When news broke a week or so ago that Cardinal Dolan was slated to give the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention, I admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement. Of course, the required, "This is not an endorsement" spiel was issued by the Archdiocese of New York, but I still thought it sent a powerful message that, at this critical juncture in American life when so much is at stake, a prominent Church official was comfortable aligning himself with the platform of a party that specifically endorses the right to life for the unborn, and defends the traditional definition of marriage.
So radical has Obama's assault on religious liberty and Catholicism been that Cardinal Dolan's presence at the Republican National Convention should have been intended as clear manifestation of an unspoken alliance, rooted not in a mere party, but in shared principles. As I read more about the story however, my enthusiasm quickly dimmed, as the Archdiocese of New York made it clear that Cardinal Dolan would also respond positively, if invited, to pray at the Democratic Convention as well.
So, when news broke from Gotham that the same cardinal will indeed offer a prayer at the closing of the Democratic National Convention, my earlier "attaboy" enthusiasm for Dolan melted away. To put it simply, what is Cardinal Dolan thinking?
I can appreciate the importance of praying with and for all people. Certainly, the diehard apparatchiks of the Party of the Culture of Death are in dire need of prayers. Point taken. Pray with them, for them, but for heaven's sake, not at such a high-level, nationally televised public event as a political convention! Apparently, word hasn't gotten out that this is not your father's Democratic Party. With its embrace of so much of what the Church rightly considers poisonous to a healthy society, one has good reason to ask if the pooh-bahs in the Democratic Party have any serious interest in a dialogue with the Catholic Church. Or rather, are they simply seeking to exploit the Church by using Cardinal Dolan's presence for political purposes?
The Catholic Church clearly has a problem in this country when it comes to guiding the faithful to act (and vote) according to the teachings of the Church. Much of this stems from a lamentable failure in Church leadership stretching back decades. Remember that in 2008, the radically pro-abortion Obama won the Catholic vote by a significant majority.
It is totally shocking that the allegedly media savvy Dolan fails to understand the power that images hold in today's society. No one will remember the "This is not an endorsement" statement from the spokesman of the Archdiocese of New York, whoever he is. But what people are certain to remember, especially the Catholics, will be the images of Cardinal Dolan, onstage or backstage, with a select cadre of liberal politicians, some touting their own Catholicism, and many who have had a hand in promoting abortion and gay "marriage" but all playing for the cameras to ensure that America sees the spectacle.