CHARLOTTE, August 28, 2012, ( –  Cardinal Timothy Dolan will pray at the conclusion of both the Republican and Democratic national conventions in 2012, it was announced today.

The New York prelate will arrive in Tampa to give the closing benediction to the Republican National Convention this week after it nominates Mitt Romney for president. Then he will attend the Democratic National Convention to offer a closing prayer in Charlotte, as it renominates the Obama-Biden ticket.


Dolan’s spokeman, Joseph Zwilling, said last week that the cardinal had contacted the Democratic Party after he accepted the GOP’s invitation “to make sure that they knew that this was not a partisan act on his part and that he would be just as happy and grateful to accept an invitation from the Democrats.” At that time, Democratic operatives had not responded.

As Dolan prays, he is also bringing the nation’s warring factions an additional petition: conduct a civil campaign.

The cardinal, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is asking Romney and Obama to sign the Knights of Columbus “Civility in America” pledge, which calls on “candidates, the media and other advocates and commentators” to focus “on policies rather than on individual personalities.” 

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Nearly four-fifths of Americans are frustrated by the campaign’s negative tone, he has noted. 

The civility document was drafted by Carl Anderson, currently the head of the Knights of Columbus and a former employee of Senator Jesse Helms and President Ronald Reagan.   

Cardinal Dolan has taken a placid view of both parties and personalities, recently celebrating the fact that both Vice President Joe Biden and Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan are Catholic. “We’ve got two men who – and you can disagree with one of them or both of them – say they take their faith seriously, who don’t try to hide it, and who say, ‘Hey, my Catholic upbringing and my Catholic formation influences the way I think.’ Not bad. Not bad,” Cardinal Dolan said.   

The cardinal also stirred controversy when he invited Barack Obama to address the Al Smith Dinner alongside Mitt Romney this October.

The Republican Party platform takes a strong pro-life, pro-marriage position. For the first time, the Democratic platform will endorse same-sex “marriage.” 

Cardinal Dolan will not be the only Catholic religious figure present at the political events. Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK will address the Democratic convention. 


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