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Cardinal Dolan to bless Republican convention

The latest in non-endorsements, via The AP:

NEW YORK Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan will give the benediction at the Republican National Convention on the night Mitt Romney accepts the presidential nomination. The cardinals spokesman said the appearance was not an endorsement.Dolan is the New York archbishop and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Romney announced Dolans appearance in an interview with Raymond Arroyos The World Over Live on EWTN Catholic network.

From the NYT version:

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said Cardinal Dolans agreement to participate, which occurred within the last two weeks, should not be seen as partisan.Cardinal Dolan is going to pray, not to engage in partisan politics, Mr. Zwilling said. He made it clear when he accepted the invitation that he would also accept an invitation from the Democratic National Committee to offer a prayer at their convention, should they ask.He is going simply to pray, which is part of what a priest should do.Before accepting the invitation, Cardinal Dolan told the convention organizers that it was standard church practice for the local bishop of the area to give the blessing. But, Mr. Zwilling said, they said we would really like you to do it, so he checked with Robert Nugent Lynch, the bishop of St. Petersburg, Fla., and he had no objection.

I wonder how much sway the hierarchy really brings here. Folks tend to recoil at perceived political action by their church leaders, even if they might agree with those leaders on the issues. And of course, what if Obama wins? Is putting all your eggs in one basket good politics?

About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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He made it clear when he accepted the invitation that he would also accept an invitation from the Democratic National Committee to offer a prayer at their convention, should they ask.This seems to be a bit different take from that posted on the HuffingtonPost, which implies that Cardinal Dolan let it be known to both parties that he would accept an invitation before the Republican offer. Dolan's spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, said the cardinal told both the Republican and Democratic parties that he would accept any invitation to offer a prayer at their conventions.Who is right?So, Robert Nugent Lynch, the bishop of Tampa-St. Pete, had no objections to the departure from protocol. Come on.I assume that Cardinal Dolan is wise enough to know that he is being used big time by the Republican Party. (I cant wait to see the Romney ad where his face fades into Cardinal Dolans as was the case in the ad about Romneys visit in Poland when his face faded into that of Pope John Paul IIs.) Cardianl Doaln could have graciously said: No thank you. It is not standard practice for a bishop other than the ordinary of the diocese where the convention is being held to give a prayer. I would prefer to not give any appearance of partisanship by such participation.

Folks tend to recoil at perceived political action by their church leaders

Ever hear of the Christian Democrats?

Paul Krugman asks an important question about the convention.http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

legitimate rape, Ayn Rand, nude tipsy swims in the Sea of Galilee, Cardinal Dolan, racism, etc. Is there no end to this comedy?

I don't think it's a big deal about Cardinal Dolan giving the invocation. I have no idea if it will change anybody's votes, and if we're going to politicize religion,the Democrats could pretty easily one-up Dolan as speaker. They could invite a woman rabbi, minister or Catholic religious sister to give the invocation at the Democratic convention, for example.

I'm thinking a religious sister or woman minister working to help victims of human trafficking, or working to help other poor women in need, would be a great choice to give an invocation at the Democratic convention.

It would be politically foolish for the DNC to make any attempts at counterprogramming.

Irene Baldwin: of course you're right, but it's unlikely to happen, since the religious sister or woman minister is unlikely to influence many votes. As for Dolan, let's wait and see what he says before deciding whether he's partisan or not. There is an unfortunate tendency among clerics asked to do this sort of thing to reel off a long laundry list of things reminding God of what he (assuming he's omniscient) already knows. Protestants used to be the worst offenders, but Catholics are rapidly catching up. Should Dolan use his bully pulpit to remind us of our God-given right to use private property as we see fit, for instance, we know he's cozying up to the Republicans. Should he on the other hand use said pulpit to remind the more fortunate of their responsibilities to use their material goods to the benefit of the less fortunate, it might be an enlightening lesson for his audience. And should he suggest that in a world of hunger and poverty we might wish to reconsider the necessity of a defense budget that outweighs all the rest of the world's defense budgets, he will probably be driven from the podium, and tarred and feathered.As for the Democrats, a speaker there might wish to raise the interesting findings of a new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy showing that secular states are rather less generous in charitable giving than religious states. http://philanthropy.com/article/Interactive-How-America-Gives/133709/?ot...(sorry for the appalling length of the url -- but it makes interesting reading).

"It would be politically foolish for the DNC to make any attempts at counterprogramming."Won't the Democratic National Convention have an opening invocation? I thought a woman pastor gave it at the last one.

Nicholas: That's a really interesting web site (my zip code ranked 811 out of 28,000. I'm trying to figure out though how we rank for income in that list)

Well we could hardly expect AB Dolan to bless the abortionistas at the D-convention, could we?

Ken:That is an unnecessary slur and contributes nothing to a civil discussion.

Ken-I think we should ask the Cardinal to pray for all Catholics, of all parties, that we work together respectfully for the common good.

According to the Times story this morning, Dolan is giving the closing prayer. Is that an invocation or a provocation?

Well, if Hurricane Isaac (Hebrew name, "he laughs") reaches Tampa next week Cardinal Dolan's Benediction may not be an issue. However, having lived in Florida for 22 years, I do not wish a hurricane on any place. Hopefully, there will only be some residual wind and rain that would cut down on any skinny dipping in Tampa Bay.

secular states are rather less generous in charitable giving than religious states.Except the next paragraph starts: "When religious giving isnt counted, the geography of giving is very different." IOW secular states do not contribute to religious causes, a not very surprising conclusion that explains why religious states give more. Religious states support more religious institutions.Very interesting study indeed.

"What need you, being come to sense, but fumble in a greasy till, and add the halfpence to the pence, and prayer to shivering prayer, until you have dried the marrow from the bone; for men were born to pray and save..."

While Ken's comment is perhaps impolitic, there is something in his statement to consider. It's quite obvious by now that a number of bishops and a number of the laity have played identity politics in conjunction with the Republican party for several decades. This, in my view, has been extremely perilous. Politicians and lobbies often turn quickly to satisfy their self-interests. Is not the Christian faith eternal? If certain clerical and lay Catholics wish to fight with a confessional political sword, then they must be prepared to die by this sword should the time arrive.

I'll wait and see what Cdl Dolan has to say, but my first reaction was that it is questionable judgement on his part. He should have declined in favor of the local guy. This will mostly be seen as an ego play on the wanna be rock star Dolan, and an inappropriate endorsement from the NCCB President.On the other hand, if his benediction is strictly non-partisan and devoid of code, no harm, but why?

David Smith, I'm not sure I get your point about Christian Democrats. That didn't work out very well, and that was also a largely pre-war/post-war phenomenon in Europe. In the U.S., Putnam and Campbell's research shows religious voters are turned off by faith leaders who are perceived to be political. The general public even moreso. Do you have contrary evidence?

Jim McK: yes, I'm aware that if religious giving isn't counted, the geography of giving is different. And I've heard this argument before, especially from those in my own state of Vermont, which is very secular and very stingy (I believe we rank about 48 or 49 for charitable giving). But I don't know why, if one is looking at generosity in general, it makes any sense to discount religious giving. Surely, if I'm a secularist who does not care for religious causes, should I not give instead to worthy non-religious causes like CARE or Save the Children or the local foodbank? But apparently it doesn't happen; hence the generosity gap. Furthermore, I don't know what's counted as religious giving. Is my million dollar gift to Fordham (they should be so lucky) a religious gift, while my five million to Harvard or the Metropolitan Opera isn't? How about my gift to Columbia-Presbyterian? Which side is that on? Are CARE or Save the Children secular, while Catholic Relief Services or Jewish World Services aren't? I don't know. If I were more of an American historian than I am, I'd probably know when the first Catholic pooh-bah addressed a national convention. I'd bet, however, it wouldn't be the Democrats when they were holding on to the Solid South, in the days of Wilson, FDR, Truman, etc., but I may well be wrong.

It's not like Spelly blessing the bombers going to Vietnam, and Cdl O'Connor was very visible in backing Dole in 1996. But I can't find a precedent for this -- the leader of the hierarchy giving a benediction at the national nominating convention, and in place of the ordinary. Also, when the bishops are seen as in the Republican corner and against Obama already. Then again, Dolan has been getting hit hard from the right over the Al Smith Dinner invite to Obama, so he could use some cover.

Nicholas,As I understand it, the figures were compiled from tax return data, so charitable giving includes donations to churches. I would bet that the bulk of "religious giving" is to local parishes, churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. if we are looking at generosity, I am not sure those donations should be classed with CARE, Catholic Charities, etc. If CARE etc. had local offices in every community comparable to these churches, they might get comparable donations. Secular society lacks such institutions to raise money and also to use it.While I am betting, I will take you up on the bet you offered. The Democratic Party of Wilson and FDR is the party that nominated the first Catholic for president, Al Smith in 1928. In an earlier era that party was known to support "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion" because it included anti-prohibition forces, Catholics and Southerners. And in a later era the Dems nominated the 2nd Catholic for president, the first to hold the office, JFK.

The only precedent I can find is Cardinal John Krol of Philadelphia, who gave the benediction at the 1972 Republican National Convention. He was president of the bishops conference at the time. He had left that position when he delivered the benediction at the 1984 RNC in Dallas.

That convention was also in Florida. But it nominated Nixon-Agnew. I trust Cdl Dolan will have a better prayer.

I wonder if Cardinal Krol checked with Coleman Carroll, the bishop of Miami, to see if he had any objection.

To observe all the jurisdictional niceties it might be wise to have the Pope deliver the invocation.

What would be so wrong about, for example, Sr. Pat Farrell saying an opening or closing prayer? I'm sure her words would be healing and non-political. Her address at the LCWR conference was beautiful. In a rancorous environment, she's a role model for all.Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

Because it would be an adolescent response. Why should the DNC take its cues from the RNC? Is it OK if a non-Catholic prays at the DNC?

Secular society lacks such institutions to raise money and also to use it.Yes, and the next question to ask is: why is that so? If the non-religious are not as active in raising and spending on charitable causes, is it not because they are somewhat less charitable? Tht seems to be a tautology. And they don't give as much because they don't choose to give as much.

This is one thing scheduled to be held in Charlotte:St. Patrick Cathedral invites all the faithful to a period of continuous Eucharistic Adoration from Monday, Sept. 3, to Thursday, Sept. 6, coinciding with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.This time of Adoration and prayer will focus on petitions for our country, our leaders and ourselves in atonement for our sins and for the future of our nation. Among these petitions are the right to live, unthreatened by government mandate, from natural conception to natural death, and for the freedom of conscience and the unhindered worship of our Lord Jesus Christ.Volunteers may sign up for as many hours as they like during the four-day vigil (Note: Children younger than 18 are not permitted in the church without a chaperoning adult between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.)Sign up online at www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0C44AFAD2CA20-vigil.

I think it's pretty clear where Dolan stands. Here he is on Paul Ryan from Dolan's radio show:I came to know and admire him immensely, Cardinal Dolan added. And I would consider him a friend. He and his wife Janna and their three kids have been guests in my house; Ive been a guest at their house. Theyre remarkably upright, refreshing people. And hes a great public servant. Stating he was speaking personally and not from a partisan point of view and not trying to be an apologist for Ryan, Cardinal Dolan praised Ryans call for financial accountability and restraint and a balanced budget as well as his obvious solicitude for the poor.Noting that there may be differences in prudential judgment over how to assist the poor, Cardinal Dolan added that I admire him. Hes honest. Hes refreshing. Do I agree with everything? No, but . . . Im anxious to see him in action.Obvious solicitude for the poor? The Cardinal and I must have different understandings of the word "obvious." This is very disappointing.(Quotes come via Andrew Sullivan: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/08/the-republican-cardinal....)

"According to the Times story this morning, Dolan is giving the closing prayer. Is that an invocation or a provocation?"It's a long shot, Margaret, but perhaps it will be a revocation. ;)

Shawn, good to see no one is politicizing the Eucharist!

I see this completely differently than the rest of you.Cardinal Dolan is clearly going to pray for the party that needs it most. And I call on my fellow Democrats to pray with him when the GOP opens its convention. Maybe all that prayer power will pray a heart into some of those economic policies.I agree with Grant that playing "dueling invocations by famous Catholics" is a crummy idea for the DNC. It promotes divisiveness in the Church. I'd rather see a joint invocation by three or four clergy to illustrate the Big Tent appeal the Democrats have always had.And I hope they play "Happy Days Are Here Again." Or at least show Ray Charles' "America the Beautiful" video. Take that, Kate Smith!

I haven't much time for research at the moment, but from John Tracy Ellis's The Life of James Cardinal Gibbons, v.II, I have found that Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore gave the invocation at the Democratic National Convention held in Baltimore in 1912. Cardinal Gibbons also gave the invocation at the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1920. Gibbons was already scheduled to be in Chicago for a Church occasion. And perhaps Archbishop Mundelein (cardinal from 1924) was happy to let Cardinal Gibbons offer the prayer. Mundelein was a staunch Democrat, and later an avid supporter and friend of Franklin Roosevelt.In any case, the custom of having a Catholic bishop offer a prayer at the conventions of both parties has a fairly long history, though it has almost always been the bishop of the diocese where the convention was being held. Given the present charged atmosphere, I think the Cardinal Archbishop of New York has put his foot wrong in accepting Governor Romney's invitation to go to Tampa. Perhaps this was to counter the considerable criticism that Cardinal Dolan has received for inviting President Obama to the Alfred E. Smith dinner in October.

So Dolan can give a prayer at the RNC but Obama can't give a talk at ND commencement. The latter is wrong while the former is non partisan??? Perhaps Obama could have offered to speak at Bob Jones U should they ask. While Dolan just can't stop blundering, the biggest news in this is Romney announcing this news on EWTN with its puppet Arroyo who lost his reasoning ages ago and cheer leads every right wing who will talk to him. EWTN never ceases to amaze with every priest who comments on the coming election on EWTN making abortion the central issue of the campaign. This is as fatuous and vacuous as it gets.

I think the events outside the convention will be much more interesting than those inside. OccupyRNC has a whole series of events planned, including some with local faith leaders. And they're quite non-partisan; at the end of the convention they will begin their March on the DNC, because, as their website says, both parties are screwing over the country by pandering to corporate interests (though they use stronger language than I would put here).

Id rather see a joint invocation by three or four clergy to illustrate the Big Tent appeal the Democrats have always had.I never like disagreeing with you, Jean, :) but there is one area where the vaunted Big Tent has become a pup tent. Democrats for Life of America proposed the following language to the DP platform committee for inclusion in the platform:"We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.However, we can find common ground. We believe that we can reduce the number of abortions because we are united in our support for policies that assist families who find themselves in crisis or unplanned pregnancies. We believe that women deserve to have a breadth of options available as they face pregnancy: including, among others, support and resources needed to handle the challenges of pregnancy, adoption, and parenthood; access to education, healthcare, childcare; and appropriate child support. We envision a new day without financial or societal barriers to bringing a planned or unplanned pregnancy to term."Seems like a very modest proposal to me that would reinforce the DPs Big Tent claims. More about the proposal can be found at the DFLA website: http://www.democratsforlife.org/The platform committee rejected the proposal outright. That may have had something to do with the NARAL Pro-Choice America president being a member of the committee (and scheduled to be a featured speaker at the convention in Charlotte). DFLA (of which I am a member) supports multiple strategies for reduction in the number of abortions, including economic and social safety nets for pregnant women and increased funding for pregnancy crisis centers. Pro-life Democrats are assailed on one side by Republicans for working for such economic aid, and assailed on the other side by fellow Democrats for daring to challenge the pro-choice hegemony controlling the DP. So much for a Big Tent of differing views on a complicated, contentious issue!

I'm watching the weather on TV, and I"m just wondering: What if Isaac is a really big hurricane, it hits Tampa, and Romney does not have a majority of the votes because not enough of his delegates can get there. Must Romney still be chosen as candidate? Is that mathematically possible?

"St. Patrick Cathedral invites all the faithful to a period of continuous Eucharistic Adoration from Monday, Sept. 3, to Thursday, Sept. 6, coinciding with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte."And what are they doing at the time of the RNC convo? May I suggest a non-stop exorcism? They may skip the upchucking of pea soup if they wish.

A "benediction" is a "blessing," right? Cdl. Dolan is blessing the evening that Romney-Ryan are nominated. Isn't that about as blatant a political act as possible?

William Collier, a very good comment -- alas. Dems for Life are getting hammered on all sides, and yet they could be the fulcrum for resolving or easing solutions to many problems. I see a group called Republicans for Choice also got frozen out of the platform and debate. (Even Log Cabin Republicans have more sway.)But I think the real analogous group for the GOP would be something like "Republicans for Social Justice." Is there anything like that out there?

"The [DNC] platform committee rejected the proposal outright."William, I agree with you that this is sorry news, particularly as the statement is inclusive and offers language that reflects true common ground and common sense. And there is nothing in the language that contradicts any traditional values in the Democratic Party.

Ann asked If the non-religious are not as active in raising and spending on charitable causes, is it not because they are somewhat less charitable?This may be a tautology, but only because its phrasing begs the question. Should we count donations to one's own parish or mosque as "charitable"? If so then religious states are more charitable, but largely because they have more institutions that need charity. Secular states lack the infrastructure of religion, and the need to maintain that infrastructure.If I give 25% of my earnings to the Church of Scientology, am I more charitable than someone who gives 5% to CARE? If the IRS decertified Scientology, but I kept up my donations, would I then be less charitable?

Obvious solicitude for the poor?40 cents of every dollar spent in the Federal budget is borrowed. That is unsustainable! Everyone's income taxes would need to roughly double to avoid any spending cuts. So things need to change for everyone: pay more in taxes AND receive less in benefits. Ryan has made a positive contribution to that debate, as opposed to kicking the can down the road, and he should be commended for that.

I heard on NPR an interview with Republicans for Choice, who are angry over not being heard by their Platform Committee.I wish the Democratic Platform Committee had been more open to the statement given by Democrats for Life. It seems to me that they could have shown that democratic spirit they have always prided themselves on. I have a very good friend (ahem) who once told a priest friend that she was a member of Democrats for Life. He told her that it was an oxymoron. She restrained herself from telling him what a moronic statement that was. True story. I was there.

We should not pretend that Paul Ryan is a fiscal hawk. He voted for the $5 trillion increase in the denbt under Bush. His plan would actually increase the deficit further, given the scale of his upper income tax cuts. What Ryan stands for a distribution of income away from programs that help the poor toward the wealthy. Don't take my word for it, listen to Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, possibly the most respect economic commentator in the world: "Representative Paul Ryan, Mitt Romneys new vice-presidential running mate, is, we are told, the man with the deficit-cutting plan....Yet this story has one drawback: it is false....The Ryan plan is the latest example of a consistent line of Republican fiscal policy since movement conservatism displaced traditional balanced-budget Republicanism some three decades ago. The priorities have been clear: first, tax cuts benefiting rich wealth-creators; second, cuts in spending, predominantly on the poor; and, last and least, reducing deficits."

Maybe the Cardinal is there to give the Last Rites.

Jim McCrea --My question is *why* is it that the seculars do not have more charitable institutions, e.g., like hospitals and schools and programs for the poor? Some non-churched people do give to some hospitals, etc., but the figures say that religious people on average give more. Even Dawkins has recognized this fact and has started a foundation funded by atheists for the charitable purposes.Don't ask me about individual skinflints. There are plenty everywhere.

I think if the DNC wants to invite a well-known, authentic Catholic to sprinkle holy water on the convention, they should ask Stephen Colbert ...

Maybe one of the "priests" from this unintentionally hilarious video, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7533429654984641649 can give the benediction for the Democrats.

According to the Times story this morning, Dolan is giving the closing prayer. Is that an invocation or a provocation?

The latter, hopefully. That would make the news.

David Gibson 08/23/2012 - 10:52 am SUBSCRIBER CONTRIBUTORDavid Smith, Im not sure I get your point about Christian Democrats. That didnt work out very well, and that was also a largely pre-war/post-war phenomenon in Europe.In the U.S., Putnam and Campbells research shows religious voters are turned off by faith leaders who are perceived to be political. The general public even moreso.Do you have contrary evidence?

It seems to be still trying to work itself out, David:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_democracyAt any rate, it's hardly new, having started two centuries ago. The Church is historically political.I don't see how religious leaders who believe that they've got an obligation to encourage their flocks to live Christian lives can refrain from opposing politicians who advocate doing what flies directly in the face of church teaching. Of course, some will be more adroit at this than others, but, I'd think, they're all bound to try.

I vote for "outvocation."I don't know why the Democrats shouldn't invite Cardinal Dolan, or the local bishop of Charlotte, who seems to be this fellow:http://charlottediocese.org/bishop-jugis/220-bishop-charlotte/335-2011-0...... or Sr. Simone Campbell, to open or close the proceedings on one of the days with a prayer. Isn't this sort of thing customary at conventions?

Ann,The information we are using says that if you remove "religious giving" secular states give as much as religious states. If you have different information, I would be happy to know of it.While I am not sure, I am guessing that "religious giving" includes giving to religious institutions like parishes, mosques, etc. So the info in this survey does not support the conclusion you are making. "Religious states give more than secular states" is more easily explained by the need in religious states for donations to religious institutions. That need is smaller in secular states, so less is donated.Imagine two populations, one with many cases of sunburn and one without. Sunburn states spend more on suntan lotion, and other states do not. Would that be surprising? And if we do not count the cost of lotion, different states spend equal amounts on other needs. This does not say anything about why. One state could be in the tropics while another is in the arctic; one could be European while another is African; one could be smog ridden while people never go outdoors in another. Whatever. All we know is that more lotion is sold in states where there is more chance of getting sunburn.Why would religion be any different? Donations, including those to religious institutions, are more prevalent in states that have more religious institutions. It might be interesting to ascertain why there are people do not support religious-like institutions: Climate? Race? Smog? But that is beyond the data in this study.

I applaud the Democrats for Life of America's proposed language that William Collier posted in a comment above (thank you, William), and I deplore that the Democratic Party's platform committee didn't embrace it.As a point of comparison, here is the pro-life plank that the GOP is expected to adopt:_______________________THE SANCTITY AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFEFaithful to the "self-evident" truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion, permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by exacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties to health care providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives and abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions - gender discrimination in its most lethal form - and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a revision of federal law 42 U.S.C. 289.92 to bar the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.We also salute the many states that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose live, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.__________________________http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/23/full-gop-platform-statem...

I think the Jumah at the DNC sounds really interesting (especially the Color Me Muslim Cultural Fun Fest). Is the RNC doing anything similar to celebrate America's religious diversity?

The whole 'benediction' thing is an exercise in hypocrisy anyway. Calling God's blessing down on a political process, Republican and Democratic alike, that only worship at the altar of money and power.

(P.S. I love politics, but this is like asking for God to help win a super bowl).

From the NY Post:WASHINGTON President Obama turned down a chance to have Timothy Cardinal Dolan deliver a prayer at the Democratic National Convention after Dolan told Democrats he would be grateful to deliver a blessing in Charlotte.Dolan considered the top Catholic official in the nation, as head of the Archdiocese of New York and president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops tipped off Democrats a few weeks ago that he had agreed to deliver the prime-time benediction at the Republican convention in Tampa next week, Dolans spokesman Joseph Zwilling told The Post.http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/cardinal_sin_bam_blew_off_blessing_aL...

Patrick, thanks...that NY Post story is hilariously predictable. The real question seems to be whether Cdl Dolan is being used or is part of the campaign. Perception will answer that as much as anything, I suspect.

Cardinal sin: Bam blew off DNC blessingCheap Shot; supermarket tabloid reporting

"I have a very good friend (ahem) who once told a priest friend that she was a member of Democrats for Life. He told her that it was an oxymoron. She restrained herself from telling him what a moronic statement that was. True story. I was there."I don't understand the point of this. It is an oxymoron, isn't it?

From today's edition of the Allentown PA diocesan paper:1. "The bishops of Pennsylvania have authorized a parish-based nonpartisan voter registration drive at parishes in September. 'It's a tremendous help in activating Catholic voters and encouraging them to participate as active citizens,' Bishop Barres said of the program. To bring this effort to fruition, the Pennsylvania Catholic conference (PCC) is partnering with the Knights of Columbus, who will conduct the drive at parishes with the pastor's approval."2.Headline: 'Let Religious Freedom Ring' delivered letters and results." According to this article a little more than 21,500 letters were collected and delivered to congressmen and almost 26,500 letters were collected and delivered to Pennsylvania's U. S. senators.3. Headline: "What young adult voters need to know about 'Faith and Politics'." This article announces a Sept. 17 panel discussion with three panelists. One is a lawyer who is quoted as saying: "The Health and Human services Department contraception mandate and 'religious employer's exception travels farther down that road [my insert: to marginalizing religion from the public square], effectively limiting what freedom of religion means, by treating charitable works toward society at large as not constituting a component of religious exercise." A second panelist, a physician, is quoted as saying: "This is the perfect teaching moment to tell the truth about the dangers of contraception and the benefits of NFP [Natural Family Planning] which enhances life and love.... We need to grasp this moment and use it to our advantage to help women, families and marriages, while we resist the attacks on our personal freedoms of religion and conscience." The third panelist is a priest who is quoted as saying: "I will speak on Catholic Social Teaching, specifically our obligation to work for the common good; and properly understanding separation of church and state--it does not mean we live by two different sets of values, one for church and one for society." He said that he will also speak on 'the principles of morality used in making choices, and voting with a Catholic conscience."Ain't all this nonpartisanship grand?

Mark Proska;I suppose there are some who would say that "pro-life Republican is an oxymoron. I am coming to the conclusion that words like pro-life and pro-choice can become campaign slogans more than real commitments to policy.

Ann: that was Jim McK, not Jim McC.I know: we all look alike, us Irish busturds.

A sign of Dolan's purpose will be whether he arrives at the festivities ablaze in full princely regalia with episcopal bling or in a plain black suit, "going simply to pray, which is part of what a priest should do", as his spokesman put it.

"Why would religion be any different? Donations, including those to religious institutions, are more prevalent in states that have more religious institutions. It might be interesting to ascertain why there are people do not support religious-like institutions: Climate? Race? Smog? But that is beyond the data in this study."Jim McK --What you say is not only irrelevant but it fatally distorts the issue at hand. The question is: who gives more -- religious people or non-reigious ones? The question is NOT "who gives how much to what?" To religious givers-to-charity from your list of givers-to-charity simply does NOT IN FACT remove those people from the quite actual set of givers-to-charity. All you have done -- or tried to do is re-define "charity". You might not approve of the religious givers, you might disdain their motives, but the facts remain: they give more than non-religious folks. See some of the comments at the Pew Report. This one hits the point right on the nose: "This is cherry-picking the data. Why should giving to religious institutions be excluded, but not giving to museums, libraries, and universities with large endowments?" Another says it's sheer bigotry to leave out the gifts to religious institutions/programs. I suspect that commenter might be right.http://philanthropy.com/article/America-s-Generosity-Divide/133775/

Jim McCrea --Sorry about my mix-up. May I call you Jimmy Mac still?

Ann,I do not disapprove of religious giving, and I have no idea where you got that idea. We were presented with information that offered a simple explanation to why religious states give more than secular states. Religious states have more religious institutions than secular states, so they have more charities that need contributions.I have no idea why the authors chose to separate out religious giving, but they "redefined" charity, not me. If they had separated educational giving or medical giving, I might comment on that information. You can fault them if you want, as many of the commenters at the website wish to do. I just tried to offer more of the information in the report in response to Nicholas' somewhat misleading quote.

"I suppose there are some who would say that pro-life Republican is an oxymoron. "Helen--No doubt, because those people have made prudential judgments different from those inherent in the Republican party platform.But what would you think of an organization that calls itself Nazis for Jews? They agree with the Nazi party's platform on economic issues, social issues, and foreign policy issues, but they differ from the party on the Jewish issue. However, they are convinced that, if the Jewish people can only avoid the gas chamber, they will have a better life under the Nazi party.Wouldn't you call that an oxymoron?

"No doubt, because those people have made prudential judgments different from those inherent in the Republican party platform."I don't think pro-life is at all inherent in the GOP platform; the excerpt above seems to stop at birth. So it is pro-life for the 9 months before birth but silent as to the 80 years following. I think it has a long way to go before we could really consider it pro-life. These unborn babies have a right to life after they're born as well: hence a right to adequate, food, shelter, medical care, education and all the rest. Right?

"These unborn babies have a right to life after theyre born as well: hence a right to adequate, food, shelter, medical care, education and all the rest. Right?"Right. I think the Republican Party did not feel the need to put something so obviously true in its platform.

"I dont think pro-life is at all inherent in the GOP platform; the excerpt above seems to stop at birth. "But getting to birth is the biggest problem. That Democrats can't commit to getting babies to birth without killing them is an enormous problem. We need to give Republicans credit for getting the biggest problem right.

I think that, consider the base of the Democratic Party, inviting Dolan would have been a negative. Why invite a Republicath conservative bishop?

We as priests are told not to endorse candidates as priests, yet bishops and cardinals play this game. Crdinal Kroll did it with Reagan to "get money for Catholic Schools and was screwed by that administration. Others did it for'Pro Life" and nothing happened. When will these bishops and cardinals realize that they are being USED as tokens of politcal gain.

It seems that many of the posters are not aware that Timothy Cardinal Dolan invited both President Obama and Governor Romney to the annual Al Smith dinner, the largest Catholic sponsored dinner in New York City. Both will attend and both will address the attendees. Also why do democratic candidates escape any criticism when they show up and address the congregations directly in non-Catholic Churches, primarily African American at least in New York City, while Catholic Churches are threatened by loss of tax exempt status by the IRS for any political mention? Any answers?

Mr. Mosman --Because, I think, it is right to beware of extremely powerful groups, not because any particular leaders are monomanical power-grabbers, but because the power inherent in all such large groups attracts monmanical powr-grabbers. The same is true of the military, journalism, and education, and we have to be on the watch out for them in the Catholic Church as well. (No, the legal profession doesn't have such power, though individual lawyers who run for government office sometimes end up with enormous political power.) The pastor of the New Salem Church in, say, Hell Hole, Georgia (I actually knew somebody from there!) will never be a threat to the rest of us. But a Cardinal Arichbishop of NYT might possibly be. No, I don't think that The Tim is out to rule the world. Just American Catholics in matters religious.

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