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July 23, 2014  |  About the Berkley Center  |  Directions to the Center  |  Subscribe
 
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Religionpoliticsushistory

The Catholic Church in US Politics

Religion and Politics in US History

People (12)

With nearly a quarter of citizens of the United States professing to be Catholic, the Catholic Church has continued and expanded efforts to shape both the opinions of individual citizens and the national discourse on a number of fronts. Though the Church’s efforts to combat perceived social ills, especially abortion and same-sex marriage, have garnered the most attention in recent years, the Catholic Church’s advocacy for better immigration policies, healthcare reform, and nuclear disarmament, among others, have continued to influence conversations and attitudes. "Faithful Citizenship" guides, produced every two years by the US bishops, provide guidelines and explanations of Catholic teaching to Catholic voters and serve as a very prominent example of the Church’s involvement in US affairs.


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  • Charles J. Chaput is the current archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, serving there since 2011. In 1968, he became a Brother in the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a branch of the Franciscans and was ordained a priest in 1970. In 1977, he became pastor of Holy Cross parish in Thornton, Colorado. He was then appointed bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1988 and of Denver in 1997. Chaput is the author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic...
  • Fr. Charles Coughlin (1891-1979) was a Roman Catholic priest and American radio broadcaster. During the 1930s, Fr. Coughlin's radio shows reached an audience of over thirty million people. Originally a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fr. Coughlin later turned his budding populist movement against the president, leading efforts for monetary reform, industrial nationalization, and labor protection. His pro-fascist and anti-Semitic sentiments brought him into conflict with both...
  • Daniel Cardinal DiNardo is the American Roman Catholic archbishop of Galveston-Houston and a prominent Catholic voice in American politics. DiNardo was elected vice-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for a three year term beginning in 2014; he is the youngest of the American cardinals. He sits on the Pontifical Council for Culture and Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Previously he served as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, as...
  • Timothy Dolan is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church and the archbishop of New York. He served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013. Ordained in 1976, Cardinal Dolan previously served as archbishop of Milwaukee, auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, and rector of the Pontifical North American College. His charisma and staunch defense of Church values has made him well-known and created speculation that he is a possible future contender for the...
  • Francis Cardinal George is an American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and the archbishop of Chicago. He is also a member of a number of Catholic offices, including the Congregation for Divine Worship and Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. From 2007 to 2010 he served as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, having previously been appointed archbishop of Portland and bishop of Yakima. Cardinal George is particularly well-known for his defense of...
  • José Gómez in the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles and a prominent Catholic voice in American politics. Mexican-born and ordained in 1978, he previously served as archbishop of San Antonio and auxiliary bishop of Denver, and in 2005 Gómez was named one of the twenty-five most influential Hispanics in the country. His background and upbringing have led him into active work promoting education and dialogue within the Hispanic community; in 2013 he authored Immigration and the Next...
  • William Lori is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Baltimore (since March 2012) and an active voice in the American Catholic Church, in particular on pro-life and doctrinal issues. Since 2011 Lori has led the American bishops' response to controversial issues such as government contraception mandates and gay marriage, by framing his arguments as religious liberty concerns. He currently serves as the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and on the board of trustees of the Catholic...
  • Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is archbishop of Washington emeritus, having served from 2001 to 2006. During his tenure as archbishop, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II, served as chancellor of the Catholic University of America and president of the board of trustees of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and opened a new seminary to educate diocesan missionary priests. He also supported creation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and traveled...
  • John Joseph O'Connor (1920-2000) was an American cardinal of the Catholic Church and archbishop of New York. Previously he had served as the auxiliary bishop of the Military Services and as bishop of Scranton. A firm defender of traditional Catholic doctrine, Cardinal O'Connor is perhaps most well-known for his pro-life advocacy and defense of traditional views on marriage. He also spoke often in opposition to US military policy, in defense of organized labor, and on issues related to...
  • Seán Cardinal O'Malley is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston and a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. He also stands as an honorary chaplain of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Previously, he had served as bishop of Palm Beach, bishop of Fall River in New England, and bishop of St. Thomas-American Virgin Islands; in Fall River and Palm Beach he helped develop systems to address allegations of clergy sexual abuse through independent review panels and was tapped to help...
  • Bishop John H. Ricard, S.S.J., was the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee from 1997 until his retirement in 2011; he now serves as rector for St. Joseph's Seminary of the Society of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart in Washington, D.C. He was the chairman of the Committee on International Policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He was also chairman of the ad-hoc Committee for the Church of Africa as a part of the International Justice and...
  • Donald Cardinal Wuerl is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, DC and was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010. He serves on numerous national and international bodies, including the Vatican Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, Bishops, and the Clergy as well as the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Promoting Christian Unity. Previously, he served as auxillary bishop of Seattle and bishop of Pittsburgh; while in Pittsburgh he worked to remove priests accused of...