The Catholic Archbishop of Newark slammed U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday, painting him as a fear-monger who appeals to the “dark side of Americans.”
In an interview with the French Catholic newspaper, La Croix, Cardinal Joseph Tobin said that the current climate of insecurity “has caused an exaggerated patriotism in the United States,” suggesting that Trump plays on Americans’ fears and desires to see America “great again.”
“I think President Trump appeals to the dark side of Americans,” Tobin said. “He speaks to fears, to insecurities.”
In last November’s election, Catholics voted for Donald Trump by a substantial margin over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, with 52 percent voting for Mr. Trump and only 45 percent voting for Mrs. Clinton, the Pew Research Center reported. The victory for Trump among Catholics represented a significant 5 percent shift away from the Democratic Party in the four years since 2012.
Catholics were undoubtedly swayed, at least in part, by the vocal support of various bishops who openly declared that the platform of the democratic party was unacceptable, especially because of its hardline pro-abortion position.
“Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion,” wrote the Archbishop of Denver, Samuel Aquila, in his diocesan newspaper.
Nonetheless, in his interview, Tobin suggested that these bishops should rethink their position, because Trump is not to be trusted.
“Donald Trump is a businessman. He says he’s always looking to close a deal,” the Cardinal said. “The bishops must beware of him, because he tells them that he will be against abortion, that he won’t force them to pay for contraception, and in return, he asks for silence concerning his disrespectful remarks toward others or on the deportation of migrants. It’s dangerous.”
“We, American Catholics, are a Church of migrants. We have always pleaded their cause,” he said.
Although his words targeted President Trump, Tobin has a history of conflict with Vice President Pence as well. As Archbishop of Indianapolis, Tobin openly defied then-Governor Pence concerning the reception of Syrian refugees into the state.
Despite Pence’s objections over settling a Syrian family, which he said had not been sufficiently vetted, Archbishop Tobin went ahead anyway.
“I informed the Governor prior to the family’s arrival that I had asked the staff of Catholic Charities to receive this husband, wife and their two small children as planned,” Tobin said.
In his interview with La Croix, Cardinal Tobin said he is aghast at the level of polarization in the United States, even among Catholics, “as if we had imported the divisions of the political world into the Church.”
He said the situation reminds him of the way communism affected religious communities in Eastern Europe, making them suspicious of one another.
“Here in the United States it is the same: we run the risk of being influenced by models, without questioning them or assessing whether they are coherent with the Gospel,” he said.
First Lady Melania Trump is the first Roman Catholic to occupy her post since Jackie Kennedy.
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