August 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The controversy surrounding New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak alongside Mitt Romney at the glitzy Al Smith dinner just weeks before the presidential election has heightened.  The last week has seen major media come out in praise of the cardinal, while more pro-life groups have expressed grave reservations.

The New York Post has praised the invite in a piece titled “The Cardinal’s Classy Call” and the Boston Globe praised Cardinal Dolan for preserving the “spirit of the Al Smith Dinner.”

However, Americans United for Life’s (Action) William Saunders has weighed in to the debate noting, “It is sadly ironical to invite Obama to a fund-raiser for Catholic charities because Obama’s policies, particularly the HHS mandate, will result in the eclipse of those very charities.”

Saunders told LifeSiteNews: “Pro-life organizations such as ours are constantly working to build bridges in a bi-partisan manner, but the optics of a President who has given the Catholic church and others one year to throw aside their convictions in favor of a pro-abortion world view does call into question the wisdom of allowing a very pro-abortion President to pretend that he shares and respects the views of pro-life Americans.”

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Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph.D.  Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society also took issue with the invite. Miller, author of “Abandoned—The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars”, told LifeSiteNews that she has profound respect for Cardinal Dolan, especially because of his strong pro-life stance.

She added, however, “his invitation to President Obama is at least a gesture that causes great confusion. There seems to be a kind of schizophrenia at work. On the one hand the Church must fight for its life against Obama’s polices, fight for her life in a way that is absolutely unprecedented, but then through this invitation, the Church behaves as if it’s simply business as usual, as if she were not in the midst of a real persecution.”

Miller compared Dolan’s invite to St. Peter inviting Nero to an early Church fundraiser in Rome. She warned: “A corner has been turned in Church/State relations, and now it’s time to ready the Body of Christ to withstand governmental, cultural and societal attacks - instead of sitting down, smoking cigars, cracking jokes with the very people who denigrate the sanctity of life and seek to send the Church back to the catacombs.”


Saunders’ and Miller’s remarks follow on the heels those of:

Priests for Life’ Fr. Frank Pavone

Students for Life of America’s Kristan Hawkins

Human Life International’s Fr. Shenan Boquet

American Life League’s Judie Brown