Have you ever wondered what liberal political activists and politicians think of Catholics? Well, thanks to Wikileaks you can get a glimpse into their views. In a couple of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account there are exchanges in which conservative Catholics are mocked.
The first is the amusing titled “Catholic Spring.” Sandy Newman of Voices for Progress tells Podesta that she thinks there needs to be a “Catholic Spring” akin to the “Arab Spring”, the series of protest against authoritarian regimes that took place in the Middle East in 2011. Newman writes:
This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98% of Catholic women (and their conjugal partners) have used contraception has me thinking . . . There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which 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. Is contraceptive coverage an issue around which that could happen. The Bishops will undoubtedly continue the fight. Does the Catholic Hospital Association support of the Administration’s new policy, together with “the 98%” create an opportunity?
Of course, this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance, etc. Even if the idea isn’t crazy, I don’t qualify to be involved and I have not thought at all about how one would “plant the seeds of the revolution,” or who would plant them. Just wondering . . .
Yes, the Sisters of the Poor would be totally onboard with requiring them to pay for abortifacients if only they didn’t count on the Vatican to subsidize their lavish lifestyles.
Podesta responded by saying:
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. I’ll discuss with Tara. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the other person to consult.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Wait, they weren’t kidding?” Nope. Podesta and Newman really think that opposing the Catholic Church’s long-held teaching is akin to opposing the Assad regime. If only the Catholics would unite and rally against that dictator named Francis then Catholic women could finally—finally—get access to contraceptives.
The next exchange is even better. The subject line of the email chain is “Re: Conservative Catholicism.” This one is between Clinton campaign communications director Jen Palmieri and Center for American Progress fellow John Halpin. (Podesta is CC’ed on the email but he doesn’t respond.) Halpin writes:
Ken Auletta’s latest piece on Murdoch in the New Yorker starts off with the aside that both Murdoch and Robert Thompson, managing editor of the WSJ, are raising their kids Catholic. Friggin’ Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC and think tanks to the media and social groups.
It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.
Imitating Jesus by being baptized in the Jordan? What weirdoes!
And it’s true that there are many Catholics in the conservative movement and a lot of them are in think tanks. There are even rumored to be Catholics working here at the Acton Institute(!). (Yes, I’m shocked by that news myself.)
Halpin really missed his calling, for he should have gone into marketing. Just look at the great tag line he wrote for the Catholic Church: “Come for the systematic thought, stay for the backward gender relations.” I’m sure the Vatican will soon be adding that to their letterhead.
Oh, and wait till the Catholics hear about “Christian democracy.” Once they find out there is a movement influenced by Catholic teaching that supports government funding for . . . wait, you mean Christian democrats also oppose abortifacients? But . . . they aren’t “conservatives”? (At least not, you know, the bad kind of conservative.)
Palmieri responds by saying:
I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.
Ouch. As an evangelical I can say she may be right. That may be why I don’t have any wealthy friends. I guess all the rich people are hanging out on the other side of the Tiber.
Halpin responds to the jibe by adding:
Excellent point. They can throw around “Thomistic” thought and “subsidiarity” and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they’re talking about.
Well, apparently, Halpin doesn’t know what they’re talking about, which doesn’t speak well for his level of education. Maybe he should have gone to a Catholic school.