Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
Today on Register Radio, we spoke with National Catholic Register correspondent Charlotte Hays, who covered the Republican National Convention, and Michelle Bauman, who covered both the Republican and Democratic National Convention as Washington, D.C. correspondent for Catholic News Agency/EWTN.
Both writers spoke about the Catholic presence at the conventions.
"The Republican convention had a sunny, upbeat tone," described Hays. She said that the two most visible Catholics at the convention were Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. "Ryan is really interesting for Catholics because he has based his economic proposals on Catholic social thought. I did an interview with him previously in which Ryan said there's no monopoly on Catholic social teaching. If he becomes Vice President, he'll make policy decisions with Catholic social thought in mind."
Hays said that she was most surprised by actor Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican convention.
She noted that no significant changes were made to the Republican party platform.
"It's now the party of life and marriage," said Hays. "Having a pro-life plank in the Republican party platform says something important about the party standing up for the most vulnerable."
Asked about the so-called "war on women," Hays described it as "rhetoric trumped up...after women didn't turn out during the last mid-term election. The Democratic party has lined up the most pro-abortion speakers imaginable."
Hays pointed out that at one point during the HHS contraceptive mandate fight, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said, 'We're all Catholics now."
"I'm guardedly optimistic," said Hays about November's election. "From a Catholic point of view, I want the pro-life party, and the party that upholds the founders of this government, to win."
Democratic National Convention
During the second half of the program, Michelle Baumann compared the two conventions.
"There's been a lot of energy and enthusiasm, as well as a sense of frustration," said Bauman. "People are upset with our nation's economic problems. In Tampa, the focus was on the economy. Here at the Democratic convention there's been more emphasis on contraception and greater access to abortion."
Asked about any noticeable Catholic presence, Bauman pointed out that Sister Simone Campbell gave a speech.
"She heads up the social justice lobby network and voiced her support for the new health care law and how it aligns with her pro-life views," explained Bauman. "They say that the law extends healthcare to more individuals, but they don't note that it allows for increased funding for taxpayer-funding of abortion and requires employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs for their employees."
Bauman noted that not only does the Democratic party platform support abortion, but that also for the first time, a party has endorsed the redefinition of marriage.
Finally, Bauman was asked about the Democratic party's efforts to remove a reference to God in the party platform. Bauman explained that the party had removed the reference and then voted three times whether to reinsert the language into the platform. She explained that while it wasn't clear if the delegates reached a 2/3 vote majority, the chairman declared that a majority vote had been reached and the language was reinserted.
Asked about her expectations for the November election, Bauman said it was too early to say.
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