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NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton gathered Thursday night, October 20, at the Al Smith Dinner charity event in New York hosted by Cdl. Timothy Dolan. It is their fourth and last public appearance together before the presidential election on November 8.
Clinton, second to speak after Trump, noted "decency and civility" have been missing from the presidential debate and made light of the many recent Wikileaks revelations revealing many troubling things about her campaign.
ChurchMilitant.com reported earlier her campaign paid people to incite violence at a Trump rally in Chicago earlier this year.
She commented, "Appeals to fear and division can cause us to treat each other as 'The Other.' Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to see each other, to respect each other, to listen to each other — and certainly a lot harder to love our neighbor as ourselves."
Clinton maintained that although she is not Catholic, she believes that "in order to achieve salvation we need both faith and good works," and added that she was inspired by Pope Francis' message "rejecting a mindset of hostility, his calls to reduce inequality, his warnings about climate change, his appeal that we build bridges, not walls." She did not address the Pope's condemnation of abortion, contraception, gender ideology and other intrinsic evils she promotes as public policy.
She referred to the Jesuit concept of "magis," interpreted as "the more universal good." She noted that her vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine spoke to her about this Jesuit word, saying, "I've taken this concept of 'magis' to heart in this campaign, as best as one can in the daily heat, the back and forth of a presidential campaign, to ask how we can do more for each other, and better for each other."
She continued, "Because I believe that for each of us, our greatest monument on this earth won't be what we build, but the lives we touch."
Historically, U.S. presidents and presidential candidates have been invited to spend time with their political opponents in a more lighthearted atmosphere at the Al Smith dinner. The audience — especially this year — is made up of the political, financial and media elite of the last few decades.
Although the dinner is organized by the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, named after the Democratic Party's presidential nominee in the 1928 race and the first Catholic nominated, the archbishop of New York has significant input as to who is there and who isn't.
Cardinal Dolan invited Hillary Clinton despite recent public revelations of her campaign showing disrespect towards Catholicism and conservative Catholics. The first in a series of emails exposed by Wikileaks shows some of Clinton's campaign members calling conservative Catholics wedded to "severely backwards gender relations."
Clinton also went on record at the third presidential debate on October 20 saying, "I strongly support Roe v. Wade." In April she referred to unborn babies as people but said they don't have constitutional rights. At the debate she reinforced that she believes women should be able to abort their babies up until the time they are born.
In 1996 Abp. John O'Connor refused to invite President Bill Clinton to the Al Smith dinner because of his support for late-term abortion.