Phil Lawler has noted Ross Douthat’s lengthy Tweetstorm of a few days ago —21 tweets in all—questioning whether it’s accurate to refer to the leaked emails from the Clinton campaign as evidence of “anti-Catholic” bigotry. Douthat—whom he observes is no friend of the Clintonite perspective—”makes a quick, convincing case that the reality is more complicated.”
We shouldn’t really be that surprised that his kind of thing goes on. It has been going on for two millennia. Even the Old Testament is full of it. Subvert the people, the rulers of the people, the prophets – and when you can’t subvert them imprison and kill them if you have to was always the path to religious rebellion. Every subversion of a religion accepted as the True Religion by a people begins with an internal rejection of authority. Secure such a rejection and you are on the pig’s back to full scale revolt.
The scale of what is now revealed as a result of the leaked emails should really be very helpful to all those Catholics who in their heart and head want to accept the authentic magisterium and authority of their Church. They really must go back to the simple and clear marks, which they learned to use as children, to identify the Catholic Church – one, holy, catholic and apostolic. By extension, their aspiration to identify those same marks in themselves is the basis of their right to call themselves Caholics.
Lawler says that it’s not just that John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman at the center of the email exchanges, identifies himself as a Catholic. More important, Douthat notes, “the reality is that his vision is shared within Catholicism.” You will have no problem finding priests, religious, professors at Catholic universities—yes, and bishops—who defend the arguments that Podesta and his allies advance. So the public appearance of these emails offers (Douthat again) “a window into how the Catholic civil war is fought.” Lawler continues to itemise the process of subversion which has been going on.
We now know that Podesta helped to set up groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, hoping to swing Catholic opinion toward liberal positions, in opposition to clear Church teaching. Frankly that shouldn’t be too surprising; it’s been going on for at least 50 years. What’s more remarkable, really, is how smoothly staff members have moved between the US bishops’ conference and Podesta’s pet groups. Anne Hendershott supplied some details for Catholic World Report. Consider the personnel of one liberal front-group, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG):
Alexia Kelley worked for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development before she became founding director of CACG. (She later moved to the Obama White House staff.)
John Gehring was assistant media director for the US bishops’ conference, then became media director for CACG, then moved over to Faith in Public Life.
Tom Chabolla also worked for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, then joined the advisory board of CACG.
Francis X. Doyle, once the associate general secretary of the US bishops’ conference, became the treasurer-secretary of CACG.
Thus the CACG drew much of its leadership from within the staff of the US bishops’ conference. Presumably they held much the same views, and worked toward much the same goals, while they were employed by the American hierarchy. If they are “anti-Catholic,” then it seems “anti-Catholicism” has found sanctuary and support from our bishops. Make of that what you will.
Just don’t be surprised. If you are a Catholic, or an Orthodox Christian, an Anglican or a Lutheran, who believes that there has been a transmitted deposit of faith and teaching, be vigilant. The forces of modernist individualism, what they call progressivism, have no time for tradition or transmitted truth. They are not roaming around like a roaring lions – for the most part. They are treading the more subtle paths of sweetness and light – and not just in the United States.