Your Holiness, thank you for inviting me here. I am so honored.
You know that a majority of American Catholics voted for me last November. It made the difference. States like Pennsylvania, Michigan. I wouldn’t be here without their support. And I am honored for that too.
Some Catholics didn’t support me, of course. But the majority did, and especially regular church-goers. There was a reason for that. I promised to appoint a Supreme Court justice in the mold of Justice Scalia. And then I did so. Someone who had trained in the Church’s natural law teachings. Meanwhile, on the other side, you had the most pro-abortion candidate ever running for the presidency. You know that the chair of the Democratic National Committee says that pro-life people don’t belong in his party? No faithful Catholics need apply.
That was part of it. But there were other things too. I know that you and I disagree about immigration. You don’t like borders. I do. I’m also the president of the United States, and that’s the country I have to be loyal to. No other country.
American Catholics get it. They’re about the most loyal of all Americans. Quickest to sign up to defend their country. They’re the policemen and firemen who died in the World Trade Center. They love their country and think that their leaders should look after Americans first.
That doesn’t make them selfish. They’re nationalists. When they arrived in America they were second-class citizens. So they insisted they were Americans. They weren’t Irish or Italians or Germans any more. They knew they were entitled to something that people back in the old country didn’t have, something that went with American citizenship. They knew they had to give something to their new country, and that it had to give something back to them.
They understood the logic of nationalism, that what the country doesn’t give to non-Americans must be paid for by what is given to Americans. And America can ask from its citizens things it can’t ask from non-Americans. John Kennedy understood that. So does the Bible. It’s about strangers versus brothers, like in Deuteronomy.
That’s something the open borders people in my country didn’t get. Take down the border, and you take away jobs from Americans. It’s like trade deals that ship jobs offshore. The people who wanted that, it’s not as though they loved non-Americans. Instead, they didn’t care very much about Americans. Then they went out of their way to mock Catholics. They called the people who supported our campaign, many of them Catholics, deplorable and irredeemable.
That carries over to our safety net. To welfare policies. I took a lot of criticism about my support for our welfare system. I didn’t want to touch Social Security or our Medicare program. I said I wanted to repeal Obamacare, but only if we replaced it with a beautiful program that got everyone insured. We’re still working on that. We have to deal with people with a lot of different ideas in Congress. But there are some people in my Party who completely reject Catholic social teachings about helping the poor, the sick, and I’m not one of them.
In America we have one of the most generous welfare systems in the world. But we know we couldn’t do so unless we paid for it, and that means we need a vibrant economy, with more growth than we’ve seen in recent years. Some countries in South America forgot that. What’s happening in Venezuela is a tragedy. It shows you that socialism hasn’t lost the power to make people miserable. You look around the world and the worst states are the ones that want to control everything you do.
That includes ISIS, of course. Right now the greatest threat Catholics face is in the Middle East. Countries where Catholics lived, from the time the Church began, are killing Christians, driving them out. You’ve seen the videos, talked to Church leaders in those countries. You’ve said it has to stop. So did I. When I talked about foreign policy in the campaign I said the terrorists’ days were numbered. They’re going to be gone. And I’m just back from meetings with Arab leaders where we’ve agreed to a common anti-terror strategy. It’s going to work, and I think that’s about the best news for Catholics the world over.
Your Holiness, I’ve not led a perfect life, but I’m trying, and I want to be the president that all American Catholics can support.