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Donald Trump and the Catholic Church

This month marks the 30th anniversary of my graduation from law school in May 1982.  I passed the bar exam a few months after graduation and received my license to practice law in November 1982.  I opened up my own law practice in January 1983.  A month later, my second child (Anna) was born.  At that time, I was 25 years old.

When I started my law practice, I didn’t know anything about running a business.  After 30 years, I’m finally starting to figure it out.  Unfortunately, every time I think I have a handle on things, the earth shifts under my feet.  Because of the Internet and the economy, the legal industry is as upside down as every other industry.  Every small-business owner who has learned how to succeed in today’s business climate understands that there is no longer any real long-term stability.

Running a successful business is not for the faint of heart.  It gets ugly at times and more often than not is very grueling.  There’s no safety net.   One bad decision can put you out of business.  I work six days a week and have gotten in the habit of telling people that it’s a good thing that I’m Catholic or I would probably be working seven days a week.

Over the years, I have invested vast sums of money on seminars, coaching, and other business resources to learn the “secrets” of success.  The devout Catholic is at a great disadvantage in the business world, because his (or her) primary focus is not on the acquisition and accumulation of wealth.  Unfortunately, that’s the kind of focus that it takes to really get ahead financially.

As a devout Catholic, my primary focus is to increase my knowledge and understanding of God and to help others do the same.  If at the time of my death I have not developed an ongoing and loving relationship with God, how can I expect Him to invite me into His Kingdom?

At a minimum, I pray a daily rosary and spend an hour every day with our Lord in the adoration chapel.  Although I don’t make it to Mass every day, I’m able to go several times a week.  I do a good share of my writing in the chapel, but I have to invest additional time every week outside of the chapel to complete my weekly articles.  I also take time for spiritual reading and to keep up with current events in the Catholic Church.  A good estimate of time spent on prayer, reading, writing my weekly articles, and traveling to and from the chapel adds up to more than two hours a day.

That’s a lot of time to take away from business and family.  I’m not telling you this to complain.  I’m simply pointing out that there’s a price (in time and effort) that has to be paid by those of us who want to earn a place in the Heavenly Kingdom.

Back to business.

Just as I take time to read about the lives of the saints, I also take time to read about the lives of the most successful lawyers and businessmen.  I think that this is a necessary component to building and promoting a successful business.

One of the businessmen that I pay some attention to is Donald Trump.  I know, I know, the guy’s on his third marriage and is a bombastic windbag, but no one can argue with the fact that he knows how to succeed and get things done in the business world.  And after all, our Lord did give us permission to learn from individuals who are wise in the ways of the world.

Anyway, here’s what Trump has said about succeeding in business:

To be successful, you have to change from the inside out.  Spend a portion of every day working on your personal development.  It’s just as important as the time you spend building your business.

Hmmm.  That’s interesting, isn’t it?  By changing a few words, the same statement would apply to succeeding as a devout Catholic:

To be a devout Catholic, you have to change from the inside out.  Spend a portion of every day working on your spiritual development.  It’s just as important as the time you spend building your business (or working for someone else).

One of the most interesting aspects about Trump is that he is constantly looking within his own organizations for exceptional people that he can advance and promote.  For example, Giavona Pirolo started as a waitress at Trump’s International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.  She quickly advanced up the Trump organization after one of Trump’s female executives (who was eating at the restaurant in the golf club) asked her if she would help the executive find shoes to wear to Trump’s wedding.  After Trump got word of how Pirolo went above and beyond the call of duty to find shoes for the executive, he promoted her.  She is now the marketing director for all of Trump’s Florida properties.

Shawn McCabe was a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, a Florida mansion that is owned by Trump.  After Trump noticed how diligent McCabe was in maintaining the property, Trump promoted him.  McCabe is now the vice president and manager of all of Trump’s Florida properties.

John Nieporte started out as a caddy for Trump.  Now he’s the head golf professional at Trump’s International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

I can tell you from personal experience that it’s extremely hard to find smart, motivated, honest, loyal, dedicated, competitive, hardworking employees.  At most, these types of people make up only about 5 percent of the working population.  Every businessman, including Trump, has the same problem.  When we find someone who has these qualities, we do everything in our power to hold on to them.  Without these types of employees our businesses would be in trouble.

Almighty God has the same problem.  It’s difficult for Him to find smart, motivated, honest, loyal, dedicated, competitive, hardworking devout Catholics to do His work here on earth.  Last year, in my article about cafeteria Catholics, I gave you my definition of a devout Catholic:

A Catholic who: (1) believes in the teachings of the Catholic Church; (2) willingly and unequivocally follows and abides by the teachings and rules of the Church; and (3)  willfully and regularly engages in acts of worship and service that go beyond the requirements of the Church.

Are you a devout Catholic?  Are you on God’s radar screen when it comes to His search for individuals who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty?  I can guarantee you that He will reward you for all eternity for your efforts.

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9 Responses to “Donald Trump and the Catholic Church”

  1. Sister Roberta Houlihan, CSJ Says:

    Dear Harry –
    Does Donald Trump have access to your Weekly Letters? Ever think of sending him a “subscription” for his “personal readings”n including this one, turning his definitions into a “God-Definition”? It might give him a little MORE ato work on… It’s never too late for him to change his own life-style. As a matter of fact, it’s never to late for any of us to work on our own relationship with Our Lord! Thank you again for yor words of wisdom!! Sister Roberta

  2. Josh Says:

    Hi all,
    I just wanted to add a bit of additional clarification, regarding what I read in the paper version of this article at church.

    Regarding the following statement – “I’m simply pointing out that there’s a price (in time and effort) that has to be paid by those of us who want to earn a place in the Heavenly Kingdom.” (I believe earn was italicized in the paper version, though I am not positive) – – –

    The Catholic Church has never taught that we “earn” salvation. To “earn” something means that it is yours by legal right, without any deference to grace or benevolence. It means that God owes us salvation as a matter of legal debt. But that is not at issue in this debate. Listen again to the words of the Council of Trent:

    “If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers, or through the teaching of the Law, and without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema” (Canon 1).

    Chapter 8 of the Council is even more specific: “…because none of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace itself of justification.” It couldn’t be clearer that the Catholic Church is against the idea of “earning” salvation. Is this just an old and outdated teaching of the Catholic Church? Not according to the 1994 Catholic Catechism. Paragraphs 604, 1996 and 2010 state:

    “…God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part…Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call…Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion.”

    Hence, both the Council and the Catechism are clear that God initiates the whole process by His grace alone. The Catholic Church believes that through faith, which is prompted by God’s grace, we accept the atoning work that Christ underwent for us. The Council of Trent said: “…we are therefore said to be justified by faith because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God” (Session 6, Chapter 8). The 1994 Catholic Catechism says that faith is “a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him…” (Para. 153). There’s a lot of grace in these statements but nothing about “earning salvation” or “faith alone.”


    Perhaps all of this is already implicit or assumed to be a given in the article already, but I just wanted to mention it, as “earned” can be a loaded word in the Protestant-Catholic debate these days (and for the last ~500 years) 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Stephen John Says:

    I agree with the previous post to some degree – but first finding a lot of confusing in the association with Trump and the Catholic church – for Trump is neither Catholic (he’d prefer to eat the Pople for breakfast before any concept of the Eucharist) ..and secondaly he is a so called ‘Protestant’ which really doesn’t mean anything today any more than being Catholic means anything – sort of like politics means nothing – being conservative means nothing to what it used to mean ..same with being Liberal. Now we have Liberal Protestants and Conservative Catholics would appear that what it all amounts to is ‘the ways of man’ which amount to nothing but self-righteous indignation and continued denial (‘lies’ and false gods – idols- ideas’’s all the same thing with different labels but the facade is the same old story . Trump claims to be a protestant but his Saviour is Norman Vincent Peale – who was no Christian at least I’d hope by Catholic standards – he might have fooled some but not all with the Power of Positive Thinking which sound like it came straight by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – any hand-shaking of the Pope with Trump should give all Catholics pause to shudder at that man who washes feet of Muslims who deny Christ for one thing in the name of world peace which is completely not what Christ Promises nor does God = a peace that is not of this world. It is confusing to see why there is so much focus on wealth in this post – for no man can serve both God and mammon – which Trump again takes the ‘teh trump on that one hands down – that so-called Christians or even Catholics would even consider voting for that man or even seek some kind of comparative advice between him and the Pope (who some sources say has a few jokers up his sleeve) should really give pause to do some research on him. Just waiting for now to see how his handshake with Obama goes..why does it seem like we are replying a scene from the old testament – the Book of 1 or 2 Kings perhaps?

  4. Alice Rostirolla Says:

    Now that Trump has said that Cruz is from Cuba, and not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, and he, Trump is definitely evangelical obviously implying that those from a Catholic country are less– Am I the only Catholic somehow offended by this? In my opinion that awful man does not
    deserve any of the Catholic vote.

  5. MMargaret Says:

    Alice, Trump is not Evangelical, but Presbytarian. Hi comment isn’t offensive in the least, to me, and is more of a cultural/sociological observation. In any case, this Catholic and my family will be voting for Donald Trump 2016!

  6. Jennifer Says:

    I don’t understand how a Catholic can vote for Donald Trump. The man has serious defects in his character. If you actually listen to what he says, you will hear empty words. He says nothing of actual substance, instead demonstrating a dangerous egomania. People are falling for the cult of personality, a knee-jerk reaction to their general anger and frustration. This is how Hilter/Stalin/Mussolini came to power. How are people blind to this man’s Fascist tendencies? Trump spreads only fear and hate, and offers no solutions. When he says”he alone” can help, he displays hubristic pride, the deadly sin that got Satan cast out of heaven. This is a man who said he would give God a “discount” on his best hotel room! Who doesn’t think seeking forgiveness for sins is necessary. Whose version of communion is a “little cracker.” Catholic voters need to seek discernment. I believe Christians who want to vote for Trump SAY they want Jesus but are shouting for Barrabas and voting for Herod.
    Jesus is definitely not running for President of the United States. We will not find a savior in an elected official. We should be praying for Trump’s’ soul–it’s clearly in danger–but not voting for him as president. (We should pray for Clinton’s soul too, while we are at it.) And he need to pray for this country and its citizens. May God look not on what we deserve but on our faith, and protect us all.

  7. rand Says:

    Thank you so much for writing this

  8. Barbara Says:

    I have never before witnessed such a disconnect between American Catholcs and the Holy Father – and I have never been so afraid of America.

  9. ralph metsersnich Says:

    It is interesting that the vatican has embraced Islam and globalism in opposition to aur US constitution and President Trump’s philosophy and patriotism. Is not ND considered the ‘Vatican’ of America…????? Can Trump ‘save’ the Catholic Church and the new ‘Vatican’ be in Notre Dame, IN USA? I like this idea.

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