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Trump to Catholic leaders: ‘I am, and will remain, pro-life’

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DENVER, October 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has told Catholic leaders he will remain pro-life, “protect the rights of Catholics to live their faith,” and promote homeschooling in two letters released this week.

Since Mr. Trump could not attend the 18th Annual Catholic Leadership Conference in Denver this Tuesday through Thursday, he expressed his views on issues important to them in a letter dated October 5.

He praised U.S. Catholics both for “marching in the civil rights movement” and their leading role in “founding and helping the ongoing growth of the pro-life cause.”

“On issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics, the differences between myself and Hillary Clinton are stark,” he wrote in the letter, obtained by the Catholic News Agency.

“Hillary Clinton has been hostile to the core issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics: life, religious liberty, Supreme Court nominations, affordable and quality healthcare, educational choice and home schooling,” he wrote.

But he highlighted the trouble the HHS mandate poses to faithful business owners and religious orders that do not spend every waking moment cloistered in contemplation.

“Hillary Clinton supports forcing The Little Sisters of the Poor who have taken care of the elderly poor since 1839, [to] pay for contraceptives in their healthcare plan (even though they have never wanted them, never used them and never will), and having the government fine them heavily if they continue to refuse to abide by this onerous mandate,” he wrote. “That is a hostility to religious liberty you will never see in a Trump administration.”

Secretary Clinton’s efforts to stymie Catholics who would live out their faith in the public square is compounded by her choice of running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, a self-professed “devout” Catholic who favors partial birth abortion, Trump continued.

Mr. Trump’s letter also noted that “Kaine no longer supported traditional marriage.” Pollsters credit Kaine’s 70-plus interruptions of Mike Pence during Monday’s vice presidential debate with halting his ticket’s recent momentum in the polls.

Trump then pivoted to his presidential platform.

“On life, I am, and will remain, pro-life,” he promised. He had previously pledged to sign the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, make the Hyde amendment permanent, and to defund Planned Parenthood if it continues to perform abortions.

He reiterated his promise to appoint only pro-life judges to the court. “I will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, like Justice Clarence Thomas and the late and beloved great Catholic thinker and jurist, Justice Antonin Scalia,” he wrote.

“I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions,” he continued. The reference could be interpreted not just as opposition to the HHS mandate but also the Obama administration’s executive branch efforts to grant new privileges to homosexuals and transgender people through a unilateral reinterpretation of civil rights law.

He also highlighted his support for educational policy reform, vowing “to expand educational choice, the rights of homeschooling families, and end Common Core.”

The letter – sent to a conference featuring such Catholic leaders as Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, and EWTN radio and TV host Teresa Tomeo – follows another letter Mr. Trump sent to Catholic Vote on October 1. The letter responded to Catholic Vote’s query on the subject of religious liberty.

“As president, I promise that I will protect the rights of Catholics to live their faith, to serve their communities, and to act on their beliefs without fear,” he wrote in the October 1 letter.

That approach, he said, is “just common sense. And I don't care if people call it politically incorrect.”

Mr. Trump will debate Secretary Clinton for the second time on Sunday evening. The townhall format allows readers to submit a question for consideration online before the event begins.

The October 5 letter reads in full:

Dear Friends:

Unfortunately, my schedule precludes me from meeting and talking with you at the Catholic Leadership Conference today in Denver.

First, I would like to send my warm greetings to the Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila. In discussions with my Catholic Advisory Group, it is clear Archbishop Aqulia’s leadership in the Denver Archdiocese has been exemplary, as was the leadership of his predecessor, Archbishop Charles Chaput.

Second, should I be elected President, I look forward to working with these two respected leaders of the Catholic Church in America, their brother bishops, and Congress, on issues of critical importance to the Catholic Church and Catholics.

Catholics in the United States of America are a rich part of our nation’s history. The United States was, and is, strengthened through Catholic men, women, priests and religious Sisters, ministering to people, marching in the Civil Rights movement, educating millions of children in Catholic schools, creating respected healthcare institutions, and in their founding and helping the ongoing growth of the pro-life cause.

I have a message for Catholics: I will be there for you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

As First Lady, US Senator, Secretary of State, and two-time presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton has been hostile to the core issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics: life, religious liberty, Supreme Court nominations, affordable and quality healthcare, educational choice and home schooling.

For instance, Hillary Clinton supports forcing The Little Sisters of the Poor who have taken care of the elderly poor since 1839, to pay for contraceptives in their healthcare plan (even though they have never wanted them, never used them and never will), and having the government fine them heavily if they continue to refuse to abide by this onerous mandate.

That is a hostility to religious liberty you will never see in a Trump Administration.

Hillary Clinton’s hostility to the issues of greatest importance to Catholics is made worse by her running mate Senator Tim Kaine.

Once pro-life and against partial birth abortion, Kaine now has a 100 percent voting record from the National Abortion Rights Action League. Kaine once was for traditional marriage, even saying "it is a uniquely valuable institution that must be preserved", but as of 2013, Kaine no longer supported traditional marriage. And on religious liberty? Shockingly, even Kaine supports forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraceptives in their healthcare plan, and to have the government fine them heavily if they refuse.

On issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics, the differences between myself and Hillary Clinton are stark. I will stand with Catholics and fight for you. Hillary Clinton has been openly hostile to these core Catholic issues for a long time, and is only going to be worse with Tim Kaine now following her lead.

On life, I am, and will remain, pro-life. I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions. I will make absolutely certain religious orders like The Little Sisters of Poor are not bullied by the federal government because of their religious beliefs. I will protect and work to expand educational choice, the rights of homeschooling families, and end Common Core. I will repeal and replace Obamacare so you can have better and more affordable healthcare. I will keep our country and communities safe while respecting the dignity of each human being. I will help Catholic families and workers, and all families and workers, by bringing jobs back to our country where they belong. And I will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, like Justice Clarence Thomas and the late and beloved great Catholic thinker and jurist, Justice Antonin Scalia.

We are at a crossroads in our country. Much like 1980. But the stakes are higher now — the highest they have ever been. We have two candidates representing entirely different agendas for our country that will take it in two completely different directions for generations to come. And our direction offers a much brighter future for our beloved country.

Thank you for giving me the time to share my thoughts with you on some of the critical issues facing us today.

Please keep me and my family in your prayers. God bless you and may God bless the United States of America.

Sincerely Yours,

Donald J. Trump 

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