NCR published an editorial this week titled "That Trump can still sway some Catholic voters is a real scandal." In the editorial, we write that "We need to ensure that the merchants of political hatred will find geofencing Catholic churches a futile act because they know they will receive little support in those precincts — Catholic churchgoers will act on the Gospel message they hear every Sunday." Following are letters to the editor responding to our editorial. They have been edited for length and clarity.
I, too, am scandalized and baffled by support from Catholics for President Donald Trump. As I grew up in the '60s, I prayed with my elementary school teachers and classmates for the success of the Second Vatican Council. As a high schooler, my teachers and classmates tried to put into effect the new paradigm of Vatican II's teachings on community, reaching out to the poor and supporting civil rights legislation by lawmakers. It was an exhilarating and hopeful time to be a member of the Catholic Church.
I am still an active member of the Catholic Church, but it has been discouraging over the years to see the church close the windows on the fresh air that had been let in during the '60s and '70s.
How can our church members support someone who is a white supremacist, a philanderer and a divider-in-chief?
Keene, New Hampshire
I am sincerely moved by your editorial. I never thought I would see the day when it became necessary to remind Catholics of a responsibility to stand with the social teaching of Jesus Christ. I wonder whatever has become of Catholic leadership that could have sunk to such a level!
We have such a strong leader in Pope Francis, and I have rejoiced in his various letters and encyclicals. I knew that "Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home" might be difficult for some, but it was well researched and has proven true since the pandemic afflicted the world.
We desperately need a determination to provide a teaching and reconversion beginning with so called "practicing" Catholics before we can evangelize the world.
(Fr.) NICHOLAS PUNCH, OP
For those Catholics that want to keep people unemployed and dependent on the government for taking the earnings of hardworking people and distributing to the unemployed — vote for Joe Biden.
For those Catholics that want this country destroyed by becoming a socialist state — vote for Biden.
For those Catholics that want to turn their heads to the attacks on our church — vote for Biden.
For those Catholics that let our cities burn and be destroyed by anarchists — vote for Biden.
For those Catholics that want no borders, closed prisons and no police — vote for Biden.
For those that want a puppet president with unelected, unknown people pulling his strings — vote for Biden.
In my conversations with Catholics who are daily Mass-goers and who intend to vote for President Donald Trump, I find that they are concerned with only one issue: Trump's stance on abortion. To them, nothing else matters.
I therefore think that the only way to broaden their thinking is to broaden the meanings of phrases like "right to life" and the "dignity of all life" to mean just what they say. The right to a dignified life not just for the unborn but also for those suffering from the pandemic, those bearing the brunt of immoral immigration policies, those losing their livelihoods and homes to climate change, and those enduring the decidedly undignified treatment of people of color in America. Perhaps we should ask, "What would Jesus do?"
As a born and raised Southerner from Birmingham, Alabama, I would like to ask the editorial staff at NCR some basic questions.
Which party did the Confederacy grow out of? Was Abraham Lincoln a Democrat?
Which was the party of Reconstruction and of the Ku Klux Klan? As Birmingham Catholics, my family had experience with both.
Which party gave us such notable leaders as George Wallace and Bull Connor? Oh yes, Strom Thurmond and his gang of Dixiecrats, you know the ones that opposed such things as the Voting Rights Act, were all Republicans, right?
I would recommend that before you jump on the anti-Trump wagon you do just a cursory review of American history.
Sugar Hill, Georgia
Thank you for your important piece in the editorial regarding President Donald Trump's sway over Catholic voters. It is one (and only one) of the great tragedies of our church that some are so singularly focused on abortion and homophobia that they are unwilling to consider broader issues of human rights and give them the same ardent support. Trump has successfully pandered to this element and portrayed himself as actually caring about their beliefs.
This immoral, unethical and hypocritical man has masterfully played his audience to garner support and votes as he systematically destroys our national tradition of "welcoming strangers" and erodes our core values. And New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as well as other church leaders, have aided and abetted his efforts. Yet another sad day for our church.
Geofencing may help pro-Trump lobbyists garner the Catholic vote. But the real biggie in their getting this vote is still the pro-life focus. It's almost too easy: just say a candidate is pro-life and you have got like half the Catholic vote. This despite the Republican stance against pro-life programs like WIC, SNAP, TANF and Medicaid, designed for women, infants, children and particularly for the unborn who need continuous intrauterine nourishment and regular medical check-ups. And despite studies discussed on conservative Catholic radio indicating that two-thirds of females who abort were pressured or coerced to do so by significant others, including the males who impregnated them.
Church leaders should focus more on how Mary's problem pregnancy was resolved: not forced by civil law but supported and encouraged by Joseph's loving care even though he had not slept with her. He should be the example for all men faced with a problem pregnancy they did cause. Us guys are at least half the problem.
Or as Sarah Silverman succinctly put it: "Males cause 100% of unwanted pregnancies."
Minot, North Dakota
There are many Catholics I know who still consider President Donald Trump pro-life and they feel that banning abortion is the only and most important issue that can claim their vote. Many go to daily Mass. They give no time to a seamless garment idea of pro-life.
Most Americans have a black or white, good or bad, right or wrong mentality. Until we can have some understanding of gradations of values, we will be stuck in this place.
I have little hope of better people in office to influence policy for saving all life on the planet.
Marlborough, New Hampshire
The greater scandal is any Catholic voting for President Donald Trump for any reason.
Rancho Mirage, California
You are truly appalling and you are clearly out of touch with the majority of Catholics. You bear false witness against President Donald Trump.
Trump? He is no racist! He has done more for blacks than Barack Obama did in eight years. We who live near the Mexican border have all been victims of the illegal aliens and their crimes. We have to pay double the cost of car insurance due to all the cars and trucks stolen and taken to Mexico. A wall would help.
Would you have us vote for that Joe Biden? He is an embarrassment for Catholics and he is (or was) Catholic. Biden's support for Marxist/communist principles is hardly Catholic. And Biden's support of abortion is disgusting and immoral.
Sun City, Arizona
"A RealClear survey taken early this year of U.S. Catholic registered voters found that among devout Catholics, those who attend Mass regularly, 63% approve of Trump's performance as president." That is, 63% of devout, Mass-going Catholics support a lying, racist, misogynistic, murderous fool.
Doesn't this — and the appalling sexual crimes of thousands of priests, bishops and cardinals — prove once and for all that, whatever Catholics think they're meeting in church, it surely isn't God?
PAUL PEULEVE BAKER
An editorial board that states Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's "Catholicism acts as a kind of moral bedrock" lacks any credibility to pontificate to Catholics as to what constitutes scandalous behavior in voting preferences.
(Fr.) MARK KREDER
Toms River, New Jersey
Will executive editor Heidi Schlumpf write a column regarding how Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is trying to canvass votes by harvesting or even worse, by passing legislation for all votes to be mailed in or such as that? Why not?
And, surely, it will be alright if former vice president Joe Biden ever leaves his basement to appear in Black churches during services. I have never been able to figure out why it is perfectly permissible for pols to "preach" in Black churches but Roman Catholics are excoriated if they even think of being on church property of any Christian community.
Maybe Schlumpf could write about either Pelosi or Biden just to balance the editorial page once in a while.
Boca Raton, Florida
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