Some Catholics are disturbed that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, will be delivering a benediction at a convention at which speaker after speaker will vehemently condemn belief in the right to life of the child in the womb and belief in marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Obviously, this is a matter of prudential judgment, and I certainly understand (and share) the concern. The Cardinal’s appearance could be interpreted as implying that the positions on abortion and marriage embraced by the Democratic Party and the Obama administration are acceptable from a Catholic vantange point. 

I think it is important, though, to recognize the considerations on the other side, too. Many people on the left, including many who will be attending the Democratic convention, have been working overtime to establish the proposition that the Catholic Church and other supporters of the pro-life position are “misogynists” who are conducting a “war on women,” and anyone who believes in marriage as a conjugal union is a “bigot.” The Cardinal’s appearance at the convention confounds their efforts. By prominently featuring an outspoken leader of the the right to life cause and the fight against redefining marriage, the Democrats concede that these positions are not mere reflections of “animus” and cannot legitimately be treated as “bigotry.”  After all, would the Obama administration and the leaders of the Democratic Party feature a “hater” at their convention?  Would they invite a “homophobe” and a “bigot” to invoke divine blessing on their political exertions?

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