EWTN Catholic Q&A
Al Smith invitation
Question from Jessica on 08-18-2012:

I am very confused about the Al Smith invitation from Cardinal Timothy Dolan to President Obama. I just do not know who to trust.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 08-20-2012:


From what I have been able to find out online, the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an annual fundraiser for The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, which distributes money to various New York charities. During election years, it has become traditional for the current Archbishop of New York (as head of the Foundation) to invite the presidential candidates to this dinner, which is expected to be conducted in a spirit of non-partisan camaraderie. There have been election years when the presidential candidates were bypassed, but effort was made to find suitable replacements to maintain the non-partisan tone of the event. For example, in 1992 pro-life Democratic Governor Robert Casey was invited. In 1996, the vice-presidential candidates were invited (an option not available this year since Governor Romney's running mate had not yet been named when the invitations evidently were issued). In 2004, a past Republican President and a past Democratic New York Governor were invited.

Cardinal Dolan has personally given his reasons for issuing the invitation to the Al Smith Dinner to President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Those who want more information about the matter should contact the Archdiocese of New York.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers