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Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Confess

When Christians see the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, "I Confess", they generally have one of two reactions: either they nod in agreement or they leave the film in absolute horror. Depending on how one understands one's own Christianity, the action the priest takes in the last five minutes of the movie is either (a) beautifully  perfect or (b) disorienting and perverse.

For Christians, there is no middle ground.

I won't spoil the ending by describing it, but as an RCIA director, I enjoy recommending that movie to new Catholics precisely because their reaction to the movie's ending will give them, and me, a feel for how Catholic their worldview is.

Similarly, "The Scarlet and the Black" is an historically accurate movie whose ending discombobulates
Christian audiences. The last five minutes are, again, shocking. Some Christians walk out disgusted, muttering under their breath about the perversity of the Catholic Church in general and Catholic priests in particular. But others walk out strengthened in their Christian convictions by the movie's resolution.

And so we come to Cardinal Dolan's Al Smith Dinner and the invitation of Barack Obama. Indeed, we might treat on the way the Al Smith Dinner organizers treat pro-abort groups versus pro-life groups in general.

Is Dolan acting as a stooge or a Christian?

Is it scandal to give Obama a platform, or is this Dolan's brilliant scheme to give Barack the opportunity to either publicly make up or make a fool of himself?

Mary Ann Kreitzer opines that Dolan's invitation shows disrespect for the unborn. Dolan would presumably never entertain the idea of inviting Barack to dinner if our fine President were in the habit of "stabbing a bishop in the head and sucking out his brains." And she brings forward numerous Scriptural examples of precisely this refusal. I confess an enormous amount of sympathy for Mrs. Kreitzer's position.

But, as I listened to this morning's sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan, I realized there was historical precedent of a sort. We have the example of the Church in and after World War II.

Even though the Nazis were responsible for slaughtering thousands of religious, priests and bishops in death camps across Eastern Europe, the Pope approved of smuggling these same Nazis - including Adolf Eichmann - out from under the nose of Allied troops who wanted Nazi leaders arrested, tried and hanged.

Now, the comparison is not exact. The Vatican ratlines were run in secret, those smuggled out were not being given a public forum. Still, there is no indication that the men being smuggled out were penitent - as in Eichmann's case, we can be pretty sure that at least some of them were not.

So, what are we to think about Cardinal Dolan inviting our modern-day Eichmann to a public dinner, in which the participants 'roast' one another? Does it signal some tacit approval of Barack Obama?

Well, again, we have precedent. For instance, we know Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, signed a concordat with Hitler on behalf of the Church, even though Pacelli was under no illusions about the integrity of the man with whom he treated:
“This man is completely obsessed,” he said. “All that is not of use to him, he destroys; all that he says and writes carries the mark of his egocentricity; this man is capable of trampling on corpses and eliminating all that obstructs him." [editor's note: does this sound familiar?]
Pacelli said "I had to choose between an agreement on their lines and the virtual elimination of the Catholic Church in the Reich"...Pinchas Lapide notes that whilst negotiations for Concordat were taking place, pressure had been put on the Vatican by the arrest of ninety-two priests, the searching of Catholic youth club premises, and the closing down of nine Catholic publications. 
Concluding a concordat with a madman is certainly a lot more binding then simply inviting him to dinner. Even so, the Church has chosen to treat with madmen many, many times in her history. We have not yet had to descend to the level of concluding a treaty with Barack Hussein Obama, although the pressure he places on Catholic institutions in this country have not gone unnoticed by Rome.

November has not yet come. Neither Cardinal Dolan nor we know for certain who will win the election, or what this particular madman will do if he does win a second term. Many, including myself, hold honest concerns that an Obama victory would spell the end of the remnants of free elections in the United States.

So, is Cardinal Dolan's invitation scandalous or wise?
Is it an exercise in Christian charity or participation in evil?

I honestly don't know.
I pray that Cardinal Dolan does.


Lee Gilbert said...

Whatever the wisdom of the original decision, it presents a wonderful opportunity to those of us who disagree with it.

It makes the following story possible: "Cardinal Withdraws Obama Invitation!" "Cardinal Dolan's office today issued the following statement from the Cardinal,' Although I wished to keep the doors open to the President and to continue to dialogue with him over the issues that are so important to us as American Catholics, so very many Catholics have written to me over the past few months that it has simply become overwhelmingly clear that the people of God in this country want the invitation withdrawn. Consequently, I have with regret contacted the White House and withdrawn the invitation. At the same time, I stressed to the President our respect for him and his office, and our wish to continue to work with him etc, etc."

This outcome would be far better than if Cdl Dolan had never issued the invitation in the first place, would it not? It would show that Catholics are highly resolved, disciplined and opposed to Obama en masse. This would be a wonderful fact to register in the mind of the body politic at that particular juncture.

To me the only question is whether we Catholics have got the will and the formation to remonstrate with the Cardinal reasonably, respectfully, persuasively.

Judging from "ANN SCHOOLS CARDINAL DOLAN" at we do not. If only someone would school Ann and everyone who expresses themselves similarly . . .

Lee Gilbert

MIke said...

Steve Kellmeyer is an outrageous heretic who has nothing to do with the Catholic Church.

He thinks Satan's vatican-2 heretic cult and all of it's heretic "leaders" (Dolan, Ratzinger, Meyers, and the rest of the soul damning crew)... are the Catholic Church.

Satan's vatican-2 cult rejects the Catholic Dogma in all manner of ways ... see Section 12 of

If Kellmeyer wants to enter the Catholic Church he would have to make a Formal Abjuration of heresy ... otherwise he will be descending into Hell forever, when God takes his soul out of his body.

Abjuration on Section 19.1 of

Steve Kellmeyer said...


That will NEVER happen.

Bishops don't get where they are for doing things without thinking them through. And they almost NEVER back down - it's bad for PR.

He knew perfectly well he was going to get this backlash. He's good with that. He doesn't care what the Catholic in the pew thinks any more than Notre Dame's president cared.

A lot of people thought petitions and such would change ND's mind. It didn't and I said it wouldn't. Now people think petitions are going to change Dolan's mind. Horsepuckey.

I don't care how reasonable, respectful or persuasive you try to be - the Cardinal will just smile and ignore you. He's not in the business of accommodating the opinions of the people in the pew.

You have no idea how little these protests mean from the Cardinal's perspective - especially the polite, reasonable, respectful protests. The loud obnoxious ones are wearing, and sometimes may generate a response, but the polite ones can be ENTIRELY ignored.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Don't mind Mike.

He's a sedevacantist who thinks the last valid Pope was Pius X. Really.

MIke said...

Wow, heretic Steve-o is really up in the air on this one.

Perhaps he can use a shred of rationality ... and go to Google Images and look at some photos of abortions.

MIke said...

I gave provided heretic Steve-o with some of fantastic heresy of the usurpers of the Office of the Papacy going back to 1914.

Heretic Steve-o rejects the Catholic Dogma on Automatic Excommunication for heresy.

This is ANOTHER of dozens of reasons Steve-o is losing his soul.


Section 20 - heresy of "Benedict XV"

Section 20.1 - heresy of "Pius XI"

Section 20.2 - heresy of "Pius XII"

Section 12.6 - heresy of "Benedict XVI"

Section 12.7 - heresy of "John Paul II"

Section 12.8 - heresy of "Paul VI"

Section 12.9 - heresy of "John XXIII"

You can check out these sections and see that Steve-o is lying again.

Kathy said...

Steve, I am from Milwaukee and Dolan backed down almost immediately when priests complained about a new policy that the archdiocese could search homes and computers of priests suspected of abuse. But these were Milwaukee priests not pro life Catholics. Big difference.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Priests are different.
Bishops will go a long way not to offend priests.
They have to work with their priests day in, day out.
Laity are fungible - who cares if one of them dies, retires or leaves?
There's always more way they came from.
But priests you have to take care of, if you're a bishop.

Lay people, however, can complain all day long and twice on Sunday and bishops won't care.

Kathy said...

Steve, your cynicism is less than encouraging.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Kathy, I've worked in four dioceses in four different states. That includes employment on three parish staffs, a teaching position in a Catholic grade school, a ministry position at a Catholic university and a staff position in a chancery office. I've seen just about every facet of the Catholic operation in the United States that a layman can see.

I'm not being cynical, I'm just stating the facts.

Flambeaux said...

Steve, you've hit the "big time" as a Catholic blogger if you've got your own dedicated Nutty Sede to harass you.

Congratulations, sir.

And, Kathy, no he's not being cycnical. If anything, Steve's giving them all the benefit of the doubt.