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Originally posted on CNN Belief Blog:

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN)– What do you get when you mix the highest profile American Catholic bishop, an icon of American comedy, a priest who regularly writes about comedy and a media blackout?

The answer: a unique look at the cross-sections of faith, humor and joy.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the highest ranking Catholic in the United States, and comedian Stephen Colbert, the host of the popular late night comedy show “The Colbert Report,” put their views of faith and humor on display for a private audience of 3,000 at Fordham University on Friday night.

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9 comments

    • Thank you, Gracie for liking and commenting. I’m at a conferece on the Manhattan Declaration (on reilious liberty) right now. Chuck Coleson couldn’t make it, but Robert George did. Fascinating discussion going on here…

    • I am very familiar with the Becket Fund and what they do, and with this particular case covered in the article you shared. Their president, William Mumma, gave a great talk at the conference I was at yesterday (for some reason, my response to your comment got delayed considerably after I posted it yesterday). There were three other great talks, very informative, and very inspiring, by:

      Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List;
      Dr. Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University;
      And Alan Sears, President, CEO and General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom.

      I need to write a post about this very soon. They are fighting the good fight that we all need to be fighting in this country. Thanks for sharing the link.

  1. Since I don’t intend vote for any of them, and I don’t consider either the news media or attention seeking entertainers particularly newsworthy (either they report or they entertain), I generally don’t bother to research celebrity views. So I cannot pretend to know much about Stephen Colbert. I just find his brand of humor more disgusting than funny.

    Before the good cardinal decided to take the stage with the man, did he check out what Colbert is famous for? To say the least, the man is irreverent.

    When Jesus came to save us, He associated with us, but he took care not to come down to our level. He insisted we work to rise up out of the gutter, not drag him down. Thus, we have to be careful the company we keep. We don’t want to be dragged into sin by unrepentant sinners.

    Just out curiosity, what do you think of this?
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/394361/august-10-2011/god-s-job-performance—jim-martin

    And yes, I know I am asking a touchy question, but how can a good Catholic encourage anyone to vote for Obama?
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/189700/october-29-2008/the-word—i-endorse-barack-obama

    What Obama has done is no great surprise. Colbert is no idiot. If I could anticipate what Obama was capable of, he knew as well.

    Will Colbert endorse Obama again? Has he repented?

    • Thanks for your comment, Citizen Tom.

      I think of men like Zaccheas, who repented and converted after Jesus ate at his house. I also think of several celebrities who have expressed their disgust with Obama, e.g., Gene Simmons and Matt Damon (not perhaps everyone’s favorite examples, but the fact that they are voicing their opinions says something, at least). They are not only saying that they are seriously disappointed and will not vote for him again, but they are also urging others not to vote for him either.

      As for why a “good” Catholic would vote for Obama the first time, I am baffled, but not at a complete loss. Well intentioned ignorance is perhaps the most benign answer. If anyone votes for him a second time, I would just have to call that stupidity. A Catholic who would still vote for him needs some serious talking to.

      • Thank you for your answer.

        Because he was the Chief Tax Collector, I suppose even Jesus would be hard put to find someone the Jews despised more than Zaccheas. Nonetheless, none of us are Jesus. Before Jesus spoke to Zaccheas, He knew Zaccheas had become a seeker. Zaccheas did not seek special attention from Jesus to glorify himself. In the hope he might see his savior, Zaccheas merely climbed a tree. Yet Jesus saw in Zaccheas what we cannot see. Knowing his heart, Jesus saw Zaccheas was ready to repent. When we try to judge another’s heart, we overreach.

        Is Stephen Colbert a seeker? Does he repent for his sins? Who is fit to judge? We can know of only the man’s public persona.

        So what is my question/issue? It is this: was it was wise for the cardinal to appear with Colbert? While I will concede the cardinal’s good intention, the wisdom of that I doubt. When he appeared in such a public forum with him, the cardinal gave Colbert more credibility with Catholics.

        Why am I concerned? Consider the larger context. What has happened since the sixties? What have we allowed some media celebrities to do? Just so they can appear daring and avant garde, we have allowed self-important media celebrities make fashionable certain destructive ideas and beliefs.

        Why have we done that? Because these people know how to titillate our base desires and appeal to our fears of ostracism (not being part of the in-crowd), we have let them manipulate us. Just to avoid appearing prudish and square, too many Christian leaders have taken even the most absurd nonsense spouted by attention-seeking celebrities seriously. How can that help us to spread the Gospel? It cannot, of course.

    • Well, you are right that I can’t judge the heart of the man. I can give him the benefit of the doubt that he might have had or may have a change of heart, based on basically no evidence at this point. I cannot see the cardinal’s intentions either. He could be much more far seeing than I am for all I know. I may risk being naive by considering the possibility that the man has plans to work with these people on a deeper level that could bring some conversion to those in celebrity circles. I hope that is not a vain hope, but I do believe that it is something we ought to hope for. What we can’t do is allow Trojan horses into our gates. I can understand why people are disappointed with Cardinal Dolan for making risky moves and appearing in public with questionable people. I just want to give the man the benefit of the doubt for perhaps knowing more than I know, having more influence than I have, and using both for the greater good that I probably do not see. My thoughts in this regard may seem pollyannish, and maybe they just are pollyannish. But that’s just the way I see it, for now.

      Thanks for sharing your questions and concerns, Citizen Tom! Your points are well taken.

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