Lest there be any doubt whatsoever that the American Catholic bishops are in bed with the GOP, Mitt Romney announced yesterday that Cardinal Timothy Dolan will give the benediction at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida on the same night that Romney accepts the party’s presidential nomination. Seriously.

But according to Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for Dolan — who is Archbishop of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and currently suing the Obama administration over birth control — the cardinal giving his blessing to a purely partisan political convention, on national television, should not be viewed as an endorsement of the Republican Party. He told the Associated Press:

“It’s not an endorsement. It’s as a priest going to pray.”

Dolan’s apolitical claims are strikingly at odds with a statement Mitt Romney made to the New York Times about the Catholic bishops’ opposition to the birth control mandates in the Obama administration’s health care law:

“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.”

Zwilling pointed out that Cardinal Dolan had also magnanimously reached out to the Democratic National Committee, informing them that he would gladly accept any invitation to offer a prayer at their convention as well. (Lawsuit? What lawsuit?)

Dolan seems to have no problem appearing to endorse the party of the Paul Ryan budget, which the USCCB strongly condemned as a moral failure. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the GOP just passed the most right-wing, anti-woman, anti-LGBT party platform in modern history — because if we know one thing, it’s that the leadership of the Catholic Church will do absolutely anything to block the rights of women and LGBT people.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s blessing of next week’s national gathering of Republicans makes it abundantly clear: the unholy alliance between the U.S. Catholic bishops and the GOP is complete.