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Excusing Anti-Catholicism – OpEd


There was a time, not too long ago, when Catholics on the left could be expected to at least feign outrage over anti-Catholicism. But no more. Some find excuses for it, while others cheer it on. Few are principled in their discourse, so thoroughly politicized have they become.

Such has been the reaction to the Podesta-Wikileaks scandal coming from many on the Catholic left. A popular refrain to the anti-Catholic comments by Hillary Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, and the deeds of her anti-Catholic campaign chairman, John Podesta, is that they cannot be bigots because they are both Catholic.

This is the position of Father Edward Beck, Peter Weber, Michael Sean Winters, E.J. Dionne, and Sen. Tim Kaine. So exercised are they about this issue that some have resorted to attacking those bishops who have criticized this scandal.

Bigotry is determined by what is said and done, and does not turn on biographical data. For example, putting a swastika on a synagogue is no less anti-Semitic if done by a Jew. Similarly, making anti-Catholic statements, or engaging in anti-Catholic conduct, is no less anti-Catholic if done by a Catholic.

Father Beck discusses the Podesta-Wikileaks scandal, noting that those associated with it are “all Catholics themselves.” Wrong. Sandy Newman, the left-winger who wants Podesta’s advice on how to “plant the seeds of the revolution” within the Catholic Church, is Jewish. He told Podesta he needed some coaching in this area—it was a little out of his league—and Hillary’s top aide said he was happy to oblige.

Weber, writing for The Week, talks about this issue using quotation marks to assess charges of “anti-Catholicism.” Winters at the National Catholic Reporter speaks about the “supposed ‘bigotry'” of Hillary’s top staff and their associates. Dionne, writing in the Washington Post, says he can vouch for his good buddy John Podesta.

Podesta told Dionne that he takes “very seriously the social and moral teachings of the church.” Which ones? Abortion? Euthanasia? Marriage? Conscience rights? Stem cell research? Gender ideology? Perhaps Dionne can explain in another column.

The apologists also try to divert attention from the bigotry by saying that the guilty were “just talking.” Sen. Kaine wrote it off by saying the email exchanges amounted to nothing more than “opinions and mouthing off a little bit here and there.” Weber said it was just “grousing in public.” For Winters, it was “talking about the intersection of religion and politics.”

They make it sound as if the Podesta-Wikileaks discussions were about Saturday Night Bingo. Instead, the conversations centered on sabotage. That’s what it means when political agents discuss how to “plant the seeds of a revolution” within an institution. Podesta’s reply to Newman—he had already set up Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United to do just that—was sincere bravado. Mission accomplished.

Both of these organizations, along with Faith in Public Life and Catholics for Choice, are front groups: they were founded to manipulate public opinion into thinking that one can be a Catholic in good standing and still publicly oppose the core teachings of the Catholic Church. All four of these entities are funded by George Soros, the atheist billionaire known for his self-hating Jewish status.

These are not “concerned Catholics attempting to align [their] faith with [their] political ideals and principles,” as Father Beck would have it. No, these are skilled operatives, not all of whom are even nominally Catholic.

Their objective, which is right out of the playbook of Saul Alinsky (Hillary’s hero), is to sow the seeds of division within the Catholic Church. There is nothing noble about their campaign, and there is nothing meritorious about defending them. Anti-Catholicism needs to be condemned, not excused, whether the bigots are on the right or the left.

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William Donohue

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

2 thoughts on “Excusing Anti-Catholicism – OpEd

  • Avatar
    October 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    It is always a bit strange in the UK to contemplate US catholicism. In the United Kingdom it is primarily a working class church whereas in the US it tends to the right. It is not the church of African americans nor of recently immigrated Hispanic. Abortion although an important issue in Europe does not occupy a preeminent place as it does in the US; there it draws the church into the same fold as the far right. There is a certain tension between the older traditionalist and the younger intellectual catholic everywhere but not comparable to the US’s.

  • Avatar
    October 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Anti Catholicism comes mostly from Catholics. They are the ones who have to put up with it. Others just don’t give a hoot about Catholicism.


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