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Baltimore Archbishop William Lori.Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2017  (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. bishops point man for religious freedom has stepped in to defend a Trump judicial nominee who came under attack in the U.S. Senate for being an “orthodox Catholic.”

The episode is a sign that “anti-Catholic bigotry” still remains, Archbishop William Lori, chairman of  the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, said in a statement today.

At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Durbin assailed University of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven for her faith. Trump has nominated Barrett for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said in a now-famous line.

Lori, the archbishop of Baltimore, said that rather than examining Barrett’s professional credentials, the Democratic senators “challenged her fitness to serve due to her Catholic faith.”

“Such questions … sadly, harken back to a time in our country when anti-Catholic bigotry did distort our laws and civil order,” he said. “These comments are a reminder that we must remain vigilant against latent bigotries that may still infect our national soul.”

The archbishop then fired a pointed question directly at Senators Feinstein and Durbin: “Were the comments of the Senators meant as a warning shot to future law students and attorneys, that they should never discuss their faith in a public forum, if they have aspirations to serve in the federal judiciary?”  

Archbishop Lori’s statement on behalf of the USCCB joins a growing chorus of condemnation of the treatment of Professor Barrett.

Archbishop Lori’s statement can be read in its entirety here.

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