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

    Are you a conservative republican teabagger who dislikes President Obama?

    Well, here's some food for thought...

    google http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/.../the_incomplete_greatness_of_ba035754.php

    August 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  2. starbuck

    Why do they want him there? So he can forgive away all their sins. Clean slate isn't that how they do it. Then they can go back to screwing, raping and hurting others the second after he forgives them.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Well, since a Democrat just dropped out of a race because he was having a se'xual relationship with a 17 year old boy, I guess in your reasoning Obama and Biden better appeal for the Cardinal to come to the Dem Convention.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • John

      So let me get this straight. The Catholic Bishops on the one hand have sent out a press release saying that Paul Ryan's proposed budget is immoral, but it is okay for Dolan to say a prayer at convention that will elevate Ryan (and Romney)? To me the political statement is being made by Dolan, and I agree with other comments that the Church should either stay out of politics or lose its tax exempt status.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • curiosity

      Isn't the Vatican a sovereign state? Isn't the Pope the head of the Vatican? Doesn't Dolan represent the Pope?
      Does Dolan have to register as the agent of a foreign government? Is the representative of a foreign government providing the closing prayer for the RNC? (let's hope it really is a 'closing')

      August 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Dolan is an American citizen. Still not sure about Obama

      August 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  3. Daniel in Denver

    I love this picture because if Jesus stood for anything, it was men wearing pretty dresses and big, funny hats. Oh, and of course he was really big on the whole ring kissing thing.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  4. Louis

    I wonder how many little boys Romney has to provide for him to give up his values so he endorses a CULT member???

    August 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  5. Jonnyboy

    They'll invite him to celebrate with them at Mons Venus afterwards, to which he will reply, I would prefer Boys Penus

    August 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  6. OregonTom

    What ever happened to the "Separation of church and state"?

    August 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      First, these are private events, not Government ones. And second, they are not establishing the Catholic Church as a state Religion or declaring that the state should mandate Catholic doctrine.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  7. Lisa

    What? No MORMON bishop. Of course, they're pretty canny and aren't going to make any waves until their White Horse is in the White House - but it's interesting that they're not being represented anywhere - though maybe Mitt still qualifies as a Mormon bishop.

    Google the "White Horse Prophecy" and Mitt Romney and Salon - to read a very interesting in-depth article about the prophecy that they publicly disavow. Lying's ok for Mitt as long as it gets you something you want - you know - pension funds from companies you plan to raid, the Presidency, tax breaks in Utah on your residence, which you change retroactively when you run for governor in Massachussetts, etc. etc.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  8. pat

    The cardinal could tell his parishiners not to use birth control and they will still do whatever they want so don't expect Dolan to change how any Catholic will vote.

    August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I don't think his purpose is to change any one's vote. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the invocation. What a great moment for people to witness the American head of the Catholic Church.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  9. ber6965

    RC church needs to sit down and Shut Up or Start Paying Taxes

    August 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • David K.

      I assume you feel the same about liberal groups like Planned Parenthood?

      Also theres that whole pesky first ammendment and freedom of religion thing.

      P.S. I vote Democrat, so don't try and lump this in as a "typical conservative response".

      August 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  10. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  11. LouAZ

    Is he going to get a complete new dress, shoes, and hat ? The Chief P oop does for every appearance. Will little boys assist him ?

    August 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  12. Alan

    I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    None of the people listed at the 2008 DNC were local and probably none offered to present the same speech to the 2008 RNC. If anything, it's a sign that Cardinal Dolan does speak for the Church and has issues with both parties.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  13. FROST

    if i offended anyone good . that means i did something right.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It could just mean that you're offensive

      August 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  14. G Jac

    We need to be very careful who prays to us. What happen to Separation between Church & State? I'm not sure why people can't be nice to others. How can you hate a person or group of people that you never met or no nothing about? Well it's like this: People will dislike anyone they fear may take something from them. So, what that means is, if someone feels I may take a job they feel belong to them the behavior rears it's ugly head. Remember, the piece of pie is hot.....But there is plenty to share AND if we would all just understand that we would be a GREAT Nation. Love a lot, laugh a lot and dance even if you don't feel like it.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  15. Much Ado About Nothing

    Reading these comments you'd think no one took time to read the article. The Cardinal let them know, point blank, this isn't a political endorsement and he would do the same thing if asked by the DNC. As the article mentioned, the Catholic Church proper has problems with platforms on both sides. It's not a speech, it's a prayer. Get over it.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      If a person already has an established hatred for the GOP or the Catholic church then no matter what the Cardinal or Republicans say they will not believe them. Even if it is in the positive.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • G Jac

      The Pope prays to ALL he should not take a stance. He is to deliver GOD's Word and that's it and that's ALL. I do not trust anything the Pope has to say anyway because he might go back have a drink of Wine (Oh I'm sorry communion) and touch the boys. Or maybe have the boys with his dinner wine. When he takes off all those Robes and head gear he's still a person that puts his pants on one leg at a time just like we all do.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • TXZag

      IF Dolan wanted to avoid the appearance of endorcing the GOP then he should have respectfully declined the invitation and left it to the local bishop, as is customary. This is especially true since he (Dolan) has arleady been criticized for not speaking out against his buddy's (Ryan) budget proposal and avoiding discussions on other social justice issues. Accepting the invitation was bad judgment, given his already-publicized affection for things GOP and his lawsuits agains the Obama administration.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  16. sativa619

    Oh, hooray, more frackin' religion in politics... we have failed.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  17. different chris

    Wait, so the GOP convention closer accualy is dolan?

    August 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      If nothing else, prayer certainly makes people happier. I've noticed that people without faith seem to be the most angry, pessimistic, and negative people on these message boards. Lack of spirituality clearly hurts people.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Amen. God bless

      August 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      Of course, that's all I want to see – I like to make facts suit my worldview. It makes me feel so superior.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Darkins

      Funny, you've noticed that people without faith are pessimistic and angry? I've noticed religious people on this board are stupid. See how that works?

      August 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism

      August 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @stupid followed

      Yes continue to troll and waste your time. This is probably the highlight of your day, when you get to self-delude yourself into thinking that you might just be making an atheist angry with your moronic trolling. I wish I could see where your stupid ass is in 10 years.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      is found in hawaii guest.
      Ten years? Here doing the Lords work or in Glory. Dare to join us.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:25 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 3:29 pm |
  19. Chris

    Makes me sick that these people consider themselves conservatives. Keep religion out of politics...money and religion are the reason this country is in such bad shape.

    August 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      You've got it backwards: money and religion are the foundation of this country. (We are a capitalist society, remember.) You better abandon your sinking ship of liberal failure and get with the program. You'll be happier for it.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • HollywoodPR

      Just my revisionist worldview. I picked up a history book once and it said something about the founding fathers not being Christian, but that can't be true.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  20. Alan

    Democratic National Convention Interfaith Gathering was held at "2:00 pm MT, at the Wells Fargo Theater, inside the Colorado Convention Center." It was the first time the DNC has hosted such an event and was "the first official event for the 2008 Convention [...] The event [was] free and open to the public, but tickets [were] required."[1]

    The event was led by:[1]

    Rabbi Tsvi Weinreb, executive vice president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
    Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding prelate of the Church of God in Christ
    Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America
    Roman Catholic nun Helen Prejean, who was featured in the award-winning movie Dead Man Walking[2]

    Did all of these organizations take a side?

    August 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      all of these individuals did take a side. So what? A Jew and a Nun supporting Democrats – wow! I'm shocked.

      This is different. The RNC *INSISTED* that it be Cardinal Dolan, and not some local priest or bishop in Tampa. The Cardinal is the highest ranking Catholic in the US and he can and does speak for the church in the US – not like a nun who inspired a movie pointing out the horrors of capital punishment.


      This is Republican electioneering at its finest. They recognize that what they need to win are Catholic swing votes in PA and OH. They will do whatever it takes – including a Catholic VP and a Cardinal praying at the RNC.

      August 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Back in context you said:
      None of the people listed at the 2008 DNC were local and probably none offered to present the same speech to the 2008 RNC. If anything, it's a sign that Cardinal Dolan does speak for the Church and has issues with both parties.

      I never said they were local. There's a huge difference between a nun fighting for social justice and a Cardinal.

      Is the RNC going to have a Rabbi and an Imam too?

      August 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Snoop

      "GOPer" –

      The only problem with what you said is that you made it up. "The RNC *INSISTED* that it be Cardinal Dolan, and not some local priest or bishop in Tampa." <– this is a complete falsehood.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I was merely quoting the article my good sir. Take up you your concern with Mr. Gilgoff or was the Cardinal's spokesman lying?

      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.

      August 23, 2012 at 3:48 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.