Trump’s Catholic Coalition Could Have “Very Positive Effect” on Presidency
Posted by Edward Pentin on Friday Nov 11th, 2016 at 1:14 PM
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson, says the President-elect has been a “very good listener” at meetings with a Catholic coalition of advisers.
President-elect Donald Trump has been a “very good listener” during meetings of a Catholic coalition group that he set up to advise him on the faith during his presidential campaign.
This is according to one of its members, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Jim Nicholson.
Nicholson told the Register Nov. 10 that the newly elected President is not only an “intent listener” who heeded their advice in the lead up to Tuesday’s ballot, but also “asks very good questions”. He therefore believes the group could have a “very positive effect on President-elect Trump”.
Trump formally set up the body of 34 respected Catholics in September in a bid to allay concerns about his candidacy among some in the Church, and to attract more Catholic voters. Part of the Trump Faith and Cultural Advisory Committee, it was viewed as evidence of his commitment to protecting religious freedom and moral values.
“I think we’ll have a good audience and a good chance to be heard and help shape his views about all things Catholic,” said Nicholson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See during President George W. Bush’s first term before being appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2005 to 2007.
Trump pledged to continue communication with its members if elected president.
Nicholson further pointed out that Trump “carries the Catholic vote which is a large number”, adding that he has “a lot of friends and associates who are Catholic — he grew up in New York City.”
Catholics were crucial to Trump’s election: he won 52% of the Catholic vote, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 45%.
In addition to Nicholson, the Catholic coalition group’s members include former US Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum; Ambassador Francis Rooney, Nicholson’s immediate successor as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and now newly elected congressman in Florida; and Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights and tireless defender of life at the United Nations.
Also in his comments to the Register, Nicholson spoke about his hopes for relations between Trump, the Holy See and Pope Francis, despite clear differences.
Here below is the full text of Secretary Nicholson’s remarks to the Register:
“Secretary Nicholson, what are your expectations regarding Trump’s relationship with the Holy See?
I think it will be a good relationship. I’m delighted with the Trump victory because it’s a victory for working class people, for underemployed people and unemployed people — people for whom the Pope has great concern. So they have a great amount in common in their priorities.
The Pope has often spoken of his concerns about capitalism. Could this be a problem going forward in relations with a Trump administration?
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.
That is going to depend a lot on how effective the ambassador that Trump selects to represent him at the Holy See will be. If he gets a very good, articulate interlocutor to explain what he wants to do and what his thinking is to the Holy See and to the Holy Father, it will go along way, because the Pope respects the rule of law, he respects sovereignty. So that’s a very important issue in the immigration debate.
The Pope is also concerned for the humanitarian aspects of people, migrant people, so those are issues that need to be discussed openly, a common set of foundational values about the dignity of people, their welfare.
Trump and I agree with him on this – that the best thing you can do is help people get a job, help them get on their feet, and get back to dignity of having a purpose in life. That has got to be very consistent with the Pope’s values at a human level. How that’s done on an economic level, they might not agree, so that has to be dealt with. I think Trump has a healthy respect for the Pope, he recognizes his moral authority, and I think it could be a very enduring relationship.
Regarding the Catholic coalition of advisors, how much effect and influence could it have going forward?
It can have a very positive effect on President-elect Trump. He carries the Catholic vote, it’s a large number and he has a lot of friends and associates who are Catholic — he grew up in New York City. I think we’ll have a good audience and a good chance to be heard and help shape his views about all things Catholic.
Was he listening to what the group had to say before the election?
He was. In fact he’s a very good listener. He had a lot of bravado regarding the external part of his presentation which served him well on the campaign but when he gets into a meeting with us, he’s a very intent listener and asks very good questions.
Does Trump respect the Pope’s authority do you think, given their clash earlier this year?
Trump had the dust up with the “wall” [when the Pope said on returning from Mexico that we should build bridges rather than walls and that anyone who wishes to build a wall “is not Christian”]. What I think the Holy Father should have said, more appropriately, was that’s not a Christian way to act, but instead he branded Trump as not being a Christian. Trump retorted pretty robustly to that. It’s a two way street. I think that both of the world leaders recognize the external challenges they have in common, growing secularism and terrorism. They’ll find they can do so much by working closely together, even though they may have certain differences.
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.”
Photo: Secretary Nicholson addressing the press during President George W. Bush’s announcement of Mr. Nicholson’s nomination as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Roosevelt Room Thursday, Dec. 9, 2004. (White House).
Please credit DH for his notes regarding this article below:
Note:Those that are waiting for a sign ( Sunday Law) will suffer the fate of the disciples in the garden . The Lord begged the disciples to watch and pray but they slept . When the union of church and state manifested in the arrest and killing of Jesus the disciples were unprepared and fled . So to will it be in the end times as God’s people sleep instead of heeding the warning to watch and pray . Each one of these events is Jesus saying wake up I come! There will be no sign for this generation but the sign of Jesus coming in the clouds in glory . Great will be the wailing of those who have squandered eternity for the comforts of this world .
1)Pope Francis on Sunday called for the faithful not to be driven by end-times curiosities or apocalyptic preachers, urging them to focus on what is truly important: “The Lord and our neighbor.”
Revelation 1:1-3 KJV
 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
2)The pope’s homily turned around the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus speaks about the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the end of times. As the pontiff put it in his homily, Jesus says that “there will be no lack of conflicts, famine, convulsions on earth and in the heavens” when the time comes.In the Gospel, Francis said, Jesus’s aim is not to produce fear. Instead, God “asks us to persevere in the good and to place our trust” in him, “who does not disappoint.”
Matthew 24:21-22 KJV
 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
3)Having begun on December 8, the Holy Year of Mercy will come to a close on Nov. 20, the day on which the Church marks the Solemnity of Christ the King.
ROME- Pope Francis on Sunday called for the faithful not to be driven by end-times curiosities or apocalyptic preachers, urging them to focus on what is truly important: “The Lord and our neighbor.”“Those who follow Jesus pay no heed to prophets of doom, the nonsense of horoscopes, or frightening sermons that distract from the truly important things,” Francis said.It is important, he continued, to distinguish “the word of wisdom that God speaks to us each day” from the shouting of those who use “God’s name to frighten, to nourish division and fear.”Francis’s words came as he was celebrating Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, in Rome.The celebration was one of the events of the Holy Year of Mercy, and it served as the closing point of the Jubilee for the Socially Excluded, which began on Friday, when the pontiff encountered thousands of homeless people from around Europe.Throughout the weekend, the poor and marginalized had the VIP seats, including at a concert from Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone. To guarantee that they could understand the pope’s homily, they had been given small orange radios, from which they could follow the celebration in their own languages.The pope’s homily turned around the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus speaks about the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the end of times. As the pontiff put it in his homily, Jesus says that “there will be no lack of conflicts, famine, convulsions on earth and in the heavens” when the time comes.In the Gospel, Francis said, Jesus’s aim is not to produce fear. Instead, God “asks us to persevere in the good and to place our trust” in him, “who does not disappoint.”And Sunday’s passage is also Jesus’s way of saying that every earthly thing “will inevitably pass away.”“Even the strongest kingdoms, the most sacred buildings and the surest realities of this world do not last forever; sooner or later they fall,” the pontiff said.Francis then said that there are only two riches that won’t disappear, and as such, shouldn’t be excluded: “The Lord and our neighbor,” because everything else, he insisted, including the heavens, the earth and the St. Peter’s Basilica, shall pass.From here, Francis transitioned to talk about the VIP guests: the poor and marginalized, who came from 22 European countries, many with the help of the charitable France-based charitable organization Fratello, that wants to make this pilgrimage of the homeless to Rome a yearly thing.When speaking about exclusion, the pope said, “we immediately think of concrete people,” yet the human person, “set by God at the pinnacle of creation,” is often discarded in favor of “ephemeral things,” and this, he added, is “unacceptable.”Speaking to no particular group, Francis denounced that people are growing used to rejection, saying that these “anesthetized consciences,” which lead to “no longer seeing the brother or sister suffering at our side, or noticing the grave problems in our world,” is something to be worried about.Being only interested in objects to be produced rather than on persons to be loved, the pope noted, “is a sign of spiritual sclerosis,” and a turning away from God himself.“This is the origin of the tragic contradiction of our age: as progress and new possibilities increase, which is a good thing, less and less people are able to benefit from them,” Francis said. “This is a great injustice that should concern us much more than knowing when or how the world will end.”The poor, Francis said closing his homily, belong to the church by evangelical right and duty, “for it is our responsibility to care for the true riches which are the poor. In the light of these reflections, I would like today to be the “day of the poor.”Having begun on December 8, the Holy Year of Mercy will come to a close on Nov. 20, the day on which the Church marks the Solemnity of Christ the King. However, across the world, the holy doors of mercy, which every diocese was called to open in the local cathedral or other churches of particular relevance, were closed this weekend.These doors reflected Francis’s desire that the jubilee be celebrated on the local level and not just in Rome. The first such door was opened by the pope himself in the cathedral of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, during his visit there last November.