WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has withdrawn as a Democrat presidential candidate, leaving four self-identifying Catholics in the running.
Gillibrand announced her decision to withdraw from the race on Wednesday in a tweet.
"Today, I am ending my campaign for president. I am so proud of this team and all we've accomplished. But I think it's important to know how you can best serve," she tweeted.
Today, I am ending my campaign for president.— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 28, 2019
I am so proud of this team and all we've accomplished. But I think it’s important to know how you can best serve.
To our supporters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Now, let's go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate. pic.twitter.com/xM5NGfgFGT
To qualify for the next round of the Democrat debates in September and October, candidates are required to appear in four polls, ranking 2% or higher, and have a minimum of 130,000 donors.
Gillibrand bowed out of the race as it became apparent that her low poll numbers and fundraising struggles would eliminate her from the next round of debates.
Gillibrand ran as a self-identified Catholic championing many stances that contradict Catholic teaching, something she said herself in an interview with National Public Radio in May:
I think the Catholic Church can be wrong on many things. And I don't agree with their views on reproductive rights, and I don't think they're supported by the Gospel or the Bible in any way. I just — I don't see it, and I go to two Bible studies a week. I take my faith really seriously. So I disagree.
Much of Gillibrand's platform was based on social topics such as contraception and abortion where she thinks the Catholic Church is wrong.
After Gillibrand dropped out of the race, NARAL tweeted their appreciation for her "concrete plan for protecting and expanding reproductive freedom":
Thank you, @SenGillibrand, for unapologetically putting women and families first throughout your campaign—and leading with a concrete plan for protecting and expanding reproductive freedom! https://t.co/fVpdfSEUpz— NARAL (@NARAL) August 28, 2019
Gillibrand's departure from the running leaves four self-identifying Catholics in the race, three of whom have qualified for the next round of Democrat debates ― Joe Biden, Julián Castro and Beto O'Rourke ― and John Delaney, who is "not even close" to making the next round of debates, according to NBC News.
Joe Biden has talked on many occasions about the importance of his Catholic faith; he has also consistently supported and pushed policies such as so-called same-sex marriage and abortion that contradict Catholic teaching, as the National Catholic Register reported in April.
O'Rourke is listed as a Catholic but has not said much about his understanding of Catholicism. Many of his positions are in opposition to Catholic teaching.
Castro announced candidacy near his home church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and told the San Antonio Express-News that he has always been attracted to the social justice aspect of Catholicism:
But to me, what has always attracted me to the Catholic faith is the social justice aspect of it, and the vision that I articulated for the country (in my announcement speech) very much is in keeping with the social justice component of the Catholic faith, of caring for the poor, of understanding that everybody counts in our society, of trying to do what all of us can to sacrifice together so that we can lift everybody up.
So in that way, I think it was fitting to be there right next to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Our Lady of Guadalupe has been declared the "Patroness of the Unborn," according to Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, as Her image is one of a pregnant woman carrying the Son of God in her womb.
This is in stark contrast to Castro's stance on abortion: "I don't believe in only reproductive freedom, i [sic] believe in reproductive justice. All women -- and that includes the trans community -- have the right to an abortion," he said in a tweet following up his statement during one of the Democrat debates.
I don’t believe in only reproductive freedom, i believe in reproductive justice. All women -- and that includes the trans community -- have the right to an abortion. #DemDebate— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 27, 2019
In an interview with Fox News, Cdl. Raymond Burke spoke about the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates ― including Gillibrand at the time ― who identify as Catholic while publicly supporting positions at variance with Catholic teaching.
"They may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion because they are not in communion with Christ," he said.