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. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    A federal judge in Texas Tom Head, just took a page out of Ted Nugent's prophecy, suggesting that the country should prepare for a civil war if President obama is re-elected. Thanks for the fear mongering tactic but your insane babble won't deter this black President. After all, we survived four hundred years of FREE slave labor, 20 plus hours in the fields, helping to build this country fromthe ground up, we been whipped, we been lynched, we been abused, brutalized, segregated and rendered second class cotizens again, again and again and and look at that... we have a black man in the White House. And furthermore, your Jim Crow threats didn't even intimidate or deter little Rosa Parks who helped to carry the hopes and dreams of a people on her frail shoulders, so why should your insane threats deter our President or any any American black, red, yellow or white who believes in what Thomas jefferson said that we are all created equal? Obama/biden/Roberts 2012!

    August 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      ...and Biden told a group of African Americans that we better vote for our masters, the Dems, or we would be back in real chains.

      Fear tactics are like a firearm... each side knows how to use them.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Eric

      Are you ok?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Blah, blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Your right, what a f ucking nutjob.



      August 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      *you're* right


      August 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  2. snowboarder

    america is a secular nation. we have no "pope"

    August 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  3. Rundvelt

    Don't most catholics find this completely patronizing? Especially since all other Christians don't see them as real christians?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      All Christians? Are you Rev Terry Jones and speaking for all of us Protestant Christians?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

      don't feed it.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • snowboarder

      when faced with a problem it is better to have one man with a stong back and a quick mind than one thousand men on their knees in prayer.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • truth be told

      Truth as wonderful as these is never trolling. The Truth that atheism is useless is a great comfort to all but the 1% of the world that suffer from the delusion that they are atheists.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:10 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 1:11 pm |
    • truth be told

      strong back and quick mind is useless without direction. Prayer provides Gods direction. The strong back will not long endure nor will the mind but God is eternal.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • snowboarder

      be told – if you require religion for direction, you are a pathetic sheep, destined to be fleeced.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  5. filthburger

    Is this going to happen at a strip club?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • troll

      why is your mom working tonight.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Since a Democrat had an encounter with a 17 year old boy at a rest stop ... I guess the Dems will be moving their convention to the New Jersey Turnpike.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  6. Midwesterner from Iowa

    Who gives a rats a$$ ??

    August 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • .

      Rats... usually.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  7. higgs boson

    where do they get those hats ?...do they not have mirrors ?

    August 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  8. Steve

    Will Thomas S. Monson give the opening prayer?

    August 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Whether Weather

      Thomas S. Monsoon and hurricane Isaac will vie for blowhard of the week.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  9. seanarussell

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

    And yet they haven't threatened expulsion for anybody who votes for them, have they?

    It's official: The catholic church is an arm of the republican party. May they rise together and may they Fall together.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  10. Rocky

    "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.” YEAH RIGHT!! that's why I'm voting Democratic this time around and I'm an Independent.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  11. Oscar Pitchfork

    I hear they're all hurrying to Tampa because there's some guy named Isaac down there who really knows how to blow...

    August 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  12. reasonablebe

    this man puts the church and religious belief above everything– that's his job. he puts it above children, health, women, science, law, country, world, everything... and he represents the GOP

    August 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    My favourite irony is this year's convention theme "We Built It!" given that the venue was funded largely by the government and not private interests.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • WN

      Interesting observation. If they get their tax policies implemented, they certainly wont be able to build in the future either. Blame the voter for this short-sighted policy debate. I do not think for a moment that any of these pols believe they can build a sustainable economy based on no tax revenue.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • reasonablebe

      and of course, the GOP and its followers that are buying and selling this line just conveniently ignore that it wasn't the business itseld Obama was referring to, it was all the things that made it possible for you to build and have it– like infrastructure (roads, utilities, schools, public necessities and amenities) which the buisness person did not build... so his statement was true, but truth apparently doesn't affect Karl Rove or the Koch Bros., only $$$ does.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yes, everyday I look out my window and across the Hudson River, I see how our tax dollars are righteously being spent on the Freedom Tower as it continues to rise into the heavens, defining what it is to be a great American democracy. At the same time I am forever reminded how the Twin Towers we the American people built were destroyed on 9/11 by GWB and the GOP. Now I find it disturbing that these incompetent unpatriotic un-American socialists want another crack at the White House to implement their reckless policies once again to knock the Freedom Tower down. I say hell no to Romney and Ryan.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • troll

      thanks for noticing my wheel when you left for the welfare. Free hand outs complements of the communist democrats

      August 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • captain america

      The 'we built it' was not built in canada, why don't you go peddle your f'n papers and let the adults deal with their own nation. There's your sign

      August 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Huebert

      Hurrah, Captain hard on for Canadians is back.

      August 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @captain america

      " The 'we built it' was not built in canada, why don't you go peddle your f'n papers and let the adults deal with their own nation. There's your sign "

      That made absolutely no sense to @Doc V's true posting.


      August 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Gezellig2

      Well keep in mind that that does not mean that Romney was involved. Since we are not up to seeing his tax returns, we have no idea if he contributed or not.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Hey Cap'n Sayin Atheism Isn't an Angry Pervert Rangerfield! Haven't see you in a while.
      How's the trolling these days?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • captain america

      Take a US dollar and get some mouthwash to clear the taste of the foreign butt you've been kissing out of your mouth before you speak. There's your sign

      August 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Use a Canadian dollar – the Loonie is worth more.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  14. c

    They LDS also worship as Prophet a guy who got the Morman good book by looking through a peep stone (like the ones witches use to see stuff) in Palmyra, New York. They also believe Jesus is coming back to the New Jerusalem in Independence Missouri. I'm all for freedom of religion, but does it bother anybody but me that a potential President of the United States of America is stupid enough to believe this crap. Shouldn't somebody be asking Romney about this stuff.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • alien

      Stupid is as stupid does

      August 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  15. PJ

    That figures they would get a character like this who has protected molesters for decades to close their convention.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • alien

      Why not a women priest?

      August 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  16. alpg49

    I suggest he quote Matthew 22:21 and 4:8,9, John 18:36, and Luke 4:5-8. All instruct Christians to separate church and state. The quotation from Luke is quite striking because it says political power is Satan's to give out.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  17. Paul

    did that mitre belong to Paul VI? I remember Paul VI wearing that one. I wonder if it was given to him. In reply to Reallity I do believe in God I am just not Cardinal Dolan's kind of Catholic I love going to mass and love the mass. I pray for change within. I don't think prayers will be answered.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  18. SWM seeking WMD for mutual support

    What we need here is a WMD to communicate a "final prayer" onto these traitors who continuously hate and damage our country. And killing any child-molester is okay by me anyway. WMDs are just efficiency in action. Where is this convention being held anyway?
    Any WMDs out there need to meet up at this place. Bring rubbers. Those people have tons of STDs.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. Reality

    My suggestion for the closing prayer:

    Only for new members of this blog:

    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

    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.

    (References used are available upon request.)

    August 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • ....


      August 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Marky Merlot

      Nicely put. I put Jesus as more of a latter day (no pun intended), revolutionary, so advanced in his anti-establishment thinking, that he was prepared to lead a non-violent struggle, against the occupying forces (Romans) and any body of corrupt officials (e.g., money lenders), By today's standard, he would have been compared to Ghandi.
      That's the Christ that probably existed, but as you said, the rest was mostly made up, by semi-literate scribes (by today's standards), to embelish his admitedly, impresive credentials

      August 24, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  20. craig

    The cardinal should start praying right now that the hurricane blows over Tampa.

    August 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bob

      I've been on the fence with this election but the vile hatred and foulness coming from Liberals just disgusts me. The sad thing is that they must believe they are "helping" the left wing cause by advocating violence against republicans and just vomiting vindictive. I'm sick of this incivility ,,,,

      August 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
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About this blog

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.