Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, has been in the news for his appearances at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
The issue of the cardinal speaking at the Republican National Convention, and actually speaking at the Democratic National Convention as well, has not come to an end just because the conventions have. The issue appeared in the news before the RNC and may stay there long after the DNC.
After it was reported on August 22 that the cardinal agreed to give the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention, it was reported on the following day that this agreement extended to giving a benediction at the Democratic National Convention as well. In fact, the statement coming from the Archdiocese of New York’s blog came on the 23rd and included in one statement that Dolan would be willing to do so at both conventions.
It was made clear to the convention organizers, however, that the Cardinal was coming only to pray not to endorse, and that he would be willing to accept a similar offer from the Democratic Party as well. That same sentiment was conveyed to the Democratic National Committee.
At the Republican National Convention, Cardinal Dolan did just that. He prayed to close out the RNC on August 30. What he prayed can be found at the Archdiocese of New York’s blog.
While the prayer that was stuck to was mostly similar for each convention, the process of giving this benediction went about slightly differently at the Democratic National Convention.
Initially, the offer for Cardinal Dolan to speak at the DNC was turned down. However, this decision was reversed and on August 28, whereupon the Archdiocese of New York made a statement that Dolan had accepted an invitation to close out the DNC. The reversal was covered, with opinions from Catholic League president Bill Donohue and others reported on in a LifeNews article.
Just the other night, on September 6, Timothy Cardinal Dolan closed out the Democratic National Convention with a prayer. The transcript can be found once again at the Archdiocese’s blog, and a transcript and video can be found on an article from LifeNews.
As mentioned, “A Prayer for Our Country,” which was read at the DNC, is similar to what was read at the RNC. Both prayers were pro-life and pro-religious freedom, certainly. But the cardinal has a way with words and a talent for prayers and giving speeches. It should also be stressed that Dolan did not pray what he did, a pro-life prayer, to act in a partisan fashion or to “stick it” to those Democrats in attendance at a convention that had just spent days promoting abortion on demand. He prayed what he did because it is what the cardinal truly believes.
Already on social media, liberals and supporters of the Democratic party have already taken to criticizing the Cardinal, many by using the f-word. Warning: tweets contain strong language.
The thing is though, that Timothy Cardinal Dolan has the right to believe what he wants and communicate it, at an event which he was invited to speak at. It has also been reiterated, from statements coming from the Cardinal’s Archdiocese’s own blog, that such appearances were not partisan or an endorsement, but rather to pray. Yet at least one Democratic supporter, based on his tweets, is particularly against Cardinal Dolan and sees him as a “Republic (sic) pundit.” The Republican National Convention also occurred beforehand, which provided some sort of preview as to what Dolan would possibly pray at the Democratic National Convention.
There may be pro-life and religious Democrats who delighted in hearing mentions of the right to life and religious freedom at their convention, but unfortunately, those who support the same party are reacting in a way that shows no respect for Cardinal Dolan as a religious figure, because his prayer happened to express what they disagree with.
However tactlessly they may communicate, those who tweet F-bombs about Cardinal Dolan’s prayer also have the right to believe what they want. But these persons should also respect that these rights do indeed apply to those who disagree, even at the DNC and to Cardinal Dolan. Such language certainly does not show respect, but rather disrespects the religious figure and fellow human being Dolan is, as well as a prayer which many hold sacred. Many tweets expressed anger for there even being a prayer or mention of religion at all at the DNC, or particular disdain for the prayer being given by Cardinal Dolan.
While I don’t expect supporters of a party who booed the party platform acknowledging God – which was just reported on by Calvin Freiburger here at Live Action News – to understand this, the power of prayer is an amazing thing. In this country, we have the right to take part in prayer or to not take part. For those who choose to take part, and to put aside partisan feelings while doing so, Cardinal Dolan’s benediction should be regarded as a powerful and meaningful prayer, regardless of if one agrees completely or not.