Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Catholic Leaders Express Concerns On Trump

Following is a message from Brian Burch, President of catholicvote.org:

I am proud to be a co-signatory to the following letter authored by George Weigel and Professor Robert George that was released moments ago. The letter is an appeal to our fellow Catholics to reject the candidacy of Donald Trump and choose one of the qualified alternatives. The letter does not dismiss or deny many of the genuine concerns that have animated Trump supporters. Rather, it affirms that their frustrations are real and legitimate. Please share our message today with your family and friends, especially those living in key primary states such as Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. -Brian 

An Open Letter to Catholics, and all People of Good Will 

In recent decades, the Republican party has been a vehicle — imperfect, like all human institutions, but serviceable — for promoting causes at the center of Catholic social concern in the United States: 

(1) providing legal protection for unborn children, the physically disabled and cognitively handicapped, the frail elderly, and other victims of what Saint John Paul II branded “the culture of death”; 

(2) defending religious freedom in the face of unprecedented assaults by officials at every level of government who have made themselves the enemies of conscience; 

(3) rebuilding our marriage culture, based on a sound understanding of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and 

(4) re-establishing constitutional and limited government, according to the core Catholic social-ethical principle of subsidiarity. 

There have been frustrations along the way, to be sure; no political party perfectly embodies Catholic social doctrine. But there have also been successes, and at the beginning of the current presidential electoral cycle, it seemed possible that further progress in defending and advancing these noble causes was possible through the instrument of the Republican party. 

That possibility is now in grave danger. And so are those causes. 

Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has 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. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. 

And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government. 

We understand that many good people, including Catholics, have been attracted to the Trump campaign because the candidate speaks to issues of legitimate and genuine concern: wage stagnation, grossly incompetent governance, profligate governmental spending, the breakdown of immigration law, inept foreign policy, stifling “political correctness” — for starters. 

There are indeed many reasons to be concerned about the future of our country, and to be angry at political leaders and other elites. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to consider, however, that there are candidates for the Republican nomination who are far more likely than Mr. Trump to address these concerns, and who do not exhibit his vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance, and — we do not hesitate to use the word — demagoguery. 

Mr. Trump’s record and his campaign show us no promise of greatness; they promise only the further degradation of our politics and our culture. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to reject his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by supporting a genuinely reformist candidate. 

Robert P. George 
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence 
Princeton University 

George Weigel 
Distinguished Senior Fellow and 
William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies 
Ethics and Public Policy Center

and Ryan T. Anderson 
William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow 
The Heritage Foundation 

Stephen M. Barr 
University of Delaware 

Francis J. Beckwith 
Professor of Philosophy and Church–State Studies 
Baylor University 

Mary Ellen Bork 
Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Gerard V. Bradley 
Professor of Law 
University of Notre Dame 

Don J. Briel 
John Henry Newman Chair of Liberal Arts 
University of Mary 

Brian Burch 

James C. Capretta 
Senior Fellow 
Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Joseph Cella 
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast 

Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D. 
The Catholic Association 

Ann Corkery 
Catholic Voices USA 

Neil Corkery 
Sudan Relief Fund 

David Paul Deave
Interim Editor
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 

Mary Eberstadt 
Senior Fellow
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Eduardo Echeverria 
Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology 
Sacred Heart Major Seminary 

Thomas F. Farr 
Religious Freedom Project 
Georgetown University 

Matthew J. Franck 
William E. and Carol G. Simon Center 
on Religion and the Constitution
Witherspoon Institute 

Anna Halpine 
World Youth Alliance 

Mary Rice Hasson 
Catholic Women’s Forum
Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Stephen J. Heaney 
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of St. Thomas 

John P. Hittinger 
Pope John Paul II Forum
Center for Thomistic Studies 
University of St. Thomas 

Elizabeth M. Kelly 
Managing Editor
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 

Rachel Lu 
Senior Contributor
The Federalist 

Bruce D. Marshall
Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine 
Perkins School of Theology 
Southern Methodist University 

Robert T. Miller 
Professor of Law and 
F. Arnold Daum Fellow in Corporate Law 
University of Iowa College of Law 

Kate O’Beirne 
Former Washington Editor
National Review 

C. C. Pecknold 
The Catholic University of America 

Robert Royal 
Faith and Reason Institute 

Deborah Savage 
Professor of Philosophy and Theology 
University of St. Thomas 

Timothy Samuel Shah 
Religious Freedom Project 
Georgetown University 

Nina Shea 
Center for Religious Freedom 
Hudson Institute 

Hilary Towers 
Developmental psychologist and author 

David R. Upham 
Associate Professor of Politics 
University of Dallas 

Edward Whelan 
Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Stephen P. White 
Ethics and Public Policy Center 

Titles and affiliations of each individual are provided for identification purposes only. The views expressed are those of the individual signatories and do not necessarily represent the views of any organization or entity.

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