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‘Contemptuously anti-Catholic’

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/15/16

Reaction is pouring in to those emails.Details:

Catholic bishops and political campaigners alike have condemned emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign team which attack Catholicism. The emails, released by Wikileaks this week, are disparaging about Catholic “middle ages” teachings. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia called the emails “ugly” and “contemptuously anti-Catholic”. He was particularly angered by an exchange of emails between John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, and Sandy Newman, president and founder of the campaign group Voices for Progress. Newman wrote: “This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98 per cent 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.” In another email, John Halpin of the Centre for American Progress mocked the conservatism of Catholics, especially converts: “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” In a follow-up email he added: “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what . . . they’re talking about.” On his diocesan website Archbishop Chaput wrote ironically: “Of course it would be wonderful for the Clinton campaign to repudiate the content of these ugly WikiLeaks emails. All of us backward-thinking Catholics who actually believe what Scripture and the Church teach would be so very grateful.” A less forceful statement from Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, talked of the importance of freedom of religion, which “ensures the right of faith communities to preserve the integrity of their beliefs and proper self-governance”. “There have been recent reports that some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the Church for short-term political gain. If true, this is troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country,” he wrote.

Read the rest.

Meanwhile, Michael Sean Winters disagrees in NCR:

The supposed “bigotry” towards the Catholic Church exposed in the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, released by Wikileaks last week, is nothing of the sort, despite the best attempts of some to make it so. This whole controversy is simply an effort, a stupid effort, to stop Clinton’s ascent to the White House. I say stupid because crying “wolf” is never a smart political or cultural strategy and, besides, anyone who is genuinely concerned about bigotry could not possibly be supporting Trump. This is about Republican operatives who hold the portfolio for Catholic outreach doing their part to ingratiate themselves with Trump. There were several comments in the emails that caused a stir. One was from a non-Catholic who thought there needed to be a “revolution” within the Catholic Church. Podesta responds by mentioning the creation of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. Those organizations were founded in the wake of the 2004 election during which prominent bishops like the Archbishop of St. Louis at the time, now Cardinal Ray Burke, said he would not permit Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry to receive communion in his archdiocese and Archbishop Charles Chaput, then of Denver and now in Philadelphia, hurled frequent criticisms at the Massachusetts senator with not much in the way of objection to President George W. Bush or his war. Neither group ever extended its influence beyond the Beltway, which is always the key to long-term success within the Beltway, but the effort to create these organizations flowed from a concern by many Catholics that our Church had been turned into an arm of the Republican National Committee. Many, including myself, felt that this conflation of Catholicism with Republicanism was bad for the nation’s politics and really, really bad for the Catholic Church. So, what is the problem? I thought we lay Catholics were supposed to bring our Catholic faith into the public square? The problem is that there are some in the Church, clerics and laity, who thought they owned the Church and certainly they ambitioned to be the only voice of the Catholic Church in the public and political arena. Bishops like Burke, Chaput, Naumann, and Aquila may state their case with different points of emphasis but they aim at the same result: To be a good Catholic in America today means voting for Republicans.
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