Dolan: Democratic Party abandons Catholics, favors abortion agenda

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jeenah Moon, Reuters


NEW YORK (CNS) — The once “big
tent” of the Democratic Party “now seems a pup tent” as a party that Catholics
once embraced has abandoned so many issues Catholics cherish, such as the
sanctity of human life and religious education, said New York’s cardinal.

He pointed to the party favoring
a radical abortion agenda over protecting the human rights of unborn children
and all-out efforts to block education credits to help poor and low-income families
access Catholic and other nonpublic schools.

“The Democrats Abandon Catholics”
reads the headline on a March 23 op-ed by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in The Wall
Street Journal.

“I’m a pastor, not a politician,
and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of
America’s leading parties,” he wrote. “But it saddens me, and weakens the
democracy millions of Americans cherish, when the party that once embraced Catholics
now slams the door on us.

“The dignity and sanctity of
human life, the importance of Catholic schools, the defense of a baby’s civil
rights” are “widely embraced by Catholics. This often led Catholics to become
loyal Democrats. I remember my own grandmother whispering to me, ‘We Catholics
don’t trust those Republicans.'”

“A cause of sadness to him,”
Cardinal Dolan said, is that “the needs of poor and middle-class children in
Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb have largely
been rejected by the party of our youth.”

A couple of recent events, the
cardinal said, brought to mind “two towering people who had a tremendous effect
on the Archdiocese of New York and the U.S. more broadly” — Archbishop John
Hughes, the first archbishop of New York (1842-1864) and the funeral of “a
great African-American woman, Dolores Grier,” a convert to Catholicism, who
became vice chancellor of the archdiocese.

“Their witness is worth
remembering, especially in this political moment,” he said.

For the cardinal, the March 17
feast day of St. Patrick — patron saint of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the
archdiocese — recalled Archbishop Hughes’ “dramatic reverence for the dignity
of Irish immigrants.”

“Thousands arrived daily in New
York — penniless, starving and sometimes ill — only to be met with hostility,
bigotry and injustice.” The archbishop, himself an immigrant, “defended their

“Because the schools at the time
were hostile to these immigrants, he initiated Catholic schools” to give the
children a good education “sensitive to their religion” and to prepare them to
be “responsible, patriotic citizens.” The mission of today’s Catholic schools
remains “unchanged.”

Grier, the first woman to be archdiocesan
vice chancellor, was “passionate about civil rights, especially the right of
babies in the womb.” She always noted “abortuaries,” he said,” were clustered
in poor black and brown neighborhoods.”

The values espoused by these two
prominent Catholic figures were — and still are — widely embraced by Catholics,
Cardinal Dolan wrote.

He also noted that last year “an
esteemed pro-life Democrat in Illinois, Rep. Dan Lipinski, effectively was
blacklisted by his own party” when Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom
Perez “insisted that pro-life candidates have no place in the modern Democratic

He said that in the state of New
York in particular, these issues important to Catholics have been hit hard as “in
recent years, some Democrats in the New York state Assembly repeatedly blocked
education tax credit legislation, which would have helped middle-class and
low-income families make the choice to select Catholic or other nonpublic
schools for their children.”

“Opposing the bill reduces the
ability of fine Catholic schools across the state to continue their mission of
serving the poor, many of them immigrants,” Cardinal Dolan said.

In closing, Cardinal Dolan said
that it was difficult to have to write about the Democratic Party abandoning
Catholics: “To Archbishop Hughes, Dolores Grier and Grandma Dolan, I’m sorry to
have to write this. But not as sad as you are to know it is true.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article