The bottom line is that inviting Obama (and providing many pictures of them smiling and laughing together) is going to confuse many Catholics into thinking it's okay to support the most pro-abortion president in history.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has defended his decision to invite President Barack Obama to the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.
Emphasizing that Americans wish for greater civility in politics, Cardinal Dolan said that
for seven decades, the Al Smith Dinner here in New York has been an acclaimed example of such civility in political life. As you may know, every four years, during the presidential election campaign, the Al Smith Dinner is the venue of history, as it is the only time outside of the presidential debates that the two presidential candidates come together, at the invitation of the Al Smith Foundation, through the archbishop of New York, for an evening of positive, upbeat, patriotic, enjoyable civil discourse. This year, both President Obama and Governor Romney have accepted our invitation. I am grateful to them.
“I am receiving stacks of mail protesting the invitation to President Obama (and by the way, even some objecting to the invitation to Governor Romney),” Cardinal Dolan continued. “The objections are somewhat heightened this year, since the Catholic community in the United States has rightly expressed vigorous criticism of the President’s support of the abortion license, and his approval of mandates which radically intruded upon Freedom of Religion. We bishops, including yours truly, have been unrelenting in our opposition to these issues, and will continue to be. So, my correspondents ask, how can you justify inviting the President?”
Cardinal Dolan offered several reasons:
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.