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. Joseph heim says:

    Be very careful, cardinal Dolan -you have our prayers- as there are many traps and snares being set for you by political figures. But this has left me puzzled. Why cloud things when Romney and the GOP are and have been pro abortion (only Virgil Goode is pro life in this race). Also ponder this: much of the start up money for governor Romney’s Bain came from el Salvador right wing people implicated in the killing of the blessed Archbishop Romero, and what in the world will you tell Romero in the next world when he asks you about this and why did you bless thoseninvolved with those who killed me and many of my Catholic brothers and sisters? I think the cardinal means well, but I greatly fear his good intentions are so ringing I n his head that he doesn’t hear the sirens of disaster on this . God bless.

  2. Leticia Barrett says:

    His Emminence, Cardinal Dolan has deal with this issue with wisdom, prudence, and charity. I am sure he would have accepted the Dems invitation, had they extended it to him. As to the difference in the two parties policy positions: The Works of Mercy pertain primarily to the church, meaning each one of us, not to the state. Our Lord’s mandate to care for the poor, the unborn, and the immigrant is for “me” under penalty of judgement: “In truth I tell YOU, in so far as YOU did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, YOU did it to ME.”(Mt. 25:31-40)
    Tom & Leticia Barrett

  3. Philip regan says:

    This is a terrible day for the Cathoic Church when we seem to endorse those who want to cut supports to the poor and cut taxs on the rich.Have we lost our way totally .The rest of the world is in shock .Philip Dublin Ireland

  4. Charlene Harris says:

    I am deeply disappointed that you have accepted the invitation to the Republican Convention. This is a dangerous game that you are playing at a time when religion has been elevated as a major divisive and polarizing issue for Catholics during this election. Your appearance brings the Church front and center into a political fire under the presentation of merely being a priest at prayer. Even if you are sincere in your purpose, it really doesn’t matter because perception takes precedence. To the average person, Catholic or not, your appearance basically translates into the Catholic Church’s endorsement of Romney and the republican position; never mind that that position is not consistent with Catholic Social Teaching. It seems like a contradiction to claim religious freedom or freedom from governmental intrusion at the same time support a political party and or candidate. Honestly, I would have expected something more dignified from a Cardinal. This is a good time to ask: “How would Jesus have responded in this situation?”

  5. Ruth McNulty says:

    I see no probably with the Cardinal being invited to do the closing prayer. That’s what Clergy do…Pray. Billy Graham would certainly go. I am sure the Cardinal would love to pray at the Democratic Convention also. God is neither a Democratic or a Republican. What harm is in this? We are all free and have free choice to vote for who we believe will be the best leaders for our Nation. Not going to influence my vote one way or the other.

  6. Marie says:

    I am beyond saddened at the stance the Church is taking regarding provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The Church can continue to take a pro-life stance (as do I) and still support (and perhaps try to influence postively) those who choose contraception and even abortion. Jesus NEVER turned his back on anyone. Today’s Church is taking a stance against the poor and helpless when they most need us. Cardinal Dolan’s appearance at the Republican Convention confirms that we have cast our lot with mean-spirited, narrow thinking people who are promoting their own brand of Christian sharia.

  7. Gina says:

    To all those who disagree with this decision, I am unclear as to why this is such a problem. It is common place to have a religious person offer benediction at the convention. Whether it be the local bishop or Cardinal Dolan doesn’t matter. As Catholics, we should be thrilled and humbled that any political party is inviting a representative of the Catholic Church to offer benediction. Let the democrats invite him as well. Both parties need the Lord! Your Eminence, may the Jesus work through to bring the power of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of all present!

  8. Wayne says:

    How sad to see the comments from people who declare themselves as catholic and don’t see how off they are in their focus. To equate anything, to include the economy, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. with the right to life is absolutely wrong and opposed to Catholic doctrine. It would do you well to revisit the Catechism and see where you are mistaken. To vote for our current president is to align yourself with evil

  9. As a Catholic, brought up in the teachings of Jesuits, I am appalled that you would support any political party. It is a fact, that if you support either, you are supporting anti christian positions of some type. Democrats support abortion, Republicans seem to want to go to war, to feed the military industrial complex.
    That may seem simply, but it is true. So, your rationale that more people die in abortions than in war should remember the lost trillions spent on war, and the impact that has on millions of lives. Romney has clearly stated he will gut programs for the poor, and build up the military. Jesus would do the oppposite. Shame on you, but don’t worry, you will be forgiven for this sin. And have no doubt, blessing a group that will gut programs for the poor is a sin.

  10. Alan Raymond says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    The courage you exhibit in speaking out against the diminution of religious freedom by the current administration is inspirational. For far too long Catholic leaders have been reluctant to criticize secular leaders for fear of retribution (e.g.: tax status & regulatory force). But fear must not dictate silence. We must also be willing to openly oppose secular leadership who vigorously attack the religious beliefs we hold sacred: the sanctity of life and sacramental nature of marriage.
    I don’t understand how people who consider themselves Catholic could have voted for an ardent pro-abortion (not pro-choice) candidate, but they did! This president, when a state senator, voted against a bill that would have prohibited the termination of a baby who survived a botched abortion!!
    Others have commented favorably toward this president’s policies regarding the poor and education. However, policies that guarantee generational dependency on Caesar and give preference to teachers’ unions rather than students and parents do not bode well for the moral fiber of our culture nor the future of our country.
    May God bless and guide you.
    Thank you,
    Alan

  11. Suzanne says:

    Romney and Ryan need prayers more than most Democrats do. Of course, we pray that people do not see Dolan’s prayer as an endorsement.

  12. Mary Lu Callahan says:

    If this was only about prayer, then Cardinal Dolan should have deferred to the local bishop according to Church protocol. Considering the intellect of the man it is either knowingly symbolic or succumbing to ego.

  13. Gene Lindquist says:

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. — Adams, Treaty of Tripoli

  14. Shannon Thompson says:

    As a lifelong social justice Catholic, this and other recent decisions coming from church leaders saddens me greatly. I believe that both political parties have strayed so far from the words and actions of Christ, that church leaders publicly supporting either of these parties are embracing a decidedly un-Christian path. Perhaps Paul Ryan can sleep at night ignoring this political/spiritual contradiction, however you (or any other Catholic who understands this contradiction fully), should have great difficultly. Please reconsider your presence at this convention.

  15. art madrid says:

    Cardinal Dolan: I am an old Catholic (70 years old). Your acceptance of the RNC’s invitation is certainly ill-advised. The Republicans stand on all social issues is certainly at odds with the church’s supposed stand for the poor and underrepresented in the world. How you can present yourself at this gathering of the very wealthy is a mystery to me. Although I was born a catholic and went to catholic schools for many years, actions like yours are making some catholics leave the church. I also think that our founders had it right be including the need for separation of church and state.

    art madrid
    stockton, california

  16. Kate says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    I do not feel it would be appropriate for you to speak at the GOP convention, as Tampa should be the city from which to chose a representative from the church. This alienates Catholics such as myself who are democrats when such a high profile visit is made for a political purpose that supports the opposition. I am highly discouraged by your support of the Republicans when the issues the Catholic Church espouses are fought for hard by liberals and democrats every day-financial regulation to protect Americans, ending the death penalty, civil rights, public education, protecting the environment, health care for everyone, community services. With all the non political good the church does it saddens me to see such action taken by a man of your stature.

  17. Rachel says:

    Thank you for agreeing to pray at the Republic Convention. Romney and Ryan represent life, integrity, hope, opportunity for the poor to become rich, for reform to allow more immigrants to enter the U.S. legally, for seniors for this and future generations to have Medicare, and for affordable healthcare for all. I wish you could pray at the Democratic Convention as well. May God bless us all with the ability and the willingness to see and hear His Truth above and beyond the lies of the media and dishonest politicians. Rachel

  18. Irwin says:

    Way to go Archbishop Dolan!!!! Finally it is clear who ALL CATHOLICS should be voting FOR—ROMNEY/RYAN!!! We need to Save our Country and at the same time save millions of unborn babies too.

  19. Rosemary says:

    For all the reasons they stated, I agree with others who are saddened, disappointed, and I would add angry about Cardinal Dolan going to pray at the Republican Convention. Because the visual message will outweigh his words, his presence will endorse the Republican Candidates for President of our country. Why? If he doesn’t intend to endorse them, he could have easily responded to the invitation by pointing out that the protocol is for the local Bishop to carry out such a role. For reasons that only he truly understands, Cardinal Dolan is going to this Convention.

  20. Shane Molloy says:

    In agreeing to speak at the Republican Convention Cardinal Dolan has demonstrated a complete lack of understanding, nevermind empathy with the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus threw the moneylenders out of the Temple, he didn’t offer to pray at the close of business. Shane

  21. William B. Slowey says:

    I commend you for accepting the invitation of the Republican Convention and hope that you are invited by the Democratic Convention. On this feast of Saint Auguatine, it is fitting to note that you should go wherever the teachings and true meaning of the Word of the Lord needs to be heard. Indeed, your predecessors travelled fearlessly on uncertain paths to teach all God’s children the message of the Gospel and to answer His call to holiness.

  22. John says:

    The platform of the Democratic party will include positions supporting same sex marriage, transexual behavior, homosexal relationships and a multitude of other behaviors that are directly opposed to Catholic teaching. The presence of a church leader without overt opposition to these positions gives legitimacy. Please reconsider your attendance.

  23. George Donahue says:

    My apologies to the Cardinal. He is giving the benediction at the Democratic Convention. I hope both benedictions will be non-political. Allowing Mitt Romney to announce the Cardinal’s appearance was a mistake. I do believe that the Cardinal has been too political and should re-think the Church’s approach.

    George M Donahue

  24. Mary Marie says:

    Cardinal Dolan, it is your decision on whether you do or don’t, but in my opinion, neither party is a good choice for our country. On the democratic side, the healthcare reform turned out to do more harm than good. Not only will many of the poor who are high-risk still not be able to get insurance…they will be taxed for the insurance that they cannot afford. The bill also gave the IRS the authority to seize assets if not paid…and the democrats have no intention of withdrawing the bill. This is a huge injustice to the poor. Also, the bill also allows children as young as 15 to receive abortions and sterilizations without parental consent. On the republican side, many people will starve to death with the cuts that are being proposed on foodstamps. Many foodstamp recipients are going hungry already because food prices have doubled within the last few years and foodstamps barely increased. A large cut in the program will most certainly mean loss of life. There seems very little hope for the poor this election. Not all of the poor are liberals either…many are conservative christians also. God bless you, Cardinal Dolan.