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. Sal

    What I cannot understand is how all these red southern states with their redneck poor people would vote for a republican. They would be voting against their best interest, because they are the ones most likely to need government aid of some kind.
    The poorest and the dumbest will vote republican. 

    August 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  2. The Pope

    I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I'm not a Catlicker any more.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  3. clubschadenfreude

    I did like reading about how the evangelicals think that Dolan is too Catholic for them in the article about how GOP "activists" are supporting Akin. And I wonder, is Romney too Mormon for them? Is Sheldon Adelson too much of a Jew with his money? It's rather enjoyable to watch people who think their imaginary friend is better than all the rest, but who are so afraid and so bigotted, that they are willing to ignore such things as their religion to become allies who are sure those "others" are going straight to hell.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      The evangelicals don't matter in this election. They will vote Republican anyway.

      This election is all about Catholics in OH and PA. They are the swing vote – but they are not monolithic.

      There are Catholics whose leanings are traditionally liberal.
      There are Catholics whose leanings are conservative – on abortion and marriage equality.

      This is an effort to paint the Republicans as more embracing of Catholicism than the Democrats and Obamacare and attract the 'liberal' Catholics to vote for their beleaguered church.

      It is brilliant politics.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  4. Snow

    US constitution: Church and state are meant to be separate. You should never mix them.
    GOP: We will just see about that pesky statement.

    and these are the people who bring up the constitution and what the founding fathers would do at every turn.. Can they get any more Hypocritical?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • snowboarder

      you will probably find that the RNC and DNC are private organizations and not subject to seperation.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Snow

      ah, but are they trying to get support of voters? are they trying to get more votes in this convention to get chance to run the state? then this convention is not a private event and is not subject to the separation

      August 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  5. Sal

    As a northern transplant to a southern state, I have seen first hand how all these evangelicals and holier than thou people behave and act. They are all hypocritical! 

    August 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  6. steven harnack

    They "insisted that he be there" but it's a non-partisan appearance. They must really think that we are stupid. That is just soo insulting.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Sal

    Religion and politics should never mix! Keep religion out of politics period! 

    August 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  8. Victory Gin

    I'm repulsed and sicked at the fact that I must put up with such an influx of stupidity near my home. The stench of ignorance and evangelicals is wafting over the bay and into my beautiful little corner of St. Pete...

    August 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Victory Gin,

      Love the handle!

      IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH my friend.


      August 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  9. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    ATTENTION INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS), AND UNITED STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: I DEMAND that this outfit be throroughly investigated and properly prosecuted for being a partisan, right-wing political front, and immediately be stripped of its tax exempt status. What a fraud! What a scam! Against the American people at that! They need to be taxed at the same rate as any for-profit, partisan political outfit that they have become. The notable and venerable Protestant Reformer, Dr. Martin Luther, was correct when he publicly wrote that the Pope is the "Seat of Antichrist." And now we seem them oozing out of the shadows again in our modern time, wolves in sheeps clothing, that they are.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Not surprised

      You sir are a complete moron

      August 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • clubschadenfreude

      ooooh, a rabid anti-Catholic who can't see that his imaginary friend is just like Dolan's. Can you feel the Chrsitian love?!

      August 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  10. Sal

    Well I am a catholic also but I would never vote for a mean spirited republican no matter what! 

    August 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Is being a Pro Abortion, Planned Parenthood, wholesale slaughterer of the innocent NOT mean spirited? Just asking.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Whether Weather

    I know that there are several of these out there, but I just took this "Where do you stand – Who's your guy" quiz and it's pretty good - it gives more options for answers than most of them.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  12. eric

    I knew Cardinal Dolan when he was in Milwaukee and he is an incredible guy. I think its laughable that you liberals are smearing him for simply saying the closing prayer when he consistently supports LIBERAL POLICIES.....jesus you guys don't even know when a guys on your own team. I guess you just read a headline and consider yourself educated

    August 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Scholar

      CNN research has found that Catholics have donated more to Pres Obama than to Mr Romney. Announced today on CNN in explaining where donations are coming from.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Discordia Nocturnum

      Then why is he speaking at a conservative party's rally, whom are in direct opposition of his own policies? Either you've got it screwed up or he does.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Probably because he does feel in the middle of all of this. There are those in the Middle that do not see things as one side is all or mostly bad and one side is all or mostly good.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Z666

    Only in the USlessA: No ‘Legitimate Country’ or ‘Legitimate Politician’ on this planet ever mentions an *'Invisible Bogyman in the Sky'*

    Why not just have a 3-day bible study workshop?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Sueb

      only in the US? Do you have any idea how many theocracies there are on the planet? And I disagree wholeheartedly with your characteration of God...why be insulting of other people's beliefs? I don't begrudge you your right not to believe..

      August 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • steven harnack

      @Sueb, you don't begrudge my non-belief, just as long as you get to pass laws that make me adhere to your belief system as the law of the land.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Only in the US?

      Yes – in the western world that is. How many other western democracies are as worked up about religion as the US?

      August 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Sueb

      steve–which laws would those be?

      I'mnotaGOPER–how about Israel? Great Britain is technically a theocracy; but, we weren't talking solely about western society; and I'm not a GOPer either; I am a Christian and I just do not understand the antipathy many atheists show to people of faith.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  14. huskiemom

    The GOP is full of hypocrites, alcoholics, Sunday Christians, etc. Cardinal Timothy Dolan is just going to say a closing prayer, and hopefully pray for the mortal souls of the GOP members, since they need it the most. I hope Cardinal Dolan is invited to the DNC, too, to offer prayer as well.

    I love and respect Cardinal Dolan. He is a very fair man and enjoys talking to the real people of the USA.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  15. boocat

    America's "pope?" Who the hell writes this garbage?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  16. BDeal

    I have been holding on to my Catholic faith despite everything that has happened.
    Done now.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  17. rockysfan

    Cardinal Dolan can bite me. If this man thinks the rethugs are going to help the Catholic church, he's got another think coming. Quite frankly, if the church wants to participate in politics, I think they should come to the tax table with the rest of us. Either shut up or pay up but you can't have it both ways!

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

      You and everybody else who don't like Catholics, please don't use its hospitals, social services, and schools. And then tell me where this country is.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • steven harnack

      @sortakinda, I don't ,nor do most people that I know. Hasn't caused us any hardship.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Harnack, since the sun rises and sets because of you, that's all that matters, isn't it?

      August 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  18. Sarah Dogood

    Why isn't a Mormon cleric-type doing the prayer? Too obvious? Is Romney ashamed to show off his faith? If elected, will he appear every Sunday in some sort of church (a real one, you know, Protestant-flavored)?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • TXZag

      It's obvious, isn't it? Romney's kowtowing to the Catholics because he believes it will be pivotable to his success. And I object to any reference to Dolan as "America's pope," because he is no such thing. His role as president of the USCCB gives him no real authority or power over other American bishops.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Of course not – he want's to hide his Mormonism.

      Why did he pick a Catholic running mate?
      1. To win Catholic swing votes in PA and OH.
      2. To hide Romney's Mormonism.

      Why is the Cardinal praying at the RNC?
      1. To win Catholic swing votes in PA and OH.
      2. To hide Romney's Mormonism.

      This is all scripted by the "how to repackage a center-moderate non-Protestant candidate into a red meat Republican lead the faithful to victory" committee at RNC headquarters.

      You, know ... Karl Rove's old job.

      The one that figured out how to get people to think of a tee-totaling, born-again, former drunkard and business failure despite all daddy's wealth and power as "a guy you'd like to have a beer with". These guys really do know what they are doing.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      where is this reference to "America's pope".

      I must have missed it.

      August 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  19. Nilkinggary

    And do the Cathokic bishops now expect we parishioners to troop to the polls to vote Republican? Not on your life! Dolan is a disgrace to the Church, and his acceptance of the invitation is inappropriate.

    August 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Whether Weather

      Unfortunately, we are going to have a Catholic Vice-President (already do) no matter which way it goes...

      August 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Sueb

      Like most catholics, I will vote my conscience (Obama/Biden).

      Whether weather "unfortunately we are going to have a Catholic VP"...is there a problem with that?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  20. BobZemko

    Does this pope harbor pedophiles, too?

    August 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • sortakinda

      I'm sure you think so. Why ask a question that you know that you have already answered in your own mind?

      August 23, 2012 at 1:48 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.