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. notea4me

    So the pedophiles back Romney.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • troll

      I thought the gay community was the democrats

      August 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  2. GMD

    Did any of the partisans on here read the story? He is available to speak to the Dems as well. The Church is political only in that it will advocate for public policy that is in keping with a moral world view. So be it anti – death penalty, anti-abortion or anti-unjust ryan budget , does not matter. I am so proud of my Church and how it is always willing to stand up to either party and speak TRUTH to power.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • amy

      Tax the church.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • amy

      Also, truth and belief aren't the same thing.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • ME II

      "I am so proud of my Church and how it is always willing to stand up to either party and speak TRUTH to power."

      Sorry, but after hiding the "truth" about pedophiles from the authorities for years, can you really make this claim?

      August 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  3. amy

    And how many child rapists has this "pope" enabled? As many or more than the actual Pope?

    August 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • GMD

      Anti-Catholicism, the last acceptable bigotry left.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  4. Mr. Moderate

    The US Conference on Catholic Bishops is just another political special interest group. But given the thousands of Catholics who are leaving the church because of its increasing right wing political activism (among other things), I am not sure how powerful that swing vote will actually be.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  5. Dan, TX

    GOP be careful what you wish for. He might praise the GOP for making all abortion illegal, but attack you for not strengthening assistance for the sick and the poor.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • GMD


      August 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  6. vp

    Do Evangelicals still believe that Catholicism is a cult?

    I believe Mormonism is a cult.

    like Scientology.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • notea4me

      Yes they do. They only play nice because they need the single issue catholics behind them.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • amy

      They are all cults.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  7. Ditka

    what a joke. im disgusted, but not surprised, the GOP would use a religious figure like this to end their convention, even though most of the world is muslum, jewish, hindu, and other religions.

    the pope and his people are a joke. talk about worshiping a false idol. they are people. thats it. no more.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • troll

      Um last time I look the USA wasnt most of the world it is the USA.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  8. ChristardMingle.com

    Republican Convention Agenda Just Released!
    2012 Republican National Convention Schedule –Tampa, FL.

    4:00 PM – Opening Prayers and Massages Administered by Rev. Ted Haggard
    4:05 PM – Presentation of Confederate Colors
    4:10 PM – Pledge of Allegiance to Kolob
    4:15 PM – Invocation of Paul Ryan's great bod.
    4:30 PM – George W. Bush Speech on Legacy of Peace and Prosperity, Canceled
    4:45 PM – Dick Cheney Instructional Seminar on Waterboarding, Canceled
    5:00 PM – Karl Rove Speech on Government Accountability, Canceled
    5:15 PM – Tribute to the U.S. Const.i.tution, Canceled
    5:30 PM – VP Beauty Contest and Swimsuit Compet.i.tion, featuring Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani
    5:45 PM – Tribute Film to Mitt Romney’s Houses
    6:00 PM – Free Jack Abramoff Pep Rally
    6:15 PM – Free Tom DeLay Pep Rally
    6:30 PM – Free Ted Stevens Pep Rally
    6:45 PM – Invocation of John Paul Ryan's great bod.
    7:00 PM – VP Briefing Session: The Busy Mom's Guide to Battling Islamic Terrorism
    7:15 PM – Larry Craig "Family Values" Lecture and Toe-Tapping Exhibition
    7:30 PM – Restroom Break
    7:45 PM – Invitation to "Strip Down and Get Relaxed," delivered by Mark Foley via Instant Message
    8:00 PM – Lecture on the Effectiveness of Abstinence-Only Education – Sarah Palin
    8:15 PM – Accidental Reference to "Mormons"
    8:30 PM – Tribute to a "Nation of Whiners" – Paul Ryan
    8:45 PM – Invocation of Paul Ryan's great bod.
    9:00 PM – Group Sing–Along: "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran"
    9:15 PM – Mitt Romney Endorsement of Corporate Greed
    9:30 PM – Joke Interlude: Paul Ryan Tells the One About the Lawyer and the Catfish
    9:45 PM – Rallying Call to "Drill Here, Drill Now," Followed by Unveiling of an Oil Rig on Speaker's Platform
    10:00 PM – Halliburton Seminar: Profiting from the Next 100 Years of War in the Middle East
    11:00 PM – Mitt Romney Acceptance Speech and Plea to Delegates to "drive more Cadillacs and help Detroit like I did"
    11:30 PM – Closing Invocation of Paul Ryan's great bod.
    12:00 AM – Rapture and Farewell to Earth as we know it

    August 23, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Synapse

      Brilliant !

      August 23, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • DIANA

      You forgot to mention nude bathing in the holy water.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Synapse

      By the way- what happened to the seminar about "Keeping Government Hands Off Of Medicare" ?

      August 23, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • HeavenSent

      @Christard or whoever you are

      True Christians know you are just writing your filth for the liar satan. Is it bad if my butt is stuck to the chair? You athiests at CNN have snakes in your belly.


      August 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Michael

      That was a great list! The scheduled cancellations were also hilarious!

      August 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  9. steve Morrison

    Where's a hurricane when you need one! Oh wait! My prayers have been answered!

    August 23, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • troll

      Yep surf will be up.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  10. Synapse

    "Americas Pope to..." OH- my bad... Since this was about the GOP convention, I thought this was a reference to Grover Norquist.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  11. DJR

    Are you against the Cardinal, or prayer?

    August 23, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  12. Jeff in Oregon

    Hide your little boys

    August 23, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • troll

      Why you on the prowl again

      August 23, 2012 at 11:47 am |

    A vote for Obummer is a vote again GOD HISEMLF!

    August 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Marky Merlot

      You're an id1ot

      August 24, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  14. Travis

    This is why the Catholic church is withering and dying in the U.S., as it deserves to.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  15. Sellers

    The Poop?

    August 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  16. souptwins

    So much misinformation, it's hard to know where to start. First, an LDS Bishop is not nearly as "high up" as a Catholic Bishop. Romney WAS a Bishop but is not longer one. There are currently nearly 30,000 LDS Bishops who are more like a local Pastor and they each only serve for about 5 years. Given that, there are a whole lot of former LDS Bishops in the world. The position does require about 20 hrs. of your free-time– it's unpaid so you keep your 9-5 job– which include looking out for the welfare and humanitarian needs within their stewardship. An LDS Bishop commonly helps those who have lost employment, had health problems, marital problems, problems with children. He doesn't choose whom he's over. It's divided by geographic location. For Romney in the Boston area, this would have taken in quite a large area since there are relatively few LDS people in the area. I imagine he helped people from all walks of life with all sorts of concerns.
    Second– If you define "Christian" as believing that Christ is the Savior of the world who lived and died that all mankind may be resurrected and atoned for the sins of man as the only begotten son of God, then YES LDS people are Christian. If you define a "Christian" as one who believes in the Nicene Creed which was foremost a political compromise contradicting many early teaching of Christ and His followers, then NO LDS people are not Christian. Either way, the LDS church would have no problem respectfully have anyone of any faith offering a public prayer at a public event. I believe the prayers throughout the GOP convention will include offerings from those of many different faiths with at least one "Mormon". Other LDS people have given prayers in the past, as well.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  17. ME II

    I think this is simply an attempt to highlight the GOP as the anti-ObamaCare party, hence the Catholic Bishop.
    If Dolan wishes to be used by the GOP in this way, so be it

    August 23, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  18. jefe

    He's not going to wear his pointy hat is he?

    August 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  19. mdn

    The xenophobic GOP has improved. While they still don't like blacks or other minorities. They are more accepting of the "rogue" white people like the Catholics and the Mormons. 50 years ago the WASP controlled GOP would tell you that the Catholic president was receiving orders from the Vatican. Last year, they thought of Mormonism as a cult. Now its all good. It should be renamed the "WHITE PEOPLES PARTY" instead of GOP.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Strepsi

      They have all decided that they hate gay people more than each other.

      It would be hilarious if it weren't so disgusting - Catholics (whom Evangelicals used to call Idol-worshipping pagans) and Evangelicals getting together over hatred of gay citizens. Othodox Rabbis and Islamist Imams getting together over hatred of gay citizens. Hitchens was right, religion really does poison everything.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Marky Merlot

      You nailed it, Strepsi!

      August 24, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  20. Enough

    Prayer at a government event??? Where are the atheist morons?

    August 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Huebert

      The Republican party, as well as the Democratic party, are both private organizations.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • ME II

      Most atheists are not so moronic as to think that the conventions are government events.

      August 23, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Marky Merlot

      No, most atheists are not morons, as they had the strength of free thought, to question ancient fairy tails. Morons can normally be equated with, unquestioning followers of the masses.

      August 24, 2012 at 11:13 am |
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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.