Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has accepted an invitation to deliver the closing prayer at next week’s Democratic National Convention. As was previously announced, he will also be offering the closing prayer at the Republican Convention on Thursday of this week.
It was made clear to the Democratic Convention organizers, as it was to the Republicans, that the Cardinal was coming solely as a pastor, only to pray, not to endorse any party, platform, or candidate. The Cardinal consulted Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte, who gave the Cardinal his consent to take part in the convention that will be taking place in his diocese.
Okay, all you “progressives” who were fuming and breathing fire because Dolan was delivering the closing prayer at the GOP convention? (You know who you are — the folks sending me snarky little, “why-don’t-the-fascist-misogynistic-bishops-just-admit-they’re-Rethuglicans?” love notes, to which I kept gamely responding, “Catholicism is not Democrat or Republican” while you cursed at me?) Well, now you can start fuming b/c he is delivering the closing speech at the Dem convention, too.
Oh, wait. My bad. Now Dolan praying at a political convention must be okay. Or, he’s just trying to prove he’s not the rat you thought he was. Or, perhaps Obama ignoring Dolan’s offer to pray wasn’t polling well.
Meanwhile, all you “conservatives” who were praising Dolan for speaking at the GOP convention? You can start accusing him of “destroying the church from within”, now!
The rest of us who weren’t that caught up with it to begin with?
Well, we can continue thinking that the role of a pastor is to be present, to teach and to guide. Dolan, simply by being present to BOTH parties in this horrifically divided and stressful year, is being a good shepherd, a good physician. Our nation is desperately ill — her very blood is toxic with hatred and it needs the antiseptic of the creed and penance — but no physician can force a difficult dose on a patient. First, he has to get the sick wretch to trust him enough to let begin treatment. I suspect this is what Dolan is trying to do. And there are lessons in what he is doing, for anyone willing to look:
1) He’s teaching that the shepherd must be in the field with all the sheep, even as they are warring. He must be there for the recalcitrant ones over there in the left field; and the skittish, distrustful ones in the right field. Maybe all of the sheep are out to give the shepherd a hard time, but he’s still got to be there, doing what he can, gently but forcefully, or they all perish to wolves and opportunistic predators.
2) If a man can’t even be in a room with some people without causing hysteria and hyperventilation among other people, then everyone needs to take a freaking breath.
3) Jesus went out among the sick and sinful — and we’ve got plenty of sick and sinful all over the place; no partisan tag required. And no, he did not treat the sick and the sinful the way he treated the moneychangers. Let’s remember that when he acted out in the temple, he was doing it with an authority that no one on earth possesses. So, those of you who will be satisfied with nothing less than Dolan making a corded whip and scourging your political opponents? You’re out of luck.
In fact, I think if anyone leaves a comment telling me that the Christ Jesus took a whip to the moneychangers, and so that justifies a human bishop and sinner lashing out at Democrats for this or Republicans for that, and that you will be satisfied with nothing less than the immediate gratification and high-drama of an episcopal ass-kicking against the team of your choice, I’m going to just trash your remarks. The moneychangers thing is over-used to justify everyone’s ever-burning pilot lights.
Bong! Says I! Bong! Boring! Say something new.
Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey links (thanks, Ed) and adds:
Cardinal Dolan demonstrated real leadership in these areas, even though our immediate political sensibilities might have recoiled at his decisions. And Dolan’s ecumenical outreach demonstrates that his opposition to the intrusion on religious liberty in the HHS contraception mandate is not borne of Republican sympathies, but out of genuine and completely understandable opposition to the policy itself.
He also links to and quotes from a very stupid article at the Boston Herald that’s worth looking at, just to be amused. One thing I don’t get: why crow that “the nuns on the bus got more media coverage than the fortnight for freedom.” Doesn’t that say more about media priorities and favoritism than anything else? I mean, well…yeah. The nuns got more coverage from the press because…the press liked their story more than the “Obama is attacking first amendment rights…” Duh.
UPDATE II: dotcommonweal adds that Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK, will be speaking, although not offering prayer, at the Democrat convention, too. Sr. Simone I praised recently for being really honest about something:
“I have allowed a very narrow perspective on what is life, because I actually feel like I’m going to develop a rash or something if I use ‘life’ in that broader sense,” she said.
She has avoided framing social justice concerns as “pro-life” issues, she said, “because I don’t want to be thought of as in (the pro-life) camp. Because of my pride, as opposed to my faith.”
We might all do better, as a nation, if we can just admit that some of what divides us is simple snobbery and all-too-human pride.
Da Tech Guy Blog breaks down what he thinks is motivating the DNC; he suggests it’s about branding, perception, etc. I’m sure that’s part of it.