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August 23rd, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Cardinal Dolan to offer closing prayer at Republican Convention

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s highest-profile Catholic official, will deliver the closing prayer at next week’s Republican convention, in another sign of how important the Catholic vote is expected to be this year.

The Archdiocese of New York confirmed Dolan’s role on Wednesday night, after it was reported by The Associated Press. News of Dolan's role initially came in an interview of presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney by EWTN, a Catholic television network, which is scheduled to air Thursday night.

Dolan is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the church’s U.S. arm, and has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s rule requiring insurance companies to grant employees no-cost contraception coverage.

The Catholic Church opposes contraception and wants Catholic hospitals, colleges and other institutions to be exempt from the law.

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The bishops have also been critical of the Republican budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate.

A spokesman for Dolan said convention protocol calls for the local bishop to deliver such a prayer, meaning the slot would have normally gone to a Florida bishop, but that the Republican convention’s organizers insisted on Dolan’s participation.

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“The Cardinal made it clear to the RNC (and to the Democratic National Committee as well) that he was only there to offer a prayer, not to engage in any partisan politics,” the spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, said in an e-mail, “and that he would be willing to accept a similar invitation from the DNC if they were to invite him to pray at their Convention as well.”

Catholics are considered the quintessential swing vote, and no presidential candidate has won the White House without winning that bloc since at least the early 1990s.

Millions of middle-of-the-road Catholic voters populate key swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Politics

soundoff (696 Responses)
  1. Hunchback

    I wish Dolan was the next Pope! HE is an amazing leader and a voice for reason in the face of an atheistic society. Plus he is very likable. Concerning taxes, just so everyone is aware, employees of the Church pay taxes. In fact, the priest are considered self-employed and have to pay double. The Church doesn't pay a federal tax on it's collection which is then uses to operate as well as run food shelters, pay bills for those without jobs (which my church does a lot of) and support missions. If you actually look into the finances of any church, you'll notice that these Churches are operating on a strict budget. To tax them would be punitive at best and would hurt the poor.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • sam

      LOL 'atheistic society'. I wish.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Not true Hunchback.

      Clergy can opt out of self employment tax. Many do. IRS form 4361. Done within 2 years of start of ministry, and it's non revocable.

      So, no. not 'all ' clergy are subject to this 'double tax' - which is self employment tax. – on their income. excluding housing allowance.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  2. Marc

    Will he address the rampant pedolphilia in the Catholic Church and subesquent cover up during his talk? Just wondering.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Don't be ridiculous.

      It will be nothing but "God bless us one and all in these trying time and may our heavenly father lead our nation through the election blah blah blah."

      August 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      How rampant is it? Do you have the stats?

      August 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  3. Marc

    WONDER IF HE'S GOING TO LIGHT THE SMOKING PURSE UP.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  4. Marc

    FUNNY HOW THE VATICAN (THE BIRTHPLACE OF FICTION) WANTS TO SHUT THE "NUNS ON THE BUS" UP BECAUSE THEY SHOUOLDN'T BE INVOLVING THEMSELVES IN POLITICS BUT IT'S OKAY FOR DOLAN TO GIE THE CLOSING REMARKS AT THE CONVENTION.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Marc,

      don't worry. The busload of social activist nuns will be sent to the DNC.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jim Holmes

      Did you read the story??

      August 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  5. Reality

    And the opening prayer for both conventions in 2016 will no doubt be:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (References used are available upon request.)

    August 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  6. al

    As a Catholic I totlly disagree with Cardinal Nolan, This is another trick of the RNC to confuse the Aerican people (that is very easy) We Catholic side with the poor,the lesser of our country..NO THIS FELTY RICH REPUBLICAN,WHOM CARE LESS ABOUT ANYBODY BUT THEMSELF,,,,

    August 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      As a Catholic, I think anytime our Bishop has the opportunity to spread the Gospel, he should. Would that the Democrats respected him with an invitation

      August 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  7. Jim Holmes

    i guess you guys aren't old enough to remember Christian writer, Donald Miller leading the prayer at the 2008 DNC or when Obama asked Christian evangelist Rick Warren to say a prayer at his inauguration. Neither of those were outspoken supporters of Obama or the democratic party.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Dolan is so ticked off at the Obama administration there are homilies from the pulpit all over America against HHS directives and the administration in general.

      Romney will get well over 50% of the Catholic vote. We start Voter Registration drives next week, yes at a parish near you!

      August 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  8. AgrippaMT

    The utter depravity of the Republican party is readily apparent in the decision to invite the corrupt Cardinal Dolan to do the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention next week. Popery is resurgent in America, which is very sad.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes the resurgence of Christian values is so sad given the dignity and stature of our society today

      August 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Agrippa

      It's Papacy, popery are those dead flowers that your wife keeps in the bathroom.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Huebert,

      the old school English Protestants of the 18th and 19th centuries did indeed call Roman Catholicism "popery". It was a crime in England (and most of the colonies).

      August 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Huebert

      @GOP

      I stand corrected.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      peu pourri is French

      August 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Huebert

      That was the joke Bill.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  9. Robert

    If they need a bishop, use a Mormon – Bishop Mitt Romney.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  10. Geeeez

    The GOP booked the American-Vatican-molester-in-chief himself? I'm so impressed with the GOP's choices of engaging representatives of foreign nations to bless their coven.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Dude

      Ya got that right. Seems the sheep among us have always needed a shepherd, no matter how evil.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Do you have any evidence that Dolan is a pedophile or not am American citizen?...........

      ....................... I didn't think so

      August 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      The Vatican is a sovereign nation, I wonder, Do cardinals and bishops have duel citizenship with the Vatican and their home nation?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      I can show you evidence of him paying pedo...phi...le priests to leave the ministry. Just as bad if not worse, paying molesters money just so they wont tarnish their image and keep them from making more money. SAD

      August 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      There are about 500 citizens of the Vatican. They all reside there. Priests, Bishops and other religious are citizens of the country of their birth or naturalized into the country where they reside according to that nation's laws

      August 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  11. nolapearl

    TAX ALL RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS that speak out about politics or have anything to do with politics.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      ...and other groups that do the same. Non-profits have been vocal and have had government officials speak at their events and gatherings. Should we apply the same to those groups as well or just ones that we do not like?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Obviously an Obama supporter. We don't need no stinkin' Constiitution!

      August 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Obviously an Obama supporter. We don't need no stinkin' Constiitution!"

      Please show me where in the consti..tution does it say churches are exempt from tax? Show me where it says in the consti..tution that its a right....you cannot.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Non-profits have been vocal and have had government officials speak at their events and gatherings. Should we apply the same to those groups as well or just ones that we do not like?"

      Yeah we are talking about non-profits here....the church is clearly not a "non-profit" organization.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  12. Thomas

    How many little boys had to be molested for this to happen? Answer – we'll never know because they keep that secret. The GOP doesn't care anyway – little boys were at least born and now they are free to be molested – so sayeth the GOP Gods.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      ...and the politician who just was found to be having a se'xual relationship with a 17 year old boy... Rep. Kerry Gauthier, what party is he from?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "...and the politician who just was found to be having a se'xual relationship with a 17 year old boy... Rep. Kerry Gauthier, what party is he from?"

      Congrats mark you found one....you want me to list every priest that has been accused to ra...ping little kids?

      August 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  13. Kurt

    Tax them. They must be be expecting a lot of kids there.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Why, is Democrat Rep. Kerry Gauthier crossing the party lines? 🙂

      August 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  14. snowboarder

    american pope. that's funny.

    this secular nation does not have a national religious leader.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Where is this reference to "American pope" people keep talking about?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Why when there is a news story in the African American community, news agencies such as CNN and FoxNews bring forth Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to speak for us.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the reference is in the headline.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @snowboarder,

      thanks but the headlines says: Cardinal Dolan to offer closing prayer at Republican Convention

      I'm missing something.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ah, I found it – the "Election Center" link on the front page: "America's 'pope' to close convention"

      Yes, that is really stupid.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It is factually incorrect. He is a Cardinal, not a Pope / Holy Father etc.

      It is misleading – there is no spiritual leader of "America".

      Chalk up a 'fail' for CNN there.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Geeeez

      Pope Schmope. This isl CNN media BS.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Ram

      America's 'pope' to close convention – that's the heding of the story on CNN homepage. @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV - can u read??

      August 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      GOP can. It seems as if CNN's editors cannot however. A Cardinal is not the Pope. Nicely inflammatory though.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Ram,

      can you spell?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Patrick Lewis

    So, since the church has decided to get into partisan politics, can we tax them now?

    August 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      They should not have had tax exempt status in the first place. They should all earn their 501(c)(3) status like everyone else has to.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The power to tax is the power to destroy. That's why religions are exempt. We do not want to give they state the power to destroy religion which has historically been the last bastion against the state exercising absolute power. It might seem suitable to you in this day and age to eliminate religion but your perspective is limited. Pray that the Church is not dissolved so that nothing hinders despots from seizing power against the U.S. Constiitution and freedom of expression

      August 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      Oh yea the Catholic church and these multi million dollar megachurches popping up like weeds would just be completely destroyed being taxed like the businesses they are. Bill your statement is just fucking moronic. I guess it makes you feel good to build a straw-man.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      The church IS the despot trying to seize power and dissolve freedom of expression.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • snowboarder

      bill – that is pure fantasy. religion has been the greatest threat to expression and liberty.

      only the community of man can preserve the rights of man.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Geeeez

      Bill Deacon, the State was created to protect the people from the Imperial Vatican

      August 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Geeeez

      YES!!!!!

      August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • GMD

      Snow boarder – perhaps you should read about the Soviet "community of man " and then see if your assertion is still valid. Crap I just wrote that I am always defending the libs from
      socialism charges on FB but that comment is really stupid.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK I'll bite. Post the instance of a state power interceding on peoples behalf against the Church.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill D.

      really, you'll actually go there?

      How about criminal prosecution of child-molesting clergymen?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "The power to tax is the power to destroy. That's why religions are exempt."

      Not a good enough reason when the chruch has tried to destroy so much in this country.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Not even a good try GOP. Criminal prosecution of individuals within the church hardly ranks on the same level as say the Cristero civil war in Mexico.

      August 24, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  16. Captain Obvious

    The whole point of separating church frame state was because the ruling class has historically used religion to manipulate the uneducated. We knew this over 200 years ago. It's sad to see that we've regressed so far.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • nostrildamus

      Um. Yeah. I thought it had to do with being safe in your beliefs and not needing to worry about persecution for those beliefs regardless of how far out there they were.

      Guess I was wrong. If it's "Stupid" then it's not protected religion, right?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Geeeez

      Beliefs are not facts.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      No, the whole point is because when the Church and the state are in dynamic tension, neither can monopolize the nation. WE desire neither a theocracy nor a state that is void of religious freedom. Efforts to eradicate the Church imply granting more power to the state. Is that what you really want? Think hard.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  17. CWBinCT

    That's it. I'm done. I went to catholic school in NY. The nuns taught inclusion and evolution. Care for those less fortunate. Not this republican BS. I'm very saddened by this.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Anne

    so much for separation of church and state.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      What does that phrase mean to you Anne? Because to me it does not mean that religion be excluded from private events. Neither does it mean that public figures should be bereft of religious persuasion.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  19. Lonewolf

    Nolan is no American Pope! He is nothing but a religious leader who is acting as a mouth piece for the the Republican Party. This is why we have separation of church and state. Once again we have the right hypocritics trying to use a Catholic Cardinal to them publicly. As a Catholic I am appalled by the Cardinal Nolan mixing in politics in order to get some Catholics to vote Republican. Church officials like Nolan are the reason for the decline of members in the Catholic Church. I am sure the religious right is flipping over backwards on this one. After all the religious right and the GOP are not real likers of Catholics.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      How do you feel about Obama having dinner with the Cardinal last week? How do you feel about the Cardinal's offer to pray with the Democratic convention?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      The Cardinal may have dinner with whosoever he chooses. The President or the Republican candidate. There's no issue there.

      Do you argue that his presence at the RNC is a ploy by the RNC to win Catholic swing votes in PA and OH. His emminence is being co-opted here.

      Regarding his offer to speak at the DNC: We can only assume it is genuine. If he was not invited, and with only a couple of weeks to go, might not expect to be invited, the possibliity exists that this offer is at least moot, if not disingenuous, but that is unknowable.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      To be clearer, I meant to say:

      "Do you argue that his presence at the RNC is not a ploy by the RNC to win Catholic swing votes in PA and OH?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Actually, in one way its a refreshing change from televangelicals like Billy Graham (I guess he's sick) and Jerry Falwell.

      The Evangelical Protestant fundies must be wetting their pants in apostatic discomfiture. A benediction from someone eligible to be elected Pope at a Republican event – they won't know whether to kneel, bow their heads, sing hallelujah or speak in tongues.

      A delicious irony indeed.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I suppose it is very plausible that the Cardinal sees the interest of the Church resonating with the Republican platform. Skeptical minds might see this as manipulative. Perhaps the Dems are just upset they didn't think of it first but they only have themselves to blame by alienating Christians by advancing policy's which oppose Catholic teaching. My hope is that the Cardinal elevates the discourse above the commonalities he finds with Republicans and challenges them to strengthen their commitments in areas where the Church indicates further advancement is needed in American government such as the death penalty.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill,

      a discussion on capital punishment would be interesting indeed.

      I'm suspecting any homily will be bland and eccvmenical, but I would be impressed if the Cardinal chose to challenge the GOP to really consider the ethical contradictions in their platform.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So would I. I think he rightly has issues with both political parties which makes me proud to be a Catholic.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  20. Norm

    “The Cardinal made it clear to the RNC (and to the Democratic National Committee as well) that he was only there to offer a prayer, not to engage in any partisan politics,” the spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, said in an e-mail, “and that he would be willing to accept a similar invitation from the DNC if they were to invite him to pray at their Convention as well.”

    THIS STATEMENT IS HILARIOUS

    August 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • nostrildamus

      Why is it hilarious? I'm guessing you've never lived in the North East or you'd understand how many union members are Catholic. And then there's the matter of that growing Latino vote to consider.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why because the Godless Democrats would never allow a prayer in the midst of their pagan sacrifice?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill Deacon,

      according to Alan of this parish (on p7) at the 2008 DNC there was an event with the following speakers:

      Rabbi Tsvi Weinreb, executive vice president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
      Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding prelate of the Church of God in Christ
      Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America
      Roman Catholic nun Helen Prejean, who was featured in the award-winning movie Dead Man Walking

      I do not know if they are planning a similar event in 2012.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Bill

      Actually their are plenty of prayers during the sacrifice. What we really don't want is to have to see Dolan's pale, shrived, priest pr!ck. It would really put a damper on the blood or.gy.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Geeeez

      The best parties have magicians performing for the guests!

      August 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.