According to the Catholic Coalition of Advisors and others, Donald Trump has been a “very good listener” when it comes to Catholic concerns. Deacon Keith Fournier, Editor-in-Chief of Catholic Online, is a member of this advisory board.
Catholics overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in his bid for election, sending him to the White House to defend religious freedom, marriage, and to end the scourge of abortion. Trump is expected to work on these and other issues though direct work as president and by appointing Supreme Court justices that are committed to the defense of life and faith.
President-elect Trump selected the 34-member Catholic advisory board in September, and by all accounts he has been a good listener. Catholics now have high hopes for his administration.
Jim Nicholson, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, told the National Catholic Register on Nov. 10 that Trump is an “intent listener” who “asks very good questions.” He said he thinks the Catholic Coalition of Advisors can have a “very positive effect on President-elect Trump.”
The Ambassador also spoke to the Register about Trump’s relationship with the Vatican. Some have been concerned because Pope Francis and Donald Trump appear to have traded comments earlier in the year. This is not entirely true, but they do have different views on some matters. This is reasonable and should be expected. Even the cardinals of the Church have opposing views with the pope at times.
Nonetheless, Ambassador Nicholson said he believes the relationship between the two will be based on mutual concerns.
“They have differences in views but a great deal in common. They have a mutual concern for poor, a mutual concern for the foundation of the Catholic Church which is life. Trump is adamantly pro-life, as is the Pope. I think on matters like their view of capitalism and the free market and of course immigration, we should acknowledge differences,” Nicholson said.
The Ambassador discussed how previous presidents have worked though differences with the Vatican.
“As an example, George W. Bush, my president, and Pope St. John Paul II worked together in spite of a very stark difference over Iraq, but they had so much in common, a values system, life, taking care of people in Africa with disease and suffering, starvation. Bush visited the Vatican three times, the most times any president has visited a pope in Rome. I think they’re both smart men and they’ll realize that there’s a lot to be gained by them working closely together than by not doing so, by stressing the important priorities they have in common rather than some important things about which they don’t agree.”
Catholics in America hope Ambassador Nicholson is right. Above all, we hope President-elect Trump’s Catholic Coalition of Advisors convinces him to maintain as a priority the defense of life, marriage and religious freedom.