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Obama to Speak at Catholic Charities Event

In what is sure to be an awkward moment for President Barack Obama, he has accepted the traditional invitation to speak at the Catholic Charities Al Smith Dinner in October.

LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that in spite of the controversy surrounding his first appearance at the annual fundraiser in 2008 alongside Sen. John McCain, the president has agreed to come back even though he now adds to his list of "credentials" the enforcement of a health care reform law that is pro-abortion and anti-religion.

The fundraiser, which was initiated in 1946 by Cardinal Francis Spellman to honor the memory of Gov. Al Smith, known as the patron of the "little people" for his work with the poor, traditionally features presidential candidates from each party during an election year. Mitt Romney has not yet responded to the invitation.

"While the event typically takes a lighter tone, with the presidential candidates roasting each other in humorous speeches, this year’s event comes at an especially awkward time, with the U.S. bishops having recently concluded their 'Fortnight for Freedom' - a response to the Obama administration’s HHS mandate that will force employers, including many religious employers, to include contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs in their health plans," LifeSite writes. "That mandate, as well as other attacks on religious freedom coming from the Obama administration, have been condemned in the strongest terms by many of the country’s bishops and religious leaders."

Obama has also alienated himself from the Catholic population by actively opposing the Defense of Marriage Act as well as his recently announced support for same-sex "marriage."

LifeSite also points out that it would not be without precedent to have cancelled the traditional appearance of presidential candidates. This was done in 1996 when New York's Cardinal John O'Connor refused to invite pro-abortion presidential candidate Bill Clinton. In 2004, New York's Cardinal Egan also refused to invite another pro-abortion candidate - John Kerry.

It's not surprising that some are questioning why Obama, who is considered to be the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, is being given a platform to speak. Others, such as the National Catholic Reporter's Tom Gallagher, are accusing Dolan of setting the stage for a potentially divisive Alfred E. Smith dinner in October.

It remains to be seen what will happen at the reception, which will take place just weeks before the election. But one thing is for sure - Cardinal Timothy Dolan is no pushover, especially where this president is concerned, and if he invited Obama to this affair, he had a very good reason for doing so.

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