Catholics to lead prayers for both Democrats and Republicans

The US Democrats and Republicans have both invited Catholics to lead the prayers at their respective parties’ conventions.

Father James Martin SJ and Sister Simone Campbell (pictured), a Sister of Social Service and New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan were shoulder-tapped to pray at these key political events.

Yesterday, Martin and Campbell’s prayers were offered during the Democrats’ National Convention’s final night.

Martin has a widespread presence in various media platforms and Campbell is the executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying group.

Both pre-recorded their prayers with Campbell offering an invocation and Martin delivering a benediction.

Campbell and Martin say they are honoured to have been invited to pray at the event.

“Generally speaking, I don’t like to do too many overtly political things, but it’s hard to turn down an invitation to pray. I figured if the Republicans asked me, I’d do the same thing,” Martin says.

He noted Dolan prayed at both major political conventions in 2012.

Dolan, who was then the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, prayed for the unborn in his closing benediction at the Democratic Convention.

He asked “that they may be welcomed and protected.”

He made a similar plea in his closing for Republican Convention.

The Republican’s platform on abortion is generally viewed as closer to the Catholic Church’s teaching than the Democrats’ platform, which supports legal abortion.

On Monday next week, Dolan will offer a prayer during the opening evening of the Republican National Convention.

“As a priest, one of my most sacred obligations is to try and respond positively whenever I am invited to pray,” Dolan says.

“Prayer is speaking to God, offering Him praise, thanking Him for His many blessings, and asking for His intercession; it is not political or partisan.”

“That is why I have accepted an invitation to pray at the Republican’s National Convention.”

Both the Democrats and Republicans are entitled to his prayers, Dolan says.

“My agreeing to pray does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate, party, or platform. Had I been invited to offer a prayer for the Democratic National Convention, I would have happily accepted, just as I did in 2012.”

“It is my hope that, during this tumultuous time in our nation’s history, people of all religious faiths or none at all might join together in seeking peace and reconciliation in our hearts, in our cities, and in our country.”


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