Monday, September 10, 2012

Cardinal Dolan's Speeches at the RNC and DNC

Cardinal Dolan at the Republican National Convention: Cardinal Dolan at the Democratic National Convention: The two speeches he gives are remarkably similar, but they're not identical. Did Cardinal Dolan serve the church and the gospel well in these two speeches? Did he speak "prophetically" to the two convention halls? Is it appropriate for a religious leader such as himself to do that? In other words, is it appropriate for a Christian leader to speak prophetically to two political conventions? Or is it only appropriate for a Christian leader to speak prophetically to God's covenanted people? Specifically the church. In a related question: Did Cardinal Dolan capitulate to one or another of the two political parties in his words? Was he playing the part of a political partisan under the guise of a religious cloak? I'm not saying he was/is, but it is a legitimate question to consider. In the hyper partisan and polarized political environment we live in these days any pronouncement, whether straight out political, or religious declarations such as these, need to be analyzed and judged as to whether they've spoken God's words after him or have they twisted his words to suit a short term political purpose. Personally, I found his words to be, for the most part, general Christian fare that I can't really disagree with in any major way. In both speeches he spoke of the sanctity of pre-born life, but didn't mention anything specific beyond that concerning abortion. And he also mentioned the importance of protecting the other vulnerable members of society such as the poor, recent immigrants, and the sick and frail. He seems to have crafted his words carefully so as to affirm themes that both parties could say amen to while at the same time including themes that would make both parties squirm. As far as I can tell, he managed to thread that thorny needle fairly well. Lastly, what are your thoughts about the two crowds' reactions to his speeches? Right off the bat it's pretty obvious that the RNC crowd received him more enthusiastically than the DNC crowd. What exactly is the significance of that difference? To my own thinking it's not as straight forward as it would immediately appear to be. More on those two dynamics a bit later...

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