Catholic Democrats: Cardinal Timothy Dolan Warns Against the Democratic Party

Catholics Democrats
Image: Cardinal Timothy Dolan | By the Hudson Institute

The Catholic Church has had a long and storied relationship with the Democratic Party. Not anymore, warns Cardinal Timothy Dolan. In a powerful piece for the Wall Street Journal, the beloved and outspoken Dolan, who remembers growing up with a grandmother that whispered to him, “We Catholics don’t trust those Republicans,” has come to the jarring realization that the Democratic Party really isn’t his grandmother’s party.

… [T]he 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. An esteemed pro-life Democrat in Illinois, Rep. Dan Lipinski, effectively was blacklisted by his own party. Last year, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez insisted that pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic Party.

The “big tent” of the Democratic Party now seems a pup tent… I’m a pastor, not a politician, and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of America’s leading parties. 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.

To… Grandma Dolan, I’m sorry to have to write this. But not as sad as you are to know it is true.

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It’s been a difficult split for Catholic voters, who’ve watched the DNC turn their political home into a virtual satellite office of Planned Parenthood. No doubt that’s what’s driving Pew’s latest research, which shows that the Obama-era attacks on conscience, taxpayer-funded abortion, and faith-based groups like Catholic Charities is having a major impact on the voting trends of this once heavily-Democratic population. The defection of white Catholics from the Democratic Party to the GOP has been swift and astounding. Today, the Republicans’ share of the white Catholic vote is 54 percent, compared to 45 percent two and a half decades ago. If more voters feel as unwelcome as Dolan, the GOP has an opportunity to build a bigger and stronger alliance with Catholic voters. But, like any solid relationship, it can’t be built with words; it has to be built with action.

For the Left, the way back to Catholics’ good graces is easy. Democrat Conor Lamb tried it, highlighting supposedly pro-life views in a special Pennsylvania district that Trump won by double digits. Unlike most in his party, he used the life issue to his advantage — a strategy that helped propel the young Lamb to victory. “If somebody in his district was a pro-life voter and that was their No. 1 issue, then they are not voting for Conor Lamb,” political science professor Christopher Borick told the Times. “However, if that is an important issue, but not the No. 1 issue for you, and you are weighing a number of the candidate’s attributes, his personal stance might in some ways give you a little bit of extra wiggle room to offer your support.” While deceptive, that strategy, the Times argues, “bolstered by news reports labeling Mr. Lamb as pro-life — could have helped him in a race where the margin of victory was just north of 800 votes.”

As we’ve said several times before, the abortion issue was never settled by the Supreme Court. It continues to impact the political debate — so much so that abortion is literally deciding the outcome of elections. And if Democrats have any hope of recapturing the majority in Congress, they’ll need to put the brakes on this runaway train of abortion extremism. My home state governor, Jon Bel Edwards (D), certainly gets it. Louisiana is a socially conservative state that’s never had a pro-abortion governor. Edwards knows that if he crosses voters on life, he’ll lose. That might explain why he’s been so quick to endorse a 15-week abortion ban like Mississippi’s. He understands what the DNC does not: the party’s quickest death is alienating the voters who support life.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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