In Trump’s first year, Catholic leaders made strong condemnations along with calls to do more

This week, President Trump wraps up his first year in office, his policy victories overshadowed by questions about his demeanor and his continued advocacy for hard-line immigration proposals, both of which are prompting continued condemnations from Catholic leaders in the United States.

The blizzard of statements issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the president’s first year has been extraordinary, touching on perennial challenges such as immigration and abortion but also expanding into debates about net neutrality, climate change, international mining and health care. Groups of Catholic sisters have also vocally expressed their opposition to Mr. Trump’s proposals, beginning with some expressing support for last year’s Women’s March. And major Catholic nonprofit groups have urged church members to call, write to and visit lawmakers, asking them to resist the Trump administration’s efforts to remake major parts of American society.

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Bishop Gerald Kicanas, a former vice president of the bishops conference, suggested during the group’s fall meeting that they hold a high-profile action, akin to this weekend’s March for Life, on other issues important to Catholics, such as immigration and racism. But so far, church leaders have stuck largely to protocol, issuing statements of both condemnation and praise, but seem to be hesitant to take on the administration too forcefully as they continue to seek advances in the areas of life and religious liberty.

In an interview during the November gathering, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who heads the archdiocese of Newark, told me that he thinks the bishops conference “could be stronger” in how it deals with controversial public policy questions in the Trump era, especially on immigration.

“I would say certainly on migration and refugee policy, I think we have to be more clear in our insistence that caricatures are not acceptable,” he said. “Not only are they not acceptable in the faith community, [they are] not in the best traditions of our country.”

Cardinal Tobin: The bishops conference “could be stronger” on controversial public policy questions, especially immigration.

A year ago Saturday, Mr. Trump took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan was on hand to read a selection from the Book of Wisdom. The New York cardinal, who had met privately with Mr. Trump and his wife Melania during the heated 2016 campaign, wrote in a blog post at the time that while he had some reservations about the new president, inaugurations are times of hope.

“As with all previous [presidents], some welcome him, some are worried about him, most a little bit of both,” the cardinal wrote last Jan. 17. “Whatever our reservations—and as with most other inauguration days, I have some too—it is classically a time of prayer, renewal, hope and unity.”

The first few weeks of the Trump presidency showed the whiplash bishops and other church leaders would experience over the next several months, with statements of support for the president’s executive order to prohibit federal funds from paying for abortions overseas quickly being drowned out by calls from bishops and other Catholic leaders opposing Mr. Trump’s so-called travel ban on people from several mostly Muslim nations.

Since then, Catholic bishops have expressed their opinions, positive and negative, dozens of times. According to a December analysis by Catholic News Service, the U.S. bishops conference released “an estimated 115 public statements and letters addressing public policy concerns” in 2017, more than double the amount issued in 2016. And though many of those statements were strong condemnations about specific policies championed by the White House, few were able to break through the noise and encourage the sort of mass response that church leaders have been capable of leading on other issues, such as abortion.

The U.S. bishops conference released about 115 public statements and letters addressing public policy concerns in 2017, more than double the amount issued in 2016.

While the bishops have been critical of many of Mr. Trump’s ideas, there has been some praise as well—especially in areas of religious liberty and life.

Cardinal Dolan, as head of the bishops’ pro-life committee, has praised the administration several times, including for reinstating the so-called Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. international aid from being used to pay for abortions. And last May, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, head of the U.S. bishops conference, joined Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington at a Rose Garden ceremony during which Mr. Trump signed an executive order dealing with religious liberty. This week, the administration announced new conscience protection rules for medical workers opposed to abortion, long a policy goal of the bishops conference. It is a big win for bishops, who see the public square as increasingly hostile to actions based on individual religious beliefs.

The White House also announced this week that Mr. Trump will address via video the March for Life in Washington, the large annual gathering of pro-life activists. He will become the first sitting president to speak live via satellite to the gathering, which is being headlined by one of Mr. Trump’s allies, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. (Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush spoke to marchers by phone.)

I asked Cardinal Tobin if he thought the progress in these areas, which seemed hard to come by during the Obama administration, made the bishops as a body reluctant to speak out too forcefully about areas where they disagree with the president, such as immigration.

“I think that we maybe have pulled a few punches,” said the cardinal, who himself made headlines earlier this year when he led a rally in support of a grandfather of four facing deportation to Mexico.

Cardinal Tobin: “I think that we maybe have pulled a few punches.”

“In an administration that stresses its ability to make deals, you just have to look at the full cost. And there’s just some things that we can’t deal on,” he continued, saying it would be “unacceptable” for lawmakers to capitulate on building a border wall in exchange for protections for so-called Dreamers. “We’ve made that clear in other areas of the church’s engagement with American culture,” he said, pointing to the church’s clear stance on abortion and other life issues.

“I think we have to be very, very careful” when speaking about immigration, he said, adding that “you don’t trade off” by bargaining with people’s lives when it comes to immigration.

The response from Catholic sisters

When it comes to Mr. Trump’s job approval at the end of his first year, Catholics in the United States tend to mirror the overall population. A poll released last week by Gallup found that 38 percent of Catholics approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance, just one point below the national average. Dig a bit deeper, however, and there is a stark divide between white Catholics, 51 percent of whom approve of Mr. Trump, and Hispanic Catholics, just 17 percent of whom approve of the president.

Part of that low approval rate from Hispanic Catholics is undoubtedly due to Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration views. This week, lawmakers continue to negotiate a way for nearly 800,000 young adults living in the United States, who were brought here as children illegally, to remain protected from deportation. It was during a bipartisan meeting about immigration earlier this month when the president reportedly used the phrase “shithole countries” to describe nations in Africa and voiced objections to accepting immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador. While the U.S. bishops conference released a statement condemning such language, it did not mention Mr. Trump specifically; and instead of a bishop signing it, as is custom, a communications official attached his name to it. Other Catholic leaders were more direct, including a group representing 2,900 Catholic sisters, the Sisters of Mercy.

While the U.S. bishops conference released a statement condemning vulgar language to describe nations in Africa, it did not mention Mr. Trump specifically.

In their statement, one of many they released about political issues during Mr. Trump’s first year, the sisters were direct and did not shy away from using the vulgar language the president reportedly employed.

“Sisters of Mercy are present in many of the countries President Trump categorized as ‘shitholes,’” they wrote. “We welcome immigrants and refugees from these countries in our schools, churches, healthcare institutions and other ministries.
”

The head of the group, Patricia McDermott, R.S.M., told me during a recent conversation that she agreed with my assessment that, statements aside, Catholic leaders have not been able to cut through the noise with a grand gesture, such as the 2014 Mass along the U.S.-Mexico border celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and several other bishops. This event showed that bishops were willing to travel to the border in order to bring attention to families separated because of immigration status, even by an administration that more or less agreed with the church’s position on immigration reform.

“I think all of us could be doing more,” she said about the church as a whole. “Our responses have not been robust, they haven’t been consistent, and they haven’t been clear and intentional enough to address sufficiently what I see as a tremendous gap in leadership.”

She pointed to the 2017 Women’s March, in which millions of Americans marched, in part, to protest Mr. Trump’s views, as a model of effective demonstrations that capture people’s imaginations.

“Pastorally, our priests and Catholic ministers are accompanying people and providing resources on a daily basis,” she continued. “But from a leadership perspective, we can do more. We can do better.”

The health care debate

One area where the church—including bishops, Catholic sisters and groups led by laypeople—appeared largely united and energized was during last summer’s unsuccessful effort, backed by Mr. Trump, to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Though initially opposed to the legislation when it was introduced in 2009, the U.S. bishops conference repeatedly urged Congress not to repeal it last year, a campaign they undertook beginning in the weeks just after Mr. Trump’s victory.

Carol Keehan, D.C., head of the Catholic Health Association, praised the bishops’ “wonderful job of speaking up” on health care. Sister Keehan said her organization, which represents hundreds of Catholic hospitals, decided its role during the debate would be to counter the “misinformation” spreading about the health of the A.C.A.’s insurance marketplaces.

“We made a commitment to respond with facts and with respect, to try to be a piece of changing the tone of conversation,” she told America. “We wanted to showcase people who had really benefited” from the legislation, she said, and highlight the “clear studies that showed if it was totally destroyed, the people who would be hurt most, the largest percentage of them, were the people that had voted for Trump.”

To that end, the organization used social media to encourage Americans to reach out to their representatives to express support for the law. These and similar efforts by a range of advocacy groups paid off, as Republican leaders in Congress were unable to gather the votes necessary to repeal the law.

But, Sister Keehan warned, the administration appears intent on trying “to kill [the A.C.A.] by a thousand cuts,” such as stripping the law’s mandate for individuals to purchase insurance as part of the recently enacted tax overhaul. U.S. bishops strongly opposed the tax measure, saying it would harm the poor and lead to reductions in the social safety net.

Racial justice

Last summer, a group of white supremacists gathered for a rally in Charlottesville, Va., protesting the removal of statues honoring Confederate heroes. A number of clergy held a counterprotest, though there were no reports of Catholic priests participating. The day turned violent when a man rammed his car into a crowd of people, killing one young woman who was among the counterprotesters. Mr. Trump then appeared to defend some of the white supremacists, saying in a press conference that the group included “some very fine people.”

The Catholic response to the protests was, at first, uneven.

Initial statements from many bishops, as well as the bishops conference, called for unity and prayers. It took some time for clear condemnations of racism to emerge. Some bishops said at the time that the events were unfolding quickly and they wanted to learn what had happened before weighing in. But a couple of weeks after the protest, the bishops approved a committee to work on racial justice—a sign that a long-anticipated pastoral letter on racism, the first to address the topic so thoroughly in decades, might be near completion. (For his part, Cardinal Wuerl published his own pastoral letter on the evils of racism late last year.)

The bishops approved a committee to work on racial justice—a sign that a long-anticipated pastoral letter on racism might be near completion.

Bishop Kicanas, the recently retired bishop of Tucson who participated in the 2014 border Mass, told me that bishops had been used to certain political conditions during the Obama years. Church leaders opposed that administration on many health care items, but shared goals in the areas of immigration and some safety net programs. He said it is common to expect some hiccups as other issues take center stage.

“I think it takes time, but I think there are good signs that the conference now has a new agenda,” Bishop Kicanas said. He added that “it’s important for [Catholics] to see that the church is not a political body, and the conference is not a political body.”

“We speak out of a tradition of values, of moral teaching that has to address these significant issues regardless of which party is for or against those issues,” he said.

Recent meetings of bishops have included sustained discussions about immigration, a debate about how strongly to pursue religious liberty and overall questions about which priorities the bishops should adopt. While it would be tempting to claim that this kind of conversation, which has been absent in previous years, is in direct response to new political challenges, that might be too easy. Credit should also be given to continued calls from Pope Francis for the church to broaden its social justice advocacy agenda.

Cardinal Wuerl, who at 77 is the oldest active bishop leading a U.S. diocese, told me last August that bishops have long advocated for the poor and marginalized. But he conceded that under Francis, a certain recalibration has been necessary.

“We have a long history of being greatly involved in questions of social justice, questions of care for the poor, the whole idea of charitable efforts,” the archbishop of Washington, D.C., told me. He said the church’s “intensity” on “very important” life issues, such as abortion, may have hindered “a clear a vision of all of the church’s efforts to respond to people in need.”

Still, during last November’s bishops meeting, Bishop Kicanas told other bishops during a plenary sessions that words were not enough during fraught political times. During our conversation, he recalled the border Mass and suggested that social challenges, such as immigration and racism, could benefit from new action.

“Those actions, while they’re not going to solve the problem, they speak so much more powerfully than words can ever speak,” he said. “For example, we have the March for Life. Maybe there should be a march against racism where we walk with our people as we do in Washington, to say as a people of faith we stand in opposition to hatred and to bitter rhetoric. Those visual things mean so much.”

Sister Keehan is unsure if such actions could do much to persuade skeptics, at least in terms of the Republican Party’s repeated efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“If you can look at little children, unborn children, infants, who in your state or in your district have health insurance and will lose it completely if this goes through—if you can look at that and it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t make you say, ‘No, no, no, no. We may have to make a lot of important changes, but we cannot lose the gains.’... If you can look at that and not be moved, what good is marching in the street going to do?” she asked.

“You look at the thousands of calls, the thousands of emails, the thousands of visits, and people,” she said of last year’s efforts to preserve health care. “It didn’t seem to move some people.”

Trump’s toughest Catholic critic

While the U.S. church has been vocal if inconsistent in its condemnations of some of Mr. Trump’s more controversial policies, the only global figure who can command a platform nearly as large as the president’s has been his toughest Catholic critic.

Though he rarely mentions Mr. Trump by name, Pope Francis has been unrelenting during the past year in his mission to highlight the plight of migrants, call for more robust environmental protections and bring up the dangers of war. In a speech just days before the U.S. election, the pope gave a speech warning that “fear...weakens and destabilizes us,” calling attention to the global refugee crisis and reiterating his opposition to border walls, one of Mr. Trump’s signature campaign promises. Though the pair met at the Vatican in May, Francis has continued to denounce anti-migrant sentiments. A month after their meeting, U.S. bishops expressed their distress that Mr. Trump rolled back Obama-era policies that thawed relations between the United States and Cuba, a deal that Pope Francis himself had encouraged. And earlier this month, the Vatican newspaper ran a front-page story condemning Mr. Trump’s “harsh” and “offensive” language about Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.

The Vatican newspaper ran a front-page story condemning Mr. Trump’s “harsh” and “offensive” language about Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.

Just this week, during his flight from Rome to Chile, Francis was asked about the threat of nuclear war, a question that comes at a time when tensions between the United States and North Korea appear to be escalating. (Oddly enough, the threat of nuclear annihilation is one topic U.S. bishops have, more or less, left alone in recent months.)

“I think we are at the very limit. I am really afraid of this,” the pope said. “One accident is enough to precipitate things.”

As for whether the United States under Mr. Trump is “at the very limit” on a range of domestic issues, only time will tell. In the meantime, Catholic leaders now have had a year of adjusting to our new political reality and understanding which methods of organizing and persuasion work.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Jay Zamberlin
10 months ago

More phony bloviations from the "catholic" lite brigade. You should start to realize how distant you are from the hearts and minds of the faithful. What a clown show the "so called" Catholic "leadership" (I would say Intelligentsia, but for lack thereof) has become. Case in point, the US of A takes in more immigrants than the REST OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE COMBINED. When do we her ONE WORD of criticism for these other countries for their xenophobia and HARSH immigration policies??? MMM.....I'm waiting.
Phony charlatans, all of you.

Bill Mazzella
10 months ago

Jay, you may be self reflecting as you seem to support the greatest charlatan in history in Trump. The reality is that we are really sheltered in this country from destruction and terror that engulfs much of the world. The WTC 9/11 destruction shocked Americans who pretend that God has blessed us so we do not suffer like the rest of the world. It is a false Christianity that does not feel what the Hondurans , Syrians, Palestinians, and others are enduring. If we are true Catholics that means the whole world not just America. People are praising Trump for the Dow Jones and not considering that he is a daily lie. 2000 lies and counting since he took office. Jesus Crucified is the central tenet of our faith. Yet we seek the gilded life and assert that it is God's favor. Matthew 25:36-41 is denied and the words of the Magnificat that "The hungry will be filled with Good Things and the rich will go away empty" and that God has destroyed the "Powerful and exalted the humble", are considered "poison" by those who embrace the sin of nationalism.

Jay Zamberlin
10 months ago

I do share your concern, ESPECIALLY for the Middle East and ME Christians, whom I happen to know and go to church with. I follow Sarah Abdallah, Walid Shoebatt, (Forum for ME Understanding) Bolivian documentary (on Syria, WhiteHats) producer Carla Ortiz, Tulsi Gabbard and Partisan (Syrian) Girl (twitter) . My priest is Melkite. So, I agree with some of what you're suggesting about Americans "not getting the big picture." I do look at the big picture, and we can tie a lot of the 'crisis' to our globalist policies from the Bushes through Obama, with the attendant "regime change" policies that have created a lot of this mess, and Trump, of whom you've spoken disparagingly, is, at the very least, not chomping at the bit to continue down that same road, and in fact, campaigned against that, and IF, you had just a smattering of the real story, you would not be prattling away like you are, with all do respect. I don't think you are in a position, just again, with due respect, to call anyone's Christianity "false" based on your perceived idea about people you don't know, and their, apparently, lack of suffering. How about wisdom as some sort of indication of piety? Let's go for wisdom, and not platitudes and invectives. True, our American brothers and sisters are not always that well informed, but can we at least admit that this pandering on the part of America, the Jesuits generally and our American bishops as a group (with some very distinguished and fine exceptions) are doing NOTHING but reiterating the same tired canards we've been listening to for about forty years now, the same sort of mentality that brought us the abuse debacle and a quite undereducated Catholic population, as far as their faith. Remember, this pope was championed by the likes of Roger Cardinal Mahony. Do I need to say more?

Bill Mazzella
10 months ago

Jay, glad we agree that our faith is universal and that nationalism is wrong. Even "wisdom" can be misquoted. Matthew 25:36-41 seems pretty clear and constantly neglected. It has always been an amazing fact that the Middle Class always has felt threatened by the lower class rather than the ruling class. Immigrants have always been an essential part of the American story and the SOL's "Give me your tire....", expresses that. No question we have to constantly challenge the bishops and the Jesuits, we do have to be fair when they emulate Matthew 25:

John Walton
10 months ago

Curious -- yesterday "initial claims for unemployment" hit a low they hadn't seen since 1973 -- when I was in grad school, single and broke back then!

More curious -- unemployment for black youth has taken a sudden turn for the better -- could it be that the pressure on employers to employ those legally in the US has had a moral, economic and enforcement effect?

Oh my cynical self -- do the Catholic bishops mourn the disappearance of the economically aggrieved?

My recommendation to the USCCB -- another reading of Erasmus "In praise of folly".

Dan Acosta
10 months ago

The US bishops and their political opinions are gutless and irrelevant. They promote the illogical "seamless garment" approach to pro-life issues. I don't think they dare call for any kind of overt political action for fear that a majority of Catholic Americans, sensible people, would boycott the event(s) and the bishops would embarrass themselves before the whole nation. Where was all the outrage when Obama rode roughshod over the constitutional right to freedom of religion, deported the most illegal immigrants in U.S. history, and promoted abortion and "gay marriage"?

Andrew Eppink
10 months ago

@ Dan

“They promote the illogical "seamless garment" approach to pro-life issues. I don't think they dare call for any kind of overt political action for fear that a majority of Catholic Americans, sensible...”

There are more problems with contemporary CathoIicism and this worthless ‘Pope’ than you can shake a stick at. This ‘seamIess garment’ eviI nonsense is IikeIy the worst (Obviously Bernardin’s Big Idea and not Frank’s). Equating the Iives of pristinely innocent unborns with those of capitalIy convicted convicts is as disgusting as it is evil. The convicts need to repent before they’re kiIIed. Not to mention the continuing barrage of Iying and poIitics emanating from FrauduIent Frank and his minions. lt’s revoIting.

Michael John
9 months 2 weeks ago

Why don't you stick to telling women what to shave. You are clearly way over your head here.

Rudolph Koser
10 months ago

Our leadership abdicated leadership long ago emphasizing abortion almost to the exclusion of other important life issues. I’m sorry letters and statements don’t cut it. The so called conservatives appealed to the culture warriors appointed by JP II. So now who listens to the Catholic leadership? Not the R’s They gave them a carrot. Now they will ignore them.

Edward Gallagher
10 months ago

The fact that 51% of white Catholics in the US support Mr Trump is clear proof that the church has failed in its pastoral role. Trump's cynical and self-serving anti-abortion position appeals to Catholics because the vast majority of Catholic bishops have decided that abortion is the only issue really worth their serious attention. Pope Francis, on the other hand, has made it quite clear that opposition to abortion and an obsession with sexual morality do not trump all other moral issues and concerns.

Lisa Weber
10 months ago

The bishops have been trying to deal with the aftermath of supporting an unfit and corrupt man for the presidency. It would have been better to speak up more forcefully during the campaign.

Dan Acosta
10 months ago

LEt's be clear: the 2016 Presidential election was a contest between two disgusting, immoral, self-serving candidates. The one elected opposes abortion; the loser promotes the killing of innocent life. To say one voted for the disgusting candidate who opposes abortion does not indicate endorsement of everything he ever did or said.

Randal Agostini
10 months ago

Hypocrisy lives. There is no clear message that is generated from the polite and politically correct mouths of the USCCB. This was confusing during the election and has remained the same throughout this administration.
There was one issue alone that made me vote for this president, which was freedom to practice my religion and I will vote for him and pray for him as he continues to support legislation that supports this American precept.
What is this preoccupation of the USCCB in support of compassion caused by illegal immigration. Catholicism has no borders and this is shown by American and Catholic generosity throughout the world, but people have borders and laws and they too must be respected.
Sister Keehan was a team player for the Trump administration, as he dismantled our Faith freedoms one by one, destroying our society through insane ideologies that counter family and faith.
Where were our Bishops when the foundations of family were systematically removed - divorce - pornography - same sex marriage, closure of Catholic schools.

Bill Mazzella
10 months ago

"which was freedom to practice my religion" Not if you are a Muslim. What are you thinking?

Dan Acosta
10 months ago

Mr. Agostini: did you mean Sister Keehan was a team player for the Obama administration?

William Bannon
10 months ago

The Bishops are oblivious to the danger they are putting immigrants in because immigrants cannot afford the low murder rate areas of the USA where many affluent liberals live. And when they move near or in our inner cities, they are moving into an area roughly twice as murderous as Mexico as a whole ( not eg. Sinaloa itself ). I read where our inner cities average 31 per 100,000 as a murder rate. Ecuador is 8.23 per 100,000....Mexico is 16 per 100,000. Only Honduras and El Salvador are more dangerous than our inner cities....it makes sense for refugees from only those two countries to come here. Other Latinos are leaving a safer country for the part of the usa that is worse than where they are from.
Mr. Marca Yupa was murdered near the Newark border by a ghetto criminal in front of his Ecuadorian wife and child in December after a Catholic prayer service held imprudently at night when most ghetto violence happens. Yupa left an 8.23 per 100,000 murder rate in Ecuador and moved to Irvington NJ. next to a 30 something per 100,000 murder rate in Newark. They unwittingly moved to an area four times more dangerous than Ecuador and now a wife and 8 year old boy are heart broken and no Bishop warned them of the pattern followed by many immigrants...from less danger to more danger because the usa is two countries...rich and poor...safe and lethal.

Catholic Gay Hermit
10 months ago

i BLAME the USCCB for the election of President Nut-job
nazi nihilist putin loving hater of democracy...
.
the USCCB is to blame for trumpholes election...
.
the USCCB, afraid of bad billionaires...

Stuart Meisenzahl
9 months 4 weeks ago

Dear Hermit
So many incendiary adjectives from a person who hides behind an avatar! Surely you want your strong opinion associated with who you really are......why hide?

E.Patrick Mosman
10 months ago

The Catholic Church's hierarchy in America has become too political as a little more than a year
ago Cardinal Dolan sat between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the annual Al Smith fund raising Dinner in New York City. Jesus said that no one can serve two masters, in this case the Catholic Faith and the government's money, as in the US Catholic Charities is in fact an arm of the Federal government receiving approximately 60% of its annual income from the government.
"In 2010, Catholic Charities had revenues of $4.7 billion, $2.9 billion
of which came from the US government. Only about $140 million came from
donations from diocesan churches, the remainder coming from in-kind
contributions, investments, program fees, and community donations. Catholic Charities is listed as an Accredited Charity by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance."
Socialism is already a major factor in the use of religious organizations to deliver the services posing as charity.
"The truth of the matter is that the Obama administration has actually increased funding for Catholic nonprofit organizations and programs. In fact, more than $1.5 billion went to Catholic organizations over the past two years.
Funding increases for Catholic organizations in recent years include the following:

An increase from $12.45 million (2008) to $57.89 million (2011) in USDA food assistance to Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
An increase from just over $440 million (2008) to more than $554 million (2010) to Catholic Charities USA
Increases in Dept. of Labor grants to Catholic organizations such as Catholic Charities of Kansas for ex-offender reintegration and other programs from $300,000 (2009) to more than $5 million (2011)
An increase of HHS funding for Catholic Medical Mission Board global health activities from $500,000 (2008) to $7 million (2011).
As a result of the increasing dependence on the Federal government the Leaders of the Catholic Church are reluctant to openly encourage the faithful in Sunday sermons to oppose politicians, President Obama and Catholic politicians who support Obamacare and Planned Parenthood both are funded by or receive US government funding,i.e.,taxpayers' money and the increasing limitations placed on Catholics ability to exercise their First Amendment right to "the free exercise of religion.

Under Obamacare, federal funds can be used to cover abortions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, or that endanger the mother's life. Abortions are available at many Planned Parenthood health centers, clinics, and the offices of private health care providers. Hillary Clinton is a outspoken supporter of both and yet she was honored by Cardinal Dolan at a dinner for Catholic Charities.

"Cardinal O’Connor rightly warned Catholic institutions that “dependence on government is fraught with peril and that I saw this creeping dependence. I saw us going after the money, wherever the money is, to tailor programs accordingly, to fit our charity to the requirements of governmental regulatory procedures.” He continued: “Ten years have passed, and what I feared, I think, is now an even greater peril.” The fact is, government support is not charity or philanthropy, defined as the giving of the proper amount to the most worthy institutions and individuals. Government support is a regulated purchase of goods and services where he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Andrew Eppink
10 months ago

@ E.

“the US Catholic Charities is in fact an arm of the Federal government receiving approximately 60% of its annual income from the government.
"In 2010, Catholic Charities had revenues of $4.7 billion, $2.9 billion
of which came from the US government. Only about $140 million came from
donations from diocesan churches, the remainder coming from...”

True as can be. And the CEO of Catholic Charities demands some $300k for her services whiIe the head of SaIvation Army gets some $40k or so. The corruption in CC and so much of contemporary CathoIicism is disgusting.

E.Patrick Mosman
10 months ago

"Pope Francis has been unrelenting during the past year in his mission to highlight the plight of migrants, call for more robust environmental protections and bring up the dangers of war."
If the Pope truly wanted Peace in the world he would stop attacking President Trump who has successfully defeated ISIS in Syria and brought North Korea to talks with South Korea and began to preach about the causes of the wars today in the world, Islam,which he falsely calls a great "Peaceful" religion and gives it equal status to Christianity and Judaism.
"In an Interview, Top Indonesian Muslim Scholar Says Stop Pretending That Orthodox Islam and Violence Aren't Linked"
Question:"The Pope and many Western politicians and intellectuals say that Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. What is your view? "
Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam."
Read the complete interview at: http://time.com/4930742/islam-terrorism-islamophobia-violence/

Vincent Gaglione
10 months ago

“Bishop Kicanas said….. that ‘it’s important for [Catholics] to see that the church is not a political body, and the conference is not a political body.’ “
His sincerity in that statement not doubted, notwithstanding, the comment is laughable. On many of the great morally political issues of USA history the Catholic Church of the USA was so political as to behave immorally. Slavery? Jim Crow segregation? The Vietnam War? Child sexual abuse? The Iraq war? Labor rights? Silence in the face of obvious moral issues IS a political act for religious leaders.

Those issues deserved the same attention, moral outrage, and obvious political action as abortion. Some have even said that the abortion issue was used by the USA bishops to try to obviate their lack of moral and political commentary on so many other issues. Some also believe that the current issue “du jour”, religious freedom, is a subterfuge to distract from the scandal of appropriate action regarding child sexual abuse.

Nobody is asking the bishops to start a political movement. Most Catholics expect them to be plainspoken and forthright on moral questions. I know of at least one person who died in Vietnam who would have been better served by his Catholic bishops willing to give moral direction and cover regarding military service per Saint John Paul’s own opinion on that war!

Eugene Fitzpatrick
10 months ago

Your commentary is laudable and expresses the viewpoint of many , many others. I conjecture that if a full-throated, doggedly determined objection to the Iraq War was mounted by the Christian leadership in 2002-03, the Bush crowd may have paused, may have backed off from committing the worst crime of the 21st Century to date. The USCCB might have stopped the Iraq War but instead gave barely a peep of protest. Where today is the American Christian indignation over the Yankee carnage in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen? The USCCB doesn't even creditably take up the cause of their fellow Christians in Palestine, crushed for more than half a century by Zionist racism and avarice.

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