Cardinal Dolan
So Cardinal Timothy Dolan is to give the closing prayer at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

And the Catholic Church is not taking sides in this presidential election.

Here’s the  comment by the church’s spokesman Joseph Zwilling who stated that Dolan had accepted the invitation “within the last two weeks,” and that the move should not be seen as partisan.

“Cardinal Dolan is going to pray, not to engage in partisan politics,” Mr. Zwilling said. “He made it clear when he accepted the invitation that he would also accept an invitation from the Democratic National Committee to offer a prayer at their convention, should they ask.

“He is going simply to pray, which is part of what a priest should do.”

Of course, the fact that he is praying from the stage of the Republican National Convention at the express invite of candidate Mitt Romney is just a coincidence.

Being the smart politician that he is, Mitt blurted it out at the first opportunity yesterday. Asked a question about religious freedom, he stated.

“Well, first of all, I’ll continue to meet with Cardinal Dolan, who, by the way, is going to offer the benediction on the last evening of the Republican Convention after my acceptance speech. So I am making it very clear that the interest of religious freedom is something I support wholeheartedly.”

So If you believe Zwilling there is no difference in Dolan doing this at say a gathering of Walmart employees and at the RNC. I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Which no one believes for a second, anyway.

Zwilling said that GOP leaders said “they said we would really like you to do it,” when the Cardinal asked. I’ll bet they did.

It has become obvious for some time that Cardinal Dolan loves his media image and pumps it up at every opportunity.

He positively preens in the spotlight which is harmless enough, but putting the Catholic Church squarely on the side of the Republicans is a major mistake.

This is a deeply divided society right now, even at the level of the US Bishops where some have criticized VP candidate Paul Ryan for targeting his budget cuts at the poor.

Dolan has also displayed his bromance with VP candidate Paul Ryan. Speaking on Sirius radio he stated; “I came to know and admire him immensely ,” he said, “And I would consider him a friend. He and his wife Janna and their three kids have been guests in my house; I’ve been a guest at their house. They’re remarkably upright, refreshing people. And he’s a great public servant.”

Dolan claimed he was “speaking personally and not from a partisan point of view” and “not trying to be an apologist” for Ryan.

He even  praised Ryan’s “call for financial accountability and restraint and a balanced budget,” as well as his “obvious solicitude for the poor.”

Dolan said, “I admire him. He’s honest. He’s refreshing. Do I agree with everything? No, but...I’m anxious to see him in action.”

Dolan is the undisputed leader of the Catholic Church in America and this move puts that church squarely in the Romney camp in this election-- which is where they have no business belonging.

This is a dog whistle to all Catholics out there to support the GOP candidates, Paul Ryan proposed budget cuts to the poor notwithstanding, which had been criticized by other bishops.

Cardinal Dolan should really know better.