NY Cardinal Defends Invite For Obama To Annual Charity Dinner For Politicos

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Critics claim invitation to annual dinner is a "scandal"

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2012, file photo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks to the press after prayer services at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee confirmed Wednesday, May 30, 2012, that it had a policy to pay suspected pedophile priests to leave the ministry. The policy was crafted by Dolan when he was Archbishop in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan is standing by his decision to invite President Barack Obama to a prominent annual charity dinner even though the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York is suing the administration.

Dolan said he has received "stacks of mail protesting" Obama's inclusion in the annual Alfred E. Smith dinner on Oct. 18. Smith was the first Roman Catholic nominee for president. It's customary for presidents and candidates to attend the event in an election year.

Dolan said some critics have told him "the invitation is a scandal." He noted that a few of those protesting also objected to the participation of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, but the cardinal didn't say why.

Dolan said the event is meant for people of faith to gather "in an evening of friendship, civility and patriotism to help those in need, not to endorse either candidate."

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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