Donald Trump has named 33 influential and conservative Catholics as new advisers.
They include Joseph Cella, founder of the National Catholic Prayer
Breakfast, and Sentator Rick Santorum who has twice run for President
Faith Whittlesey, former ambassador to Switzerland, is also on the list, Philly.com reports.
Polls have shown that Hillary
Clinton ranks higher than Trump in support from Catholics, much of this
due to Hispanic voters, who favour Clinton over Trump by 77-16 per
The Catholic News Agency comments: "Notably, Cella is a signatory of An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics,
an open letter written by George Weigel and Robert P. George in March
during the primaries and signed by more than 30 Catholic intellectual
One interpretation could be that as latest
polls show Clinton's lead over Trump is narrowing, Trump and his team
are preparing at a deeper level for the possibility of office.
Having wooed evangelicals, the appointment of the Catholic advisers
indicates he is now turning his attention to the Catholic Church in a
new and profound way.
As with the conservative evangelical faith community, the
significance of the Catholic Church in arguing for the "common good" and
influencing the moral and spiritual climate in which a President
governs cannot be overstated.
Trump, a one-time supporter of abortion who has changed his mind on
this contentious issue, has a lot of ground to make up but religious
leaders would prefer to work with a President who is for them, not
"The choice for Catholics in this presidential election could not be
more stark," Whittlesey said in a statement released to Philly.com.
"Clinton support a breathtakingly radical cultural agenda and judicial
nominees which leave no room for the legal protection of the unborn and
the ability of Christians to fully and freely practice their faith that
is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.
"Trump will fight for Catholics in defense of life, and their religious liberty."
Cella has in the past described Trump as "manifestly unfit to be
president" in a letter that said he was vulgar, appealed to racial fears
and questioned his commitment on "life issues".