“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,” according to a statement from the Archdiocese of New York.
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.”
Last week, the New York Times reported that Republican presidenial candidate Mitt Romney had been courting the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president since April.
“That month, the two had a private meeting, previously undisclosed, at the chancery in New York, across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, said Peter G. Flaherty, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign who is Catholic and who served as Mr. Romney’s liaison to the religious community when he was governor of Massachusetts,” according to the New York Times.
On Monday, Dolan was in the news asked President Obama and Romney “to sign a civility pledge to stay off personalities (bye-bye birther and dog-on-car wisecracks) to campaign on their policy proposals,” USA Today reported.
“Dolan has become increasingly active and visible as the presidential campaign gears up. His decision to deliver the benediction at the GOP convention on Thursday night immediately following Romney’s official nomination was met with sharp rebukes from many who say his appearance will formalize what was seen as the hierarchy’s growing embrace of the Republican ticket,” Religion News Service reported Monday.
And Dolan isn’t the only prominent Catholic official appearing at the conventions. A source in the Obama campaign tells Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein that Sister Simone Cambpell, the liberal lobbyist-lawyer who spent the summer running the well-publicized Nuns On the Bus tour, will speak to the Democrats.