By Matt Hadro
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York prayed for God’s wisdom as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday.
“Give us wisdom, for we are Your servants, weak and short-lived, lacking in comprehension of judgment and of laws. Indeed, though one might be perfect among mortals, if wisdom which comes from You be lacking, we count for nothing,” Cardinal Dolan prayed from the ninth chapter of the Book of Wisdom at the 58th Presidential Inauguration on Friday, on the steps of the West Front of the U.S. Capitol building.
Republican Donald Trump took the Oath of Office administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. An official estimate of the Inauguration attendance was not made, although estimates revealed the attendance to be significantly less than President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were in attendance, as well as Barack Obama. Former vice presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney were also present.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke amidst a noticeable chorus of “Trump!” chants from the crowd.
The prayers at the Inauguration were openly Christian, with a reading by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an invocation by Pastor Paula White-Cain of the New Destiny Christian Center, and benedictions by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rev. Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse, and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International.
In his Inauguration reading, Cardinal Dolan prayed for God’s wisdom for the country.
“Send her [wisdom] forth from your holy heavens, from your glorious throne dispatch her, that she may be with us and work with us, that we may grasp what is pleasing to you,” he read. “For she knows and understands all things, and will guide us prudently in our affairs and safeguard us by her glory. Amen.”
Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) called the ceremony a “celebration of democracy” and praised the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power between rivaling parties and administrations that dates back to the beginning of the country.
President Trump, in his First Inaugural Address with former President Obama seated behind him, cited the peaceful transfer of power but immediately pledged to return power “to you, the people.”
“For too long,” he said, “Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed.”
He described a bleak picture of “American carnage” outside of Washington, D.C.:
“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation. An education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”
“This American carnage stops right here, and stops right now,” he said.
President Trump pleaded with Americans to look to the future and promised to put “America first” economically and in foreign policy.
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” he said. “We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.”
He promised to “get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.”
Regarding foreign policy, Trump promised to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”
And the new president cited the Bible in promoting a “solidarity” among Americans, albeit one first rooted in patriotism and “allegiance” to the country.
“At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other,” he said. “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
“The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.” He promised that America “will be protected by God.”
“A new national pride will stir ourselves,” he said, “and heal our divisions.”
“Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots. We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same American flag.”
Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., in a blog post on Friday, quoted from the “Prayer for Government” written by the first bishop in the U.S., Bishop John Carroll, for the first president George Washington, in 1791, in his prayer for the Inauguration.
“We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude President Donald Trump of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.”