In a call with over 600 Catholic leaders on April 25, President Donald Trump discussed the financial impact of coronavirus and promised economic relief and support for the Catholic education system.
But an alliance that should have been good news became a bone of contention for some, according to an editorial written by staff at the National Catholic Reporter.
According to the similarly named but separate National Catholic Register, along with Catholic school superintendents and other bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, joined the call and spoke highly of the president and his support for the schools.
Some dioceses have announced that school closures during shutdowns meant to contain COVID-19 have caused financial hardship. On the call, Trump said he pushed to include Catholic education in the Paycheck Protection Program.
The president praised Catholic education and expressed support for the pro-life cause, and Dolan, in turn, praised Trump.
“Never has the outlook financially looked more bleak, but perhaps never has the outlook looked more promising given the energetic commitment that your administration has to our schools,” Dolan reportedly said in audio of the call obtained by Crux. “We need you more than ever.”
Dolan mentioned his favorable interaction with Trump in his Sunday homily. The president, who had promised to watch, tweeted, “@CardinalDolan Thank you for a great call yesterday with Catholic Leaders, and a great Service today from @StPatsNYC!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2020
Instead of expressing gratitude for what the president has done during the pandemic for Catholic education and his willingness to reach out to Catholic leaders, staff at the National Catholic Reporter bristled at the idea that Dolan would ally himself with the Republican president, declaring the “capitulation is complete.”
“Without a whimper from any of his fellow bishops, the cardinal archbishop of New York has inextricably linked the Catholic Church in the United States to the Republican Party and, particularly, President Donald Trump,” they wrote.
The NCR editorial objected to the fact that “Trump will have Dolan’s language from the call” and said he dubbed the president a “great gentleman” and a “great friend” — though Crux reported that it was the president who used those words and Dolan simply said, “the feelings are mutual, sir.”
The Catholic publication sounded very much like it was using Democratic National Committee talking points when it claimed Trump’s most “consistent attribute is an uncontrollable propensity for lying, continuously and about everything.”
It is telling that NCR’s “mission and values” statement includes tenets such as “social justice” and “inclusiveness” but nothing about support for the magisterium, the Roman Catholic Church’s authority to interpret the word of God.
The president has been consistently and unapologetically pro-life, which is an issue that the Church’s official doctrine has always taken a hard line against. So it seems more than appropriate for a prominent bishop to give praise to the pro-life president when he is doing things that support and defend the church’s teachings.
Shockingly, NCR objected to the pair’s mutual respect with the claim that “the all-consuming issue” of abortion was more important to Dolan than “the agenda in any political consideration.”
The editorial cited the tired argument about male hierarchy unfairly making rules for women as a means to negate the issue’s status.
This objection comes from a publication which previously ran an editorial in May 2019 calling for less “extremist” views on abortion, and advocated for “reasonable compromises” such as allowing abortion in early pregnancy but restricting to life and health of the mother in late pregnancy — again not sounding much different from the DNC.
Unsurprisingly, the publication was not at all concerned about Dolan’s friendliness toward politicians when it came to abortion-supporting former President Barack Obama.
Dolan famously yukked it up with him at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in 2012. The NCR reported that the archbishop’s many roles necessitated such a relationship.
It is clear that the National Catholic Reporter is carrying water for liberals inside and outside the Church while chastising Dolan for his support for a conservative politician who respects Catholicism and its teachings on the value of human life.
In the end, NCR’s objection only serves to illustrate the sad fact that liberals of all stripes and religions are equally vulnerable to Trump Derangement Syndrome.
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