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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. Sueb

    As a Catholic, myself, I still have to wonder how the Catholic church keeps it tax-free status. The church is getting to be more of a political tool than a religious organization.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Stopthemadness

      Kind of like the monarchies of england, italy, and france.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • levi

      We oppose abortions but molesting little boys is O.K.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota state lawmaker Democrat Kerry Gauthie involved in a rest-stop se'xual encounter with a 17-year-old boy says he won't run for re-election after all.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • snowboarder

      odd the things that get filtered.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  2. bill.x

    The catholic establishment has transformed to a wing of the Republican Party. For those reasons, we have no young men wanting to become preist, and people going to church out of habit. We all start conversations now by saying "I'm catholic, but I don't .....". We all seem to be apologising for being spritually associated with the American Republican Church establisment. Somewhere there is an answer, but Dolan is not it, that much I know.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  3. Curt

    UNBORN? You don't eat a chicken when you eat an egg. Its an egg. It's a chicken when the egg hatches (BORN). Wake up, you need to be dragged into the 21 century.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • jefe

      you don't eat fertilized chicken eggs, otherwise they have a red bloody spot in them, and nobody wants to eat that. not the same, sorry, the yolk's on you

      August 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  4. Stopthemadness

    Separation of church and state my eye.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Is he saying that we all have to be Catholic. Basically making a State church?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Stopthemadness

      No but you can bet tax payer money paid for a portion of this. and that in itself is a violation of your rights as a citizen.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      So you are basing your view of "you wanna bet". The thing still to ask are they saying that they are creating a national church that we all are required to follow? Are they telling the Catholic Church how to run their churches? If they are not, then it can be interpreted as not being in violation of Church and state.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Brian

    The Republicans are using Dolan for political purposes only. The Democrats should definitely invite Dolan to pray at their convention also. He can pray for the middle class and the por who will be hurt by Ryan's budget. He can pray for all the boys who were abused by his priests. He can remind the national audience of the words and actions of Jesus Christ to help the poor, the sick, etc. Jesus never said anything about contraception, abortion.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Sueb

      Given the state of the church hierarchy, I doubt Dolan would consent to take part in the democratic convention; but, what about the church's stance on Ryan's budget? They condemned it.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  6. anagram_kid

    Every time I see this man I have to ask this question… Does the Catholic Church cover the cost of the medication he must take for being so morbidly obese? And if so, aren’t they condoning a sinful lifestyle of sloth and gluttony?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Ginger Hammond

      They won't support contraception but they are okay with insurance policies covering Viagra. Just another case of the Catholic double standard. They are above the law – that has been demonstrated often by their protection of pedophiles. If a priest walked into a bank and starting shooting people, the police would be called. But if he abused children for years, just transfer him – give him a whole new group of children to torture.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. GOPLoser

    What ever happened to separation of church and state?

    Dolan is such an attention wh*re. And this is coming from a New York Catholic.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Mark

    Guess the Bishop has not heard of the concept of the separation of church and state. Certainly, the Republican Party does not believe in such a concept; or at least they only believe in it when it serves their purposes. Perhaps the Bishop's prayer will ask for Unity within the United States of America which during the last 12 years has become near completely polarized!

    August 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Are you open to the multiple views of the Separation of Church and State or only on the interpretation that you feel is correct? Not saying that you have to agree but to accept that others do not interpret the law the same as you?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • ME II

      As other's have already pointed out, political conventions are not government events, there is nothing wrong with prayer.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • ME II

      sorry, "others"

      August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. Jill

    When both of the George Bush elections, we had the Catholic priests standing up at end of the Mass telling us how to vote for Bush – that we had to. Now we have the Conference of Catholic Bishops telling us how to vote. We are 60's, midwestern State, Catholic, and no one gets to tell us who to vote for. No priest, no bishop – never! Romney will not get our vote – it is too precious to throw away.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • troll

      Its good to know it wont go to the communist then

      August 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  10. Kel

    This may come as a huge shock to the Church but...the majority of praticising Catholics already use some form of birth control. Sorry to let the cat out of the bag!

    August 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      my catholic wife originally wouldn't use birth control, but expedience eventually trumped religion.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  11. Pan3

    TAX THE CHURCH!

    August 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Tax all Non-Profits that we do not agree with !!

      August 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  12. Bill

    Is God sending a message to the GOP convention with the hurricane?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Bill

      God, I hope so !

      Peace...

      August 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • snowboarder

      being an atheist, i will have to side with pure random chance. a hurricane during the heart of hurricane season is hardly noteworthy.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Hope so, we have been praying for rain.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Whether Weather

      WDinDallas
      "Hope so, we have been praying for rain."

      You will have rain... one day or another... and there will be NO correlation with the number or intensity of anyone's prayers.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • ME II

      No, but someone should be getting the message about planning a convention in Tampa during hurricane season.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • cminca

      Wonder which will produce more hot air? Dolan or Isaac?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  13. therealpeace2all

    Reblogged this on peace2alldotme.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  14. Murf

    This crosses a line and Dolan should not do it.

    This is one more reason why catholics are leaving the church.

    Dolan is just another stooge for the right wing.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Jill

      Why don't they close with a prayer from one of the Morman Church Bishops?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Because

      Just shows that the Catholic Church is more about helping big business than helping people. The same as attacking the nuns for their charity works.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  15. keeth

    The Church of Child Molesters is a cancer on this world.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Eric

      How can you say such an uneducated thing I wonder if a study was done what group of people would be the highest group of se x offenders per capita.

      I am willing to bet it is not the church. but you can believe what you want.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • GMD

      Thats amazingly ignorant Keith. Why dont you check into the thousands and thousands of Catholic charities that provide healthcare and education to some of the most marginalized and poor throughout the world. The Catholic church provides billions of dollars of aid every year, raised primarily by the free offering of Catholics whithin the church. Check out CRS, or the CCHD for just 2 of the thousands of organizations that provide for millions.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      ...wait, didn't a Democrat Politician just confess to a relationship with a 17 year old boy at a rest stop?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  16. CMINCA

    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,"

    Another lie from the catholics......

    August 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Jill

      If Dolan doesn't want to appear partisan, then he should be there at all.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Kel

      The DNC should invite him & see if he's suddenly unavailable.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Whether Weather

      Jill,

      True... either that or he has to go to the Demo convention too (for his boy Biden, y'know).

      August 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  17. ChristopherM

    Great, get the guy who was busted for paying child abusing priests to leave rather than turning them over for prosecution. In fact, get the guy who hid millions of dollars in assets to keep from having to pay victims of priests in Milwaukee. After all, the GOP only wants to protect children if they're still in utero.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Ginger Hammond

      Could not have said it better Christopher..They won't support contraception but they are okay with insurance policies covering Viagra. Just another case of the Catholic double standard. They are above the law – that has been demonstrated often by their protection of pedophiles. If a priest walked into a bank and starting shooting people, the police would be called. But if he abused children for years, just transfer him – give him a whole new group of children to torture.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Wow. Just Wow

    Amazing. The republican war on America continues. Why, why, why do they hate us so?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Susie

      The war is against lame socialist policies that weaken America. Not against you, unless of course you espouse these foolish policies.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  19. kim p.

    "Liar, liar, pants on fire"!

    August 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  20. bruce

    So the catholics care more about stopping abortion (which Jesus never mentioned) but oppose welfare. Which Jesus repeatedly said to give to those that have nothing. How is no one pointing this out? The Catholic Church is truly hypocritical and evil.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Jesus said "give to the poor", not "give to the lazy". St. Paul said "if a man does not work, then he should not eat."

      August 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • John

      It's actually one of the ten comandments. "Thou shall not kill".
      Pretty simple to follow but somehow the world has come to believe that it's okay to murder the innocent unborn.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:26 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.