How the Vatican influences the Bush Adminstration
The Vatican Connection: How the Roman Catholic Church Influences the Republican Party.
John M Swomley on how, in the 1996 elections Robert Dole’s endorsement of the Catholic political agenda, along with a similar endorsement by the Republican Party platform, made the Republican Party in effect a religious or sectarian party, how the Catholic bishops took action to aid the Republican Party and how Henry Hyde, in turn, according to the National Catholic Reporter, invited Catholics to help him develop the party’s 1996 platform.
“The Vatican wants to extend its authority over civil law, not only in countries with Catholic majorities but in others with religiously diverse populations. The Catholic bishops have decided to try to impose papal authority in the United States through the abortion issue.” From: CHISTIAN ETHICS TODAY, APIRL 1997
The Vatican Connection:
How the Roman Catholic Church Influences the Republican Party
By John M Swomley
It was the Vatican’s program that dominated the Republican Party platform and presidential campaign in 1996, although Ralph Reed and the Christian coalition claimed the credit.
After winning the Republican primaries, candidate Robert Dole made a major speech to the Catholic Press Association’s annual convention in Philadelphia on May 23, in which he endorsed “school choice,” which involves the funding of parochial schools through tuition tax vouchers. He also attacked President Clinton’s late term or “partial birth” abortion veto and, in the context of abortion, said, “Though not a Catholic, I would listen to Pope John Paul II.”
The word “listen” in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, is defined as “give heed, take advice.”
Immediately following that speech, Dole had a 20-minute meeting with Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia. On June 25, Dole had an hour-long private meeting with Cardinal John O’Connor of New York City in which they discussed Dole’s commitment to the papal position on abortion (and presumably family planning) as well as his strategy to persuade moderate pro-choice Republicans to accept an anti-abortion platform. ‘When a reporter asked O’Connor if he was comfortable with Dole’s efforts to seek tolerance for pro-choice Republicans, the cardinal endorsed Dole’s plan by saying, “I cannot imagine that Senator Dole will deviate from his commitment on abortion.” He also said, “I think that Senator Dole has a wonderfully pro-life record and I doubt very much that that’s going to change in any significant way.”
Although Dole did not request a joint photo, the cardinal posed with Dole for a picture for the New York Times which appeared the next day on the front page as an obvious endorsement.
On July 18, Dole spoke to a Catholic audience at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee where, according to the New York Times, he emphasized his proposal for “vouchers paying $1,000 a year in tuition for pupils in grades one through eight and $1,500 a year for high school students. States that had adopted voucher programs would apply for federal assistance” and the “federal government would provide $2.5 billion a year to be matched” by the state.
Bob Dole chose Rep. Henry Hyde as head of the Republican platform committee. Hyde is generally regarded as the Catholic bishops’ spokesperson in Congress. Hyde, in turn, according to the National Catholic Reporter, invited Catholics to help him develop the party’s 1996 platform. In an open letter to Catholics, he wrote: “Catholics are a powerful voice for moral authority and fulfill a growing leadership role in the Republican Party,” noting that “there are nine U.S. senators, 55 members of the House, and nine governors who are both Republican and Catholic.” His letter also said, “As a Catholic, I believe the basic principles of Catholic teaching are philosophically and morally aligned with those of the Republican Party.”
The Catholic Political Agenda
However, although Dole’s endorsement of the Catholic political agenda, along with a similar endorsement by the Republican Party platform, made the Republican Party in effect a religious or sectarian party, it is even more significant that the Catholic bishops took action to aid the Republican Party. The president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Anthony M. Pilla of Cleveland, departed from custom to tell the 250 bishops that, although they should not engage in partisan politics, they could address political issues that might be closer to the views of one party. Then, after a “stinging attack on President Clinton’s veto of a measure that banned a type of late-term abortion,” the bishops, according to the June 24 New York Times, “unanimously endorsed [Dole’s] appeal to Congress to overturn the veto.”
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