Prayer at DNC alludes to difficult issues
When Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York offered the closing benediction Sept. 6 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, he made allusions to issues that have put the U.S. church and the White House at odds with each other.
“Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our founding,” Cardinal Dolan prayed, an apparent reference to an ongoing dispute between the U.S. bishops and the White House over a mandate from the federal Department of Health and Human Services that would require most religious employers to offer contraceptive coverage in violation of church teaching.
The other options would be to drop all health coverage for its workers or risk paying steep fines if contraceptive coverage is not included in their insurance package. Dozens of Catholic institutions have filed suit over the mandate, and the bishops’ early-summer “Fortnight for Freedom” was an effort to raise awareness of the issue.
“We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected,” prayed Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. While the cardinal uttered a similar phrase in his closing benediction the week before at the Republican National Convention, the GOP’s platform on abortion is generally viewed as closer to the Catholic Church’s teaching than the Democrats’, which supports legal abortion.
Cardinal Dolan also made an allusion to same-sex marriage, which President Barack Obama voiced his support for earlier this year. “Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” the cardinal prayed. “Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community.”
PBS reported that some Democratic officials were worried that some delegates would rebuke Cardinal Dolan during his prayer by either turning their backs on him or by making catcalls, but the convention stayed silent and the prayer proceeded without incident. [More]