On Monday, Jay Shepard, a "Catholic Donald Trump Republican" from Vermont, made a statement during an opening prayer for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, describing Donald Trump and Mike Pence as "gifts" from God to the Republican Party.

"Thank you, O Lord, for all the gifts you provide us, not because we deserve them, but solely through your grace and mercy, let us acknowledge the many gifts that God has bestowed upon us, starting with a president and vice president that reflect the values of our founding fathers and are willing to fight for those values, starting with life, knowing that all life is precious, from conception to natural death," Shepard prayed.

Shepard emphasized religious freedom, shared his appreciation for American troops and their families as well as police officers in his opening prayer.

"Since the election, attacks against religious freedom and faith are on the rise," he said. 

President Trump is a reminder that "America is alive and that Catholics still speaks up for its values," but that such values are under assault, according to Shepard.

"There are some very good Catholics, who do care and who do care about others," Shepard said. "But there are those, again, who run from persecution, who are not willing to be open, who are really trying to just get into power."

"There is no choice but to fight for the unborn. For those of us who are true to our Catholic faith, we pray for an end for the intrinsic evil that is abortion. Give us the strength to fight for our religious freedom as our president does, and instill in us the spirit and commitment to stand with the poor in a continued fight for religious freedom," Shepard prayed.

In addition, Shepard said that's the heart of the problem. "These political figures, at the height of their political power, are guided by rather dubious moral principles in their actions. Trump, for instance, has made Christian fundamentalism a powerful movement in American politics.

Shepard added that Catholics, like Christians, need to work to improve the situation.

"Sometimes people are voting for reasons they don't understand," Shepard said. "This is one of those times."