Matt C. Abbott
August 3, 2015
Cardinal Dolan's 'Trump' card
By Matt C. Abbott

(A version of the following column originally appeared at the American Thinker Blog.)

The Donald isn't getting much love from three prominent New York Catholics: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York; Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League; and Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life (it should be noted that the latter two have been pro-life Republican-friendly for quite some time) – albeit for different reasons.

In a July 29 op-ed for The New York Daily News, Cardinal Dolan wrote:
    I wish I were in the college classroom again, so I could roll out my 'Trump card' to show the students that I was right. Nativism is alive, well – and apparently popular! ....

    I am not in the business of telling people what candidates they should support or who deserves their vote. But as a Catholic, I take seriously the Bible's teaching that we are to welcome the stranger, one of the most frequently mentioned moral imperatives in both the Old and New Testament.
I have to say that, while I don't necessarily disagree with the cardinal on this issue, I've been very disappointed in his overall leadership among Catholic prelates. One thing he does do well: he knows how to laugh in a jolly manner while being politically astute correct with the media.

(In a July 30 op-ed at Breitbart.com, Father Marcel Guarnizo wrote: "Dolan, who is quick to claim that he is not telling people who they should not vote for, provides the usual vacuous caveat only after he has done all the damage. This is the same bishop who is silent about the recently revealed atrocities of Planned Parenthood, who did little to defend marriage and has done absolutely nothing about pro-abortion politicians in his diocese receiving Communion and remaining falsely in good standing in the Catholic Church. Dolan laments that he is not still teaching in college his absurd nativist ideology. I can only say I am relieved for those who would be subjected to his indoctrination; lamentably, he has free rein to attack Republicans in the public square.")

Now on to Bill Donohue, who's skeptical about Trump's apparent pro-life position, as expressed in a July 27 news release:
    [Donald Trump adviser Roger] Stone decided that the time was ripe for Republicans to change their party platform on abortion. Since 1980, the party had supported a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. 'I think you can be pro-choice and respect life,' he said in 1990.

    Does Stone still think it is a good idea for the Republicans to join the pro-abortion camp? More important, does Trump, who once was okay with partial-birth abortion, differ with his chief strategist on this issue? The public needs to know what Trump thinks about Republicans for Choice, the organization his top adviser co-founded.
Donohue, with whom I agree more than I disagree, brings up a fair point. So I asked a third prominent New York Catholic, the staunchly pro-life Father Frank Pavone, to weigh in.

Father Pavone's response is not entirely critical of Trump:
    The fact that Donald Trump was once pro-choice but now says he is pro-life should not in itself cause us to doubt the sincerity of that change. Even if one argues that it is politically beneficial and even necessary for him to make that change in order to have a shot at the Republican nomination, it still does not follow that his change of views on abortion is not real and sincere.

    I don't say that because I support Trump's campaign, but simply because I deal with so many people who have changed their position on abortion. What is necessary to do, in the case of Trump and any other candidate, is to press them not simply on what they 'believe' but on specifically what they are willing to do to advance protection of the unborn.

    The choice of Roger Stone as an advisor is troubling. Mr. Stone has extremely bad judgment as evidenced by his statement, 'I think you can be pro-choice and respect life.' Both Mr. Stone and Mr. Trump need to be pressed on what they are committed to doing to end the inequality, injustice and violence of abortion.
At least Trump's campaign has been entertaining; and he isn't afraid of the conservative-bashing elements of the mainstream media. Will he get the GOP nomination? I doubt it. Then again, stranger things have happened. And, yes: I'd vote for The Donald over Bill Clinton's seemingly-estranged wife any day.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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