By Stephen D. Mumford, DrPH
This article is published in Church and State, website which challenging religious privilege in public life:
Many Americans are victims of the illusion, carefully crafted, that the Catholic bishops have no significant influence on American presidents. No doubt the degree of influence differs from one president to the next. But they all feel and respond to this influence.
The National Catholic Reporter, a major national Catholic weekly newspaper, published a most revealing report in its December 29, 1989 issue. Doug Wead, special assistant to President Bush, was interviewed and quoted as saying: "He [President Bush] has been more sensitive and more accessible to the needs of the Catholic Church than any president I know of in American history."
Wead indicated he felt that Bush's relationship with the American Catholic leadership was much closer than Reagan's had been: "We want the Church to feel loved and wanted, and we want them to have input." This relationship was maintained through five U.S. cardinals: Bernard Law, Joseph Bernardin, Edmund Szoka, John O'Connor, and James Hickey.