Peter Greene reports here on a conference call that Catholic leaders held with the execrable Trump.

He promised them unparalleled financial support for Catholic schools, and they promised their support to the man who separates families and puts children in cages.

It was a nasty, revolting transaction.

Greene links to the National Catholic Education Reporter, which says that the transaction was really about abortion, and Catholic schools (which have been destroyed by charter schools claiming to offer the same things as Catholic schools but for free). It’s editorial says:

This unholy alliance with Trump, coupled with the GOP stacking of the Supreme Court, may get the bishops the abortion ban they so covet, but it will not end the debate. They may even get the federal money they desperately need to extend the fading life of Catholic schools. But all of it will have been purchased at the expense of a whole range of other life and justice issues.

It will have been purchased in concert with a president whose primary modus operandi is that of a bully devoid of empathy or concern for the common good. If one actually believes Trump’s current gushing about Catholic schools and the right to life, Dolan might also be offered a great deal on a bridge somewhere in the vicinity of the cathedral.

It need not be this way. The bishops themselves, in the conclusion to “Faithful Citizenship,” describe a different approach. It is worth repeating the points here:

“The Church is involved in the political process but is not partisan. The Church cannot champion any candidate or party.”

“The Church is engaged in the political process but should not be used. We welcome dialogue with political leaders and candidates; we seek to engage and persuade public officials. Events and photo ops cannot substitute for serious dialogue.”

“The Church is principled but not ideological.”

The Catholic bishops’ uncritical alliance with Republicans and Trump obliterates those principles and allows Catholics to dismiss the document as lacking any serious intent.

The alliance also further distances the church from any leverage it might otherwise possess on a host of issues on the Catholic social justice agenda deeply affecting life of the vulnerable and marginalized, as well as from any hope of brokering modifications to abortion on demand with Democrats.

The Catholic voice, capable of a priceless contribution to the public conversation, has been sold for cheap to political hucksters.

In an editorial in late January, the National Catholic Education Reporter lacerated the leadership of the Roman Catholic churchfor its alliance with Trump, who has no religion and no convictions.

Its editorial said then:

The selling of the church’s moral authority is complete. When someone so morally bankrupt and demonstrably anti-life as Trump, a misogynist who brags about assaulting women and whose primary interaction with others is to demean and degrade, can command the obeisance of the nation’s Catholic leaders, the moral tank has been emptied. A few Franciscan friars on the periphery provided the rare witness that being pro-life for Catholics requires far more than opposing abortion.

The display on the mall drains the phrase “pro-life” of meaning and sells the church even deeper into service of an ideology that severely diminishes Catholicism as a credible moral force in the larger culture.

The church’s credibility was sold to the highest political bidder and the chief auctioneer banged the gavel down on the final deal.

Trump is interested only in transactions. He hasn’t a gnat’s understanding of transformation, of persuasion that doesn’t involve his idea of a deal. His words on the mall and the cynical use of the Vatican in Vice President Mike Pence’s call-in from Rome sealed this wretched transaction.

The Catholic Church in the United States has been used and manipulated by the era’s most unconscionable con artist. He wanted your faces, your shouts of support, what will undoubtedly become in his universe “the biggest assembly of Catholics ever for any president in history!”

He’s got the images he needs. It won’t be the last time you’ll see them. Welcome to his campaign.