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Group condemns Trump campaign CEO for ‘anti-Catholic’ remarks

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A Catholic group is furious about comments made regarding the Catholic Church by Donald Trump’s campaign CEO, former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon.

The Franciscan Action Network, a nonprofit focused on Catholic-inspired social justice, released a statement Thursday saying it was “appalled” by Bannon’s comment that the Catholic Church only supports immigration reform in the United States because “the Church is dying.”

“The statement smacks of anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant, racist undertones,” the organization said in its statement.

{mosads}Bannon’s comments, first brought to public attention by The Hill, came during a March 8 radio interview with Princeton law professor Robert P. George, who is Catholic and a vocal critic of Trump, the Republican presidential nominee.

After complaining that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was “rubbing his social-justice Catholicism in my nose every second,” Bannon took aim at Catholics backing immigration, accusing them of doing so to boost the Church’s dwindling membership.

“I understand why Catholics want as many Hispanics in this country as possible, because the church is dying in this country, right, if it was not for the Hispanics,” Bannon said.

Bannon, who did not respond to a request for comment for this story, is a proud Catholic, and in 2014 addressed a Vatican conference on Catholic responses to poverty.

Taking aim at Bannon’s comments about Catholics and illegal immigrants, Franciscan Action Network Executive Director Patrick Carolan urged the Trump campaign to change its tone.

“Pope Francis has called on us to build bridges and not walls,” Carolan said, just hours before Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton delivered a major speech Thursday afternoon accusing Trump of stoking racial discord.

“In the past Donald Trump has attacked the Pope, and now his campaign is going after the Church itself,” Carolan said.

“Enough is enough.”

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