New York’s cardinal praises President Donald Trump

New York’s cardinal, Timothy Dolan,  praised President Donald Trump last week during a group telephone call with 600 Catholic leaders and key White House staff.

Responding to Trump’s request for their political support, Dolan thanked him for his leadership on pro-life and religious liberty issues.

Trump responded by tweeting that he would be watching Sunday Mass on 26 April livestreamed from New York’s St Patrick’s cathedral.

Taking note of this, Dolan began his sermon on Sunday by welcoming the president’s virtual attendance and promising to pray for him.

Although the group telephone call discussion rambled over many topics, it was supposed to focus on the plight of Catholic education. Many religious schools have seen registrations plummet as a result of economic hardship caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

However, Trump repeatedly turned the subject to other issues.

He reminded the listeners of his pro-life record, even recalling a debate with his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.

“We probably helped out the pro-life [cause] more than anything you can imagine,” he said.

Looking ahead to this coming election he added, “I hope that everyone gets out and votes and does what they have to do.”

“You’re going to have a very different Catholic Church,” if he wasn’t re-elected, he warned those on the phone call.

Despite being brought back to the matter of Catholic school funding and the need for federal assistance to sustain them, Trump persisted in focusing on political issues.

“The other side [the Democratic Party] is not in favour of it,” the president warned.

“What a similarity we have and how the other side is the exact opposite of what you’re wanting, so I guess it’s an important thing to remember.”

Trump was similarly distracted the week before during a call with religious leaders from various denominations to discuss the role of faith-based organisations in helping people cope.

On neither call, nor in his sermon on Sunday, did Dolan discuss the president’s treatment of immigrants, even though the US bishops’ conference has made it’s views clear on this issue.

“We are extremely concerned about how the proclamation will impact immigrant families looking to reunify, as well as religious workers,” a statement from the conference says.


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