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I’m So Pleased to Have Been Wrong – Cardinal Dolan’s Benediction

I’ll have to be honest about my skepticism when it was announced that Cardinal Dolan would subject himself to rubbing shoulders with the party that officially includes abortion and same sex ‘marriage’ in their platform. Then word came down that this party had also excluded the word ‘God’. What a shocking and shameful day for the United States of America! That they rammed mention of our God-given rights back into their platform after the righteous indignation of the People, was not much salve for the wound that lay open from the initial omission of His holy Name.

While I adhere to the practice of showing respect to all of our Church leaders, I am also sensitive to a perception of endorsement of that which is not in line with Church teaching. The scandal that can result from an implied endorsement weighs heavy on my sensibilities. That sometimes shepherds make human, misguided choices (as we all do) is a part of the human condition and serves to remind us that they are not the foundation of the Church, Jesus is!

In the interest of full disclosure, I will go on record that I did not tune into the convention so this morning was my first opportunity to view video of Cardinal Dolan’s Benediction. The entire text was also available. Having seen the context of his words dispelled any fears that I had previously felt. His prayer was so powerful and unmistakably Catholic, that my heart soared as I heard each new phrase! Not only did he cover all of our differences with the secular world, he did so with an undeniable strength of conviction! The points that resonated with me were many but I will share a few excerpts with you.

He began in the same way that he addressed the first convention. And then became brilliantly pro-life – from conception to natural death…

…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.

 Next he touched on liberty – including religious liberty…

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.

He went on…

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.

In closing, he punctuated God’s role in our lives as Americans…

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!

My skepticism turned to pure joy! What a great thing that I was so wrong! I am humbled to acknowledge that this was a very powerful moment. While it is unclear whether or not all media outlets stayed tuned to hear this masterful Benediction, I am certain that these were just the right words at just the right time for those in attendance. The text and video will live on, giving ample opportunity for review. All I have left to say at this moment is – AMEN!

 

About BirgitJ

Birgit is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the pro-life movement. She enthusiastically serves on the Diocesan Gospel of Life Committee where she chairs pro-life events and writes pro-life articles. Birgit has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 37 years. They have four children and seven grandchildren (all age eight and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest! Her vibrant Catholic faith colors every aspect of her life. She also sings in the church choir with her husband and daughter. Other interests include politics, as they relate to ‘Life’, and Church liturgy as well as photography, cooking, and gardening. She can also be found on her personal blog, Designs by Birgit.

September 7, 2012 - 2:33 pm

Margie Sindelar - Oh, you weren’t wrong. Maybe you don’t have ProObama Catholics in your family. This is what happens, this is what they say: “See its OK to be personally prolife but vote for prochoice Obama, because the Cardinal was there. He gave a nice prayer that we should protect life”. You dont look at it through our eyes Birgit, you look at it through theirs. Yes, it made US, “feel good”, but it further confuses weak Catholics. He should not have been there, any more than a Cardinal should pray at a KKK meeting.

September 7, 2012 - 2:47 pm

BirgitJ - Margie, while I understand your point, I do have to respectfully disagree. When I first learned that the Cardinal would give the benediction my comment was, ‘I hope that he shares the type of prayer that Mother Theresa gave, in front of the pro-choice president of that time, when she accepted her Nobel Peace prize. In my humble opinion, that is exactly what Cardinal Dolan did! He had a captive audience, whose majority most likely is that of the official pro-abortion/pro-gay ‘marriage’ crowd and he prayed loudly and mightily. That he stepped into a potentially hostile environment to share his message, made it that much more potent!
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September 7, 2012 - 2:50 pm

Margie Sindelar - Mother Teresa was not at a political convention, big difference. Dolan just helped Obama get elected via the Catholic vote.

September 7, 2012 - 3:01 pm

BirgitJ - I do know quite a few pro-Obama Catholics and yes, they will continue to use weak arguments to validate their faulty consciences but I beg to differ that this benediction will have made the difference for them. This type of mindset is long-lived and persistent. The same type of individual also rationalizes such things as contraception and homosexual behavior. They might grasp at Cardinal Dolan’s prayer as one of their ‘points’ but without his appearance at the convention, their vote would have been the same. While I strongly disagree with some other appearances that Church leaders make, this is not one of them.
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September 7, 2012 - 3:10 pm

Margie Sindelar - Yes, that is true, many will use this as a tool to rationalize their already faulty conscience, but we have to protect the weaker Catholics who will be truly confused by this. He would have made a much stronger statement, by declining. I think Dolan was there for one reason, in my opinion. 501c3.

September 7, 2012 - 3:16 pm

BirgitJ - < >

The protection of the weaker Catholics is exactly why it is up to us, now, to share the true message of Cardinal Dolan’s Benediction! His powerful words spoke volumes and that he delivered it on the stage of the opposition emphasized that. Since we had no say in whether or not he would give the Benediction, let us do something that we *are* capable of — spreading the message! Debating about coulda, woulda, shoulda is counter productive. Let’s take the Cardinal’s message to the streets! Let’s make sure it is seen for the powerful witness that it is! Words are important, so let us proclaim this message far and wide!
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September 7, 2012 - 6:37 pm

Angie - I tell you, I was ecstatic with Cardinal Dolan’s benediction. I’ve been watching te convention and the debacle over taking God out of the platform was so surreal. I think the Cardinal tailored his benediction to address those issues which go against the church beliefs like its anti-abortion position. I also noticed that he mentioned God over and over as to reemphasize that this country’s laws and constitution are founded in the belief that God almighty exists and is our Sovereign leader.

September 7, 2012 - 6:54 pm

Kathryn - We should be anywhere God calls us to be. The Cardinal spoke words that needed to be heard. A weak Catholic will use anything to support their decision. How many times do you think Jesus spoke in front of crowds that differed from his moral code – um, always? And, St. Paul? And, quite nearly every other saint. Convention or not, I applaud Cardinal Dolan for being brave to share the words of the Holy Spirit. We should all be so brave, yet compassionate, when sharing our faith. Bring on the new evangelization! Nice job, Birgit.
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September 8, 2012 - 7:23 am

Melissa Buttry - I don’t think those who are voting for Obama need an excuse. I think Cardinal Dolan prayed a beautiful prayer. I don’t think prayer has limitations. I think all Catholics should be praying the prayer he prayed all the way till election and then on after as the new or returning President takes office. I am scared for our country if Obama remains in office, but God is bigger than my fears and prayer is much stronger. I think we will speak much more clearly if we are united in prayer and the other side sees that and they see positive things come from us not yelling at the other side.
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September 8, 2012 - 9:48 am

Margaret B - When I first heard that Cardinal Dolan was delivering the benediction at the DNC, I thought, “Wow. This ought to be good.” Jesus did not reach out to just His believers, He reached out to the sinners and non believers as well. Our dear Cardinal did just as Jesus would have. Otherwise, he would be “preaching to the choir.”

September 8, 2012 - 12:45 pm

Annie - I recorded the last three hours of the DNC convention so that I wouldn’t miss Cardinal Dolan. I was impressed by his simple and prayerful Benediction at the RNC convention. I had mixed feelings about him doing the same at the DNC. I struggled with the idea and came to the the realization (again) that we are here for all and there were many hearts there willing to hear and many more who NEEDED to hear.

As I fast-forwared two hours and 55 minutes, I felt like I was speeding towards an even bigger revelation. And there it was. Power. Voice of authority. Clarity of message. The man doing what he was born to do – be used as a clearly understood conduit of God message to us all.

Thank you, God, for your son, Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

September 8, 2012 - 6:31 pm

Martina - I think of the Cardinal’s speech as the difference between Paul’s exhortation of those who were the Church in Corinth vs. those who were *of* Corinth. Clearly, those who embrace the Faith represent the Church in Corinth and as such, the phrase “to whom much is given, much is expected” follows.

I don’t give a second thought to his actions as being scandalous the way some have purported because he, in essence, prayed for those who are *of* Corinth. We are all sinners and in need of prayer and in particular a party that has denounced God is clearly in need of someone who is willing to risk what appears to be “scandal” to pray over them.

All I can think is how profound his words were and if even *ONE* heart was converted, Cardinal Dolan’s efforts were not in vain.

I think we all need to reflect on how we evangelize and to whom we evangelize instead of focusing on and making scandal where, perhaps, there is none?

September 11, 2012 - 9:51 am

Marie Antonia - I was horrified and mad that Cardinal Dolan invited Obama to the fundraiser he had a few weeks ago in NY., as I thought he just couldn’t shake the concept that Catholics are synonymous with Democrats, but he redeemed himself in my eyes. This prayer was wisely crafted not to directly insult anyone, but did not shy away from illuminating the responsibilities of being in public office and stating the real truths that are inspired by God! But there still seems to be much work in convincing Catholics that they should not stay loyal to a political party that shuns (and even hates!) God. The long slumber that embeds itself into the concept of party loyalty, has to be awakened! If not, many Catholics (maybe even the majority!) in the United States, will have to answer to their voting record before Almightly God and the devil will be there, at their judgement, accusing them for their acquiesence to the evils of our age…abortion turned infanticide, immorality turned decadence, and the deliberate breakdown of our laws under God especially those concerning marriage and childrearing!

September 11, 2012 - 11:26 am

Adeleye Adebusuyi - BIRGITJ, I agree totally with you. I am neither an American nor a Catholic, but my best friend is. Although I have my reservations about some of the church’s doctrine, I am enthralled at the way the Catholic church has stood up for the right of the unborn, and traditional marriage. How I wish all other churches will be that resolute in their defence of these sacred institution instituted by God himself, which is even older than the church itself. To Margie I will say Cardinal Dolan’s appearance and prayer at the DNC convection is worth it. He powerfully stood as light in the midst of that crowd and I am sure one or two people in that convention crowd will ponder that prayer in their mind for a long time. The Bible enjoins us”to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our father in heaven” – that is what the cardinal did and God will bless and honor his courage.

September 11, 2012 - 5:01 pm

BirgitJ - Adeleye, thank you for the kind words! I hope you will continue to take a look at the Catholic Church and all she has to offer. Perhaps, through continued exploration, some day you will resolve your reservations and join us!
;-)
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September 23, 2012 - 11:25 pm

mj anderson - Amen! I too worried that agreeing to do the closing prayer was a mistake–a mere photo op for Dems to say “see, the Cardinal doesn’t have a problem with us, neither should his flock.”

But the Holy Spirit was there–amazing!

Now…about that Al Smith Dinner….

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