Obama presence at fundraiser not an endorsement, Archbishop Lori says
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori says an invitation to President Obama, to speak at a New York fundraiser alongside Mitt Romney, should not be misunderstood as a show of support for the president.
Obama’s expected presence and remarks at the upcoming Alfred E. Smith Foundation dinner “do not constitute an endorsement,” the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty chairman and Baltimore archbishop told Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online in an interview published Aug. 9.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, the U.S. bishops’ conference president, has been criticized by some pro-life groups for continuing an election-year custom of inviting both the Democratic and Republican candidates to the comedy-oriented fundraiser for Catholic charitable causes in New York.
While Obama appeared in 2008 alongside Senator John McCain, the 2012 invitation has disturbed some observers, who cited the president’s recent efforts to force Catholic institutions to offer contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs through their health insurance plans.
In his remarks to Lopez during the Knights of Columbus’ Aug. 7–9 Supreme Convention in California, Archbishop Lori said he believed there was no “clearer voice in the United States about the sanctity of life and religious liberty than Cardinal Dolan.”
Baltimore’s archbishop urged Catholics and other observers not to “get distracted” by the New York cardinal’s gesture of courtesy toward President Obama, which did not detract from his standing as a “clarion voice” for the Church’s non-negotiable principles.
Cardinal Dolan has frequently gone on record against the contraception mandate in recent months, most notably through the U.S. bishops’ June 21– July 4 “Fortnight for Freedom” event. [More]