Stephen Colbert’s Speech at the Al Smith Dinner

Stephen Colbert was one of the headliners at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday night — in honor of the former New York governor and Roman Catholic luminary — and his speech was as entertaining as you would expect it to be:

Over the course of 10 minutes, Colbert said New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s outfit of robes and cap made him look like a “flamboyant Zorro,” joked that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was dating a CNBC anchor, called Mayor Michael Bloomberg a “tiny man” and said the modest Pope Francis would’ve likely held the black-tie fundraiser at an iHop.

“I am proud to be America’s most famous Catholic,” Colbert declared, turning to Dolan, who was sitting next to him on a dais that included Gov. Andrew Cuomo, CBS anchor Scott Pelley and others. “And I’m sure the cardinal is thinking, ‘Stephen, pride is a sin.’ Well, cardinal, so is envy, so we’re even.”

He later joked, “I’m not getting paid for this. Do I get a plenary indulgence or anything?”

Colbert, as a devout Catholic, may be one of the only people who can rip on the Church’s foibles as its leaders look on with joy. That’s a power I hope he takes full advantage of while he can. Other than Pope Francis, who’s doing his best to spread a positive image of his Church despite its rules holding him back, there aren’t many Catholic leaders worth respecting. Colbert is one of them.

(via Whispers in the Loggia)

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