USA: Hundreds of Catholic leaders call President Trump a 'threat to Catholic values'

Source: Faith in Public Life

National Catholic social justice leaders, scholars from nearly two dozen Catholic universities, and several retired officials from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, have endorsed a nationwide open letter to Catholic voters released this week warning that President Trump "flouts core values at the heart of Catholic social teaching."

"The same President who used a Bible as a political prop for a photo opportunity in front of a church defiles the Gospel in his words and policies," the letter reads. "A consistent pattern of racism, sexism and nativism defines this presidency. While neither political party or candidate reflects the fullness of Catholic teaching on every issue, President Trump's character, policy decisions and cruelty toward anyone who challenges him demonstrates a fundamental contempt for what it means to be Christian."

During the Republican National Convention, a Catholic Sister praised Trump as "the most pro-life president this nation has ever had." President Trump has called himself the "best president in the history of the Catholic Church," and during an interview with a Catholic media outlet said "you have to be with President Trump when it comes to pro-life." But the letter details why Catholic teaching can't be reduced to abortion, or any other single issue.

"There is nothing 'pro-life' about spreading disinformation about Covid-19, sending refugees and asylum-seekers back to certain death, re-instituting the federal death penalty, policies that worsen climate change, and exploiting racism for political advantage," the Catholic leaders write. "Pope Francis speaks about an economy of exclusion that kills, and reminds us the lives of poor people and migrants are 'equally sacred' as life in the womb."

Signers include Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity Washington University; the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas' justice team; Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Rev Bryan Massingale, professor of applied Christian ethics at Fordham University; Francis Xavier Doyle, former associate general secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Rev Bob Bonnot, Executive Director, Association of US Catholic Priests.

Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity Washington University said: "The signs of these times demand that faithful Catholics speak out against the ruthless acts of a shamelessly immoral demagogue who has ruined countless lives with his inhumanity, despicable racism and utter disregard for truth."

Rev Bryan Massingale, Professor of Applied Christian Ethics, Fordham University said: "President Trump's intentional strategy of inciting racial fear and division is contrary to American principles of decency and reflects a commitment to the sinful ideology of white nationalism. Cruelty towards immigrants and refugees can never be reconciled with a belief in the sanctity of life. A political agenda that consistently denigrates communities of colour is an insult to our Christian conviction of the sacred dignity of all people. I feel compelled to speak out because the president's policies and behaviour threaten American democracy and undermine so many core social justice teachings of our church."

John Gehring, Catholic Program Director, Faith in Public Life Action: "In recent days, a Catholic Sister at the Republican convention served as a cheerleader for a man who makes nativism, racism and cruelty central to his presidency. We continue to see some church leaders distort centuries of Catholic teaching by reducing our faith to a single issue. This partisan theology is being used to help re-elect a white nationalist who deploys fear to divide voters and puts his own power before the common good. I'm proud to stand with others who are reclaiming the Catholic narrative heading into this election."

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: "As a Catholic, my faith shapes my values. In our democracy, I strive to have my votes mirror those values. I vote to protect people in poverty, the elderly and migrants. I vote to reject racism in all of its forms. Donald Trump acts far outside these norms. For me, he is not a candidate I can support."

Faith in Public Life Action is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, we are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level. Our network of 50,000 leaders engage in bold moral action that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.


Read the full letter with names of signatories:

Faith in Public Life -

Tags: Trump, Faith in Public Life, Patricia McGuire, Sister Simone Campbell, Rev Bryan Massingale, Fr Francis Xavier Doyle, John Gehring, Rev Bob Bonnot, Rev Bryan Massingale

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