US Cardinal: Democratic Party ‘Now Slams The Door’ On Catholics

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Cardinal Timothy Dolan lamented that the Democratic party has slammed the door on Catholics by opposing religious education and any pro-life stance.

Dolan, the archbishop of New York, made the remarks in a Thursday op-ed entitled “The Democrats Abandon Catholics,” published in the Wall Street Journal with the subheading, “If you value religious education or life’s sanctity, you’re not welcome in the party.”

The Democratic Party once courted the Catholic vote and, according to Democrats for Life, one-in-three Democrats is pro-life, but Dolan asserts that the national party has completely alienated and worked against any candidate who holds a pro-life stance or supports the rights of religious schools.

“I’m a pastor, not a politician, and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of America’s leading parties,” Dolan wrote. “But it saddens me, and weakens the democracy millions of Americans cherish, when the party that once embraced Catholics now slams the door on us.”

Dolan cited examples of prominent American Catholic figures in New York who Democrats once considered to be in line with their party’s values because of their fight for the rights of immigrants and for the civil rights of minorities.

Dolan mentioned Archbishop John Hughes, the first archbishop of New York, who started Catholic schools in response to the influx of Irish immigrants in the 1800s against whom the schools of the day discriminated. He also noted the example of Dolores Grier, a black American and convert to Catholicism who championed civil rights, particularly by promoting the pro-life cause in the face of what she saw as a genocide against minority babies.

“Such is no longer the case, a cause of sadness to many Catholics, me included. The two causes so vigorously promoted by Hughes and Grier — the needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb — largely have been rejected by the party of our youth,” Dolan wrote.

Dolan recounted memories of his grandmother telling him that Catholics could not trust Republicans, and how New York democrats openly embraced Catholic values. Today, the opposite is true, according to Dolan, as evidenced by the Democratic Party’s blacklisting of pro-life Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski and DNC Chairman Tom Perez’s message that “pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic Party.”

Dolan pointed out that New York Democrats repeatedly blocked education tax credits that would not only have helped low and middle-income families choose where to send their children for school, but would also have helped Catholic schools “to continue their mission of serving the poor, many of them immigrants.” Democrats have also proposed an expansion to what Dolan called “the most radical abortion license in the country” via the Reproductive Health Act, which would allow doctors to refuse care to a baby that survives an abortion in order to kill the child via neglect.

Dolan also used the story of former Hillary Clinton staffer Annafi Wahed to illustrate the unrequited tolerance that conservatives afford democrats, while democrats display only hostility toward those who espouse conservative viewpoints. Wahed wrote of her experience at the Conservative Political Action Conference at which, she said, conservatives welcomed her and truly listened to her views. Wahed admitted that Democrats would not have afforded that welcome to conservative speakers or listened at all to what they had to say.

“The ‘big tent’ of the Democratic Party now seems a pup tent,” Dolan wrote.

“To Archbishop Hughes, Dolores Grier, and Grandma Dolan, I’m sorry to have to write this. But not as sad as you are to know it is true,” he concluded.

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