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Cardinal Dolan's Prayer at the Democratic National Convention Reflects True Christian Leadership

By Deacon Keith Fournier
September 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This wonderful Cardinal rose to the call and invitation of history. He was faithful to his episcopal office once more. He did not let his detractors distract him from doing what was right. On the closing evening of the Democratic nominating convention he stepped up to that microphone and prayed a prayer that not only was heard in heaven but is still reverberating on earth.

CHARLOTTE, NC (Catholic Online) - Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Catholic Bishops Conference, closed the Republican Convention with a prayer of Benediction. The prayer was theologically rich, sincerely devout and verbally beautiful. In the aftermath of the balloon drop and fanfare, this prayer did not receive the attention it deserved in the media.That is why we presented it in full for our readers immediately after it was offered

His offer to lead the Benediction at the Democrat's Convention surprised some of the faithful. It also brought a massive "discussion" in the blogosphere, some of which was not only uncharitable but reflected, in this writers opinion, a misunderstanding of the role of a Bishop in the public square. After his initial offer was refused, the discussion died down a bit. However, a group of "blog pundits" in the Catholic blogosphere continued to verbally berate the very fact that the Cardinal had even offered to pray.

The refusal then led to another round of verbal fire, this time against the Democratic Party, for rejecting the offer. It certainly did not help their standing in the public eye. So then, the "surprise" happened. The Convention leaders changed their mind. They asked the good Cardinal to come and pray after all.

The prayer at the conclusion of the Democratic convention was beautiful and filled with the fearless sincerity which lies at the core of Cardinal Dolan's leadership of the Church and service to the Nation. Its content raised an interesting quagmire, coming as it did at the end of a party convention which not only promoted but celebrated intrinsic evils such as abortion on demand and the elimination of the special place given to true marriage in America.

In his usual brilliance, it was Catholic Princeton Professor Robert George who raised the obvious question the invitation raised. He did so in an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal just prior to the evening of the actual Benediction:

"If, as the Obama-Biden campaign alleges, there is a "war on women," Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, is its field marshal. If opposition to same-sex marriage is "bigotry," as many on the left insist, then Cardinal Dolan-as the most prominent defender of marriage as the union of husband and wife-is the country's leading bigot.Yet Timothy Dolan will be appearing at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., to invoke divine blessing on the proceedings. So what's going on? "

This wonderful Cardinal rose to the call and invitation of history. He was faithful to his episcopal office once more. He did not let his detractors distract him from doing what was right. On the closing evening of the Democratic nominating convention he stepped up to that microphone and prayed a prayer that not only was heard by in heaven but is still reverberating on earth. There are several matters which need to be considered now that the prayer has been offered  -and its effects are still being demonstrated.

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Cardinal Dolans Prayer at the Democratic Convention

With a "firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,"  let us close this convention by praying for this land that we so cherish and love:

Let us Pray.

Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed to us so powerfully in your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank you for showering your blessings upon this our beloved nation.  Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States.  Help us to see that a society's greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.

We beseech you, almighty God to shed your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by you:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thus do we praise you for the gift of life.  Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure.  We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected.  Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life's end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.

We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty.  May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms.  Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty:  the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding. May our liberty be in harmony with truth; freedom ordered in goodness and justice.  Help us live our freedom in faith, hope, and love.  Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom's defense; we commend their noble souls to your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.

We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness.  Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature's God.  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.  May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose families have lived here for centuries.

We praise and thank you for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us:  President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office.  Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country.  Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.

And finally Lord, we beseech your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening, and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice.  We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom's cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions, those still ravaged by war.

And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country.

For we are indeed "one nation under God," and "in God we trust."

So dear God, bless America.  You who live and reign forever and ever.

Amen!

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There are several matters which need to be considered now that the prayer has been offered  - and its effects are still being demonstrated. I will end with two. First, we all need to join our continued prayer to the Cardinals prayer. Second, those who were so quick to verbally berate the Cardinal for even accepting the invitation to pray might want to pause and reconsider their own words and actions. Maybe they should write to thank this great Churchmen for demonstrating true Christian leadership.  

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