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Why White House Catholics are concerned about Trump’s Catholic tweets

By Ed Condon for CNA

President Donald Trump reacts to the campaign crowd at the Dream City Church in Phoenix June 23, 2020. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

Washington D.C., Jul 9, 2020 / 01:57 pm (CNA).-

Officials working in the Trump administration have told CNA that they have been frustrated by recent presidential tweets elevating controversial Catholic figures, saying the tweets undermine the work many Catholics in the administration hope to accomplish.

In recent weeks, the president’s Twitter account has cited support from two figures with tendentious reputations among Catholics: former papal nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, and the author and online polemicist Taylor Marshall.

While both men have been publicly supportive of the president, both are better known for their criticism of Church authorities than for their views on secular politics.

Two Catholics in senior positions in the administration told CNA the decision to elevate Viganò and Marshall has put the White House at odds with the U.S. bishops, instead of puttng focus on issues on which they could agree, and has frustrated some Catholic administration officials.

“It puts those of us who care about the Church and care about the work we are doing here in a bind,” one White House official told CNA. “I believe in the work I’m doing, and believe it matters as a Catholic. But I spend enough time just defending that simple premise – I don’t want to have to deal with crazy Catholic Twitter too.”

“Everyone knows the campaign needs religious voters, and Catholic voters for sure. But there is such a divide between the people working on policy stuff around here and the people doing this. For us, we are doing things that matter: on religious freedom, on life issues.”

A second senior administration official, who attends weekly meetings with the president in the Oval Office, told CNA the president believes he has not been supported by U.S. bishops for his efforts on religious liberty, and that White House strategists have urged him to court Catholic votes through figures like Marshall and Viganò.

Both officials requested anonymity because of the nature of their positions.

The officials each independently attributed the decision to highlight support from outside the Catholic mainstream to Dan Scavino, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and the president’s social media director. They said it is part of a broader effort to stoke enthusiasm among the president’s most ardent supporters through social media engagement.

“You know who is putting [Viganò’s letter] in front of the president?” one official said, “It’s coming from [Dan] Scavino. He runs all of that side of things.”

“Around him and the rest, they have only one plan right now, or only one they are talking about: weaponize the base, the base, the base.”

Earlier this year, the Trump administration garnered attention for hosting telephone calls with bishops and other institutional Catholic leaders regarding both the impact of the coronavirus on Catholic schools and the decision of some bishops to begin limited reopenings of public Masses in the early stages of a national reopening.

In those calls, the president promised his administration’s support to Catholic initiatives, and to financially struggling Catholic schools. Bishops, including New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, faced criticism for seeming to lend implicit support to the president’s reelection bid, a charge Dolan and others disputed, while defending their engagement with the president.

The administration is continuing to advocate for parochial school assistance in coronavirus relief legislation.

But Trump’s more recent Catholic overtures have been of a different stripe.

Both administration officials told CNA that after Trump’s June 2 visit to the St. John Paul II National Shrine, a decision was made by Scavino and other strategists that the president should cultivate Catholic support from leadership figures outside the mainstream.

“The president doesn’t get why the bishops aren’t with him for doing work on religious liberty – especially after the shrine visit, he was pissed about that,” one official said.

The official told CNA that Scavino, himself a Catholic, views the support of figures like Viganò as a means of delivering Catholic votes without the implicit or explicit support of diocesan bishops.

The president’s shrine visit came at the height of protests and demonstrations across the county, following the killing of George Floyd. It also came one day after the controversial dispersal of demonstrators in Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, to accommodate a presidential photo-op in front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory issued a stinging critique of the shrine visit, calling it “reprehensible,” and saying the shrine had been “egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles.”

The next week June 10, Trump’s Twitter account retweeted a long letter from Archbishop Carlo Viganò, former papal nuncio to the United States, in which the archbishop lavished praise on the president and repeated his own theories about an international conspiracy to use the coronavirus pandemic to bring about a one-world government.

So honored by Archbishop Viganò’s incredible letter to me. I hope everyone, religious or not, reads it!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 10, 2020

“Both of us are on the same side in this battle,” Viganò wrote to Trump, calling criticism of the president’s June 2 visit to the National Shrine of St. John Paul II part of an “orchestrated media narrative” against the president.

Viganò gained national headlines in 2018, when he claimed that he had warned Pope Francis about allegations of sexual abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and then called on the pope to resign. Since then, the archbishop has lived in self-imposed exile, writing frequent open letters that make apocalyptic claims, proffer globalist conspiracy theories, and denounce sitting diocesan bishops and the Second Vatican Council.

Viganò last month denounced Washington’s Archbishop Gregory as a “false shepherd” after Gregory’s criticism of Trump’s shrine visit.

One administration official said Scavino saw Viganò’s letter as a way of touting support for Trump in the face of Gregory’s opposition.

“He thinks it’s a punch back against [Archbishop] Gregory,” said the official.

On July 2, Trump’s Twitter account tweeted about an appearance by Taylor Marshall on the One America News Network, in which Marshall said “there is a war on Christianity,” and praised the president’s leadership.

Dr. Taylor Marshall, author. “There Is A War On Christianity”. @OANN

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2020

Marshall has recently been associated with the traditionalist priestly Society of St. Pius X, who are in “irregular communion” with the Catholic Church. He has tweeted that Catholic men should not attend diocesan seminaries, spoken about his “resistance” to Pope Francis, and has recently clashed with Bishop Robert Barron, who reportedly referred to him as an “extremist,” amid a disagreement over the role of clerics and laity amid the destruction of the statues of saints.

Marshal’s 2019 book “Infiltration,” claims to outline a plot by which “Modernists and Marxists hatched a plan to subvert the Catholic Church from within. Their goal: to change Her doctrine, Her liturgy, and Her mission,” according to the book’s website.

Both Marshall and Viganò have large online audiences; Marshall’s YouTube videos regularly draw more than 100,000 viewers, and Viganò’s missives are regularly published on popular conservative and traditionalist websites.

But one administration official told CNA that Catholics working in the executive branch have been discouraged by the president’s decision to promote Viganò and Marshall, especially because they believe the administration’s work on life issues and religious liberty is important, and would benefit from more engagement with the bishops.

“You feel like you can’t win,” the official said. “Frankly, we’d have liked a little more support from the bishops – not for the president personally or the campaign, but for the work we are doing. There is stuff here that is important. But absent that, the thinking from the comms side seems to be ‘have the friends we can get,’ and if they’re crazy, who cares? It’s so frustrating.”

Both officials told CNA that there exists a clear line between those senior Catholics in the administration working on policy priorities and those pursuing Trump’s social media strategy.

“There is no way the serious Catholics in the administration are pushing this stuff. They have too much to do,” the first official told CNA.

The other senior source said the same, and lamented that some in the administration seem to view a combative stance against the bishops as a good in itself.

“For headbangers like Scavino, ‘real Catholics’ are the ones on message with the president, it doesn’t matter how off the reservation they might be in the Church.”

“To [Scavino and Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller] the [U.S.] bishops are all shades of Pope Francis, especially on immigration, which drives Miller crazy.”

The first official agreed, telling CNA that: “The president doesn’t know who Viganò is, he just knows he’s an archbishop, he definitely doesn’t know who Taylor Marshall is – even I had to look him up. But you bet Dan [Scavino] knows, knows they are anti-establishment and have a following, and that’s the campaign they want to run with everyone – get to the people who are already there, intensify them, get them working for you – and give the president some proof of support for what he’s been doing.”

“[Scavino] has this idea that the more you can talk around the bishops the better the more radical you can be and the more you will deliver with the base. Him and [Stephen] Miller love that kind of stuff.”

The White House first conceded in 2017 that Scavino “assists President Trump in operating the @realDonaldTrump account, including by drafting and posting tweets to the account.”

Scavino is an unlikely figure to mastermind the most famous Twitter account in the world.

A 2018 New York Times profile recounts that he first met Trump while acting as his caddie during a round of golf on a course upstate in 1990. In 2004, he returned to the course, then owned by Trump, as assistant manager, rising to manager four years later before starting his own business.

He returned to the Trump orbit at the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, eventually began helping candidate Trump run his Twitter account and later managed his social media output. Scavino earned a reputation for playing hard along the way. On one occasion, Scavino retweeted a video alleging that Sen. Ted Cruz was having an affair with a married former aide, Amanda Carpenter, who called the allegations a “smear.”

Carpenter told the New York Times Magazine that “What Scavino did to me and what he still does to others would get any other professional fired. In Trump’s universe, it’s a qualification. A willingness to engage in lies and smears on behalf of Donald Trump is a sign of loyalty that Trump treasures.”

In the same profile, Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks told the Times Magazine that Scavino is the “conductor of the Trump train,” and that his role in the administration is to “tell [Trump] how things are playing with his people. That’s a gauge for him that the president takes seriously.” Hicks left the White House in March 2018 but was named a counselor to the president in February this year.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon has also credited Scavino with bringing fringe figures and social media personalities to the president’s attention. Bannon told the Times Magazine that he used to share with Scavino an office in the West Wing and “he has his hands on the ‘Pepes,’” in a reference to a popular cartoon image used by alt-right internet posters.

“[Scavino] knew who the players were and who were not. He’d bring me Cernovich — I didn’t know who Cernovich was until Scavino told me,” Bannon told the magazine of Mike Cernovich, an alt-right blogger who has made highly controversial comments on race, women’s rights, and rape.

According to Politico, Scavino’s ability to represent Twitter support to the president has real-world policy effects. In a 2019 profile, Politico quoted two sources saying Trump turned to Scavino to justify the announcement of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump himself told Politico that “Oftentimes, I’ll go through Dan.”

“You know, I’ll talk it over. And he can really be a very good sounding board. A lot of common sense. He’s got a good grasp.”

While not a well-known public figure, Scavino has attracted controversy through his responsibility for the president’s Twitter account.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump faced tough questions about use of alleged anti-Semitic imagery in a graphic describing Hilary Clinton as the “most corrupt candidate ever.” The image featured Clinton, a red star of David, and images of cash.

While the campaign initially dismissed criticism of the image, insisting that the star was meant to resemble a sheriff’s badge, it later altered the image to a circle. CNN also reported that the image was originally posted on an “anti-Semitic and white supremacist message board.”

It was Scavino who defended both the original image and the eventual alteration, saying that it “was not created by the campaign nor was it sourced from an anti-Semitic site.” Scavino rejected any insinuation of anti-Semitism, citing his wife’s Jewish family, but took personal responsibility, saying “I would never offend anyone and therefore chose to remove the image.”

The White House did not respond to questions from CNA regarding Scavino’s role in Trump’s retweets of Marshall and Viganò.

One White House official told CNA that the president’s recent Catholic retweets fit Scavino’s approach.

“I totally get why people like Viganò and Marshall appeal to Scavino. Conspiracy theories, communists, freemasons, tons of retweets and YouTube followers? It’s right up his alley,” the official said.

“The problem is it has happened now, even if this isn’t the president’s idea, one thing you’re not going to do is change his mind – there is no reverse gear.”

“It drives the Catholics around here crazy because we are trying to do real work,” the first official said. “We take the faith seriously, we came here to serve.”

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  1. What exactly does it mean that “[Taylor]Marshall has recently been associated with the traditionalist priestly Society of St. Pius X”. Is he a member or not? Does the regularly attend mass there is does he not? There are innumerable ways to be “associated” with someone or something. Without specificity the term is meaningless. Yet it could be used to create a false impression. So how about some clarity?

    And the author notes ” [h]e has tweeted that Catholic men should not attend diocesan seminaries”. How about an actual quote? The author no doubt has seen it. Why not produce a full quote so the reader can judge what to make of it. Again, is the intent to create a negative impression of some sort, or to accurately inform?

    • Mr. Condon is being entirely fair and accurate in his reporting.

      Marshall, via Twitter and other outlets, has written of attending an SSPX parish and receiving Communion there. He is not a member, from what I can tell. But, yes, he has clearly been “associated”. It has been a very open matter for many months. Dave Armstrong gives some of the details

      On June 13th, Taylor tweeted: “Do. Not. Attend. Diocesan. Seminaries.” That tweet is now not available, but can be seen via Google search.

      • A few questions: 1. Why are we given the names of Scavino and Marshall while the critics are allowed to remain anonymous? 2. Exactly what work are the anonymous White House Catholic sources doing? If it is bedrock prolife work, what evidence is there that the USCCB will ever give anything but half-hearted support? 3. Is it not true that Marshall attends an FSSP parish? FSSP is, I believe, in full communion with the Catholic Church. 4. Can we please evaluate Vigano’s statements rationally and not label him as a conspiracy theorist without careful examination of the evidence and the conclusions he draws from it?

        • This is totally wrong. Taylor Marshall has many, many videos up shilling for the SSPX. He personally goes to an FSSP church regularly, but he went to an SSPX church during the Covid thing. Marshall maintains that the FSSP is against the church, and that no FSSP priest will ever defend Vatican II.

          Having watched all his videos, he is constantly introducing things straight out of the SSPX playbook. He interviews SSPX priests, and never challenges them. He has said that he prays to Lefebvre. His teaching is exactly what the SSPX teaches. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At this point, Vigano, Schneider and Marshall are all essentially SSPX people. If they walk like a duck, talk like a duck, they are a duck, even if they pretend they are not a duck.

        • I think somehow my response to you got mixed up with a response to someone else. Vigano has been a full conspiracy theory man for some time. He started out good, but he has adopted a very weird conspiracy mind about one world governments and freemasons being in control of everything, and that Covid was being used by them to start one world government or one world religion, take your pick. He has lost his marbles.

        • Brilliant and to the point. many Catholic bishops have sided with the Democrats and unfortunately they do not have Catholic ideology in their hearts. Too many dastardly things to mention but abortion alone!

      • Did Ed Condon try to contact Taylor Marshall before running with this piece, which contains pointed criticisms of Marshall? If not, then he has failed in his role as a journalist and may be guilty of detraction. Dr. Marshall strikes me as a straight up kind of guy who would welcome the opportunity to discuss his opinions and beliefs with any well meaning inquirer. Sorry, but this piece comes across as gossipy and politically (mainly church politics) motivated.

      • RE: Taylor Marshall tweeting that he ‘ attended ‘ and ‘received ‘ Communion at SSPX – if that is true I must note that to ‘attend’ is starkly different than to ‘receive Communion. That latter of course, more than implies that one is ‘ in Communion’ with that group. I can attend a Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy in SF without scandal as a Latin Rite Catholic as long as I am not substituting that for a Holy Day obligation. I can and often do however, attend AND receive Communion at the nearly identical Divine Liturgy a few blocks away at Our Lady of Fatima Eastern Russian Catholic Divine Liturgy which is in ‘communion with the Bishop of Rome and falls under the same authority of the Archbishop of San Francisco as other Latin rite Churches. To ‘receive Communion’ speaks loudly that one belongs to that Church. One’s faith cannot be divided. What say Taylor Marshall?

    • Well, my biased reaction, as someone who likes Taylor Marshall and Archbishop Viganò, is that Mr. Scavino’s strategy sounds like a good idea. I would not blame him for giving up on trying to win favor with our nation’s bishops, given what would appear to me to be a strong bias on their part to the Democratic Party, I am grateful that as a group they still voted to consider abortion the pre-eminent social justice issue. But, as a practical matter, many still tend to treat pro-abortion Democratic politicians with kid-gloves, while bludgeoning Trump on immigration.
      Trump has many flaws (as do we all), but where else can a pro-life voter turn? Joe Biden? Anyone check his record lately on pro-life? How can anyone supported by Planned Parenthood be considered to be a viable candidate, if one takes seriously the notion that abortion is the pre-eminent social justice issue? Yup, if the strategy is to mobilize single issue extremists like me, I would say that it is working.

    • I have carefully watched all Marshall’s videos. It was clear long ago that he was basically repeating all the SSPX talking points. He advances the nuttier of the SSPX conspiracy theories. Much of his babble about the freemasons and the Alta Vendita and the use of old Catechisms comes straight out of the SSPX playbook. He even mentioned once that he prayed to archbishop Lefebvre. His focus on rituals, old rituals, and denunciation of anything having to do with things after Vatican II is straight from the SSPX playbook. A few months ago, he started explicitly having videos explaining why Lefebvre was a great man, why the SSPX is basically right about everything. He defended them at every step. As I understand it, he still goes to an FSSP church, but he has stated that FSSP priests will never defend Vatican II, and that they are pretty much the same as SSPX priests. During the Covid thing, he attended an SSPX church. He tried to push Bishop Schneiders strange endorsement of the SSPX as well.

      After the revelations of SSPX child abuse, he suddenly went silent on the SSPX, and has dropped it as a subject.

      Marshall is a conspiracy theorist who is basically fast becoming a schismatic. He thinks he is the leader of a new sect devoted to “restoring” the church in his own image. He claims to have visions from God. He opposes lots of church teaching. He basically has run off the rails. His constant distortion and hammering on Bishop Barron is completely non Catholic and even rises to the level of being evil. He encourages all his followers (most of whom now follow him, not Jesus) to form internet lynch mobs and smear those he does not like.

      • samton909, you seem to be vehemently anti-S.S.P.X. Could you tell us why ?
        As for the U.S. bishops, we over here on the other side of the world are well aware of their anti-Catholicism. It should be even clearer to a U.S. resident.
        Catholics working in the Trump administration hoping that the U.S. bishops will give some support are very deluded.

  2. Sadly, run of the mill cultural Catholics still think the Democratic Party is the same one their grandparents supported and a number of US Catholic bishops appear to agree.
    I may have issues with some of the conservative Catholic personalities featured on YouTube but that’s the side of Catholic America who will support Trump. If his campaign staff expects support from the USCCB they shouldn’t hold their breath.

  3. hah! hah! hah!
    i cant wait for the cwr article on the white house catholic staff who are upset about the archbishop of wash & his over reach in attacking the president…

  4. This article seems to be pretty critical of Marshal, Vigano, Scavino and unserious Catholics who might lean that way while being very favorable of unidentified “serious Catholics” in the administration “doing things that matter”. No doubt those unidentified serious Catholics more fully share the views of Washington DC Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who was handpicked by formed Washington DC Archbishop Donald Weurl, who was handpicked by former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. It’s a mystery why Trump doesn’t just consult directly with that blessed trinity of serious Catholic representation. By the way, does anyone know where I can pick up a copy of the McCarrick report?

    • You are entirely incorrect. You are making assumptions about these people without knowing anything about them or what they are doing. There is no indication that they approve of the very bad bishop Wilton Gregory. You might want to check your catechism and what it says about detraction.

  5. It amazes me that “Catholics in the WH” work for a man they obviously dislike. How “catholic” an attitude! How honest they are to take money with one hand, and stab in the back with the other.I will bet they they are so ashamed to cash their paychecks that they donate all their salaries to the nearest BLM-approved bank in DC!

    According to Mr. Condon and his anonymous contacts, Trump can just not do anything right, when it comes to the Church. How mindless an attempt to undermine the minimal support Trump has received from Catholic sources, especially the hierarchy. Do you recall how, recently, Cardinal Dolan was savaged for his few kind words to our President?

    Sure is good to know that CWR is on the point…..pull down Trump every chance you get!

    • 1) The Catholics in the White House do not dislike Trump at all. I have no idea how you got to that conclusion.
      2) You are spreading unfounded lies about these people. This is a sin in Catholicism.
      3) Condon said nothing at all about Trump, much less that he “can do no good” as you allege.
      4) Based on your willingness to make things up that smear people, I think you might belong to the newly emerging Taylor Marshall cult. Am I right?

  6. Frankly, regardless of disagreeing with Mr. Marshall on “associating” with the SSPX (I would prefer the FSSP) it seems perfectly understandable to warn against diocesan seminaries.

    Yes, President Trump is fighting his side of a crude, all-out political war.

    As to Archbishop Gregory, he is a financial fraud and a subversive promoter of sexual immorality and disintegration. Meaning that (1) he got caught trying to build a $2 MILLION mansion for himself with Church funds in Atlanta, and when he got caught he said he made a “non-apology,” saying he wouldn’t have tried to do it if he had realized ahead of time that the faithful would have thought it was wrong; and (2) he used Catholic Churches in his diocese in Atlanta, including the cathedral, to promote the LGBTQ “life-style.”

    So while I may differ with Taylor Marshall, or perhaps even differ with some recent tactics of Archbishop Viganò, I find Archbishop Gregory to be a false shepherd, completely lacking the voice of The Good Shepherd.

  7. Your author’s references to The New York Times and Politico as apparently his reliable information sources is, to say the least, naive. To say the worst… Let’s not say the worst.

  8. So, you won’t publish comments containing “personal attacks,” but you will publish articles containing them. This one is nothing but a hit piece on Scavino, resorting to the same sleazy tactics used by the mainstream media.

  9. Meanwhile Pelosi,Biden,Hillary and a host of other “Catholic” socialist/democrats shuffle up to Communion with nary a discouraging word from US Bishops or for that matter
    Catholics “doing things that matter”.We have the famous art of the laughing Jesus? Where’s the art of the crying Jesus? As so many of his flock have lost their way.

    • Mrs Clinton has never claimed to be a Catholic. I’m sure they all will claim to be democrats, but given the proper meaning of ‘socialist’ used as a noun—that is, someone who wants the majority of the economy to be State-owned or -micromanaged—none of them are socialists. As a Social Democrat, well to the Right of Socialists, I can attent that they are well to the Right of most Social Democrats. Please do state your opinions, but you don’t get your own facts.

  10. Taylor Marshall has made it abundantly clear that he is absolutely not in the SSPX. The continual snipping at this valuable layman’s deeply informed perspective bespeaks a level of cowardliness that appears to be the defining characteristic of contemporary mainstream Catholicism. It is tiresome and unproductive. We have a big reality sandwich to digest after the past sixty years of living in accommodation to the secular sphere and our own concupiscence. Let’s stop the bickering and get to the task of self-examination, repentance and conversion.

    • This is totally wrong. Taylor Marshall has many, many videos up shilling for the SSPX. He personally goes to an FSSP church regularly, but he went to an SSPX church during the Covid thing. Marshall maintains that the FSSP is against the church, and that no FSSP priest will ever defend Vatican II.

      Having watched all his videos, he is constantly introducing things straight out of the SSPX playbook. He interviews SSPX priests, and never challenges them. He has said that he prays to Lefebvre. His teaching is exactly what the SSPX teaches. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At this point, Vigano, Schneider and Marshall are all essentially SSPX people. If they walk like a duck, talk like a duck, they are a duck, even if they pretend they are not a duck.

      • You seem to be begging the question. Has anyone here established that Catholics cannot fulfill the Sunday obligation by attending an SSPX Mass and that their priests do not have faculties to hear confessions and officiate marriages? No? Then what is your problem? Why is the label SSPX thrown about as if it is the equivalent of schismatic? Why don’t you deal with the points Archbishop Lefebvre raised about Vatican II some 50 years ago and the points Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider are raising now? If all you can do is fulminate and call people names, like “wolves,” why should I be impressed by your non-argument?

        • Donna,
          I’ve heard opposite opinions on whether the SSPX is in schism today. Someone just recently on Catholic radio said that they no longer were considered schismatic.
          I’d like a definitive answer if possible.
          We had friends who joined a SSPX community years ago and though I understand their reasons to escape modernism, they ended up in a heartbreaking situation with child molestation. It was absolutely a mother’s worst nightmare. I still pray for that poor family.
          I know sexual deviancy is universal and not unique to any one community but some seem more susceptible than others.

          • Thank-you for your consideration of that last issue. I have looked at the problem of child molestation, and have seen it not-dealt-with in exactly the same way in Chasidic, Amish, Jehovah’s Witness, mainline Catholic, and SSPX congregations.

            I do not expect that you will follow me in having this indicate to me that these are all entirely human creations with nothing of the Divine—or, at least, of any caring Divine worthy of our respect and worship—in any of them, but (again) it is estimable that you can see the problem both where it would be convenient to your beliefs and otherwise. Good show!

  11. I was surprised that Catholic World Report printed this Ed Condon CNA article. Unnamed “Catholics in senior positions”, “Senior administration official”, “Both administration officials”, etc. What exactly is the point of saying the “The president’s shrine visit came at the height of Protests…” as though there was something wrong with that timing. The article states that Archbishop Wilton Gregory called the president’s shrine visit “reprehensible”. I felt at times that I was reading a CNN transcript. I could go on, but I will end by saying I don’t think this article meets the usual high standards of Catholic World Report.

    • Your comments amaze me. CNA did good reporting here, actually speaking to people in the White House. They work for Trump, they are on Trump’s side, but are shocked that one guy has convinced Trump to suck up to a very small segment of nutters who are engaged in conspiracy theories on a daily basis. Taylor Marshall has gone nutty, seeing visions and claiming that various fake prophecies are coming true at this moment in time. He is a weirdo conspiracy theorist who seeem to be leaving Catholicism behind and forming his own cult. Vigano seemed like a great guy for a while, but he basically jumped on the Taylor Marshall Schismatic bus and now spouts weird conspiracy theories all the time.

      I am aware that Marshall plays a devious game designed to lure in people with concerns about the church, and he plays the devout person very well. But the devil knows how to play that game, and Marshall seems to me to be very firmly rejecting the magisterium and now believes HE is the magisterium. He appeals to people with little theological training who believe in conspiracy theories. Is this the guy the president should be appealing to? Just in terms of votes, Taylor Marshall probably represents about 5,000 people at most. Almost all of them would have voted for Trump anyway. Trump is making a pretty big mistake by appealing to this group.

      • And the Bishops who routinely lay down and work against Catholic teaching, what do you have to say to them and their behavior?

        Marshall may be all of those things but that does not make the U.S. Bishops, as a whole, any better. Most of these don’t speak the TRUTH of what the Catholic church teaches so appealing to them means nothing when they can’t even defend the faith and teach Catholics about the non-negotiable evils to say the least.

  12. Hoping that some good Catholic at the White House would make arrangements to have the holy images such as of the Vilnius Icon , St.Michael’s relic stone , all as gifts to the President , through the hands of the good ArchBishop Gregory and with prayers that the logs fall from where they need to , to heed words of Pope St .Clement as in the LOH readings today , that they be ready to depart , unless…

    • What are you smoking at CWR and CNA? Just how many Catholic Bishops do you think are ever going to support Trump? The Catholics who support Trump are watching Taylor Marshall, reading his book, and cheering Archbishop Viganò. If the Catholic Bishops of the world were doing their job, Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider would not have a global audience. They would be just two more run-of-the-mill good Catholic Bishops. This article is not journalism, it is a hit piece.

  13. Dear Mr. Condon,

    Thank for your serious, thoughtful consideration of the matter of the faithful in relationships with the secular state.

    For a great long time the bishops in this nation have seemed to be, to borrow a phrase from England, the Democratic Party at prayer. Indeed, some bishops and archbishops appear to have been little more than obsequious household staff – or house pets? – to the Kennedy family and their successors. This is wrong.

    But this conflation of Church and the Democratic Party is not resolved by having a Republican wing of the Catholic Church, or by the close association of the Church with powerful seculars.

    The Church should be Herself in service to God and His people, not a function of the state, and a voice for truth, not a voice for secular powers.

    Again, thank you.

  14. What are you smoking? The USCCB or any appreciable number of Catholic bishops might support Trump? The Catholics who support Trump are watching Taylor Marshall, reading his book, and cheering Archbishop Viganò. If the Bishops of the Catholic Church were doing their jobs Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider wouldn’t have a global audience. They would just be two more good Bishops. Why do you think they stand out?

    • I’m Catholic. I support Trump. I don’t support Taylor Marshall. I support Abp. Vigano and Archbishop Cordileone. I might support other Bishops if I knew them better. I pay little attention to the USCCB as it has no authority in the Church and I thank God for that. I support the Magisterium of the Church and the Pope, whomever he be that fills that office because I support the Office. Benedict XVI is a particular favorite. I support and follow Bishop Robert Barron and Fr James AItman of LaCrosse, WI. I speak for myself and do not try to put others into a group or slot or category of my own contrivance. I hope others will do the same but don’t hold out a lot of hope. I believe that Jesus leads all souls to Heaven because he said so and commanded us to pray for such. But I have grave doubts that all souls are. However it doesn’t really matter what you or I think about who is in hell because it is none of our business. It is the Lord’s only. My job is to pray for all and do whatever I am asked to facilitate the salvation of others, especially those in most need of mercy.

  15. This report sounds like an NYT “deep background” piece, replete with anonymous sources who purport to give the “inside scoop” (using their anonymity to name names), and headlined “White House Catholics are Concerned about Trump’s Catholic Tweets”.
    The substance of the report rings factual enough to me. But, so what?
    The implication of the report seems to be that Trump is tactically (maybe strategically) aligning with unscrupulous Catholic Rightist political operatives who are convinced Catholic integralists.
    But again, I would ask: So what?
    I would be surprised if that weren’t true. In fact, I would be even more surprised if it were reported that Trump is unaware of, or unwilling to exploit, the rift between the Catholic part of his base and their bishops.
    Archbishop Vigano clearly sees the rift and encourages Trump to exploit it. Vigano has a large American following. Vigano is former Papal Nuncio to the US who struggled with, and has remained on the frontline of the battle to expose and extirpate, the McCarrick/Bernardin/et al. legacy of shame that still poisons the life of the Church in the US, the Vatican and the whole Catholic world. Why shouldn’t Trump “trumpet”, or US Catholics listen to the Archbishop’s blessing of Trump and his re-election? It’s not as if, as Protestants and secularists always feared, the Pope is telling the man in the White House what to do.

  16. Archbishop Vigano has asked us Catholics to pray for President Trump and this nation. He is willing to be names as is Dr. Taylor Marshall. “Unnamed senior White House Catholics” who won’t go on record is just spreading gossip and malicious speech in a whispering campaign, the work of cowards. Sorry, not buying into this article. Seems designed to poison people so they don’t pray for President Donald Trump.

    • Maybe one or two Catholics don’t like Trump’s tweets on Archbishop Vigano’ s letter, or saying there is a War on Christianity. But, trust me. Millions of Christians are elated. Hallelujah!

    • I and a group of friend around the country are committed to praying an extra Rosary a day through the end of President Trump’s 2nd term in the White House. I pray specifically to our Blessed Mother for her intercession that President Donald j. Trump be lead in the will of God and her son Jesus Christ, that he be supported and protected, given wisdom and prudence, strength, courage, forbearance in all that he undertakes that is in accord with the Will of the Father and Son Jesus Christ and that he remain wrapped in the protective wings of our Blessed Mother Mary. I have also recently added the prayer for the USA authored by Archbishop Vigano and available online in PDF format.

  17. Trump wouldn’t know the difference between one kind of Catholic and another. He thinks that by tweeting things about Catholic bishops etc, will get him the Catholic vote, just as jumping on the pro-life bandwagon won him the Evangelical vote. Many Evangelicals are beginning to see through him and he’s losing ground there so he’s having to look elsewhere for votes. Maybe he thinks that having a Catholic wife will help him, but as she never attends Mass and has brought her son up as a Protestant, Catholics won’t be impressed by that.

    • Itsme,
      I can’t speak for Evangelicals but I didn’t vote for Trump for religious reasons but for practical ones. He’s accomplished much of what he promised, especially regarding federal judges. I think the number of new lifetime appointed federal judges under Trump’s administration is at 200. That’s something that will affect our culture for a very long time.
      The Supreme Court justices are always a puzzlement but we certainly have better ones now than if Hillary had been in charge.
      I’m quite pleased with Trump but just terribly sorry about the epidemic fallout we’re all experiencing

  18. Why should Trump want to court the U.S. Bishops when as a whole they have been proven time and time again as a body to not be friends of the lay Catholic or of the Catholic Church. They routinely defend BLM, abortion, homosexuality, refugees, and social justice, all at the expense of actually upholding Church teaching, defending the Truth, and the salvation of souls.

    One Bishop on this site said it was not the Bishop’s job to defend the Church when attacked but up to the laity…What have they done to defend all those who have been damaged by the sexually abusive priests, bishops, and cardinals? Once again nothing but empty platitudes.

    If we could only see with spiritual eyes, we would WEEP at the vast number of souls being led into hell by this group of bishops and their inexcusable behavior as defenders of the faith.

  19. ““You feel like you can’t win,” the official said. “Frankly, we’d have liked a little more support from the bishops – not for the president personally or the campaign, but for the work we are doing. There is stuff here that is important. But absent that, the thinking from the comms side seems to be ‘have the friends we can get,’ and if they’re crazy, who cares? It’s so frustrating.””

    An ad hominem attack.

  20. I am disappointed in CWR for printing this article. And CNA for writing it. I don’t think Mother Angelica would be pleased. What about Fr. Fessio? I wonder what he thinks of this article. I think it is a hit piece. President Trump has done much to support the child in the womb and to stop Planned Parenthood. Why not do an article on that CNA. I pray for the president’s re-election. If we get Joe Biden as president and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer running the country from behind the curtain, or Barack Obama, God help us.

  21. To Jay Steven Neyer – Right on!! Right on!! Jay Steven Never!! We need more bishops like Archbishop Vigano and more priests like Fr James Altman from LaCrosse ( listen to his homilies for real Truth telling) As for conspiracy theories: that is part of now well known tactic of the far left ( the Saul Alinsky devotees) joint point and label anything or anyone who goes against the PC of modern day Marxism a hater, a fascist or a ‘conspiracy theorist’ or maybe just a plain nut. Attack character vs debate ideas. As for Freemasons – ask any credible Exorcist trained in Rome about Freemasons. They have been know for decades for their demonic methods and by what I read here from Ed Condon those methods are working.

  22. Worrying about Trump’s Catholic Tweets looses oxygen fast when the church fathers continue to genuflect before Caligula. The Roman Praetorian Guard’s brutal genre pales by comparison. An example of this compartmentalization…

    Religious freedom and American liberty. Trump’s social media vitriol and lying won’t achieve either! Given insider revelations of White House turmoil, Catholic clerics revel in his veneer facade crumbling before them. Our Catholic children’s and all God’s children’s mortal and moral future hangs in the balance. If we fail to challenge the amorality of Caligula directly and without fear of retribution blind Catholic silence will be ear shattering, the devil incarnate…

    Cardinal Dolan made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” in which he praised President Trump for his sensitivity “to the feelings of the religious community.” A man who rarely attends any church.

    Catholic duplicity resides not only in the West Wing! Add enabling and complicity with a dangerous president. Worrying about Trump’s Catholic Tweets looses breath fast when the church “fathers” continue to genuflect before Caligula. The Roman Praetorian Guard’s devotion pales by comparison. An example of this compartmentalization…

    Religious freedom and American liberty? With Trump’s social media vitriol and lying continues unabated. We won’t achieve either without the help of America’s sane voters!!

    • “Worrying about Trump’s Catholic Tweets looses oxygen fast when the church fathers continue to genuflect before Caligula.”

      Uh, okay. Meanwhile, many other commenters here are lamenting how, in their estimation, the ultra-liberal U.S. bishops do nothing but attack and undermine Trump.

      Trump must be truly impressive, in some strange way, to inspire both complete allegiance and complete rejection from the same group of men!

      • Thank you Mr. Olsen for your comment. The choice is clear in the upcoming elections. It’s either the election of Joe Biden, and the Democrats running for the House and Senate, or the Republicans. If the Democrats win it’s not good for the country, or for anyone. Mr. Trump is far from perfect but he is the only choice we have. The Democrats have become Socialists. Look at Cuba and Venezuela. Do we want the United States of America to be led by Marxists? Please God, No.

        • Kathleen, you’ve got it almost right. However, your direction may need a dusting up. Your definition of Biden doesn’t conceal your avoiding mention of the single issue Catholic “platform” of abortion. Though I feel that Biden may be the lesser of two evils, I will not vote for either, therefore I will take a path of many who will likely loose their votes… Independent! However, I still feel that someone, like Fox Fake News, has their thumb on the scale in favor of a man who, in full daylight, threatens our core values and our way of life.

          Moreover, Trump has stolen my GOP with impunity, the only way he seems to becomes attractive to the ultra-right. I don’t want Biden in, I want Trump out!

          I cannot fathom why, like you his base, a personal true patriot can abandon our Constitution’s protection by a devotion to a dangerous man? “No man is above the law”, excepts one. More importantly “no man is above God’s law”. That Barr has become too low when OUR AG illegally redacts and distorts the Mueller Report to the exonerate Caligula .

          The list is of Trump’s atrocities are frightening. His adulation and protection of Putin truly “slouches toward Gomorrah” to shadings of treason. I insist that Caligula has no clothes! God have mercy on us all, especially our innocent children!

    • Morgan,
      I have some Protestant friends & family who may have deeply held beliefs but regular church attendance isn’t something they are convicted of in the same way that Catholics are instructed to be.
      Scripture has a number of examples of non-believers who were allies of Jews & Christians. I can’t read Mr. Trump’s heart but the Lord can & He can use the president to assist His work if He chooses to. That’s His job to pick his assistants, not ours. And truthfully, how many regular churchgoers do you know that turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing? Appearance & demeanor aren’t everything.
      You have a good weekend!

    • “without the help of America’s sane voters!!”

      On behalf of those sane voters (that is, the ones not frothing at the mouth and ranting hysterically and incoherently from Trump Derangement Syndrome), I thank you; we’ll be voting for the man who doesn’t pretend to be Catholic while advocating the butchery of babies and doesn’t consider it a human right to force nuns to provide free contraception to people who might try exercising self-control, but won’t.

      I believe I pointed out once before that if you had been one of the Jews in exile in Babylon and Cyrus the Great had ordered that you be allowed to return home and that the Temple be rebuilt, you’d have complained bitterly that he wasn’t a Jew, wasn’t religious enough, was amoral, etc., etc., etc.

  23. I find it very disappointing that Catholic World Report has chosen to print this article that is essentially a hit piece against Dan Scavino on behalf of unnamed “serious Catholics“ in the White House administration who appear to be out of touch with many of their fellow Catholics. The sanctimonious quotes and the uneven reporting by Ed Condon is also a malicious swipe at all Catholics who are concerned about the Church and feel that the US bishops have let them down. Mr. Condon and the “serious Catholics” derisively characterize claims by Archbishop Vigano and Taylor Marshall but name-calling by Bishop Barron is not a substitute for providing evidence to refute their claims. Perhaps the “serious Catholics” can advise President Trump to ask the U S bishops why states with large Catholic populations elect candidates that actively espouse policies contrary to Catholic teaching.

    • Hold on to your faith in God, His Son Jesus Christ, their Holy Spirit and Blessed Mother Mary. Trust the Magisterium but keep eyes open on individual Bishops. Read and study Scripture, the Catechism 2nd Ed.,attend Mass daily and go to Confession regularly, fast often, then pray, pray, pray. Trust in Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Fear not!
      Then in November Vote for Trump!

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