The Catholic leadership in the United States has embraced a more visible political role as of late, forming a SuperPAC to lobby against contraception coverage and going so far as to advocate against support of Obamacare from the pulpit.
So it should come as little surprise that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan will deliver the closing blessing to the Republican National Convention, even if the cozy relationship between the bishops and the GOP makes many Catholics uncomfortable. As reported in the Washington Post:
The cozy relationship between a sizable portion of U.S. bishops and the Republican Party should be cause for concern, and not just among progressive Catholics, Michael O’Loughlin wrote in a post on the website of America magazine, a leading Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits.
Cardinal Dolan’s appearance in Tampa will damage the church’s ability to be a moral and legitimate voice for voiceless, as those who view the Catholic Church as being a shill for the GOP have just a bit more evidence to prove their case, O’Loughlin concluded.
Dolan has reportedly said that if the Democrats extended an offer for him to pray at the convention there, he would accept, but that seems unlikely given the visible and vocal role Dolan has taken in suing the administration. Furthermore, Dolan maybe insisting his role is simply as a neutral vessel for the spirit, but with Dolan, nothing is neutral.
Having a prayer at the opening and close of the convention is nothing new, nor is it unique to the GOP, but it is the choice of Dolan that is important here. Dolan has gone out of his way to be a visible partisan within the church and embroiling, often unnecessarily, Catholicism with partisan politics. It is that link–between the church leadership and the Republican leadership that should give people of all faiths–or no faith–pause.
Photo from cphoffman42 via flickr.