New York City, N.Y., Oct 21, 2016 / 12:17 pm
While presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded verbal jabs at the Al Smith Dinner and showed some icy awkwardness, Cardinal Timothy Dolan thought a moment of prayer was the best part of the evening.
The cardinal had asked both politicians to pray with him, and the result showed “the evening at its best,” he recounted Oct. 21.
“After the little prayer, Mr. Trump turned to Secretary Clinton and said, ‘You are one tough and talented woman’,” Cardinal Dolan told the news site TODAY. “He said, ‘This has been a good experience, this whole campaign, as tough as it’s been’.”
“She said to him, ‘Donald, whatever happens, we need to work together afterward’,” the cardinal reported.
The dinner takes its name from former New York Gov. Al Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated for U.S. president. Smith’s great-grandson, Al Smith IV, co-chaired the event. The cardinal sat between the Democratic and Republican candidates.
Cardinal Dolan said the latest event was like “a family dinner where you’re just hoping things go well.”
It comes near the end of a tense and often unpredictable political campaign.
Clinton is at odds with Catholicism on several major issues. She is a strong supporter of legal abortion, taxpayer funding for abortion, and LGBT activism. Catholics’ religious freedoms are under pressure from her political allies. A leaked February 2012 email from her current campaign manager John Podesta appeared to show him wanting to promote a “Catholic Spring”-type revolution within the Church in response to religious freedom controversy over mandatory contraceptive coverage. His email, posted to Wikileaks, appeared to suggest former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of slain 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, could play a role in aiding a Catholic political revolt within the Church.