Bad News For Immigration Patriots: Cardinal Timothy Dolan's "Close Working Relationship" With Romney
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An Act of God may have delayed the beginning Republican Convention in Tampa, but a Man of God will be at the closing—Cardinal Timothy Dolan (email him), head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, is to give the benediction on Thursday night, when Mitt Romney will accept the nomination.

Immigration patriots should be spooked.

Cardinal Dolan’s spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, claims that the move is apolitical and the Cardinal “would be willing to accept a similar offer from the Democratic Party as well.”  [Top U.S. Catholic cardinal will bless RNC—but not endorse, by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, August 23, 2012].

But both sides see the obvious political implications. The announcement prompted predictable elation from social conservatives—and corresponding complaints from liberal Catholics and secularists.

Thus longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie claimed that

Dolan’s presence really draws attention to the religious freedom argument against Obamacare…adds to the already strongly pro-life tenor of the convention and sends a signal that despite the advice of his establishment Republican consultants, with strongly pro-life Roman Catholic Paul Ryan as his running mate, Gov. Mitt Romney is prepared to embrace the pro-life elements of the conservative social agenda.

Does Cardinal Dolan’s presence at GOP convention signal Catholic trigger event?, Politico, August 24, 2011. ( links added to quotes throughout)

Leftist Jesuit Michael O'Loughlin complained

Cardinal Dolan’s appearance in Tampa will damage the church’s ability to be a moral and legitimate voice for voiceless, as those who view the Catholic Church as being a shill for the GOP have just a bit more evidence to prove their case.

Card. Dolan to pray at GOP convention, America Magazine, August 22, 2012

What both sides seem to agree on: this signals a "relationship" between the GOP and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. According to Thomas Peters of CatholicVote:  

I now predict that if Mitt Romney wins the White House in 2012 there will be a very healthy relationship between a Romney administration and the U.S. Bishops, led by a close working relationship between Cardinal Dolan and President Romney.

[Cardinal Dolan to Give Closing Benediction at GOP Convention, August 23, 2012], of course, does not take a position on abortion or contraception.  But, regardless of how immigration patriots feel about these issues, they have real reason to be concerned over any “close working relationship” between Dolan and Romney.

Timothy Dolan and the US Conference on Catholic Bishops have promoted Open Borders and amnesty for decades.  Far from being “a shill for the GOP” as claimed by the Left, Dolan has actively criticized the party for being too restrictive, saying the Republicans should “come up with a much saner, more civil, more just immigration policy.” Dolan was particularly irked by the GOP voters for supporting the candidates who gave lip service to border enforcement during the Presidential primaries: “We're just upset where the loudest cheers in the campaign trail for whatever candidate can say the most punitive or the most angry things about immigrants.”

Sparing no cliché, Dolan went on to argue

When you have a policy that splits up families, when you have a policy that drives people underground, when you have a policy where now the government, whether it be in Arizona or Alabama, is asking our soup kitchens to ask for documentation before they give people food or housing or clothing or medical care, that’s not right. That’s not Catholic. That’s not Christian. That’s not religious. And it’s not American.

[New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan calls for US immigration reform, by Cathy Hayes, Irish, May 5, 2012]

I would be remiss if I did not also mention that Dolan personally oversaw the disgraceful firing of devout conservative Catholic Frank Borzellieri. Borzellieri had dedicated his life to teaching at a predominantly black and Hispanic school, and had absolutely no complaints from any of his students or colleagues. However, when left wing journalists discovered that he had, at earlier point in his life, voiced politically incorrect views on race and immigration—views that were quite public and that the school knew about when it hired him—Borzellieri was swiftly fired. Spokesthing Zwilling (email him) stated on behalf of Cardinal Dolan:

Many of the opinions expressed by Mr. Borzellieri in his writings were found to be incompatible with the philosophy and practices of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, and with Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese.

[Frank Borzellieri, Controversial Bronx Catholic School Principal, Is Fired, CBS New York, August 2, 2011]

Needless to say, Dolan’s “philosophy and practices” are absolutely not shared by the vast majority of Catholic voters in America.  According to a 2009 Zogby/Center for Immigration Studies poll, 64% of Catholics supported increasing enforcement against illegals, while only 23% supported “conditional legalization.” 69% of Catholics thought that immigration levels were too high, while only 4% thought it was too low. [Religious Leaders vs. Members: An Examination of Contrasting Views on Immigration, by Steve Camarota, December 2009]

Indeed, it is worth noting that the percentage of the Catholics who support patriotic immigration policies is much higher than those who are pro-life—and even than those who oppose abortion coverage (at least in limited instances) and the contraception mandate in Obamacare.  

So, from a purely political perspective, if Romney wants to appeal to Catholics, cracking down illegal immigration and reducing legal immigration would be more effective than buddying up Cardinal Dolan on contraception and abortion.

I want to close by anticipating criticism that I am a pro-abortion anti-Catholic, which I received when I wrote a short blog piece noting that the Catholic leaders who were being hailed by the conservative movement for criticizing the contraception mandate all supported mass immigration.

But pro-life conservative Catholics should be more outraged than anyone that the Church is wasting its moral authority by promoting open borders rather than fighting abortion.

And some are. Writing in Chronicles shortly after ObamaCare passed, Christopher Manion noted that

“when the Catholic Church in the United states was supposedly devoting all of Her energy to preventing taxpayer funding of abortion in ObamaCare, America’s Catholic bishops took a distracting detour, announcing a nationwide ‘Justice for Immigrants’ campaign…Two months later, the bishops expressed shock and chagrin when Obamacare passed with abortion funding intact.”

Manion notes that, rather than press against Obamacare in its immediate aftermath, they pushed for amnesty, so the illegals could receive the government benefits. He quotes Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles.

“Now that a health care bill will help millions of uninsured people receive affordable medical's time for the government to address the millions of people who are living in the shadows because they lack legal immigration status."

Manion argues that

for decades, the bishops have supported the expansion of an increasingly secular, power-hungry government in virtually every sphere—except abortion—ignoring the sad likelihood that tens of millions of new Hispanic voters will ensure the domination of the pro-abortion junta in Washington for generations to come.

[The Bishops Quest for Amnesty, June 2010 (not online)]

Unfortunately, the Catholic Bishops are either too shortsighted to see Manion’s obvious point—and/or care more about filling up their dwindling pews with Hispanic immigrants than actually fighting abortion.

Regardless of the Bishops’ motives, immigration patriots should be extremely wary of any “very healthy relationship” between USCCB and a future Romney administration.

Ellison Lodge (email him) works on Capitol Hill.

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