Texas Catholicism

John Allen on the thriving Catholic churches of Texas–and the church’s new political muscle.

If there’s one thing the outside world seems to grasp about Catholicism it’s the difference between a cardinal and everyone else, and there are clear signs that having a “red hat” in the state gives the church extra clout. A week after DiNardo’s nomination was announced, for example, Gov. Rick Perry held an interfaith luncheon in his honor. According to longtime observers, it was the first time a Texas governor has ever held an event to honor a Catholic prelate. Church lobbyists also said that a prominent legislator from south Texas made an appointment to see DiNardo shortly after his nomination, and promised to change his vote to support school choice.