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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. Darwin

    9:00 AM – Opening prayers by Westboro Church
    9:15 AM – Pledge of Allegiance to Grover Norquist
    9:30 AM – Singing of the March of the Volunteers, followed by the raising of the Flag of China
    10:00 AM – Lecture by Dick Cheney on waterboarding
    11:00 AM – Morning Two minute hate featuring Muslims
    11:10 AM – Keynote speech by George W. Bush speech on economic prosperity
    12:15 PM – Lunch
    1:15 PM – Keynote speech by Michael Brown speech on emergency preparedness
    2:00 PM – Free Tom DeLay rally
    2:15 PM – Free Jerry Sandusky rally
    2:30 PM – Keynote speech by Paris Hilton
    3:00 PM – Keynote speech by Kim Kardashian
    3:30 PM – Afternoon Two Minute Hate featuring Mexicans
    3:40 PM – Keynote speech by Bernie Madoff on private investments
    4:30 PM – Keynote speech by Newt Gingrich on family values
    5:15 PM – Invited speech by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the importance of God and Faith
    6:00 PM – Dinner
    7:00 PM – Keynote speech by Koch brothers why corporations are people
    7:45 PM – Keynote speech by the CEO of BP on energy policy
    8:30 PM – Evening Two Minute Hate featuring LGBT Americans
    8:40 PM – Invited speech by King of Saudi Arabia on the role of women in a God-fearing society
    9:30 PM – Invited speech by the Association of Afghan Warlords on the importance of gun rights
    10:15 PM – 15 minute silence to Eternal Leader Ronald Reagan
    10:30 PM – Mitt Romney acceptance speech
    11:30 PM – Singing of the March of the Volunteers, followed by the lowering of the Flag of China
    12:00 AM – Closing prayers by Westboro Church

    August 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Reality

      And the Democratic Convention:

      Opening Prayer: Rev. Wright "

      August 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      there were a few more details:

      1:00 AM – Lights dimmed and incense lit for candlelight prayer to Pope Ben and Joe Smith
      2:00 AM – Hurricane Isaac rolls through Tampa, everyone gets high on incense and mistakes it for the rapture
      7:00 AM – champagne breakfast where the book of Delegation is approved to follow Revelation for the bible (LDSGOP version)

      August 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Lame response to the one I posted four hours ago about the Dems but thanks for playing

      August 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Reality

      "Wright, who was Barack Obama's former pastor, gained national attention in March 2008 when ABC News, after reviewing dozens of Wright's sermons,[27] excerpted parts which were subject to intense media scrutiny, including Wright's contention that the Attacks of September 11, 2001 were proof that "America's chickens are coming home to roost" and "...not God Bless America. God damn America."[

      Followed by Bill Clinton's opening statement: " I DID NOT HAVE S-EX WITH THAT WOMAN"

      Followed by John Edward's listing of the Democratic platform: "THAT KID IS NOT MINE"

      FOLLOWED BY Gary Condit's review of polical correctness: " AT LEAST I DID NOT KILL MY GIRL FRIEND"

      WITH THE FOLLOWING ACCEPTANCE SPEECH by BO:

      I want to again thank the Immoral Majority that now rules the land and will do so in the foreseeable future. Without the votes of the Immoral Majority i.e. the 70+ million "mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies, I would not have been elected President. I am assured that their current membership of 78 million voters will easily make me president once again. "

      Followed by the closing prayer by Bill Clinton:

      "I ALSO DID NOT HAVE SE-X WITH THOSE OTHER WOMEN !!!

      August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  2. Sidprejean

    One assumes that the good Cardinal will take the GOP to task for their support of capital punishment. Oh, I guess not.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Watch and see. You might be astonished at the integrity of this man.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  3. Nietodarwin

    Religion poisons everything. Hopefully some a hole cardinal speaking there will poison the GOP, america's Taliban

    August 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  4. cg1230

    Great, the Republican Convention is turning into a Come to Jesus Meeting. Let's keep religion and politics separate!

    August 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  5. The Dude

    With all the corruption in politics in general now, the idea of politicans hiding behind the pulpit is a sad commentary on our society. Religion is becoming the first refuge of scoundrels, and relgious origanizations should be ashamed for their support of such outright corruption and scandal.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  6. cg1230

    Will they have a confessional booth and serve communion as well?

    August 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  7. cg1230

    Will they have a confessional booth and communion as well?

    August 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  8. No Religion Allowed

    Will the sorta-pope be bringing along a variety of little boys to pass out? What a bunch of perverts

    August 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  9. Damich

    The nuns and their followers are considering breaking from the Catholic church as we speak... in this time where the Catholic church is splintering how Repubs see it wise to invite the Pope shows how when your conservative (non-changing) that you fail to see the changes afoot.... la la la la la la land is where they live.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you site a source or are you simply a rumor monger?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  10. joecop389

    It's time the Catholic Church be relieved of its tax-exempt status. Not that the politicians have the courage to do that! Any church that mixes politics with its religion should be taxed. Period. Free speech is one thing, but advocating a political position is wrong.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      So, does that include when groups such as the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts invite government officials to speak at their national conferences and meetings? The non-profits have had people speak at their groups and have spoken even in the halls of Congress.

      .... or are we only to revoke groups that we do not agree with tax-exempt status?

      August 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      That's a good point, Mark. Even though I wish all religion could be in the 'for profit' category, we know that in reality, things are far from that, both good and bad. It might be a bit more fair if the tax or tax break for religious organizations be somehow related to something like the ratio of their total income against the amount of charitable money given by the church (for which there is no return against those contributions).

      August 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • GMD

      So.... Joe cop, when the Pope condemned the Iraq war, you were out there looking to have our tax exempt status removed then too? It was a political position also. Face it, your as partisan as any one else, but when its convenient, you look the other way. The Church is not here to be convenient to you. And its not going away. You will eventually, you should consider that fact and how you want to respond to that.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  11. Lar 5

    Well the bookends will agree. No abortions at the start of the conventions and non at the end. Case closed.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      I took my amaryllis to church and prayed for it. It still died. So much for that theory.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      I keep praying that you'll stop re-posting this. No luck.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Brud

      Atheists live longer, happier and more productive lives. After death, we all go to the same place.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • GMD

      LIKE

      August 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  13. Tim

    Instant disqualification. We are electing a GOVERNMENT, not a religious leader.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Tim,

      regrettably the GOP faithful can't tell the difference.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  14. bobpitt

    Disgusting..

    August 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • bobpitt

      I was raised as a catholic, i went to cathoilic school, but when the priest asked me for money to pay for the lawyers of some pedophiles in New Brunswick, that was it for me.. I have not attended mass in 13 years.. and I will not be back..

      August 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  15. MikeMazzla

    So much for seperation of church and state lol

    August 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    Cardinal Dolan means nothing. he should be hunting down the pedophiles in the Catholic Church. As for persecuting the catholic Church, no one is forcing Catholics to use birth control. I hope they take his tax exempt status away fro showing up at the Republican convention.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Too bad you don't know any history. Try to learn what happens when the state seat of power begins to decide which religions should be taxable and which should not.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Cut the tax ememption for the Cathoilic church!

    August 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  18. Anomic Office Drone

    You gotta love Republicans. They're only 70 years late to the Let's Be Accepting of Catholics party. Give them a few more years and they might even start accepting people of color as Americans!

    August 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  19. Dan

    Mormons, Catholics and Fundamentalist Born-Agains – Birds of a feather cult together.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Of course all the crazies will have a crazy person end their crazy convention.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I wonder if he will wear the big hat or the crimson skull cap?

      Perhaps the big hat is only for church?

      August 23, 2012 at 3:56 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.