Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s final benediction at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night called for blessings on the delegates, asked God for the “courage” to defend life and prayed for the renewal of “a profound respect for religious liberty.”
“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,” the archbishop of New York said Sept. 6. “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.”
At the close of a convention where many speakers had stressed support for legalized abortion, the cardinal prayed that God bless “those waiting to be born,” as well as the sick and the elderly.
Cardinal Dolan also touched on the controversy caused by the Obama administration issuing a rule that will require many Catholic institutions and secular businesses to pay for health plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drug, regardless of their beliefs.
In his prayer, the cardinal called respect for religious liberty “the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our founding.”
He also prayed for guidance for President Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court and President Obama’s Republican political rivals.
“Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country,” he said. “Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.”
He thanked God for life and liberty, saying happiness is found “only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” He asked God for help in resisting the temptations to “replace the moral law with idols” or to “remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community,” an apparent reference to attempts aimed at redefining marriage.
Cardinal Dolan asked God to remember those who are not free, those who are poor, unemployed, needy, sick or alone, as well as those who are persecuted for their religion or are suffering war.
“And most of all, God almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country,” the cardinal said.
The benediction was largely similar to the cardinal’s prayer at the close of the Republican National Convention in Tampa Aug. 30. However, his prayer at the Democratic gathering was more explicit about the need to defend life.
His prayer at the Republican gathering referenced immigration in alluding to “families that have come recently ... to build a better future, while weaving their lives into the rich tapestry of America.” He prayed for “all those who seek honest labor” and thanked God for the “spirit of generosity to those in need.”
Both prayers asked God to make those in public office worthy to serve their country and stressed the need for a government that “serves its citizens rather than itself.”