The highest-ranking Catholic in the country, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, will deliver the benediction to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week. The GOP is gathered in Florida to officially nominate Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president.
Maybe it’s because Romney’s a Mormon and the Cardinal is Catholic (so is VP pick Paul Ryan, by the way), but some people are having a rough time being ok with Timothy Dolan offering a blessing at the convention. Apparently some people really don’t like expressions of faith.
David Cruz-Uribe, a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, wrote that Dolan’s blessing "will only drag the Church further into a partisan divide and fuel the perception (true or not) that the Catholic Church wants to replace the Episcopalians as the Republican party on its knees."
First of all, mentioning the Catholic Church and references to being on your knees in the same sentence is probably not the best idea. Just saying. Second, I didn’t know the Episcopalians were Republicans on their knees? What does that even mean? Has anyone told the Episcopalians? Do the Catholics know about this?
While it’s not unusual for a bishop to pray at a party convention meeting, it is usually a local church leader that does the honors. Add in the fact that Dolan is not only not a Tampa local, but is the top Catholic in the country, and it gets people suspicious, I guess.
The concern over the supposed divide in the church is silly. The great thing about the First Amendment is that we’re guaranteed a right to the freedom of religion -- and that includes deciding whether or not to be a member of the Catholic Church. If Catholic Democrats feel that things are getting a little too Republican-y, there’s nothing stopping them from leaving.
Catholics can believe what they want, and political parties can invite whom they want to speak at their conventions, even if it’s to pray. Offended parties don’t have to participate.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Dolan offered to go give a blessing to the Democrats in Charlotte next week. No word on whether they’ll extend him an invitation, but it’s probably not going to happen, seeing as Dolan is one of dozens of Catholic leaders suing the Obama administration over the birth control debacle.
I guess forcing religious businesses to pay for their employees’ contraception is more important than prayer to some people. To each their own.
Image via Jess Pac/Flickr