New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will deliver the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week.
Dolan is also delivering the closing benediction at the Republican National Convention on Thursday. Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said Dolan was coming solely to pray at the conventions and not to endorse any party, platform, or candidate.
The USCCB has been highly critical of the birth control mandates in the new health care law, claiming they violate Catholic organization’s religious freedom. The USCCB is current suing the Obama administration over the mandate. The organization has also been highly critical of same sex marriage, which the Democratic Party official endorsed in its 2012 platform.
“I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Dolan said in May. “May we all work to promote and protect marriage and by so doing serve the true good of all persons.”
The USCCB has also been highly critical of Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), saying that his proposed budget plan was “unjustified and wrong” because it would harm struggling families and people living in poverty. But despite the USCCB’s criticism of Ryan’s budget, Dolan has said he admires the Wisconsin congressman “immensely” and “would consider him a friend.”
Catholics are evenly split between Obama and Romney, according to Gallup. “Catholics constitute almost one in four voters in the U.S. today, making their vote an important target of the Obama and the Romney election campaigns,” the polling firm explained.
[Ed. note: Cardinal Dolan has no relation to the author of this piece.]