November 8, 2012 // Uncategorized

Cardinal congratulates Obama, urges he give priority to most vulnerable

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election in a Nov. 7 letter.

“The people of our country have again entrusted you with a great responsibility,” Cardinal Dolan said. “The Catholic bishops of the United States offer our prayers that God will give you strength and wisdom to meet the difficult challenges that face America.”

Cardinal Dolan added the bishops pray that Obama will “help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.”

He said, “In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant. We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom.”

In the press release containing the text of the letter, the words “our first, most cherished liberty” were in italics. The bishops and the Obama administration have clashed for the past year on a federal Department of Health and Human Services mandate that would require most religious employers to provide contraceptive access to their employees, allowing for few exceptions.

With 270 electoral votes needed to secure a presidential win, Obama, a Democrat, had 303 to 206 for his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Florida’s 29 electoral votes had not been decided the morning after the Nov. 6 election.

Four years ago, Obama, previously a U.S. senator from Illinois, received congratulations from a fellow Illinoisan — Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, then president of the U.S. bishops — when Obama became the nation’s first African-American president.

“I believe we can seize this future together — because we are not as divided as our politics suggest; we’re not as cynical as the pundits believe; we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions; and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America,” Obama said at the end of his 20-minute address to supporters at a victory rally in Chicago during the early morning hours of Nov. 7.

“And together, with your help, and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth,” he added.

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