September 21, 2012


Faith in the public arena

The Republican and Democratic national conventions have both come and gone, and we’re just about six weeks from election day, the day on which people across the nation—including millions of Catholics—will choose the man who will lead this nation during the next four years.

In the various petitions that made up his prayers that concluded both conventions, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York mentioned issues that Catholics in central and southern Indiana—as well all of our brothers and sisters in faith across the country—should study, reflect upon and pray about in these days leading up to Nov. 6 when they go to the polls.

Indeed, these matters are relevant to our everyday lives and not simply the fodder for political debates.

Cardinal Dolan, who also serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, alluded to the poor and suffering, unborn and elderly, religious liberty and traditional marriage in his closing prayer at both conventions, among other things. Both of the cardinal’s prayers can be found on his blog at

He also prayed for government leaders, those currently serving in President Barack Obama’s administration and those seeking to win the White House from the Republican Party.

“Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure,” he prayed on Sept. 6 in Charlotte. “We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.”

Concerning religious freedom, Cardinal Dolan prayed in Tampa on Aug. 30, “Almighty God, who gives us the sacred and inalienable gift of life, we thank you as well for the singular gift of liberty.

“Renew in all of our people a respect for religious freedom in full, that first most cherished freedom. Make us truly free, by tethering freedom to truth and ordering freedom to goodness.”

The cardinal used similar language at both gatherings in an apparent reference to the Church’s unwavering commitment to its teaching on traditional marriage.

“May we know the truth of your creation, respecting the laws of nature and nature’s God, and not seek to replace it with idols of our own making,” Cardinal Dolan prayed in Tampa.

“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,” he prayed in Charlotte.

Just as important, the cardinal included a petition for government leaders, who undoubtedly need our prayers each day as they face the difficult challenges of leading our nation.

“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 those, including Gov. Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office.

“Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves it citizens rather than itself.”

It is not easy being a person of faith these days, especially since many in government are striving to make secularism the norm.

May we all have the courage and convictions of Cardinal Dolan, and not be afraid to bring our lives of faith into the public square and in all that we say and do.

—Mike Krokos

Local site Links: