Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who sparked controversy by agreeing to deliver the closing blessing at the Republican convention in Tampa this week, on Monday (Aug. 27) drew further attention to his political role by asking both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to sign a “civility pledge” promoted by a leading conservative Catholic activist.
The archbishop of New York wrote to Romney and Obama, as well as their running mates, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden, asking them to sign the “Civility in America” pledge developed by Carl Anderson, head of the powerful Knights of Columbus and a man with long-standing ties to the Republican Party.
Dolan, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the most prominent Catholic churchman in America, said he wanted the candidates to forgo personal attacks and “remain focused on the critical issues facing our nation.”
Neither Dolan nor the Knights of Columbus pledge specifies which issues they meant. But Anderson, whose title is “supreme knight,” has been a vocal supporter of the bishops’ campaign against the administration’s controversial birth control health insurance mandate. The Knights have also donated millions of dollars to efforts against legalizing same-sex marriage.
For years Anderson has blasted Obama and Biden, who is Catholic, for their support for abortion rights. Just last week in the conservative journal National Review, Anderson penned a blistering critique of Obama for what he said was the president’s decision “to make unrestricted access to abortion a key component of his campaign.”
And you can read the text of Cardinal Dolan’s letter here.