Dolan to offer closing prayer at Democrat Convention: Hyperventilation Continues. UPDATED

Via First Things:

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.

UPDATE:
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.

UPDATE III:
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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bill

    Excellent post

  • magnificatlady

    If Cardinal Dolan, by praying at the ProAbortion Democrat Convention leads to even just one heart changing and turning away from the Culture of Death, then Thanks Be To God!

  • dry valleys

    This is a great post. Carry on :)

    (Also I’m waiting to see who has the best music and expecting the DNC to win. They had Drive-By Truckers in 2008).

  • mrp

    Ever-burning vigil candles work for me. Stock up now!

  • Pingback: Cardinal Dolan now delivering prayers at both conventions « Hot Air

  • vox borealis

    He must be there for the recalcitrant ones over there in the left field;

    True. But there is that bit about Christ shaking the dust from their sandals when leaving towns where they were not welcome as testimony against them (the recalcitrant).

    [Yeah. The apostles, not Christ. But before they could 'shake the dust" from their sandals...they had to go to a place first...right? - admin]

  • Dave

    Elizabeth,

    I have to play Devil’s Advocate on this.

    What does Archbishop Dolan speaking at either or both conventions serve anyone good?

    Do we think that most of the politicians in either party are going to care about what he prays about?

    Do we think that him praying at either or both conventions will do anything but confuse potential voters about what the fullness of catholic social teaching is?

    This feels like a classic: “Never question the Bishops” post, and I have to disagree with that because there was a valid third option:

    Have Dolan not pray at either convention, disinvite both candidates from the Al Smith Dinner, and when asked talk about how both parties are essentially ignoring the desires of Catholic voters.

    Instead, we have the valid, but legitimately frustrating “I’m Mr. Nice Guy Bishop of New York who is joyfully and jovially with everybody regardless of circumstances.” It’s frustrating because I think a lot of Catholics want to hear a Bishop be honest about the state of the Church and about world affairs instead of “Happy Happy, Joy Joy all the time.

    [So, your suggestion then is, "shut down all, make yourself unavailable to all." That's not very pastoral. As uncomfortable as it can be sometimes, the pastor has to be out there. Not holed up somewhere clinging to scripture and truth but refusing to share it with the unworthies. -admin]

  • Dave

    [So, your suggestion then is, "shut down all, make yourself unavailable to all." That's not very pastoral. As uncomfortable as it can be sometimes, the pastor has to be out there. Not holed up somewhere clinging to scripture and truth but refusing to share it with the unworthies. -admin]

    Elizabeth,

    Of course it is not Pastoral, but I believe there are times when being “Pastoral” gets in the way of communicating truth.

    President Obama is not going to have his mind changed by going to the Al Smith Dinner. Romney is not going to hear Dolan’s prayer at the convention and be inspired to start hammering away about the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

    Anger (not money changer’s anger) can be an effective tool for communicating (listen to any talk from Archbishop Fulton Sheen, where you knew what the main point was when he raised his voice and started yelling).

    I want to see the guy is like with his guard down away from the press, and that would go a long way to easing Catholics concerns about whether he is making the right decisions recently.

  • Pingback: I'll see your Cardinal Dolan and raise you a ...Cardinal Dolan » Datechguy's Blog

  • vox borealis

    Yeah. The apostles, not Christ. But before they could ‘shake the dust” from their sandals…they had to go to a place first…right?

    Ack. My typo: I meant to say “But there is that bit about Christ recommending the disciples shaking the dust from their sandals when leaving towns where they…”

    Yes, they had to go to the place first. But seriously, haven’t the disciples—the bishops—gone to the place repeatedly for 50 years? And what has it gotten them besides played? I mean, it’s not like the recalcitrant have softened in the last half century. But in any case, when Dolan goes and prays and is obviously not welcome, will he then shake the dust from his sandals as testimony?

    [I think that just as every Hail Mary we pray on our beads is not mere "vain repetition" but a whole new prayer, entirely, each encounter is a brand new encounter, a brand new "town" to enter into. The Al Smith Dinner is a town. The DNC convention is a town. There can be no limits in the service of trying to bring Christ to people -admin]

  • Mary M.

    I’m with you on this one, Elizabeth!

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    “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!”

    What makes you say Conservatives are going to attack Dolan for this? After all he offered to speak at both and the Dems turned him down. Now that they’ve reconsidered (they must have looked at the polls and saw how bad it was going) nothing is changed from the original offer.

    Does any of this change that Obama is the most anti religious, pro abortion administration in history? Will this change the HHS mandate? No and no.

    [Trust me. There will be pushback from some quarters. There always is. It will be the flip side of the "progressives" who sneered at Dolan for the GOP convention. People can't help themselves. -admin]

  • Dismas

    Clearly this election year is shaping up to be harder on his Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan than any of the Presidential Nominees.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    One other thing. It’s apparant by this and the Al Smith dinner invites Catholics don’t play hard ball politics. On one hand that’s good, but on the other hand, we don’t get much of what we desire. For the number of Catholics in the electorate we are not the political force that we should be. If all the Catholics got behind an issue, say abortion, there would be a huge push in the legislatures to accomodate. Alas I don’t think they really care what we want because there is no Catholic consensus. Shame on us.

    [I think the fact that the church is not a perfect fit with any party or ideology is a good reminder that parties and ideologies are worldly inventions of men, and that they will always, eventually fail us -admin]

  • http://dailywoof.wordpress.com Kensington

    You mean Jesus might even have hung around with Nancy Pelosi? :)

  • dry valleys

    Yes, and drunk wine from her vineyards!

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    “I think the fact that the church is not a perfect fit with any party or ideology is a good reminder that parties and ideologies are worldly inventions of men, and that they will always, eventually fail us -admin”

    Surely we should agree that abortion should be outlawed. Let’s prioritize the issues and take them one at a time. I’m not referring to just the anti Liberal issues. When we get to Conservative issues that need to be addressed, i’ll back the church.

    [You'd be surprised how many Catholics who are pro-life are not fully of a mind that repealing Roe v Wade would change much -admin]

  • http://myunquietheart.blogspot.com Greg Hillis

    Here’s hopefully something new about Cardinal Dolan’s prayers at the conventions: (http://myunquietheart.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-little-more-on-cardinal-dolan-gop.html)

    Any comments?

  • Seejay

    The world, and especially the Church, are now watching rabbi (teacher) Cardinal Dolan.

    In a room full of people meeting for the purpose of formally and expressly supporting intrinsic evils of multiple varieties, truth will speak, about Cardinal Dolan and the earnestness of the Church in America if:

    - His prayer takes the form of a muted pleasantry, or,

    - A truthful, yet charitable, petition for good addressing evil in the sight of God and man.

    Just as many became silent when Jesus entered a temple filled with hypocrites, so too now believers and non are silent awaiting the words of the teacher. May the Holy Spirit inspire, guide, and protect Cardinal Dolan.

  • Roz Smith

    I rather like the symbolism of Cardinal Dolan having the last word at both conventions. I suspect the Cardinal does, too, and will make full use not only of the benediction but also the schmoozing that will certainly go on before and after.

    That the nuns of the bus got so much media attention than the fortnight for freedom says far more about the media than it does the mood of practicing Catholics. The media also didn’t notice it when total silence greeted the reading of the letter of best wishes from Obama at the recent Knights of Columbus convention.

  • mdepie

    This is absurd!. The Democrat convention is going to feature a large number of pro-abortion rights speakers, specifically there to attack the Church’s teaching on abortion, which last I heard was considered and “unspeakable crime” by the Church as stated at Vatican II. Paul Bedard has reported that “Democrats said that they will feature Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parent Action Fund, Nancy Keenan, president of the NARAL Pro-Choice America and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student whose plea for federal birth control funding drew the ire–and a subsequent apology–from Rush Limbaugh”. Indeed there have been multiple reports that this is the case. There is no excuse for blessing this in the name of showing neutrality between the political parties, unless deep down you do not see abortion as “unspeakable crime”. Imagine if one political party somehow decided to defend overt racism, or anti-semtism. I can not imagine Cardinal Dolan agreeing to say a closing prayer. The Democrats essentially defend what John Paul II call murder in Evangelium Vitae. To quote “The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined.”

    So in a convention dedicated to promoting the view that this kind of murder is a right, Cardinal Dolan will offer a prayer. This shows you can strangle the rights of Catholics as Cardinal Dolan said the contraceptive mandate did, and you can advocate murder, as the Church teaches abortion advocates do, and the princes of the Church will do little to protest.

  • http://troglopundit.wordpress.com Lance

    “…if anyone leaves a comment telling me that the Christ Jesus took a whip to the moneychangers…”

    Actually I think it was a rope.

  • archangel

    You might say he’s behaving rather… ahem

    “papal”.

    Or, at the the very least, behaving as the American shepherd he is and providing witness to BOTH sides of the aisle.

  • John

    Cardinal Dolan, and God bless him, has demonstrated himself to be naive and immature. We all have to suffer because of his mistakes. In an interview for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, he called on everyone to pray to a higher power; in New York he claimed to have been misled and was silent as New York legislature approved gay marriage. He claims to have been misled by President Obama on the Health Care Mandate and stood by as the legislation was approved. Now we have a real crisis between church and state. So what makes you think the Cardinal will do the right thing at the Republican and Democratic Conventions, or the Al Smith fundraiser? We all should pray so that we do not have to suffer the consequences of his blunders. I challenge him to pray in the Name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit. I hope he will, but I doubt it.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    “You’d be surprised how many Catholics who are pro-life are not fully of a mind that repealing Roe v Wade would change much -admin”

    True, but then the fight goes on to a state by state level, unless there is a pro-life statement admentment to the constitution. It’s a long fight, but clearly it starts by overturning RvW. Otherwise do we accept defeatism? Defeat is not in my vocabulary. ;)

  • Pingback: Moe Lane » #rsrh Clearly somebody at the Democratic convention reads RedState.

  • Matt

    I hope Cdl. Dolan will take the opportunity at both conventions to pray for the sanctity of human life, preservation of religious freedom, and for political leaders to work for the common good. It would send a message without being negative.

  • Barbara

    As a former political reporter I’d just like to say this column seems terribly naive.

  • K Gerard

    A positive note about Cardinal Dolan’s appearance at the Democratic convention: the forces in favor of abortion and same-sex marriage have worked very hard to marginalize anyone who opposes them, to show that no well-intentioned, intelligent person could (or should) oppose their views. Cardinal Dolan’s presence implies that yes, pro-life and pro-marriage people can’t be totally ostracized.

  • http://www.canonlaw.info Ed Peters

    Good comments, E. As usual.

  • Ken

    The point about the repeal of Roe v. Wade not changing much is, mostly, accurate. All a repeal of the decision would do is send the issue to the states. Lots of state supreme courts would find a “right to privacy” in their state constitutions to protect access to abortion or access would be protected legislatively. Only thing that would be a true game changer would be a ruling from the United States Supreme Court that under the 14 amendment “person” includes an unborn child from the moment of conception or a federal constitutional amendment to that effect. Neither of those is likely to happen…at least not in my life time.

  • Brian English

    We really have to wait and see (1) what Dolan says, and (2) how he is treated. If he prays for respect for all human life and religious freedom, and ends up getting booed or heckled, that will be a pretty powerful scene. It might actually wake some people up.

    ““You’d be surprised how many Catholics who are pro-life are not fully of a mind that repealing Roe v Wade would change much -admin”

    Yes, usually people trying to make excuses for voting for, or failing to vote against, pro-abortion Democrats. Overturning Roe will result in huge changes, legally, politically and culturally.

  • Brian English

    “Lots of state supreme courts would find a “right to privacy” in their state constitutions to protect access to abortion or access would be protected legislatively. ”

    Not lots. The dark blue states.

  • Pingback: I’ll see your Cardinal Dolan and raise you a …Cardinal Dolan « A Moral Outrage

  • Bertha

    Jesus was strongly criticized for dining with sinners. Assuming there are sinners at both the RNC and the DNC, it seems to me that Cardinal Dolan is being very Christ-like.

  • Kimberley

    Cdl Dolan believes it’s worthwhile to offer Catholic ideas even to those who object to them, over and over, because they are good and true and beautiful. Failing to speak the truth because he’s afraid of being perceived as naive is a form of pride. I’d rather have a Cardinal who’s a little lost when dealing with politicians than, well, a politician. Dude made a judgment call, he’s faithful, I think we can trust him.

    As for abortion: we gotta learn to talk to pro-abortion folks in a non-shrill way. Plenty of people who support abortion — interestingly, particularly those who are really into it — feel like that’s the best way to help women in crisis, and don’t for a minute believe women who have them enjoy the experience or don’t experience pain from it. They’re so, so wrong, and they’re accountable for being wrong — but — they’re human beings, with limitations and fears and stupid fixations.

    God has a plan for the universe and he’s permitted this national nightmare that is abortion in America. He’s bigger than it, he can make good out of it, and us treating half the country like moral lepers won’t help him any.

  • Pingback: UPDATE – Cardinal Dolan will give the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. « The TrogloPundit

  • Margaret

    Perhaps he could offer the exact same prayer at both conventions, asking God’s blessing on our nation; for peaceful, honest elections; for people of all faiths to work together towards the common good; for respect for all life from conception until natural death; for a return to traditional, exclusive, life-long marriage; for the protection of religious liberty.

  • Pingback: There are lessons in what Cardinal Dolan is doing, for anyone willing to look... - Christian Forums

  • George

    Grave Matter. So, how should the Church deal with it.

  • Amatorem Veritatis

    Elizabeth….excellent post as most all of yours are, but why do you and several other Catholic bloggers feel obligated to always qualify your posts with the meme that “Progressives” and “Conservatives” are equally flawed extremists, and you “Moderates” have that special Goldilocks gift of knowing exactly what is not too hot…not too cold…but juuusst right! I am a Catholic conservative and I find your caricatures of “conservatives” to be fundamentally alien to what I know as conservatism. Cartoon cutouts to advance some misguided need for false equivalence has the effect of diminishing your otherwise outstanding and entertaining gifts as a writer. Perhaps you can bless us with a post soon (how very topical) explaining just what you believe the top three or four characteristics or principles of the average conservative and progressive (aka liberal, leftist) might be. My humble opinion is that you are intrinsically a conservative, which is complimentary to being an orthodox Catholic, but worry that the two “labels” are incompatible. Some advice…get over it!

  • Susan

    I’d like to hear Chris Christy’s comment!


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