I am proud to be a co-signatory to the following letter authored by George Weigel and Professor Robert George that was released moments ago. The letter is an appeal to our fellow Catholics to reject the candidacy of Donald Trump and choose one of the qualified alternatives. The letter does not dismiss or deny many of the genuine concerns that have animated Trump supporters. Rather, it affirms that their frustrations are real and legitimate. Please share our message today with your family and friends, especially those living in key primary states such as Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. -Brian

An Open Letter to Catholics, and all People of Good Will

In recent decades, the Republican party has been a vehicle — imperfect, like all human institutions, but serviceable — for promoting causes at the center of Catholic social concern in the United States:

(1) providing legal protection for unborn children, the physically disabled and cognitively handicapped, the frail elderly, and other victims of what Saint John Paul II branded “the culture of death”;

(2) defending religious freedom in the face of unprecedented assaults by officials at every level of government who have made themselves the enemies of conscience;

(3) rebuilding our marriage culture, based on a sound understanding of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and

(4) re-establishing constitutional and limited government, according to the core Catholic social-ethical principle of subsidiarity.

There have been frustrations along the way, to be sure; no political party perfectly embodies Catholic social doctrine. But there have also been successes, and at the beginning of the current presidential electoral cycle, it seemed possible that further progress in defending and advancing these noble causes was possible through the instrument of the Republican party.

That possibility is now in grave danger. And so are those causes.

Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country.

And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.

We understand that many good people, including Catholics, have been attracted to the Trump campaign because the candidate speaks to issues of legitimate and genuine concern: wage stagnation, grossly incompetent governance, profligate governmental spending, the breakdown of immigration law, inept foreign policy, stifling “political correctness” — for starters.

There are indeed many reasons to be concerned about the future of our country, and to be angry at political leaders and other elites. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to consider, however, that there are candidates for the Republican nomination who are far more likely than Mr. Trump to address these concerns, and who do not exhibit his vulgarity, oafishness, shocking ignorance, and — we do not hesitate to use the word — demagoguery.

Mr. Trump’s record and his campaign show us no promise of greatness; they promise only the further degradation of our politics and our culture. We urge our fellow Catholics and all our fellow citizens to reject his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination by supporting a genuinely reformist candidate.

Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence
Princeton University

George Weigel
Distinguished Senior Fellow and
William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies
Ethics and Public Policy Center

and Ryan T. Anderson
William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow
The Heritage Foundation

Stephen M. Barr
University of Delaware

Francis J. Beckwith
Professor of Philosophy and Church–State Studies
Baylor University

Mary Ellen Bork
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Gerard V. Bradley
Professor of Law
University of Notre Dame

Don J. Briel
John Henry Newman Chair of Liberal Arts
University of Mary

Brian Burch

James C. Capretta
Senior Fellow
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Joseph Cella
National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D.
The Catholic Association

Ann Corkery
Catholic Voices USA

Neil Corkery
Sudan Relief Fund

David Paul Deavel
Interim Editor
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture

Mary Eberstadt
Senior Fellow
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Eduardo Echeverria
Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology
Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Thomas F. Farr
Religious Freedom Project
Georgetown University

Matthew J. Franck
William E. and Carol G. Simon Center
on Religion and the Constitution
Witherspoon Institute

Anna Halpine
World Youth Alliance

Mary Rice Hasson
Catholic Women’s Forum
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Stephen J. Heaney
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of St. Thomas

John P. Hittinger
Pope John Paul II Forum
Center for Thomistic Studies
University of St. Thomas

Elizabeth M. Kelly
Managing Editor
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture

Rachel Lu
Senior Contributor
The Federalist

Bruce D. Marshall
Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University

Robert T. Miller
Professor of Law and
F. Arnold Daum Fellow in Corporate Law
University of Iowa College of Law

Kate O’Beirne
Former Washington Editor
National Review

C. C. Pecknold
The Catholic University of America

Robert Royal
Faith and Reason Institute

Deborah Savage
Professor of Philosophy and Theology
University of St. Thomas

Timothy Samuel Shah
Religious Freedom Project
Georgetown University

Nina Shea
Center for Religious Freedom
Hudson Institute

Hilary Towers
Developmental psychologist and author

David R. Upham
Associate Professor of Politics
University of Dallas

Edward Whelan
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Stephen P. White
Ethics and Public Policy Center

Titles and affiliations of each individual are provided for identification purposes only. The views expressed are those of the individual signatories and do not necessarily represent the views of any organization or entity.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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