A rumor reached me through a commenter that Tom Tancredo may be anti-Catholic. I thought this worth investigation. My conclusion? He is minimally guilty of stupidity and carelessness. I don't have enough evidence at this point to say for sure that he is anti-Catholic. This would require a pattern, and there's not enough data here for that.
The heart of this controversy, at least according to some of the other blogs out there is a brief conversation on the July 19 edition of "Today's Issues", a conservative Christian talk show on American Family Radio. Tancredo has been critical of statements from the American Catholic Bishops on immigration policy. The bishops have expressed disappointment with several of the proposed solutions to the question of illegal immigration. A caller suggested that their perspective is part of a sinister conspiracy for the Church to take over the country. Here's the section of the conversation that is generating discussions:
CALLER, "LORETTA FROM TENNESSEE": First off, there's a church that says to its judges, if you have to choose between the church and the Constitution, choose the church. Secondly, there is a document, it must be available because I got it. I think was written by Pope Leo the Twelfth, the Fifteenth. I can never get those roman numerals right. And the document is entitled 'Making America Catholic.' There is another thing, this is the first time in US history that we have had a majority of Catholics on the Supreme Court. And I think the immigration issue may be more of getting immigrants into this country to present a bloc of voters that are voting one way from that standpoint. It's just a thought. (...)
TANCREDO: The caller does bring up an interesting point in terms of the enormous power and prestige of the Catholic Church in this debate. They are very, very heavily involved in the open borders movement.
FEMALE CO-HOST: Really?
TANCREDO: Oh, yes m'am. The National Council of Bishops have written extensively on this. They have certainly attacked me and a lot of others who want to secure the borders. A lot of motives have been ascribed to them. I can't speak to it. I was raised a Catholic, spent 12 years in Catholic schools. I'm an evangelical Presbyterian today. So i can't really speak to the motivation of the church. But the lady does have a point about the church's involvement. Also, the Mormon Church is heavily involved in the issue. Heavily, heavily supportive of open borders.
The transcript doesn't show it, but before Tancredo responds, the provide an almost musical chorus of hmming and ooing and ahhing over the caller's interesting statements. (You can listen to the whole show by opening this link in windows media player, or another program that handles .wma files. The interview begins about 12 minutes into the show. Listener calls begin about 41 minutes into the show.)
Now, the idea that the Church uses immigration to take over the country is an old one, going back a long way the US's relatively short history. It is clear that the caller subscribes to this. Tancredo, in saying that she has a point is at the very least making a rather dangerous political error.
But, is he Anti-Catholic? I'm not ready to make up my mind yet. I'd certainly say he put his foot in it though.
I will say this though: If the Catholic Church is as powerful as the conspiracy theorists think, and if it is really determined to do an organized takeover of the U.S, it would have happened already.
Here is what the Bishops have said recently about immigration issues.
As to any documents by Pope Leo the THIRTEENTH, under the title the caller gives, I can find none. At least, not with google anyway. My search did reveal a lot of websites pointing to anti-catholic conspiracy theories such as that which the caller mentions. The Archives at the University of Notre Dame lists the title "Making America Catholic by Order of Pope Pius X - Roman Catholic Principles as defined by Popes, Prelates and Priests" in a list of anti-Catholic publications. Ironically, the caller also comments that this show has some of the most astute listeners she has ever heard, and then presents the existence of this supposed papal documents as FACT. Which means, Miss Loretta from Tennessee, you need to check the authenticity of your sources and facts before you make statements on national radio.