Democrats have found themselves in a Catholic conundrum as their party struggles to reconcile its shift to the Left with its need to win over Catholic voters.
Thus far, the far-Left seems to be winning the battle against Catholics by convincing the Democratic Party to embrace abortion, same sex marriage, assisted suicide, and non-religious public schooling. Meanwhile, Democrats either force Catholics out of the Party or insist they change their beliefs to fit the new progressive orthodoxy.
The Party’s game plan became clear when Wikileaks published the emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta during the 2016 presidential race.
In those emails, Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, asked Podesta if the Left could organize a “Catholic Spring” that would essentially plant progressive voices inside of the Church to change her positions from the inside out.
Podesta–who is ‘Catholic’–claimed, “We created” groups like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good “to organize for a moment like this.”
Catholics have historically leaned Democrat, but the “Catholic Spring” has only served to alienate those who once vigorously supported the Party.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal that “if you value religious education or life’s sanctity, you’re not welcome in the [Democratic] party.”
Dolan noted that New York Democrats blocked education tax credits that would provide assistance to Catholic charter schools, and supported the Reproductive Health Act, which would allow doctors to refuse care to babies who survive abortions.
“I’m a pastor, not a politician, and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of America’s leading parties,” Dolan 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.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu has published an op-ed slamming a Democrat-sponsored State bill seeking to legalize state-assisted suicide, asserting, “God does allow us the autonomy to make such decisions, but he warns us of the dire consequences.”
Even as Church leaders warn their flock about Democratic infidelity, the Party demands that all its members be pro-choice or risk losing funding and support.
After facing blowback from Party members for once campaigning with a pro-life mayoral candidate, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez vowed last April that “support[ing] a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body” is “non-negotiable.”
Catholic Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, split from Perez by stating that there would be no “litmus test” on abortion. His words only further angered prominent voices in his Party.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, for example, said, “I’m afraid I’ll be with holding support for the DCCC if this is true.”
Lauren Duca, Hillary Clinton’s favorite Teen Vogue writer, asserted, “This is a betrayal of every woman who has ever supported the Democratic party.”
Democrats further demonstrated their desire to purge the Party of pro-life members during the recent Illinois primary with Rep. Dan Lipinski and Marie Newman.
Lipinski’s colleagues Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky unprecedentedly endorsed his opponent, despite the fact that Lipinski is popular and has been in office for a decade.
That was because Lipinski had the nerve to address the Chicago March for Life this year, and once voted against the Affordable Care Act because of its birth control mandate.
Catholics represent a vital voting bloc in the United States, accounting for nearly a quarter of all eligible voters and almost always voting for the winner of presidential elections. Also relevant are Catholicism’s historic ties to labor, considering many pundits attributed Donald Trump’s 2016 success to his ability to attract white working-class voters.
Democrats are either dangerously operating under the hubristic assumption that they can change 2000 years of Church teaching, or betting that they can be electorally successful without the Catholic vote. How else can one explain their reckless abandonment of Catholic principles?
In any case, Democrats are in for a rude awakening when they find out that their “Catholic Spring” has only washed the Catholic vote down the drain.