Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Al Smith Dinner: Shepherds vs Players

I really haven't thought much about the quadrennial Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. It was held earlier this month at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the white-tie-and-tails charity event hosted by the Foundation and the Archbishop of New York. Smith was the first Catholic presidential candidate in American history, who was trounced by Herbert Hoover in 1928, and whose great-grandson, Alfred E Smith IV, currently chairs the Foundation. Unlike some of my fellow "Catholic bloggers," who seem to have an endless amount of time to bloviate on various and sundry things such as this, I work for a living.

Besides, I was busy bloviating about other things.

I submit that among those bishops who could be labeled "orthodox," there are two kinds. There are shepherds, and there are players. In this country, you can count on one hand the number of shepherds. Most of them, when it comes down to it at the end of the day, are players, including the current Archbishop of New York, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan. For this reason alone, and without the event in question being an issue, I'm not impressed with him anyway. His decision to invite both candidates, despite one of them being the most enthusiastic supporter of the massacre of unborn children of any President in history, doesn't affect my opinion one way or the other. Cardinal Dolan did exactly what I expected him to do. As the first video clip shows, Michael Voris of ChurchMilitant.TV is none too pleased.

Now, His Eminence can say that he was in a tough spot, and he probably was. After all, once you start excluding one candidate from the white-tie gala event for one reason or another, even a really, REALLY good one, you can do it again for ANOTHER really, really good one. (It's already happened twice before, for reasons similar to what could have been applied here.) Eventually, the extraordinary decision becomes the ordinary, and the event can lose its purpose altogether.

Yeah, that's the tough spot that the Cardinal was in, which is why he probably should have cancelled the whole damn thing. You can bet your boots that would have gotten somebody's attention.

But he didn't, probably because it would alienate him from the kind of people who get invited to these things, and from there, would cost him the ability to be of much influence among them. Like they have anything to say about who gets to be Archbishop of New York, right? Don't kid yourself. This is another way of saying he wouldn't be popular with them anymore, and he could not allow that. After all, like I said, he's a player. On the other hand, he would have missed another chance (the other one being the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention) to get the last word in. That's another thing about being a player that some of my fellow bloviators tend to forget; sometimes it works.

Al Smith IV, who according to a related report by Michael Voris, is an avid supporter of pro-choice politicians -- shocking, yes, I know -- along with the others of the Foundation, might one day have to live without the event for another four years. It will be either that, or find another, more palatable Archbishop of New York to sit at the head table. Then again, Rome only appoints one at a time, so that could put the Foundation in a tough spot too. But they got a pass on this one, at least until the persecution against the Church is in full swing. So here, for your viewing pleasure, with what few moments of religious freedom we may have left, are the video clips of both candidates giving their respective addresses. President Obama showed more class than he usually does for formal events (as Queen Elizabeth the Second can attest), but Governor Romney still shows even more class. It helps to be used to the idea.

And so it goes.

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