CNA Staff, Aug 18, 2020 / 10:22 am (CNA) –
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will offer a prayer at the opening of the Republican National Convention next week, the cardinal announced Tuesday.
“As a priest, one of my most sacred obligations is to try and respond positively whenever I am invited to pray,” Dolan said in an Aug. 18 statement.
“Prayer is speaking to God, offering him praise, thanking him for his many blessings, and asking for his intercession; it is not political or partisan.”
“That is why I have accepted an invitation to pray at the Republican National Convention,” the cardinal added. “My agreeing to pray does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate, party, or platform. Had I been invited to offer a prayer for the Democratic National Convention, I would have happily accepted, just as I did in 2012.”
In fact, Dolan led prayers in 2012 at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and in 2017, he led a prayer at President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The announcement of Dolan’s participation in the Republican convention, to be held next week mostly online, came after it was announced that Fr. James Martin, SJ, and Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, would offer prayers at the Democratic National Convention this week.
Martin, an editor-at-large for America Magazine, told the National Catholic Reporter that he was “honored” to be asked to pray at the DNC.
The priest said that his prayer will “respect the dignity of all life,” including “the unborn, the young Black person, the LGBTQ teen, the migrant.” He said that he hopes that his prayer “will help people find a way to build a more welcoming nation.”
In a tweet, Martin said that he would offer “the same prayer” at the upcoming Republican convention if asked to do so. Martin, who is well-known for his book “Building a Bridge” and advocacy on issues related to homosexuality, has also spoken frequently regarding his support for the Church’s teaching on abortion.
Were Martin’s prayer to include explicit mention of “the unborn,” as he suggested it might, it would contrast the Democratic Party’s platform, set to be adopted this week at the convention.
The draft platform, which was released in July, notes “Democrats believe that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion,” and promises to “restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”
Campbell, the executive director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, had previously spoken at the 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions.
During a 2016 interview with Democracy Now, Campbell said that “From my perspective, I don’t think it’s a good policy to outlaw abortion,” Campbell told Democracy Now, saying instead that pro-life campaigners should “focus on economic development for women and economic opportunity. That’s what really makes the change.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “the right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation.”
For his part, Dolan said he hopes “that, during this tumultuous time in our nation’s history, people of all religious faiths or none at all might join together in seeking peace and reconciliation in our hearts, in our cities, and in our country.“