first Catholic presidential candidate–and a man reviled for his faith–is virtually off-limits to Catholic candidates. For the last Al Smith dinner, in 2004, Cardinal Egan refused to host John Kerry because he is a pro-choice Catholic. Instead he invited former Republican President George H.W. Bush and former New York Gov. Hugh Carey, a Democrat, as this CNS story explains. Problem is, according to much of the “pro-life” rhetoric, Obama is the most “pro-abortion” candidate EVER, to the point that he supports “infanticide.” (Yes, “scare quotes” are necessary given the nature of allegations.) So how is it that Obama gets to appear and Kerry doesn’t? Putting up a “No Catholics Need Apply” sign at the Al Smith event may be the ultimate paradox."
(Photo, by Andrew Theodorakis of AFP, shows McCain and Obama flanking Cardinal Edward M. Egan.)