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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?

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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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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.