Two weeks before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the Initiative is bringing together respected leaders with diverse perspectives to examine the moral and political choices Catholics are facing in the midst of a global pandemic, economic crisis, racial reckoning, and hard-fought campaign.
Catholic voters are widely seen as a crucial constituency in this November’s election. The Catholic community is large, diverse, and found in key states which could decide who is elected president. Catholic voters are not a monolith. They differ by race and ethnicity, party and ideology, and Catholics for Trump and Catholics for Biden are making competing appeals. We have heard “You cannot be Catholic and a Democrat” and “Catholics cannot be true to their faith and vote for Donald Trump.”
The Initiative is bringing together an award-winning journalist who is doing unique reporting on the Catholic community in this election; a leader in local immigrant support and advocacy; an attorney and pro-life leader; and the director of the Initiative who helped the U.S. bishops write their political responsibility statements over several decades:
—Karina De Avila is a leader for immigrant rights and the vice president for the Young Democrats of Will County, Illinois. She is the former immigrant support program coordinator for Joliet Catholic Charities, on the board of her children’s Catholic school, and a founding member of the Latinx Catholic Leadership Coalition.
—John Carr is the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown. He served for more than two decades as director of Justice, Peace, and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He wrote the Washington Front column and a recent essay on Faithful Citizenship for America Media.
—Mary FioRito is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is an attorney, author, and pro-life leader, and has served as a vice-chancellor and as a director of pro-life activities. She is on the board of Aid for Women, a pregnancy resource center the National Office for Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing.
—Emma Green (C‘12) is a staff writer at the Atlantic, where she covers politics, policy, and religion. She is a 2012 graduate of Georgetown University, has won numerous journalism awards, and is the 2020 Laureate of the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters from America Media and the Thomas More Center at Yale.
Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative, will moderate the conversation.
Among the questions they will discuss are:
—What is going on with U.S. Catholic voters? In different parts of the Catholic community? How might Catholics be decisive voters in the 2020 presidential election?
—How are President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden and their campaigns reaching out to Catholic voters? With what impact?
—What are Catholics called to do in this election? Is abortion the “pre-eminent priority” as the U.S. bishops wrote? Should candidates’ “commitments, character, and integrity” be critical as suggested in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship?
—Using the principles of Faithful Citizenship, why would Catholic voters vote for Trump over Biden? Vote for Biden over Trump?
—What are the implications for the Church and for the nation regarding the roles of Catholics in this election?
This dialogue will have live closed captioning. For all other accommodation requests, please email [email protected]. A good-faith effort will be made to fulfill requests.
This Public Dialogue is part of the Initiative’s Faith and the Faithful series, is co-sponsored by Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, and is supported by the Democracy Fund.