CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, August 23, 2012 ( – After the revelation Thursday that Cardinal Dolan will offer a benediction closing the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, the Archdiocese has issued a statement clarifying that his appearance is not an endorsement and he would be willing to offer benediction at the Democratic National Convention as well.

The news comes as the Democrats reveal a slate of pro-abortion and pro-same-sex “marriage” speakers at their convention.

When accepting the Republicans’ invitation, said Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling, “it was made clear to the convention organizers … that the Cardinal was coming only to pray not to endorse, and that he would be willing to accept a similar offer from the Democratic Party as well.”


“That same sentiment was conveyed to the Democratic National Committee,” Zwilling added.

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Dolan’s offer is a sound pastoral move and aligns with conventional wisdom that the Church should avoid appearing partisan.

“The kind of legal advice regularly found in circulation in Church institutions these days would suggest taking steps like this to avoid not only the legal actuality but also the public perception or suspicion of being partisan,” Fr. Pavone explained. “But good pastoral zeal would also suggest offering oneself to both camps, to give witness to the pro-life message.”

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Demetrios, will pray at the Republican National Convention this week as well. He has prayed at both Republican and Democratic conventions in 2000, 2004, and 2008.

Cardinal Dolan has been an ardent defender of the right to life and has won praise from pro-life groups in recent months for his leadership in opposing President Obama’s contraceptive mandate, which requires religious employers to cover contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacient drugs.

A key theme of the Democrats’ campaign has been to charge that Republicans are waging a “War on Women” through their opposition to abortion and Obama’s contraceptive mandate. The list of convention speakers released Thursday confirmed that the “War on Women” would be a main topic at the convention, with a headline talk by Georgetown Law graduate Sandra Fluke, who soared to national prominence this year after she backed Obama’s contraceptive mandate and has since been a staple of his campaign.

The convention will also feature addresses by Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, in addition to numerous pro-abortion politicians.