The news that Cardinal Timothy Dolan will offer the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention is a welcome development, somewhat balancing the scales of Catholic participation in this year's versions of these quadrennial extravaganzas.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan's appearance at both the Republican and Democratic conventions is a sign Catholics have an important place in the U.S. political process and shows Dolan can raise above partisan politics, according to a professor at a Catholic university.
The economy continues to weigh on pastors, with a new survey showing that almost two-thirds say it has affected their churches negatively.
LifeWay Research asked 1,000 pastors about the economy's effect on their churches and found that 56 percent described it somewhat negatively and 8 percent very negatively. Nine percent reported a positive effect on their churches and one-quarter said the economy was having "no impact on my church."
"Pastor views on the economy are similar to many economic outlook surveys," said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. "We weren't surprised the current perspective of economic impact on churches is predominantly negative."
A Gallup poll released Tuesday found that 43 percent of Americans call the country's economic conditions "poor," compared to 13 percent who say they are "good" or "excellent." Almost 6 in 10 expect the economy to worsen and 35 percent perceive improvement.
For the first time in history, Catholic will oppose Catholic on the presidential tickets of the two major political parties. With Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as the Republican Party's vice presidential candidate and incumbent Vice President Joe Biden for the Democrats, the role of the Catholic church and its teachings is guaranteed to be front and center in the fall campaign.
NEW YORK -- In a move that could recast the reigning political narrative about the Catholic bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has accepted an invitation to deliver the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention a week after he gives a similar blessing to the Republicans in Tampa, Fla.
NEW YORK -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who sparked controversy by agreeing to deliver the closing blessing at the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., this week, on Monday drew further attention to his political role by asking both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to sign a civility pledge promoted by a leading conservative Catholic activist.
Tampa, Fla., is the GOP's choice for its four-day national convention, which begins Monday. But despite the Republicans' warm relations with so-called "values voters," the city on the bay does not enjoy a reputation as a particularly prayerful town.
A 2006 study showed Tampa to have the third most strip clubs per capita in the U.S. And a 2010 ranking of more than 50 metropolitan areas placed Tampa-St. Petersburg next to last in the percentage of people who identify themselves as religious adherents -- just ahead of Portland, Ore.
(Charlotte, host city for the Democratic National Convention, ranked 18th.)
But just because Tampa may lack a great religious reputation doesn't mean it lacks a meaningful religious life. For those who need a break from the nominating and speechifying during convention week, there are some ways to find spiritual sustenance, even if you're just watching the proceedings from afar.
The notion that Catholic bishops in the United States have not been involved in politics historically or should not be involved in politics is, in the first instance, a fiction, and in the second instance, absurd.
WASHINGTON -- The announcement that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan would deliver a benediction at the Republican National Convention made him the latest in a long string of prelates to offer prayers at the major party conventions.
By naming devout, conservative Catholic U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, former Gov. Mitt Romney, once a Mormon bishop, did more than ensure the U.S. will have a Catholic vice president in 2013.
He established the first Republican ticket without a Protestant since 1860, when Abraham Lincoln, who belonged to no church, chose Maine Sen. Hannibal Hamlin, a Unitarian, as his running mate, said Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.