politics

Bloomington Catholics comment on Trump



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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the audience Thursday evening at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleaveland, Ohio during his speech accpeting the Republican presidential nomination. Noble Guyon and Noble Guyon Buy Photos

At St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Father Patrick Hyde leads Sunday Mass, calling the congregation of hundreds to prayer.

God wills the salvation of all, Father Hyde said, preaching the Church’s values. In order to go to heaven, Catholics must serve their brothers and sisters, particularly those in the most need — the poor and the oppressed, he said.

“Everyone knows who Warren Buffet is because he’s rich,” Father Hyde said to the congregation. “But do you know the names of those begging for money downtown?”

The Catholics are the next group Donald Trump will try to win over before the upcoming election.

Last week, the Trump campaign announced the creation of a Catholic Advisory Group to support Trump on issues and policies important to Catholics.

This is Trump’s only advisory board for a religious group. The formation of this group represents Trump’s endorsement of a range of issues and policies important to Catholics, such as religious liberty, a pro-life stance on abortion and judicial nominations, according to a Trump campaign press release.

“On the issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics, Donald Trump will fight for Catholics, whereas Hillary Clinton is openly hostile to those issue of greatest concern to Catholics and will attack the core teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. in the 
release.

The advisory board is made up of 34 members, including Sen. Rick Santorum, a former presidential candidate and senator from Pennsylvania, and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

“(Trump) is realizing the importance of Catholics and wants to appeal to them,” said Brother Christopher Johnson, a seminary student training at St. Paul’s.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest single religious denomination in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.

As a businessman, Trump is not a mainstream Republican candidate with conservative values, so Catholics have been hesitant to support him, IU junior Tyler Johnson said.

“The Catholic Church prides itself on being a welcoming community,” Johnson said.

Trump’s controversial rhetoric on immigration and the general way he treats people is not congruent with the Church’s values, 
Johnson said.

Latinos, who have a strong presence in the Catholic community, are particularly stung by Trump’s comments, Johnson said. The establishment of the Catholic Advisory Group could be Trump backpedaling to appeal to the growing minority. 

The demographic of Latino U.S. Catholics has grown by five percentage points since 2007 from 29 percent to 34 percent, while the percentage of all U.S. adults who are Latino has grown from 12 percent to 15 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.

The share of Catholics who are Hispanic is likely to continue to grow because 46 percent of Catholic millennials are Latino, while 43 percent are white.

IU sophomore Magdalena Lara said the creation of the advisory group does not make her think better of Trump.

“He’s done a lot to put the Hispanic community down,” Lara said. “I doubt this will change anyone’s opinion.”

However, as Catholics are generally conservative, Lara said she understands why he is trying to appeal to Latinos.

Johnson said he is happy Trump has come out as pro-life. However, he would like to see Trump take a stronger stance on the issue, he said.

The Catholic Church and pro-life movement support life from “the womb to the tomb,” which includes opposing both abortion and the death penalty.

Johnson protests outside Planned Parenthood every Thursday. He said he prays for the workers and those receiving services that God may intervene.

Because of his pro-life stance, Johnson said he struggles to support Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. However, her running mate Tim Kaine is Catholic, and he has attracted a lot of attention from the Church and Catholic voters, he said.

Johnson said he has not decided who he will vote for, so he will continue to pray for political guidance.

“I pray that the candidates support our faith,” Johnson said.

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