Will the ‘Catholic Spring’ Blow Up in Democrats’ Faces in 2018?

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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.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

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Amber Athey covers media and breaking news for The Daily Caller and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. Prior to joining TheDC, Amber reported on instances of liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform and was a member of the 2016-17 Koch Associate Program. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Government and Economics from Georgetown University in 2016. While in school, Amber chaired the GU College Republicans and the Club Field Hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @amber_athey.

22 Comments

  1. If only Catholics voted the teachings of the Faith, they would be a potent force for improving our nation. Instead, many vote for the Democrats, who enthusiastically support the culture of death.

    • To be “a potent force for improving our nation” in the political sphere, it would be necessary to either massively change an existing party or start a new one. Rejecting the Democrats (as they now are) is necessary, but begging for scraps from the Republicans (as they now are) is barely an improvement.

      In fact, the “American Solidarity Party” was founded in an attempt to address precisely this issue. I cannot recommend that party, because their founder took it upon himself to pronounce teachings the Church has not taught — in particular, that capital punishment is always, always wrong, never mind what the Bible and Church have said for the past two thousand years. So I don’t think the ASP (a kind of serpent?) is the answer, but at least it acknowledges the need for an answer.

  2. Hopefully Catholics embrace their faith.
    A lot of non practicing Catholics don’t and there is a lot of them. Let’s pray to strengthen our church

  3. It’s incorrect to confound religious doctrine with civil law. Any national or state laws that permit abortion or assisted suicide do only that — permit these choices. No law mandates abortion or assisted suicide. A Christian believer is absolutely free, thanks to our first amendment, to shun these practices. Under the first amendment, a non-believer must be equally free to take his/her own life or to abort a non-viable fetus. It is wrong to deny freedom of conscience to people who do not follow Catholic doctrine.

  4. Charles Gauvin on

    Catholics are leaving the Church in droves, either by attrition, or they’re not having babies, or they just don’t care, or they’re not being catechized, or they see all the hypocrisy in the Church, or ……

    I just took the first sentence of the article and replaced two words, and the statement is just as true….”Catholics have found themselves in a Catholic conundrum as their Church struggles to reconcile its shift to the Left with its need to win over Catholic voters.”

    • Maybe in your little corner, but not where many of us see it. In fact, where I live, we are seeing record numbers of men entering the seminary and being ordained. Masses are full, people are involved, our parish rarely has fewer than 100 kids at First Communion.

  5. As long as Latino voters and our own Bishops consider illegal immigrants more important than God, Democrats will always have huge constituents.

  6. We can only pray and hope that Catholics start paying attention to what the Church teaches and not to their own preferences.

  7. More “Pants on Fire” lies from a right winger relying on the Fake Fox, Fake Gasbag Radio, Fake Breitbart White Supremacy Media, Fake Right Wing Media…

    You are an embarrassment to Christianity.

    Try running your Tin Foil Hat Conspiracy theories through Non Partisan, Independent, Award Winning Fact check sites like Politifact or Factcheck.org…You are embarrassing yourself.

    There is no “Catholic Voting Block”..
    Most Educated Catholics and Catholics educated by Jesuits, who have developed their critical thinking
    skills. Vote Progressive or Democrat since that is the Democratic Party has been for many decades the closest American Political Party
    to the teaching of Jesus on a wide range of social justice issues.

    Pope Francis’s teachings on social justice issues are closer to the teachings of Jesus than previous Popes and are closest to the social justice platforms of the Democratic Party.

    The Republican Party has openly embraced the principles of Racism, Sexism, Sexual assault of women, Xenophobia, ultra right nationalism, discrimination against people of color, greed, corruption and deregulation that pollute our lands, water, air, division of our people and with Western Democracies and Alliances, embracing murderous thugs and Dictators like those in Russia, the Philippines and much more…

    Why don’t conservative Catholics take a strong stand for smart gun reforms such as banning military assault weapons (like President Reagan did for 10 years)?! Because Republicans put profits on gun sales over the lives of our children and Republicans take “blood money” from the NRA.

    I cannot see how a practicing Catholic can vote Republican without being an open collaborator to multiple grievous sins…

    • Norma STEFANCIOSA on

      I love when a progressive Democrat rants about caring for ‘our children’ and yet thinks abortion is not murder. Liberal logic is not logical.

  8. Rob Schroeder on

    This is a little rich to take, considering our President with three wives who has named supporters of torture to key posts in the Department of State and the CIA, has called for the death penalty for drug traffickers, and has launched immigration policies blatantly contradicting Church teaching. Is the Republican Party abandoning Catholics?

    • Rob-

      Points taken on your post, but I don’t understand the premise you infer that Catholicism calls for unfettered immigration.

      I think that there can be discussions on that, yes?

      • Rob Schroeder on

        Hi Ram-
        I didn’t say there should be unfettered immigration. Perhaps I did not write specifically. The Trump administration’s actions on immigration have been roundly condemned by the USCCB, in particular concerning LEGAL immigrants.
        It takes a great degree of irony, for example, to speak of the great evils of MS-13, and then turn around and end all TPS protections for El Salvadorans. Catholic teaching on the right of people to emigrate for their own personal safety and protection, and that of their family, is quite clear.
        Likewise, we are told consistently that the primacy of the family is above all others. Well, ICE’s actions breaking up families currently is well-documented.
        Indefinite detention of juvenile immigrants is both anti-Catholic and morally reprehensible, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.
        These are just a few of many examples.

        • Again, you seem to proclaim here that Catholic teaching allows for unfettered immigration.

          If ICE takes action against people who are not here legally, is this a violation of Catholic teaching only if these folks have families here or what?

          What I’m saying is that consequences from violating the law break families up all the time. If Dad’s an embezzler and he gets jailed, family gets broken up while he’s in prison for that.

          • Rob Schroeder on

            With all due respect, if you don’t see any difference between unfettered immigration and indefinite detention of juveniles suspected of being illegal immigrants, with no access to their own parents, I’m doubting you’re interested in having a serious discussion from a Catholic perspective. I’m a bit baffled why it’s not possible to be opposed to indefinite detention of children without being a supporter of what you call (not me!) unfettered immigration. That simply doesn’t make sense.

          • The indefinite detention thing you allude to is the former President’s doing, not Trump’s. It’s from 2014.

            I hope you didn’t just become a Catholic social teaching acolyte on January 20, 2017.

    • Has it occurred to you that both parties may be corrupt and unacceptable, and that the faults of one do no justify the other?

  9. Umm, didn’t the pope just change 2000 years of church teaching by proclaiming that hell does not exist?

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