Group of Catholic advisers signs on with Trump

This story appears in the Election 2016 feature series. View the full series.

by Tom Roberts

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troberts@ncronline.org

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A group of high profile conservative Catholics have signed on as a panel of advisers to the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, according to a report by Thomas Fitzgerald writing on Philly.com, a Web site of the Inquirer and Daily News.

The group includes longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie, Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and Ave Maria University, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum and Joseph Cella, founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Santorum opposed Trump during this year's Republican primary, the former senator's second failed attempt at a run for the president. Cella reportedly will be "chief liaison to the campaign for Catholic affairs." His new role for the campaign would be a stark turnabout from the sentiments he expressed along with other leading conservative Catholics in a letter during the primary season pleading with Catholics to reject Trump. That "Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics," written by George Weigel and Robert P. George, described Trump as "manifestly unfit to be president" and said he had "already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility."

Faith Whittlesey, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and a high-ranking official in the Reagan White House, said Clinton would threaten "the ability of Christians to fully and freely practice their faith that is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment," and that Trump "will fight for Catholics in defense of life, and their religious liberty." 

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