It was recently announced that Cardinal Dolan will be giving the opening prayer at the Republican National Convention Monday August 24. This should not be a surprise to anyone considering how much flattery Cardinal Dolan has given to Trump over the years.

In May on Fox News Dolan said he “admires Trump’s leadership.”

“I really salute his leadership,” Cardinal Dolan said on Fox & Friends. “Everybody has really come through, but the president has seemed particularly sensitive to the, what shall I say, to the feelings of the religious community.”

I guess Cardinal Dolan never heard Trump’s statements about the Muslim community.

Trump’s decision to turn away immigrants seeking asylum and separate children from their families at the US-Mexico border certainly does not reflect the feelings of the religious community.

His constant degrading of women, minorities and the poor and his lying and use of hateful language degrades Catholic values rather than showing sensitivity.

Robert McElroy, the Archbishop of San Diego, recently said: “Because our nation is in a moment of political division and degradation in its public life, character represents a particularly compelling criterion for faithful voting in 2020.”

Character is defined not by our words but by our actions. St Clare, one of the founders of the Franciscan Order, asked: Are we becoming a mirror of Christ for others to see and follow?

St Clare believed that we should reflect Christ in every moment and every action.

The Republican Party, for which Dolan will be giving the opening  blessing, is led by a man who brags about grabbing woman, joked about having sex with his daughter, talks about racists as being good people, and on and on.

Pope Francis tells us that an essential aspect of good politics is “the pursuit of the common good of all.” Spreading false information, fearmongering and promoting hatred and divisiveness are in themselves spreading an anti-Catholic message not in any way reflecting the feelings of the Catholic community or the teachings of Jesus. And certainly not being a mirror of Christ.

It appears that President Trump is as enamored with Cardinal Dolan as Dolan is with Trump. He has called Dolan a great religious leader.

I guess that old saying “birds of a feather flock together” is appropriate in this case.

According to documents released a few years ago, Dolan, when he was Bishop of Milwaukee, tried to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund in 2007 specifically to shield it from lawsuits by victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The documents also show the Milwaukee archdiocese transferring pedophile priests instead of removing them from the Church.

Dolan’s history of protecting abusive priests as well as the church’s assets is long and worth noting.

In 2013, a New York Times opinion piece related, “Tragic as the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has been, it is shocking to discover that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests.”

The court documents also showed that while Dolan was bishop the archdiocese he paid off pedophile priests with tens of thousands of dollars or transferred them elsewhere instead of removing them from the Church.

My Catholic faith teaches me the importance of forgiveness: both the humility to ask for forgiveness and the courage and strength to forgive.

As a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest I often struggle with the being able to forgive part. Especially if in their arrogance the offender refuses to acknowledge their action.

If Cardinal Dolan wants to lead in prayer, perhaps he should get off his high horse, meet with the survivors whom his actions have hurt, and pray for forgiveness with and from them.

So maybe it is appropriate that the opening prayer at a convention for a party led by a man who has shown a complete lack of character and empathy for the poor, sick and marginalized should be given by a cardinal who did everything he could to cover up and protect Church abuse and pedophile priests.

Birds of a feather flock together.

More on Novena on the US Church:

The Napa Institute is passing off poisonous right-wing vinegar as gospel wine

Fact check: Trump gets Christian theology upside-down with claim Biden presidency would “hurt God”

Progressive feminist Catholics urge US voters to “stem the tide of injustice and usher in a new era of equality”

Amid controversy at Sojourners, on racism it’s the US Conference of Censoring, Cowardly Bishops

Done with Cardinal Dolan: New York’s archbishop is unfit to serve as a Church leader

USA: A house of divided bishops cannot stand against racism


Patrick Carolan is a Catholic activist, writer and speaker. Patrick currently serves as Director of Catholic Outreach for Vote Common Good. Previously he served as Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network and co-founded the Global Catholic Climate Movement. He has a strong commitment to Catholic social teachings, justice, anti-racism and peace, for which he has been arrested many times participating in nonviolent civil disobedience and organized and participated in hunger fasts. Patrick currently lives in Washington DC with his wife Stella. They have four children, two of which are adopted. They have also been foster parents to several other children.