Statement on Benediction Invitation

I would like to share with you the statement that the Archdiocese of New York released to the press today regarding next week’s Republican National Convention.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 23, 2012

STATEMENT OF JOSEPH ZWILLING REGARDING BENEDICTION INVITATION

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has accepted an invitation to deliver the closing prayer at next week’s Republican National Convention.

Although it is usual church protocol to invite the local bishop to offer such a prayer, convention organizers asked the Cardinal if he would consider doing so.  After contacting Bishop Robert Lynch, the Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida, who gave the Cardinal his approval, the Cardinal accepted.  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.

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74 Responses to “Statement on Benediction Invitation”

  1. Yes, Cardinal Dolan,
    we trust your judgement and inspiration. Know that all 10 stations of RADIO MARIA in the USA support you and pray for you. KEEP GOING… we are with you!

  2. Paul Keating says:

    For a man as sophisticated and media savvy as Cardinal Dolan, this strikes me as a very political act and one has to wonder how much thought went into it either on his part or of the Republican National Committee who may have extended the invitation. Considering the role that Abortion rights will play at the Convention and the General Election, I believe Cardinal Dolan has already “cast” his ballot and is hoping that many other Catholics will follow his example and support Mitt Romney’s candidacy given the “blessing” it will receive next week. Does the Cardinal really expect that the Democrats will invite him “to pray with them” at their Convention?
    The Cardinal as do all of us have a right to decide which Party and Candidate are best for the country but his public acts will serve as an endorsement whether he cares to admit it or not.

  3. Henry Bos says:

    I am so very disappointed with your decision to offer a prayer at the Republican convention. I do not doubt your motivation to only pray but you, of all people, must understand that your appearance on that stage will serve as your encouragement to vote for the Republican party. Given the current political climate and the Church’s disagreement with the Administration regarding health care, I find it extremely unwise. I am sitting in my home here in Arizona where even the Church has turned against immigrants, and shake my head in sadness at what has happened to my Church. I am truly saddened by your decision. I am beyond anger and am just sad. God bless you.

  4. Patty says:

    I am looking forward to Cardinal Dolan’s straight forward, healing inspiration.

  5. Jim Cowan says:

    I am pleased that an invitation has been made and accepted. Cardinal Dolan is the most articulate spokesman for our Catholic Faith. He has a message of Hope that can resonate with those who are willing to truly listen. I hope that CNY or this site will publish his remarks when available.

  6. Janet says:

    This- Emminence is how to dis-invite the anti-Christian Obama and (fairly) Romney from the spectacle and photo-op of the Al Smith dinner. You are a Shepard of the faithful. Please be an example of a warrior for Christ-we cannot allow the current crushing of faith and freedom to continue.
    http://www.wnd.com/2012/08/rick-warrens-civility-forum-axed/

  7. Irene says:

    I think you should also participate in some of the Occupy events when you’re there. Local faith leaders are planning a vigil for peace at the start of the convention and there will be a Peace Rally at the end.

  8. Meredith says:

    This is very upsetting to me. This appears totally partisan. It’s best to stay clear of the republicans who put forward on their party platform a vow to slash funds for the poor, have strong and bigoted anti-immigrant policies and are entirely pro-death penalty.

  9. Mary Greene says:

    pIf I were the Dems not only would I invite the Cardinal to pray at the convention finale(after all, ours is a civil and cordial God) but I would invited him to open the convention and bless the party platform which is a doozy.

  10. Stan Wisniewski says:

    Your Emminence: My fear is that, although your intent in going to the political convention is to pray and not to endorse, given the USCCB stance vs. the current administration, your attendance will be construed by many as an endorsement. I’m also quite sure that aside from an individuals perception, the party (either party) will cast your attendance as your (and by extension the USCCB’s) endorsement. Thanks, Stan

  11. Jim D says:

    The appearance of Cardinal Dolan at the GOP convention gives the impression of his support for the Romney-Ryan ticket. This is not what Christ would do. The Romney-Ryan budget and policies are very un-Christ-like. Obama’s policies toward the poor, universal health care, economic inequity, the environment, climate change, education, etc. are far more Christian than Romney-Ryan’s. And the Obama-Biden-Hillary Clinton foreign policy has been masterful, collaborating with other nations as partners, as opposed to the arrogant policies of Bush and now Romney (with his threats to Iran, Russia and China). We can’t risk a Romney-Ryan budget or foreign policy. WE HAVE TO GET GET THIS RIGHT. It is inexplicable that the Cardinal would do this. Please reconsider.

  12. Gary Sabourin says:

    Cardinal Dolan,

    I’m Catholic….and a Democrat (just like my saintly father and just about everyone I grew up with). Following his example, I’ve been an a teacher and counselor in Catholic schools for 34 years. With the greatest respect, I have to express my deep sadness that you have chosen to offer the Closing Prayer at the upcoming Republican National Convention. I realize that you have clearly stated that this is not to be viewed as political, but I fear the reality on the ground will be exactly the opposite. It’s heartbreaking for me. If my father was alive, I’m certain that it would be heartbreaking for him as well. He was a Union Steward for the UAW in Detroit and helped build (literally) Our Lady of Grace parish in Dearborn. There are ways to disagree with the current Administration from a Catholic perspective (Pro-Choice), and, I believe, there are ways to disagree with a possible Romney-Ryan Administration from a Catholic perspective (the Ryan Budget). Both are clearly Anti-Life. So many Catholics see the first and are blind to the second.

    I don’t have any advice or suggestions, nor do I want to presume to recommend a course of action. I just felt compelled to communicate to you that I believe this will be viewed as a tacit endorsement and will serve to embolden those who seek…in one disguised form or the other…. to further abandon the poor and disadvantaged….the very state into which Our Lord choose to enter this world.

    All this being said, I wish you every blessing.

    Sincerely,
    Gary Sabourin
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  13. Annie says:

    I’m very happy and proud that you were invited and accepted. God speed on your journey.

  14. Nancy Janzen says:

    Last Saturday a younger person came to me as I waited for confession because I was wearing a Stop the HHS mandate button. He asked if our bishops would stand strong on the issues. I told him not to worry our bishops are strong in the faith and to trust them. You follow your conscience. I know it is well formed and you will never waiver on the truths of our faith. I also gave him the # for the text campaign. I will stand behind, next to or if necessary in front of you when it comes to the time to stand. You just text me.

  15. bill Crew says:

    I too am very angry that Cardinal Dolan is going to the Republican convention – even to pray.
    This is quite obviously an endorsement of the candidates. it could also be against the separation of church and state policies. Since part of that policy gives the Church a tax exemption, maybe this could put an end to such exemptions. While i doubt this would happen because we all know our politicians lack backbone. I have felt more and more separation from the Church over the years with the myriad of scandals (which keep on coming), I think this might be the final straw.

  16. Fenisia Pacini says:

    I am very disappointed that the Cardinal will appear at the RNC convention. I believe this is in violation of the Separation of Church and State.

    Ialso believe that it endorses Romney and that if the Church is tax exempt the IRS should withdraw its tax exempt status. A petition needs to be done .

  17. Regina Smith says:

    In this political climate it seems unwise to even hint at favoritism towards either political party. We as Catholics, understand bias and the appearance of bias. We can’t try to look neutral in a politically charged and partisan environment. Let the local clergy participate, as is the custom. Bringing in the Cardinal from New York sends a message of disdain for the local clergy and upping the ante by bringing in the heavy hitters.

  18. Ken says:

    I expect you to wear both your cardinal’s cassock and pectoral cross, please!

  19. Beverly says:

    I find the strong presence of Cardinal Dolan offering prayer at either or both convention(s) to be very reassuring.

  20. Anne Morrison-Low says:

    I am appalled and saddened by this decision.

    The Cardinal is a smart man – he knows exactly why the GOP invited him and he has his own agenda in accepting. This is clearly an endorsement of the Republican Party and ALL it stands for, particularly in light of recent comments by the Cardinal re Paul Ryan (“I’m anxious to see him in action.”) How much more of an endorsement could there be? It appears that the poor of this great country and their pressing needs are no longer a priority for the hierarchy of the Church in the U.S.

    As a lifelong Catholic (63 years) it is becoming more and more difficult to practice my faith which I continue to do in spite of the enormous obstacles the church puts in my way.

    It all makes my heart hurt.

  21. Alan Russotto says:

    God Bless Cardinal Dolan !!! If the democrats (Catholic or otherwise) have a problem with this, why don’t they invite The Cardinal to deliver the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. AMDG !

  22. Jim Eggers says:

    This is a very overt political act, the general voting public only reads or sees headlines, and this makes ot look like an endorsement for the very rich and draconian candidates that the GOP has brought forth. Most of the Catholics I have known in my 60 years are either poor or lower middle class, and this ticket will not do anything to help us. I am not entirely sure that the Cardinal’s ego can be overcome by his piety.

  23. Patrick White says:

    I can think of no one better to offer a prayer at the RNC. Cardinal Dolan speaks clearly, lovingly and the truth. I will pray for you that you are able to help cure the divisiveness that is so prevalant.

    Blessings to you Cardinal Dolan and to the USA
    Patrick White
    Overland Park, Kansas

  24. Suzi says:

    Congratulations, Cardinal Dolan. I know that you will use your platform to speak to all those on both sides about the important issues of the election – the greatest of those being LIFE and religious freedom.

    If it appears partisan, at least you’re on the right side of this one ;0)

  25. George Donahue says:

    When Mitt Romney announced you were scheduled to give the benediction at the convention (as opposed to local Bishop), the intent was obvious. The explanation that the Cardinal called the local Bishop to see if it was okay for him to give the benediction is laughable. I assume you will have he decency not to endorse Romney directly. Cardinal please make the choice: religious leader or political operative. A gentle reminder: the Republican agenda is opposed to the Catholic social teaching on just about every front with the exception of abortion. I deeply respect the church’s position on abortion.It is a deeply held religous belief. Not all people or relgions share it and we shouldn’t impose it upon others.

  26. Larry says:

    I am surprised by the number of comments indicating disappointment… and stating a preference for the party that campaigns in support of abortion and same sex marriage. These are interesting times for Catholics and somehow our view of “social justice” has become rather twisted. Cardinal Dolan … I pray that you have the right message for the Republicans, just as I pray you have the right words for both candidates at the Smith dinner. God Bless

  27. S.K. Patrick says:

    Irrespective of what the intentions might be, the appearance of this decision by Cardinal Dolan to deliver the closing prayer at the Republican Convention will be construed to be political.
    I really do not see Christ being pleased with the decision by His representatives on Earth to be involved in political events. Cardinal Dolan’s time would be better spent doing God’s work.

  28. Chalice Wilkerson says:

    I see this as totally political and the path the bishops and cardinals have taken to march lockstep behind the Republican Party because being anti-abortion and anti-gay are the only issues they truly care about. Instead of cleaning up their own house such as CArdinal Dolan’s ‘hush money’ payments to molesting priests, they instead claim some ‘high road’ of denying rights to others because their tender religious consciences are upset. I have actually read the Bible and abortion and gay behavior are not exactly hot topics in the book — where is the Church’s commitment to the poor and the least among us? I think the Catholic Church hierarchy is doing a disservice to the hard work of so many true Catholic Christians by getting involved in supporting the Republican Party.

  29. Robert M. says:

    I work as a volunteer at Catholic Charities and proudly served this country in the Marine Corps during the Regan years. I am thrilled that His Eminence will deliver the closing prayer.

    I only hope and pray the brewing hurricane (Isaac) does not interfere too much!

    May God Bless these United States

  30. Rob says:

    Cardinal Dolan is a very smart man here. By accepting the invitation of the RNC, and making it clear he would do the same at the DNC. (By the way other archbishops have in the past performed a service service at the DNC, so forget the wailing an gnashing about entering into the political realm) He puts the anti-Catholic DNC in a clear position to reject him, just as they have rejected the Church in her requests to have our religious liberties respected.

  31. John M. Conroy says:

    Last night a friend called me at supper time to say she had heard on the radio that Cardinal Dolan was to give the benediction at the Republican National Convention. I assured her this was not so; that, if a Catholic prelate were to do this, it would be the ordinary of Tampa. More fool me! How sad it is to see the Archbishop of New York engage in this kind of political activity to further his agenda and to further dishearten those of us who struggle to make some sense out of the current chaos in the Church we love.

  32. Steve Maurice says:

    I find it extremely ironic that those disraught over Cardinal Dolan’s acceptance to say the closing prayer at the GOP convention, are likely some of the same people that see no problem with President Obama being invited to the Al Smith dinner. Politics do have a way of clouding moral judgement, don’t they?

    As for the prayer, say a good one, dear Cardinal. Our political climate certainly demonstrates that all politicians, left and right, are in need of God’s blessing and guidance.

  33. Theresa says:

    Our country is in great need of prayers. Our leaders need someone to pray with them and for them. God bless you. May the Holy Spirit fill you heart. Thank you for accepting this honor.

  34. patrick mahon says:

    I am a Catholic and I like the fact that Cardinal Dolan is going to say a prayer at the convention. My father was a Republican and I am as well. Cardinal Dolan is the leader of my church here in NY and is and American citizen, a dam fine citizen at that, and he can pray where ever he wants! He was invited, accepted thats that!! Maybe if we had more prayer in this country from what ever denomination you are, and less deviousness, we could get things done!! You go Cardinal Dolan!!!!

  35. Katherine Smith says:

    How disappointing that you would choose to politicize the church in such a way. I am not talking about the gop convention, but your speaking at the Values Voter Conference. When you align yourselves with the likes of Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Bill Bennett, Gary Bauer, there is little doubt as to what your politics are and that you really are agressively pushing those politics. A sad day for the American church.

  36. Susy says:

    The times we are living in have changed. The Church in the US is facing a crisis of freedom of religion in President Obama’s HHS mandate that, if it’s not repealed or fought in court and won, could dismantle our Catholic institutions. This grave threat must be taken seriously by all Catholics. The aggressive agenda to destroy traditional marriage, and the ensuing threats to religious liberty, by permitting same sex marriage, are further grave threats to the well being of our society. Aggressive pro abortion policies supported by the federal government here and abroad spread the Culture of Death that so worried JPII. Now is the time for Catholics to close ranks and say ‘no more.’. Correct policies regarding the economy, immigration can be addressed after our foundational issues are secure. God Bless Cardinal Dolan for his leadership.

  37. J. Green says:

    I am very disappointed in your decision to lend support to a political campaign.

    I understand and appreciate the Church’s position on life, but the Church has other positions such as social justice and care for the less fortunate. To me, a church-going Catholic, the Church leadership pays lip service to everyting other than life, church ceremony, and maintaining your authority.

    You will give a blessing at an event that will nominate two men, one a Catholic, with stated policies regarding the poor and disadvantaged that are contrary to the Church’s teachings.

    Your action will further erode the moral authority of our Church’s hierarchy. I suppose your new teaching is that the rich, powerful and connected will inherit the earth. It’s a lesson that I will not teach my children.

  38. John F says:

    I don’t think the Cardinal is going there to endorse but to pray.
    However for some to call the Romney policies un-Christlike is a big stretch. I think we have seen enough ant-Catholic anti-Christian rhetoric coming from the current administration including the “Catholic” VP. )ProChoice, pro same sex marrieage etc etc etc)

  39. Carol says:

    Cardinal Dolan:

    Please do not offer a prayer at either National Convention.

    This is not a prudent thing to do at this time.

    You will gain much respect from all “sides” by removing yourself from the partisanship and offering some hope for navigating all this polarization.

    Respectfully offered.

  40. The Cardinal’s appearance and Benediction is not partisan; just a Blessing for good, solid American citizens.

  41. Marci says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I hope you are not being biased towards one political party as a leader in the Catholic Church. Will you also seek to lead prayer at the other political party (Democrat) too? I hope so.

  42. Steven says:

    In response to Gary…I know many Republicans who care for the poor…caring does not end if someone considers themselves Republican or Conservative. I would actually say the past four years have created more poor people than ever before.

    Steven

  43. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Wait a minute! Cardinal Dolan offered equal time here. What more can anyone ask for?

  44. James Michael says:

    Good for the Cardinal. I hope he is voting for Romney/Ryan. It’s not like serious Catholics have much of choice other than not voting which is a vote for Obama. If you are an informed and faithful Catholic you must be involved and you have no other choice. Period. Pray tell how any faithful Catholic can vote for Obama/Biden/Democrat Party? You Can’t unless you chose to ignore Church teaching and doctrine. Some of the comments here are very revealing from quote unquote “Catholics”. Are you good folks serious? You have a party that just added a plank to their pro abortion/pro culture of death platform endorsing “Gay Marriage”. Do you not know that any Catholic CANNOT vote for ANY politician or support a political party who supports, encourages and espouses…the “culture of death”…a/k/a intrinsic evil a/k/a “abortion, artificial contraception, invitro fertilization, cloning, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, same sex marriage etc.”
    It is an inconvenient truth. The fact that the Good Cardinal Dolan and his predecessors at the USCCB have not made Church teaching CRYSTAL CLEAR in the last 45+ years on this matter is one of the great ongoing scandals in the Church. Instead we get 28 pages of mind numbing mishmash about “informed conscience” blah, blah, blah without an opening paragraph in clear single syllable English that says in effect…”Catholics Can’t Vote for Any Pro Abortion Politicians” etc, etc or “You Can’t Be Catholic and Pro-Choice”. As a result we get ill informed Catholics who equate Killing innocent Unborn babies (and intrinsic evils) with social justice and feeding the poor. Sorry, it ain’t so despite the Cardinal Bernandin’s “Seamless Garment” pronouncement in the early 80′s. If Catholics are responsible for the reelection of Obama after the last 4 years then God help us all. We will deserve everything that we get. You can’t mock God indefinitely without expecting consequences.

  45. timothy canezro says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    As with all endeavors I wish you the best as you as one of our Catholic leaders and as a Holy Man to give a good prayer at the convention. May the Holy Spirit work through you and your words and touch all those politicians that operate in a secular mode of life and rule with self-serving interests in mind.
    Trusting ever in your wisdom,
    Your son in Christ,
    Timothy canezaro

  46. Gregory Peterson says:

    So, as a Catholic I am interpreting this collaboration with the Republican Party in its current elaboration as a sanctioning of lies, the destruction of Medicare, excessive tax cuts for the wealthy and more.

  47. Joanne S. says:

    Perhaps this will help counter the damage done by inviting President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner. The Dems can certainly invite you to give a blessing at their convention as well, but I suspect they will invite a Muslim cleric or atheist instead.

    To those commenters here who claim the GOP doesn’t care about the poor, I can only say you are very wrong. Our grandchildren who survived the abortion industry will be burdened by deficits they will be unable to carry and burying one’s head in the sand as the Dems do won’t stop this country from going under. We will ALL be poor.

    How anyone can claim to be Catholic and support the Dem platform of unlimited abortion and gay marriage is beyond me. They have to justify these intrinsic evils by claiming they care about the poor. If Obama is re-elected, the Catholic Church will see a persecution that can’t be imagined. Unbelievable.

  48. Frank says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    I’ve been a Catholic for 67 years, in fact at one point I had intentions of entering the seminary; but didn’t find myself worthy.
    I can’t believe you are allowing the Rebublican party to use you by giving the closing prayer at their convention. You have made it clear that you are not supporting the republican ticket for president, unfortunately the republicans are using your attendance as a sign to catholics of your support. I live in Tampa and it already has been inferred that your presence is a effort to gain the catholic vote for the republicans.
    I understand fully that the church does not agree with current laws that are in contradiction with church teachings; BUT the President represents all people in this country not just one faith. We have co-existed for many years with the seperation of church and state, my opinion is that it should remain that way.

  49. George Van Buskirk says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I recently learned that you will give the closing benediction at the Republican National Convention. I am a renounced Catholic for many reasons but mostly because of one thing, hypocrisy. I feel confident in my decision to renounce my Catholicism after your recent decision.
    The Republican party has taken strident positions against anything that might resemble Christ’s teachings, especially in the Beatitudes. They propose a budget that is anti-poor, they embrace an anti-human philosophy delivered from the poison of Ayn Rand, they ignore the rights of the immigrant who John Paul II spoke out for, they support the terrible injustices against the Palestinian people, they did everything in their power to bring war to Iraq even though the Pontiff was clear in his disapproval of such an act, they are funded by secular, destructive capitalists like the Koch Brothers who this moment are working to strip the voices of the less fortunate of their voting rights. There is nothing Christ like or even Catholic about the modern GOP yet you will indicate to Catholic voters by your support they represent the Church when they clearly, emphatically do not. Once elected I’m certain they will pursue a path of war against Iran which will lead to so much destruction. The blood that will be shed will be not only on their hands but yours. Have a good time at the convention and know you have given this ex-catholic reason to never entertain the idea of a return to your “church”.
    With Deepest Sincerity,
    George Van Buskirk

  50. Michele says:

    I am delighted that you will be delivering the benediction at the RNC Convention in Tampa. The GOP Party platform is pro-life and the Party’s nominee for Vice President, Rep. Paul Ryan, is also a faithful Roman Catholic. The Lord has given you a wonderful opportunity to pray publicly on behalf of the Roman Catholic faithful in America during this primetime- televised national party convention. You are the best representative of our Catholic faith tradition in America today. I know that you will make the most of this public prayer opportunity and will bring honor to our faith tradition, our nation and to our God. To God be the glory!