Cardinal Dolan and Stephen Colbert at Fordham

Despite a media blackout, the media have managed not to be blacked out from “The Cardinal and the Comedian” a Friday-night event at Fordham that drew a crowd of 3000 students. Humorist James Martin, S.J., moderated an evening conversation between New York Archbishop (and Cardinal) Timothy Dolan (also President of the USCCB) and Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

By all accounts it was a terrifically funny evening. The New York Times, America Magazine, The Jesuit Post,, and the National Catholic Reporter have all had great coverage (and others, I’m sure – it was blurbed in my local paper), so read more about it there. NCR is particularly good for “Storifying” a lot of the social media that came out, so definitely look at that to see some direct accounts.

What I really like about this event is not only that one of my friends helped make it happen, not only that it had “real” authentic people speaking of their faith, not only that it allowed social media to shine… What I really like about it is that it gets to the core of the “Good News.”

The goal of our life is happiness, a natural happiness in this life and a supernatural happiness in the next. That is our endpoint, that is what is drawing us in – the happiness of God. Ask St. Thomas about it, Summa Theologiae I-II Q 1-5. That’s right, God made humanity for the sake of our happiness, for the sake of joy and delight. We weren’t put here as slaves or to act as monsters. We are capable of being those things, but we are here to LIVE! and live fully.

That is a beautiful thing, and ought to bring us to thinking about our lives and how to be better people. Because in becoming better people we become happier people, more who we are meant to be.

A bit has been made of this event as an example of “the new evangelization” that Pope John Paul II talked about. Well, I think it was better than that. Leave out the word “evangelization,” to some people that has overtones of instrumentalization, of using others to get yourself into heaven. And there is no need for big words anyway. Just call it life. Just call it real people being honest. Just call it Good News.

Yes, there was a media blackout on the Good News. But the Good News got out anyway. Somehow it does that. So good job to all involved. You made something that burst its way into the world despite the lid on it. Something so good that regular people just couldn’t contain themselves, they had to speak up. And that is something pretty amazing in itself.


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