In an unprecedented move, the Catholic League assailed the administration of a standing president for anti-Catholic bigotry. From the time President Clinton took office, it has become increasingly evident that his administration is insensitive at best, and downright hostile at worst, to Catholic interests. But the final straw occurred during the third weekend in August. Faith Mitchell, a spokes-woman for the State Department, charged that the Vatican’s disagreement over the Cairo conference on population and development “has to do with the fact that the conference is really calling for a new role for women, calling for girls’ education and improving the status of women.”

That statement was so outrageous that one of our members, and now one of the members of our Board of Advisors, Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School, wrote a strong letter registering her concerns to President Clinton. The letter was signed by prominent Catholic women and Catholic women’s organizations and was published as a Catholic League open letter to the President in the August 29th edition of the New York Times. The half-page ad triggered an immediate response from Catholic malcontents in a September 2nd ad in the Times.

The Catholic League made this statement at the risk of sounding partisan. But so as not to be misunderstood, it is not the position of the Catholic League that Catholics should favor Republicans more than Democrats or vice versa. We would condemn just as swiftly any Republican administration that said the things that members of the Clinton administration have said about Catholics. There are good reasons for voting for Democrats and good reasons for voting for Republicans; the converse is also true. As an organization, we hold no vested interest in either party.

But we will also not shy from criticizing any public official – or administration – that crudely caricatures Catholics the way Faith Mitchell did.

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