(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, delivered the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C, asking Americans to respect God's institutions, the dignity of life, and the basic liberties afforded to all.
"Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure," Dolan prayed at the convention. "We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected."
The Catholic Church has had a number of issues with President Barack Obama's administration this past year. Official Catholic teachings affirm the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, but Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage back in May. Another very hot topic has been the Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate that requires all employers, including religious institutions, to provide their employees with a health plan that includes contraception, which is also against Catholic teachings.
Many people who identify as Catholics, however, do not side with the church's teachings on birth control – a 2012 Gallup poll showed that as many as 82 percent of Catholic respondents in America said they believe that birth control is morally acceptable.
Still, Catholics and evangelicals alike have argued that their religious freedom is being violated by the HHS mandate.
Dolan has remained open to engaging in further discussion with President Obama over the issue, and blessed the president, including all looking to serve America through office in his benediction at the Democratic convention.
"Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office," Dolan prayed. "Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy."
This year's Democratic Party platform includes support for abortion and, for the first time ever, gay marriage.
While not directly mentioning abortion or gay marriage, Dolan's prayer asked God to "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."
The cardinal concluded his benediction with a call to Americans to be thankful for their blessings, but also to remember those who are not so fortunate.
"We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom's cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions; those still ravaged by war," Dolan urged, and was greeted with a warm response by the audience.
Dolan also delivered the benediction at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., last week.
The cardinal's full prayer is available on the C-SPAN video below: