In emails released by Wikileaks, John Podesta, Chairman of Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is shown discussing how to undermine Catholic teaching and mocking Catholics who hold to Church teaching.
In a startling revelation, Podesta admits to creating two “Catholic” groups with the intent to foment “revolution” in the Catholic Church, specifically against the teachings of contraception and gender.
Podesta was responding to an email from Barack Obama’s friend and former boss, Sandy Newman, about an “opening for a Catholic Spring”.
View leaked email between Podesta and Newman on Wikileaks
Newman puts forward that “Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church.” and that it would be an ideal time to plant “seeds of a revolution”.
In his reply, Podesta says “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.”
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) was founded in 2005 by Tom Periello and Fred Rotondaro. Both Rotondaro and Periello are associated with the Centre for American Progress, founded by Podesta.
Rotondaro has publically promoted views contrary to Catholic teaching. He has been quoted as saying: “I have never seen any rational reason why a woman could not be a priest.” and that “Gay sex comes from God”, and asks whether “any practicing Catholic under age 80” agrees with the Church’s teaching on contraception.
The other organization, “Catholics United” was also founded in 2005, by Democrat activists Chris Korzen and James Salt. Catholics United has publicly condemned bishops who deny Communion to politicians who support legal abortion, describing it as “a shameful attempt to use the Catholic sacrament of Communion as a political weapon”.
An additional email thread shows senior Clinton campaign member Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s director of communications, and John Halpin, a co-author of Podesta’s and a former Democrat strategist, mock Catholics who hold to traditional Catholic teachings.
In the 2011 emails, Halpin wrote in reference to Catholics who adhere to Church teachings that their beliefs were “an amazing bastardization of the faith”.
View leaked email between Halpin and Palmieri on Wikileaks
Halpin goes on to put forward that Conservative Catholics: “must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”
Clinton Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri replies: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
Halpin replies that: “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they’re talking about.”
The exchange between Halpin and Palmieri was prompted by an article in the New Yorker magazine on Rupert Murdoch in which it is stated that both Murdoch and Robert Thomson, then managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, are Catholic.
But it is not just her staffers who were caught discussing the Catholic Church in a negative light. Even Hilary Clinton herself is caught saying objectionable things about the Church. In an exchange between Clinton and Neera Tanden, President of Center for American Progress a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, denouncing the Catholic Church’s opposition to Obamacare’s 2012 contraception mandate.
“How could it be that the Catholic Church did not object, and did not threaten to spend millions of dollars defeating political opponents?” Neera asks. “Simply put, contraception coverage was seen as part and parcel of healthcare access.”
Clinton responded to Neera’s saying “Can you believe we are still fighting this battle?”
Neera responded to Clinton by equating the Catholic Church’s denunciation of contraception with “misogyny,” and claiming Clinton’s campaign “exposed” the bishops saying “There’s clearly a potent strain of misogyny”and some events (contraception, your campaign) finally expose it.”
The final line of the email reads: “At least the WH [White House] is over its super panic on this. The Church still scares the crap out [of] a lot of these guys.”