This time last year, Cardinal Timothy Dolan was taking fire from his right flank for inviting President Obama to the annual Al Smith Dinner, the white-tie charity gala where celebrities and churchmen and rival pols lay down their arms and instead wage a war of wit. It didn’t matter that Dolan also invited Obama’s Republican rival, Mitt Romney. This year, Dolan should have an easier time of it — he will have Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, the self-described 'pope of basic cable,' on hand to headline the fundraiser tonight, reports the Religion News Service.
The match was a no-brainer for many reasons: The Cardinal and the comic are both pretty darn funny, and they appeared together at a Fordham University panel on faith and humor last year. Then last month, Colbert invited Dolan on his show to talk about the conclave that elected Francis.
It’s a safe bet that the man who calls himself 'America’s most influential Catholic' – whichmay not be much of an exaggeration — will be riffing on church and faith, and on Pope Francis, or 'Big Daddy Franks,' as he likes to call him, 'the lean mean Argentine machine' and 'the vicar so nice he speaks for Christ.'
For a sneak peek at what Colbert may say, we dug up some of the best Catholic quips from his past appearances. Welcoming Cardinal Timothy Dolan to his show: 'You’re the second most famous Catholic in America — after myself.'
On the conclave that elects the Pope: 'It’s like the Christian Super Bowl, only with less thanking Jesus.'
On Pope Francis: 'He’s too soft on sin, for me, this pope. You heard what he said about atheists? He said even atheists are redeemed by Christ. … If even atheists are redeemed by Christ, why have I been going to Mass every Sunday? I could have gotten another nine holes in!'
More on that score: 'If the Lord redeems atheists all bets are off. What’s next? The Lord redeems Lutherans? It’s madness! I feel like a chump. … I’m just so glad Jesus didn’t live to see this.'