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. prophet

    its also easy to see who does Believe in God on here as those that do write wisely and respectfully, but those that do not believe write in a manner that shows their primal primitive rude ways, without God they cannot be anything else but pagans that God came to save us from. As God Says don't be as the pagans.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  2. prophet

    depends who you pray to, if you pray to chrsit etc you will get very little response if at all as thats not the Name of Our Saviour, its a blasphemy as these grrek names were made up by the greeks etc to de-judaise Our Salavtion and when a person prays to Our Saviour they get solutions. Try it it will change your life for the better, guaranteed.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  3. 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 5:53 pm |
    • bigdil

      True enough. But the Catholic Church itself has turned into a defacto arm of the Republican Party; especially since the Affordable Care Act curtailed their ability to force thier contraception beliefs down the throats of their employees. That's what's different. Dolan is not fooling anybody when he says he's not partisan. Both he and romney know why he's there.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things;

    August 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not, you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs .

      August 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Hitchens

      James Randi has exposed all you religious trolls. Provide proof that prayers work and win one million dollars from James Randi Educational foundation. Nuff said. Religous trolls are liars and frauds, just like Pope Jesus.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      William Wilberforce and others, ending the slave trade, Christian men and women united in prayer and action to end an injustice. Thanks a million Randi ! God bless

      August 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • kindless

      Not true actually. It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. Teaching kids to be agnostic helps reinforce their understanding of the new real things they can see and learn about in life. It helps them properly separate the known from the unknown without confusing them. They just need to be taught things that are unknown, like god, and things that are made up, like all religion.

      Atheists have strong minds, and don't run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, disserving society).

      Prayer is really just a time-sucker-upper. We have only begun to scratch the surface in using the mind to its maximum, and damaging it with made-up junk that politicians and salesmen dreamed up long ago is senseless, and as history has shown, is dangerous to society.

      old mama kindless

      August 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  5. prophet

    i think what we need to understand here is that whilst we say what is true about the catholic clergy they would not exist iif they had no people to support them and sadly there are many who cover their lies and protect them but then they are as guilty as the perpetrators. But people are not willing to give up their easy lives and the catholic clegy know this and this is why all we can do is pray for them as God will sort them out as He Says in The Bible, anything that God had not planted will be uprooted and disposed of.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  6. prophet

    Reinventing the square wheel is the practice of unnecessarily engineering artifacts that provide functionality already provided by existing standard artifacts (reinventing the wheel) and ending up with a worse result than the standard (a square wheel). This is an anti-pattern which occurs when the engineer is unaware or contemptuous of the standard solution or does not understand the problem or the standard solution sufficiently to avoid problems overcome by the standard. It is mostly an affliction of inexperienced engineers, or the second-system effect.

    i hope all this makes sense as what they have done is made a simple system unecessarily complex with things so as to distract people from the solution.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Brehon21

    What a disappointment to see a Cardinal provide cover for the most Unchristian gang of political looters this country has seen in nearly a century. Make sure to turn away when riding in your Republican limo so you won't have to risk seeing the many good Catholics in Tampa, the many people who will be without aid to women, infants and children that your fat cat buddies want to cut while they protect their friend's Swiss bank accounts and their defense contractor masters unnecessary contracts . Don't let your conscience hit you in the rear on the way into or out of the Convention.

    What a disappointment. But after the many years of protecting pedophiles, it is sad to say we should expect little more from the wealthy church hierarchy. Shame.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  8. leftisrightandrightiswrong

    This is why I'm now a "recovering Catholic." Thankfully I survived growing up in a church where we unknowingly had 3 pedophiles priests. Today, I think that every bishop or cardinal who has knowingly hidden the activities of these sick individuals should be in prison. The actual offenders are obviously mentally ill, but those who aided and abetted these activities by simply "moving around" the offenders are hypocritical, criminal and immoral.

    Cardinal Dolan, as well as Rev. Whomever need to tend to their own messes and stay the hell out of politics. They have no legitimate place...

    August 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  9. prophet

    there is a saying that sums up catholic clergy and all other religions that have derived from it because as we know all christian religions whatever they are came after catholic / greek orthodox.

    They have not managed to reinvent the wheel, but what they have done is ba premeditated deception, and have reinvented the square wheel.

    look up what these says ing mean on the internet and it will make sense.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  10. Bill Deacon

    The USCCB statement on formation of conscience for citizenry


    August 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  11. LizaJane

    FIrst, I'm a practicing Catholic and I vote. Is it any wonder why the Catholic church is losing members? Does Bishop Dolan really think that by sinking in the muck of politics that he will encourage people to come to Mass, to get involved? How about reprimanding the Nuns who are actually living the Word and helping their fellow man? Is that going to fill the pews? I think not. My husband and I took the time to inquire if any of the money we donate goes to support political figures or to anything involving the Council of Bishops and thankfully it does not. If it had, we would not only stop giving, but consider finding a new denomination to become affiliated with.

    Once again – shame on Bishop Dolan for choosing 15 minutes of fame over what he SHOULD be doing for the Catholic church.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • bigdil

      I went to Catholic schools for 15 years and I'm right with you. I can't think of any good reason to be a Catholic any more. If you ask an intelligent question or ask for any kind of change, you're out. I think the Vatican is going to give up on the Church in America because Americans demand accountability; something the clergy wants to part of.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  12. Hitchens

    How much you wanna bet you republican religious trolls will loose to Obama again this november! Praying to Pope Jesus aka palestinian magician will not help you. Maybe your hero Jesus should come on stage instead of Dolan so we can all have a good laugh.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  13. Hitchens

    Christianity is a mental disorder. Religion is Schizophrenia, a mental disorder that makes it hard to: Tell the difference between what is real and not real.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. junior

    Great News. Cardinal Dolan is a true hero.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Yes he is a hero for hiding all the child molesting catholic priests and brainwashing the next generation with Jesus cult.

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

      He is a hero because unlike you he has the courage to stand up for what he believes, can go toe to toe with the current administration, and make things happen.
      Your fantasies about what men do with each other has little to do with the topic.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  15. Hitchens

    Are they going to molest young boys on stage too?

    August 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • junior

      such a knee slapper. You are original, NOT!

      August 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  16. Rosslaw

    Let Cardinal Dolan move the track of the currently sought Florida bound hurricane-then I would be impressed. While Dolan's there, he could also apologize to American nuns for trying to pretend that the priests now denigrating American nuns are half the men the nuns are.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Nate

    Sounds like a certain organization doesn't need tax exempt status any more.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Doug

      What does that have to do with the closing prayer?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Nothing but people can't stand the Church and recognize that taxation is a vehicle to cripple it.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  18. Robert

    If the Left doesn't believe in God, then why are they worried if this guy prays for the GOP convention? Unless they do believe deep down inside and are worried God will swing things out of their favor.......

    August 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      if you cant see why religion and politics shouldn't be mixed, you are r3...ta...rd..3d

      August 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • LAGuy

      Why is it that people on the right assume that because people on the left have different viewpoints on the role of religion, that we don't believe in God. It is this "my way to believe is the only way to believe" that causes many of the problems. And who says anyone cares if this man offers a blessing? But don't make STUPID statements about how people on the left believe. It just showcases your ignorance.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Robert was your judeo christian god sleeping or chasing women during the 2008 election? The reason we care to even reply or reach such articles is only for a good laugh!!

      August 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • LizaJane

      So, you would have folks believe that all individuals who believe in God and practice their faith are automatically of one political persuasion? (Haven't we all seen politicians switch sides? How about those that frequently change their minds about their own convictions, depending on the audience?) Why decide your vote on just one issue such as Abortion, birth control or even the economy, isn't it important to look at all the issues – the big picture, if you will. Economy, Environment, Human Dignity, Human Rights....voting is a privilege, we should take more than just 2 minutes to decide on how to spend that vote. I agree with someone else that responded saying what good does it do to save a child from abortion if we're going to forget about them and let them be abused, killed or starved? Again, big picture – the problem is bigger than a single issue.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  19. Doug

    I'm confused. The subject line said the "Pope" is closing the convention. Then the story reads the it is Cardinal Dolan. Which is it?

    August 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's the Cardinal. CNN is either ignorant or willing to incite and inflame their story.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  20. scb

    The Catholic Church should not be playing politics, especially when the Catholic on the ticket is known for a budget that is 100% opposed to Church teachings - except for abortion. That's the rub, of course. This election is a choice between social justice and abortion. Considering the social justice teachings came out of Jesus' own mouth and the Pope ruled on the birth control and abortion policies, I know which one I'm backing. It's not as simple as picking "the Catholic" agenda this time. Not at all.

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

      Perhaps you like a socialists agenda?

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

      scb answer this please. How can there be social justice without the right to life?

      August 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Here's another good one for you scb.

      It is interesting to note that the first Pope to rule on life begining at conception (and thereby making abortion a cardinal or mortal sin... not that it wasn't a sin before, but it wasn't a major one. It wasn't a 'excommunicatable' one). was Pius IX in 1869. (It became Catholic canon law in 1917)

      Pius IX... was also the pope who stated that slavery was a necessity and was not against either natural or divine law. (in 1866)

      Things to think upon.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Bill Deacon. It's not 'right to life' – it's 'right to birth'

      Then.. you can starve in poverty with no health care.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Wrenn, So it's "Right to birth, liberty and pursuit of happiness.."? I must have learned it wrong thanks!

      August 23, 2012 at 5:27 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.