An open letter to Trump voters from a concerned Catholic priest

President Donald Trump waves as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Trump is returning from a vacation to Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump waves as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Trump is returning from a vacation to Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)  

Since you sent Donald J. Trump to the White House last November, I have read about you in the papers and seen you on television. Reporters have crisscrossed the country to interview you, the so-called forgotten men and women, to understand your motives and to gauge how you feel some six months into the Trump presidency. Countless think pieces and even books have dissected the social and economic factors that may have led you pin your hopes on a politically inexperienced real estate mogul and reality TV star.

They describe you as a body of folk who are feeling unappreciated by the elites and mainstream media. You think people in New York and Washington see you as a bunch of willfully ignorant bumpkins or as lacking the competence to distinguish between political bombast and “the facts.” Those stereotypes, real or perceived, compel me to examine myself to see how much I might have fallen into such shameful, disparaging attitudes. I hope I have not unconsciously bought into them.

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The reality is I do not understand you. And you probably do not understand how I, a Catholic priest, could ever have voted for Hillary Clinton.

But the reality is I still do not understand you. And you probably do not understand how I, a Catholic priest, could ever have voted for Hillary Clinton. We seem to live in alternative universes. In the absence of an in-person exchange, I do owe you at least my best effort at reporting back the picture I am getting of Trump voters and the questions it raises for me.

It appears that at least some of you are beginning to get a sense that President Trump has reneged on a whole set of promises he made to you as the price of your support. Recent polls show a dip in “strong approval” of the president among Republicans.

But for the most part, your core commitment to Donald Trump the man remains utterly unshaken. All the unsavory comments he directed at our country’s good people—veterans, people with disabilities, women, distinguished public servants of his own party—did not dampen your support for Mr. Trump during the campaign. Now your unconditional support is what the president relies on as his performance reveals that one campaign promise after another was a bait-and-switch operation. Didn’t he say that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and you would still stand by him?

Is there anything Mr. Trump might do that would make you say, “That’s it, I can no longer support him”?

Such loyalty could be viewed as admirable, but it causes me some concern. The history of what the longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer called “true believers” is not encouraging. If things go south for their anointed champion, true believers can turn on him or her with the fury of jilted lovers.

The reporters who interviewed you focused on your responses to the early failures of the Trump administration. As far as I can tell, none of them pursued their search to the next level. They did not ask you: Does your commitment have a limit? Is there anything Mr. Trump might do that would make you say, “That’s it, I can no longer support him”?

Many of those who might have been inclined to support Hillary Clinton did have such a limit, and they acted on it. In spite of their appreciation for Mrs. Clinton’s many strengths, her support for Roe v. Wade was just too much for them. It led them to vote for Mr. Trump in spite of all they abhorred about him and his rhetoric.

Many of you are evangelical Christians. You read the same Scriptures as I do. That fact raises a wonder in me. How do you reconcile your apparently unconditional support for Mr. Trump with the caution voiced by many of the prophets throughout the Bible? “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Ps 118:8-9).

To extend a blank check of support to a politician represents an abdication of one’s personal and civic responsibilities. In fact, for religious people, to rely on a human leader unconditionally is a form of idolatry. Commitment of that kind is due only to the Lord.

I respect you for the integrity of your faith commitment. That is precisely why I take the risk of asking you, respectfully, to explore the foundation of your political commitment, to search for the limit that would protect it and make it a reasonable stance. We are all in this together. If President Trump’s performance goes beyond the mere failure to honor some campaign promises and causes existential harm to our country, we will suffer as a single people. Lives may depend on your serious reflection.

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Andrew Strada
4 months ago

With all due respect, Fr. Wilson, you seem to have had a dialogue with yourself and declared yourself the winner. I voted for Trump. I would vote for him again, not because I'm a true believer, but because I have been so unimpressed with the hysterical overreaction that began on election night and has continued unabated since. So psychoanalyze me all you want, question my Christianity all you want, but maybe also prepare yourself for another horrible surprise in November, 2020.

Jim Lein
3 months 4 weeks ago

It does appear that you and some others would not be deflected from your support for Trump if he actually did shoot someone at random on a New York street for no reason other than to see if he could get away with it, not even if that person was, say, your mother. Your support seems limitless.

Susie Hill
3 months 4 weeks ago

Nothing our President has done even remotely can be conflated to logically conclude that his supporters would forgive the silly hypothetical you offered. But it is amusing to watch people like yourself relentlessly banging your heads up against the wall, using the same outlandish falsehoods and grotesquely exaggerated interpretations of events over and over and over, with zero success at instilling doubt in the minds of Trump's supporters. If your tactics weren't able to affect their stance during the election, when you were applying them at a feverish pitch, they aren't going to work now. You can keep entertaining the world with your astonishingly high tolerance for pain as you continue to throw bare knuckled punches at a brick wall, making a cringeworthy spectacle out of yourself as you do it. Nobody is going to stop you. What I'm doing here is offering you a safety helmet to protect you from inflicting too much damage to yourself. It is the Christian thing to do. Take it easy on yourself. You are in our prayers.

Susie Hill
3 months 4 weeks ago

Nothing our President has done even remotely can be conflated to logically conclude that his supporters would forgive the silly hypothetical you offered. But it is amusing to watch people like yourself relentlessly banging your heads up against the wall, using the same outlandish falsehoods and grotesquely exaggerated interpretations of events over and over and over, with zero success at instilling doubt in the minds of Trump's supporters. If your tactics weren't able to affect their stance during the election, when you were applying them at a feverish pitch, they aren't going to work now. You can keep entertaining the world with your astonishingly high tolerance for pain as you continue to throw bare knuckled punches at a brick wall, making a cringeworthy spectacle out of yourself as you do it. Nobody is going to stop you. What I'm doing here is offering you a safety helmet to protect you from inflicting too much damage to yourself. It is the Christian thing to do. Take it easy on yourself. You are in our prayers.

Andrew Strada
3 months 4 weeks ago

Logical argument might deflect me from my support for Trump. Random strangers making comments about my sainted deceased mother being shot by Donald Trump will probably not do it.

Charles Vekert
3 months 2 weeks ago

Ok. Here is my attempt at logical argument.

1. Talking about Sen. McCain, he said that he did not particularly like service men who became prisoners. He liked those who did not. Evidently he did not realize that the Senator was shot down while flying over Hanoi. Being shot down by anti-aircraft is a matter of luck. It happened to the very best over Germany, N. Korea, and Vietnam. Trump did not know what he was talking about.

2. In an interview Trump was starting to "guarantee" that Putin would not invade the Ukraine if he were elected. The interviewer pointed out that the invasion had already happened. Trump's reply was wonderful and showed that he was used to this problem. "Well, Russia has in a certain sense." Trump is way too ignorant of world events.

3. Mexico will pay for the wall. Come on, you bought that?

4. Trump promised that Obamacare would be abolished on day one of his presidency. He also said that it would be so easy to replace it with something that would give better care at a "fraction" of the cost. These promises were made in total ignorance of what was involved.

5. Trump has just pardoned Sheriff Arpaio. While he has the power, IMO this is an impeachable offence. The president shows contempt for the constitution and the rights that it guarantees to citizens. As long as they have brown skin, it is OK to toss them in jail. Don't worry, the president has your back if some liberal judge tries to stop you.

6. Trump’s defense of Confederate statues. Why should a New York guy care anyway? He says will Washington and Jefferson be next? He does not seem to realize that there is a distinction between those who created this country and those who tried to destroy it by force of arms.

Trump is ignorant of current events, our history, the Constitution, our legal tradition, and the legislation being produced by Congress. Further, he does not seem to know he is ignorant and he is too lazy to even try to learn about pending legislation, much less anything else.

The facts I have alleged in 1-5 are matters of public record and not subject to debate. I do not see how my conclusions can avoided given the facts. QED.

Teresa Hawkey-Silvey
3 months 4 weeks ago

With all due respect, why do you still support someone who approves of Nazis?

Andrew Strada
3 months 4 weeks ago

Trump is now taking heat not because he approves of Nazis, which he doesn't, but because he disapproves of antifa thugs. The brownshirts who have physically kept conservatives from speaking at college campuses are attacking from the left, not the right. I would not support someone who approves of Nazis. I do support someone who is falsely accused of such approval.

Susie Hill
3 months 4 weeks ago

With all due respect, your ridiculous question isn't worthy of being addressed. Nobody takes your conflated babble seriously and you are exposing your mental simplicity like a festering zit at a cocktail party that causes all of the guests who see it unable to eat the Hors d'oeuvres.

James Haraldson
3 months 3 weeks ago

There is a commandment against making the sort of statement you made. An honest mind would recognize that the pro-abortion fascistic violent "anti-fascists" were a mirror image of the Nazis in that confrontation and condemned multiple sides, as Trump did. There were more that "two" sides involved.

Stanley Kopacz
3 months 3 weeks ago

The priest's gentle inquiry was too much for you. Hurt your widdle feelings? Well, get a load of this. I wouldn't psychoanalyze you any more than I would psychoanalyze a rotweiler walking down the street with foam dripping from its mouth. You casually decapitated my country but I don't look down on you. You are obviously too dangerous to be looked down on. I respect you and your kind the way I respect those thugs walking down the Charlottesville streets with torches. As a clear and present danger. If you died for this country ten times over, you couldn't make up for what you did with your vote. You scare me more than Trump. He MAY be gone as president in over three years but unfortunately, those who voted for him won't.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 3 weeks ago

Stanley
That cringeworthy rant is worthy of Stanley Kowalski.......I expect you will soon be yelling "Stella, STELLA,"

Eugene Fitzpatrick
4 months ago

Mrs. Clinton, acclaimed by the author, has amply and publically demonstrated her cruelity, inhumanity and bungling stupidity, While railing against Trump, the author should sensibly eschew praise for Mrs. Clinton whose political incompetence and character flaws were so overtly on display that vast numbers of the electorate correctly assessed her inappropriateness for the country and put Trump in charge.

David Billotti
4 months ago

"Vast numbers of the electorate correctly assessed her inappropriateness for the country and put Trump in charge." Ignorance must not go unanswered. Hillary Clinton won by 3 million votes, and if not for about 75,000 people total across three states who triggered an antiquate feature of our election system, she would be president. On this day, even the farthest right leaning pollsters have him at about 45% support, and all the respectable ones (the ones that were within the margin of error on Election Day) have him at about 38%. The vast majority of Americans do not support Donald Trump, and that number is growing. None of the preceding are my opinions; they are facts.

William Bannon
4 months ago

Except Trump would have campaigned in an entirely different way if the US had a popular vote which as we know....it does not. He won because he conformed his campaign to reality...ie it is electoral not popular. Hillary lost perhaps because she didn't campaign for the electoral votes wisely. Trump did.

Patrick Canning
3 months 4 weeks ago

You're right, David, "ignornace must not go unanswered.' 'HilLIARy won the popular vote' is a useless and, frankly, ridiculous argument. Sure, the numbers validate it at the most basic level. But a high-school level analysis quickly shows that position is deeply flawed. 1) US national elections are not won on the popular vote, 2) If they were, politicians would campaign differently which would affect the outcome differently, 3) The 3 million differential was made up by California alone. You talk about 75k votes across multiple states. The counter 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' argument is that eliminating California, a deeply blue state beyond saving, would have put Trump even more firmly in the winner's circle, 4) That "antiquate feature" was put there by design and it fulfilled its purpose. NYC, California, and a few other densely populated areas of the country should never be allowed to decide the direction of a nation of 300+ million people with diverse interests.

lurline jennings
3 months 4 weeks ago

Thank G-d! Some people had the good sense to not put her in office. We suffered for the past 8 years and did not take to the streets nor complain about the ineptness of the president of that era. Had we made so much as a peep about his administration we would have been called racists. Now we find these wannabe communists running wild with their demands to restructure our history. Toppling a statue will never change history it will only create a greater divide and show clearly how those who do not know history will repeat all the evils they failed to learn from it.

Jim Spangler
4 months ago

As per other articles the author paints a one-sided view. Peesh Posh!!

William Bannon
4 months ago

Fr. Wilson....at what late date will Hillary still abort a child. Is it as he or she is coming out? Or is it like the Stoics...15 years old. Trump for all his sins is putting in judges that will make liberal atrocities like abortion and euthanasia less likely....judges who will be on the bench much longer than any president. Trump is morally challenged....Hillary is worse. You can explain your vote to the Lord after death.

David Maersch
4 months ago

Fr Wilson - I would humbly submit that given the events of the last few days it is dangerous for you to attempt to generalize or question the motives of the 63 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump. Your letter seems to subtly imply that all of the Trump voters share a common set of morals and values. This is obviously untrue, because the sample size of 63 million is just too large. Personally speaking, I viewed my presidential election ballot like a wedding invitation in which I was asked to choose between chicken (Hillary), beef (Trump), or a vegetarian option (Stein) for my entree at the reception. I choose beef (Trump) but not because I love beef. All three entrees were flawed on some level, so I picked the least flawed of the three. To continue the analogy, we're six months into the wedding reception. I'm not loving the beef, but I don't see any point in asking a server for a different entree, because even though I haven't tasted the chicken, I'm sure it would be equally underwhelming. FYI - next invitation, I'm probably still picking beef, because the chicken is usually really bland.

Hanna Sarah
3 months 4 weeks ago

With respect, I don't think the metaphor of choosing a meal at a wedding is particularly apt. At a wedding, you may suffer digestive consequences (or simply fail to especially enjoy yourself), but when you support an elected official, you may cause harm or good to your neighbors or to the community as a whole. What I read Fr Wilson as trying to ask his readers to do is to reflect on the president's actions and policies, on whether you stand by them as a voter and a Christian, and what the president could do or say that would cause you to withdraw your support. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, really.
It may not have been your intention, but the metaphor of the wedding meal also seems to imply that one's political engagement begins and ends in the voting-booth. I don't believe that's true. Even if, at this moment, you still intend to vote Trump in the next election, I see it as the responsibility of Trump's supporters to hold him accountable when he crosses a moral line. The question for Trump's supporters becomes, then, where is that line?

Robert Lewis
3 months 3 weeks ago

Well, not only that, shouldn't they AT LEAST hold him responsible when he doesn't fulfill his promises to THEM? What kind of brains must they have when they don't at least do THAT?!

J Cosgrove
4 months ago

Fr. Wilson,

I believe you have to separate the person from his objectives. There is no way I could vote for a Democrst for president. And it has nothing to do with abortion which I consider just another major negative for Democrats.

I know there are many here who could never vote for a Republican. So we disagree. Trump was not my choice and everyone I know was flabbergasted when he won. So I started to pay attention to how he would govern and was pleasantly surprised at his choices for the cabinet and his immediate nomination of Gorsuch

I have also noted the immediate and incredibly egregious obstruction and misrepresentation by the press and Democrsts. If anything that would make one even more determined to fight the liberals.

You can not be an honest critic if you do not acknowledge this. Prime example is the Russia allegations. This has paralyzed the country on a lie. All this and more lies by the press and a Democrats makes your article here suspect. I suggest you reconsider your opinion based on all the evidence.

Trump is often a crude person but he is often right. For example, both sides in Charlottesville were extremely undesirable and neither should be defended. I would call both sides evil but I really don't like that word. I would prefer extremely misguided.

And for stating the obvious Trump has been excoriated as no other president in history

lurline jennings
3 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you for your statement with the comment that President Trump and his family has been excoriated as no other president with perhaps the exception of Lincoln.

J Cosgrove
3 months 4 weeks ago

You are right about Lincoln.

Douglas Fang
4 months ago

“For the believer, no proof is necessary – For nonbelievers, no proof is sufficient” – It seems that for a lot of Trump’s supporters, Trump is already an idol. I bet that if Jesus himself denounced Trump, he would be severely attacked and criticized by Trump’s believers today.

Psychological studies demonstrate it is very, very hard for people to accept that they are wrong.

Andrew Strada
4 months ago

Have you actually met anyone who thinks Trump is an idol? Or is it possible that it is very, very hard for you to admit that you are wrong? Psychological studies are always about the other guy, aren't they?

Douglas Fang
4 months ago

As a matter of fact, I met someone like this. He is my own brother. He continues to support those nonsense conspiracies/theories such as “voter fraud is massive and rampant”, “global warming is a hoax”, “tax cut pays for itself”… I gave up debating with him a long time ago.

rose-ellen caminer
3 months 3 weeks ago

Speaking of "no proof is necessary" , I think Trump probably did win the popular vote; as proof of citizenship is not necessary to register to vote, and there are many sanctuary cities where the local councils and politicians have stated publically they believe the undocumented should have a say in local politics including local elections. Undocumented people had reason to not want Trump elected, and registration to vote is basically an honor system, certainly not requiring proof of citizenship.Sanctuary cities give undocumented people state or city Id's which can be used to register to vote. All these factors together make me think undocumented people came out in droves in protected sanctuary cities where they knew they could register with impunity.

I don't believe the media's straw man meme that voter fraud does not exist because the number of people voting twice or voting for dead people is minimal. Yes that is true, but voter fraud of many non citizen undocumented people is likely, as not only is there is no mechanism to stop it, but undocumented people are encouraged to vote in local elections, in sanctuary cities.

Douglas Fang
4 months ago

Another day, another CEO resigns from Trump manufacturing council. His CEO strategy council is being disbanded.

It is totally bizarre, dishonest, and a disgrace to blame “both sides” in the Charlottesville incident.

Paul Ryan: “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity”

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. “"Blaming "both sides" for #Charlottesville?! No," she wrote in a tweet. "Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “"Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-Nazis (mine added - or good white supremacist, good KKK...), and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms"

Shame, Shame on this POTUS...

Update: 'Trump Ends Business Councils as CEOs Turn Against President" - ‘I am ending both. Thank you all!’ Trump says on Twitter - This is from someone who ironically claims to be strongly pro-business.

Douglas Fang
4 months ago

I’m wondering what these top tier CEOs see in Trump that his hard core followers fail to see in order to publicly make their stand against Trump after witnessing his continuous support for the white supremacy. At least, they still have the integrity and the conscience to stand up again such evil.

William Bannon
4 months ago

" Make their stand"....is a question. We don't know if they are figuring that more liberals vote with their wallet than conservatives so " here's my chance to look like a hero" to the group that is more likely to affect my earnings. The truth could be noble or it could be quite monetary by these men.

Douglas Fang
4 months ago

I agree with your last question and I let God judges their true motive as nothing can be hidden from Him. However, my concern is that it will make it harder for Trump to come up with good economic policy without adequate advice from these top-tier CEOs. After all, these CEOs should have keen business skills in order to make it to the top. A thriving economy in America will lift all boats, especially for the so-called forgotten men and women.

lurline jennings
3 months 4 weeks ago

Andrew Strada: I am with you in support for President Trump. There are those too filled with hate because their corrupt candidate did not win to see our president's accomplishments. Not to mention the turn around in the economy. Bet all those Jesuit investments are not going down and bet they are being taken in as fast as possible. We support President Trump with out time, energy and money. Some of the money we used to send to Jesuit causes we now send to PACS that support our president and are preparing for his re-election. It is great to see and have a president who stands up to the leaders of No.Korea and other countries. It is great that he will take a public stand against those who would lump all conservatives together just based upon the action of one person. At least we don't have to deal with the corruption of another Clinton. But then it seems the church supports adultery, abortion on demand and proposed and supported by the Clinton's. Don't forget when you vote for one you really get two as per the prior president has stated. What a wonderful example for morality that family is. We surely must want to emulate them. All I can say is enjoy the next seven and a half years and all the benefits that will come your way.

Hanna Sarah
3 months 4 weeks ago

I have no stake in the election of Hilary Clinton. Based on the way you frame your comment, it appears that your support for Donald Trump is founded in your opposition to Clinton, is that how you see it? The only specific Trump policy you mention is his stand on North Korea. What appeals to you about him so much that you offer support in the form of time, energy, and money? From your tone and the issues you bring out, it seems like you find him to be a strong leader. Is that a fair understanding of your point of view?

Deacon Chris Schneider
3 months 4 weeks ago

without Jesus being in the running, the choices are limited to sinful people... follow Catholic teaching and often, the choice will be obvious; but they're still going to be sinners. Ignorance to Truth does occur... especially with us Clergy when we get in that 'make everyone feel good' 'Pastoral' mode. And that is leading His little children astray... I remember something about a millstone regarding that.

Mick Wenlock
3 months 4 weeks ago

Dear Fr Wilson

How many Trump voters have you actually talked with? You mention seeing Trump supporters "on television" and that you have "read about us" and from this you have drawn ... what? I am an immigrant, a citizen now for 6 years. I voted for Trump and I am generally content with what he has done. My wife voted for Trump, friends voted for Trump - many of them Catholics. How would you parse out or tease out how we feel about anything at all from your "watching television" and reading about us?

What would it take for me to think my vote was wrong? Hmm. This is a hard question to answer because my support for Trump is not born of some single ideological point. In the primaries I started out by supporting Governor Walker and when he dropped out, Senator Cruz. Donald Trump advanced policies that I would like to see implemented - cracking down on illegal immigration, rolling back overweening government regulation, supporting the armed services and getting America of entanglements like the rip off called the Paris Treaty. I support canceling the ACA, completely, and ridding the USA of the huge bureaucracy that is the process of being created that will cost far too much, do far too little and will provide less and less health care.

All of those are moral goals that are worth striving to reach. If he is working towards those goals then, by and large he has my support. If I believe he has stopped working toward them then I will re-evaluate.

What will not affect my support is the mendacity and hysteria that emanates from the left and the media. And, from whom, you say you get your conclusions about "Trump voters".

As for you - what would it have taken for you NOT to vote for Hillary? A confirmed liar, an enthusiastic supporter of Planned parenthood and abortion a incompetent 'executive" who failed her biggest test - and then lied about it? Someone who raised funds for her own family trusts from areas that needed it?

From that place to stand - how can you form any kind of a judgement about people who refused to vote for her and, instead, voted for someone else?

Patty Bennett
3 months 4 weeks ago

Dear Father Wilson,
"In the absence of an in-person exchange..." That's it! That's the problem we are all having. Unfortunately, when we rely on the media's perceptions to try to distill the votes of millions into "batches" of people we know only as generic "Trump supporters" or "Clinton supporters", the picture we get will ALWAYS be woefully inadequate. The reality is always much more complex.
Instead, we must follow the advice given by St. Teresa of Calcutta and get to know the people one-on-one. It isn't very efficient, but it is the only way to know others, really. Without that, we're destined to blindly guessing as to the others' motivations, and risk judging them unfairly. I actually did vote for Trump, and my reasons are never those mentioned by the media. Space doesn't permit me to list all the reasons for my decision, but I also notice that you didn't explain why you voted for Clinton even though she thinks it ought to be legal to kill innocent babies. (King Herod?)
Do you think that it would be unfair to be blamed for the deaths of all the babies in abortion? Can you see how those who voted for Trump might think it isn't right that WE be blamed for everything wrong that he does--or says?
In November we had the choice between two very flawed candidates. Prior to November, there were nearly 20! I watched sadly as one by one, all those I preferred to Donald Trump were eliminated. I think the one thing we can agree on is that this was the WEIRDEST election of my life time!
It is a sad fact of life that nations get the politicians they deserve.
Our baby-killing, pornified country has largely rejected God, and we no longer are a civilized nation. A genuinely virtuous candidate has virtually no chance of victory. With that being said, I am pleased with SOME of Trump's appointments. In a Clinton presidency, we are certain that ALL of her appointments would pay homage to abortion and would further advance the culture of death.
So, YES, I would vote for Trump again if the choices were the same. I've noted some of my reasons.
Why did you vote for Clinton KNOWING that she firmly supports the "right" to crush the skulls of infants?
Something very important to note: The reason racism is sinful is that it fails to respect the fact that all of us are created in the image and likeness of God. That's the same reason abortion is sinful. In racism, people look down upon others and treat them in a variety of evil ways. In abortion, it's always the SAME type of evil; people kill innocent babies. That's even worse.

John Walton
3 months 4 weeks ago

Maybe it's just me, but I would suggest that Fr. Wilson drive halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton and ask the first person he meets why they voted for Trump. Perhaps he should go a bit further to North Western Ohio and ask Joe the Plumber why he voted for Trump. Maybe he can ask the employees of my company in North Eastern Ohio who got screwed out of their health care courtesy of ACA why they voted for Trump.

God bless the Jesuits, many of whom I account as friends, but you guys get a stipend and healthcare whether you teach or preach or nuttin'. You get your pre-prandial cocktail in the officers dining room, dinner and watch Jeapordy. When you fall on hard times courtesy of old-age there's a residence already waiting for you, Some platform on which to criticize Trump who has had to deal with the cement industry in New York City.

Before you remove the splinter in my eye, better remove the log in yours.

Kevin Murphy
3 months 4 weeks ago

Liberal condescension, particularly the Jesuit kind, never ceases to amaze. I don't owe this priest any reasoning for who I vote. If he wishes to twist himself into moral knots to support an individual who would abort up to the very moment of birth, fine. He has a high tolerance for evil. Let him look to his own house, and don't look down on others.

Barry Fitzpatrick
3 months 4 weeks ago

Ouch. The attribution of motivation to Fr. Wilson abounds in so many of those attacking his piece, precisely the kind of behavior he is seeking to correct. Perhaps simply answering his query would be a better place to start? What would it take for your support for the president to waver? Yes, the media blurs the lines. But this man's true colors shine through in so many ways that it is disconcerting to see wholesale acceptance of him and his actions and his pronouncements. I did not vote for Hillary, thinking rightly or wrongly that she has way too much negative baggage to lead us effectively. I did not vote for Trump either because he is unfit for the job, now ever more clearly so. He and his ilk pose as pro-life, when, in fact, they are pro-birth only. They seek to dismantle any program that might help infants and their mothers who are in need. I am struggling not to attribute motivation to those who voted for Trump. Given our choices, both leading candidates were dreadful. Yet I have judged Trump, and he gives me good reason to do so. He has besmirched the office, ridiculed the handicapped and the veteran, and lied beyond all imagining. What will it take?

Patty Bennett
3 months 3 weeks ago

"What would it take for your support for the president to waver?" That's the wrong question, as it is merely hypothetical. A better question is: "WHY did you vote the way you did, and given the same options, would you make the same choice again?"
That's a much more direct question.
I can understand the reasoning of Catholics who voted for Trump. The reason I voted for him was, because although he's very flawed, the alternative was Hillary Clinton, who is adamantly pro-abortion. It was virtually guaranteed that if she won, all her appointments would bow to the idol of child-sacrifice, AKA Planned Parenthood. For that reason, I cannot understand the mind-set of those who claim to be Catholic, yet voted for Hillary Clinton, who thinks it OUGHT TO be legal to suck the brains out of innocent babies. Yes, I know that's strong language, but it's accurate language.
Some people, in good conscience, voted for another candidate, or not at all. I understand, and for a while considered it, but--and yes, I did pray about this-- decided to vote for Trump since it's realistic to understand that the winner must be Clinton or Trump. Clinton, being rabidly pro-abortion, was disqualified.
If you would consider someone who supports racism absolutely disqualified, how could you NOT consider someone who supports baby-killing absolutely disqualified? That's the question I'd like to ask!
But, since you asked, WHAT it would take.....? The only answer would be to literally describe the evil Hillary Clinton supports without the sugar-coating. She enthusiastically supports sucking the brains out of babies, crushing their skulls, dismembering them and selling their organs to the highest bidders. She's "got Planned Parenthood's back." That's what they do. Hellish, but true. What could be worse? If Trump had agreed with that, I wouldn't have bothered voting.
Trump ridiculed the handicapped; Damned Barrenhood kills them. And that's fine with Hillary. How could ANYONE in good conscience vote for her?

Patty Bennett
3 months 3 weeks ago

"What would it take for your support for the president to waver?" That's the wrong question, as it is merely hypothetical. A better question is: "WHY did you vote the way you did, and given the same options, would you make the same choice again?"
That's a much more direct question.
I can understand the reasoning of Catholics who voted for Trump. The reason I voted for him was, because although he's very flawed, the alternative was Hillary Clinton, who is adamantly pro-abortion. It was virtually guaranteed that if she won, all her appointments would bow to the idol of child-sacrifice, AKA Planned Parenthood. For that reason, I cannot understand the mind-set of those who claim to be Catholic, yet voted for Hillary Clinton, who thinks it OUGHT TO be legal to suck the brains out of innocent babies. Yes, I know that's strong language, but it's accurate language.
Some people, in good conscience, voted for another candidate, or not at all. I understand, and for a while considered it, but--and yes, I did pray about this-- decided to vote for Trump since it's realistic to understand that the winner must be Clinton or Trump. Clinton, being rabidly pro-abortion, was disqualified.
If you would consider someone who supports racism absolutely disqualified, how could you NOT consider someone who supports baby-killing absolutely disqualified? That's the question I'd like to ask!
But, since you asked, WHAT it would take.....? The only answer would be to literally describe the evil Hillary Clinton supports without the sugar-coating. She enthusiastically supports sucking the brains out of babies, crushing their skulls, dismembering them and selling their organs to the highest bidders. She's "got Planned Parenthood's back." That's what they do. Hellish, but true. What could be worse? If Trump had agreed with that, I wouldn't have bothered voting.
Trump ridiculed the handicapped; Damned Barrenhood kills them. And that's fine with Hillary. How could ANYONE in good conscience vote for her?

Patty Bennett
3 months 3 weeks ago

"What would it take for your support for the president to waver?" That's the wrong question, as it is merely hypothetical. A better question is: "WHY did you vote the way you did, and given the same options, would you make the same choice again?"
That's a much more direct question.
I can understand the reasoning of Catholics who voted for Trump. The reason I voted for him was, because although he's very flawed, the alternative was Hillary Clinton, who is adamantly pro-abortion. It was virtually guaranteed that if she won, all her appointments would bow to the idol of child-sacrifice, AKA Planned Parenthood. For that reason, I cannot understand the mind-set of those who claim to be Catholic, yet voted for Hillary Clinton, who thinks it OUGHT TO be legal to suck the brains out of innocent babies. Yes, I know that's strong language, but it's accurate language.
Some people, in good conscience, voted for another candidate, or not at all. I understand, and for a while considered it, but--and yes, I did pray about this-- decided to vote for Trump since it's realistic to understand that the winner must be Clinton or Trump. Clinton, being rabidly pro-abortion, was disqualified.
If you would consider someone who supports racism absolutely disqualified, how could you NOT consider someone who supports baby-killing absolutely disqualified? That's the question I'd like to ask!
But, since you asked, WHAT it would take.....? The only answer would be to literally describe the evil Hillary Clinton supports without the sugar-coating. She enthusiastically supports sucking the brains out of babies, crushing their skulls, dismembering them and selling their organs to the highest bidders. She's "got Planned Parenthood's back." That's what they do. Hellish, but true. What could be worse? If Trump had agreed with that, I wouldn't have bothered voting.
Trump ridiculed the handicapped; Damned Barrenhood kills them. And that's fine with Hillary. How could ANYONE in good conscience vote for her?

Patty Bennett
3 months 3 weeks ago

"What would it take for your support for the president to waver?" That's the wrong question, as it is merely hypothetical. A better question is: "WHY did you vote the way you did, and given the same options, would you make the same choice again?"
That's a much more direct question.
I can understand the reasoning of Catholics who voted for Trump. The reason I voted for him was, because although he's very flawed, the alternative was Hillary Clinton, who is adamantly pro-abortion. It was virtually guaranteed that if she won, all her appointments would bow to the idol of child-sacrifice, AKA Planned Parenthood. For that reason, I cannot understand the mind-set of those who claim to be Catholic, yet voted for Hillary Clinton, who thinks it OUGHT TO be legal to suck the brains out of innocent babies. Yes, I know that's strong language, but it's accurate language.
Some people, in good conscience, voted for another candidate, or not at all. I understand, and for a while considered it, but--and yes, I did pray about this-- decided to vote for Trump since it's realistic to understand that the winner must be Clinton or Trump. Clinton, being rabidly pro-abortion, was disqualified.
If you would consider someone who supports racism absolutely disqualified, how could you NOT consider someone who supports baby-killing absolutely disqualified? That's the question I'd like to ask!
But, since you asked, WHAT it would take.....? The only answer would be to literally describe the evil Hillary Clinton supports without the sugar-coating. She enthusiastically supports sucking the brains out of babies, crushing their skulls, dismembering them and selling their organs to the highest bidders. She's "got Planned Parenthood's back." That's what they do. Hellish, but true. What could be worse? If Trump had agreed with that, I wouldn't have bothered voting.
Trump ridiculed the handicapped; Damned Barrenhood kills them. And that's fine with Hillary. How could ANYONE in good conscience vote for her?

Vincent Gaglione
3 months 4 weeks ago

Dear Father Wilson,

I also voted for Hillary Clinton. The last six months of the Trump administration have only reaffirmed for me that I had made the right choice.

What would have stopped me from voting for Hillary Clinton? I can’t imagine unless she had promoted herself the way Trump did for himself or had promoted the policies that Trump espoused.

I read the comments of so many here and I sniff anti-clericalism and bitterness at the Church, in spite of professed faithfulness and piety and religiosity. Some of them would have themselves more Catholic than the Pope, whom for the current one many don't regard as so Catholic at all. I am dumbfounded by the constant refrains about abortion, as if it were the only serious sin that defines what makes us Catholic.

Regarding abortion I have no problem saying that I oppose the USA Catholic Church’s attempts to criminalize it. I consider it a moral issue, a matter of conscience, no different really than the imposition of the death penalty or the choice of going to war, other examples of the destruction of life. I oppose any attempts by any religious believers, including of my own faith, to impose their moral code on me as a USA citizen. It’s a matter of religious freedom for me. I’ve read the polemics contradicting my position. Those arguments don’t convince me.

Reading all these retorts to you, I am amazed by the rigidity of positions and the hardness of hearts towards those who would disagree with them. If this is what Catholic education and our Bishops and clergy have produced over the past 50 years, we need to take a hard look at how we evangelize ourselves! Our pews have emptied of those who refuse to be rhetorically scorned, abused, and condemned and of those who witness and don't like to silently accede to the imposition of such treatment.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 3 weeks ago

Vince
You state in reference to various comments to Father Wilson's "Open Letter":
......"I sniff anti-clericalism and bitterness at the Church"

Frankly I think what you are "sniffing" is the continuing pungent aroma of an inexplicable and very bitter election loss by Ms Clinton to an obviously non political newcomer,utterly lacking in tact and temperament.....a candidate who defied every conceivable political rule. This very bitter pill has clearly effected your olfactory senses as well as your taste buds . Strikes me that your "hardness of the heart" epithet just reflects the "anguish of the politically broken hearted"

You suggest that it is unCatholic to support a candidate based on moral issues (abortion) which are , after all, just "matters of personal conscience". In this regard I suggest that you read the innumerable articles in the current issue of America which unequivocally state that it is not acceptable for a Catholic to just be "morally opposed to "racism". The Jesuit Editors and others argue that a Catholic is obliged to proactively oppose racism. I might suggest to you that what is required for the "racism issue" is also required for the other moral issues you have all to conveniently consigned to the dark closet of "matter[s] of conscience".
So let's ask Father Wilson and The Editors......
"Is it morally acceptable for a Catholic to support and/or continue to be a member of an organization which supports and espouses positions which are contradictory to basic church teachings (abortion, death penalty, etc)?"

I suspect we are in for a long wait for a response from the Fathers.

Vincent Gaglione
3 months 3 weeks ago

Morning Stuart,

Clinton lost. Nine months after the election I am hard pressed how you think those of us who voted for her are somehow converting our Clinton support into antipathy for clerics and the Church. Although, a healthy anti-clericalism is always to be encouraged for the sake of the Church.

Your constant references to those belonging to organizations which espouse positions contrary to Church teachings I find puzzling. In a multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic milieu in a democratic society it’s sort of hard not to. Yes, I consort with Protestants, Jews, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, conservatives, liberals, radicals, racists…you name it, they are all part of the organizations to which I belong and they do not espouse Catholic positions. I choose to belong for many reasons and I think that my faith and my beliefs helps me to contribute to the personal development of others by my interactions with them. Those who are not Catholics differ with us on many issues of "personal conscience."

I repeat what I wrote, not what you persist in interpreting what I wrote, I oppose the criminalization of abortion, which is the immediate consequence of banning it by either law, constitutional amendment, or reversal of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision. For many in this democracy it is a matter of "personal conscience" and religious freedom.

Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 3 weeks ago

Vince
Your original comment above "sniffed anticlericalism" in those who questioned or critiqued Father Wilson' s call for Trump voters to now justify their support. Yet the pages of America are replete with comments from Clinton supporters like yourself berating/ accusing/decrying the Bishops and catholic clerics in general of allegedly supporting Trump before the election based on his stances on abortion and a bill supporting religious liberty....is that anticlericalism??...Your use of that term to tar Father Wilson's critics seems rather contradictory if not down right hypocritical.
As to the abortion issue: I am not disputing or misrepresenting your right to be personally opposed to abortion but still against any legal prohibition of abortion. The question I ask is: AS A CATHOLIC can you be morally opposed to abortion and still morally support , sponsor contribute to or be a member of an organization which promotes abortion?
On the topic of "racism" these very pages of America have a growing number of articles which insist that it is fundamentally insufficient to be just "morally opposed" to racism.....we are advised that we are compelled to act against it. It strikes me that if I am morally required by the Church to actively oppose racism then at a minimum I cannot be a member of an organization that supports or promotes "racism". I suggest that a Catholic who is morally opposed to abortion is similarly required by the Church to at least not be a member of an organization that promotes or supports abortion as acceptable. The legality or illegality of abortion is totally irrelevant to this question
So I have asked the Editors: can we skate by these issues by referring to " matters of personal conscience "?
Father Wilson's article suggests that we cannot. I believe he is suggesting Trump voters should/must withdraw their support based on various moral issues that have arisen. What would Father Wilson say about the need to withdraw from an organization that promotes or supports abortion as acceptable?

Vincent Gaglione
3 months 3 weeks ago

Stuart, I think you focused on the wrong issues about Fr. Wilson's article.

I interpret Father Wilson’s article as a reflection that so many of us who are not Trump supporters have had:

first, for how long does a Catholic defend the publicly demonstrated behaviors, comments, and attitudes of a person which violate common norms of civility, social concourse, and morality, and

second, if not defending them, fail to express outspoken rejection of them, specifically to reporters and polls to which Father Wilson refers?

Trump is not divine. His support should not be given as if he were.

For Hillary Clinton, and for many people whom I know and love and for whom I have great respect, I reject the laissez-faire position on abortions, for example. I would have preferred to hear her say that abortions should be a last resort after thoughtful counseling and that society should pay the freight for any child born by a woman who rejects abortion. I agree with her that they should not be criminalized. But I never witnessed from her the kinds of talk, attitudes, and behaviors that Trump provides regularly, even as President, for which I would suggest that she was inappropriate to the press or a poll.

I am a Democrat. I have never voted for a Republican candidate for president. But if the Democrats were ever to nominate a candidate who mirrors Trump, I can say without reservation, presuming I live long enough to see it, that I would vote for someone else or not vote at all. (And finally, if Democrat Chair Perez truly meant what he said about pro-lifer’s being unwelcome as Democrats, he’s a bigger jerk than I thought he was and I surely would never vote for him!)

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