The Corner


Catholics Alone?

Pope Francis arrives to celebrate mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 5, 2019. (Tony Gentile/Reuters)

One point I touch on in my column today is that Ahmari expresses a disparaging view of Evangelicals, which strikes me as very unwise given the magnitude of the cultural challenge facing social conservatives. Catholics aren’t going to be able to meet it alone. They are 20 percent of the population and have been losing numbers at an alarming rate. It’s doubtful conservative Catholics could impose “orthodoxy” on fellow Catholics in the U.S., let alone the public square of the entire county.

Consider political affiliation and social views. According to Pew, 37 percent of Catholics are Republican and 37 percent conservative. 48 percent think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Seventy percent think homosexuality should be accepted, and 57 percent strongly favor or favor gay marriage.

Then, there are deeper matters. Just 64 percent of Catholics say they believe in God with absolute certainty. Fifty-eight percent say religion is very important in their lives. 39 percent attend church weekly. Thirty percent look to their religion for guidance on right or wrong, and 30 percent believe that there are clear standards of right and wrong.

Now, just by way of comparison, take a look at Evangelicals. Fifty-six percent are Republicans and 55 percent are conservative. Sixty-three percent think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Fifty-five percent think homosexuality should be discouraged, and 63 percent strongly oppose or oppose same sex marriage.

Eighty-eight percent believe in God with absolutely certainty. Seventy-nine percent say religion is very important to their lives. Fifty-eight percent attend church once a week. Sixty percent say religion is their source of guidance on right and wrong, and 50 percent believe in absolute standards of right and wrong.

None of this is to cast aspersions on Catholics or make any theological claims, obviously, but to get to the fairly basic point that however we push back against progressive illiberalism –whether by defending our liberal institutions or trying to impose our values — it’s going to require a broad coalition of socially conservative believers. Sectarianism in this context is profoundly foolish and counter-productive.

(MBD, by the way, had an insightful column the other day on why Catholics and Evangelicals might have different perspectives on the culture war.)

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More


Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me. A few thoughts: I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising. I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I ... Read More