Leaked Clinton team e-mail “Bashes” conservative Catholicism, but it’s complicated:

Leaked Clinton team e-mail “Bashes” conservative Catholicism, but it’s complicated: October 11, 2016

Photo credit: US Department of State via wikipedia.org / Public Domain
Photo credit: US Department of State via wikipedia.org / Public Domain

Wikileaks has released a third batch of e-mails said to be from John Podesta’s e-mail account. Podesta is the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign.

The Sean Hannity Show’s staff’s report on this particular e-mail was the first to catch my attention. The Hannity Show says Catholics were bashed – other outlets said Catholics were trashed or mocked. Headlined “LEAKED EMAIL: Clinton Team Bashes ‘Backward’ Catholics”, the relevant portion of the article reads:

Amongst the newly released documents, one email exchange in particular should draw the ire of conservatives–and American Catholics specifically. The 2011 email, entitled “Conservative Catholicism” comes from John Halpin, a senior fellow at the left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP), and is addressed to Jennifer Palmieri, formerly of the CAP and current Director of Communications for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and John Podesta. The email, in which Catholic beliefs are referred to as “backwards”, drips with contempt for Catholic Americans and Conservative Catholics in particular. “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,” Halpin writes to Podesta. “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” Palmieri piles onto the Catholic bashing in her response. “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” Palmieri writes. “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”

Now, of course, conservative Catholics are joyfully sharing the news as some proof of Clinton’s disdain for the Catholic faith. conservative_catholics_0_1476187927 This e-mail exchange does not show anything written by Mr. Podesta and took place in April of 2011 – five years ago. There is one reply by Jennifer Palmieri, who was working in the White House (2013-2015) and is now the Director of Communications for the Hillary campaign. Prior to working in the White House, Palmieri served as the President of the Center for American Progress – founded by Mr. Podesta. The original message and final reply were written by John Halpin, who is currently a “Senior Fellow” at the Center for American Progress with “expertise” in the areas of elections, political theory, and public opinion. While I think Halpin was foolish in writing what he did – as well as Palmieri. I’m not sure what it is Halpin studied for his undergraduate degree at Georgetown, but he isn’t too far off in considering conservative Catholicism a bastardization of the faith – I wouldn’t use the word bastardization, however, nor consider systematic thought or Catholic teaching on sexuality “backwards”.

It’s interesting that Halpin would mention Christian Democracy which can be, in some ways, a bastardization of the faith. Christian Democracy can have certain elements within it that express a longing for a new Christendom – which is foolish. Halpin appears foolish here, it seems, since Christian democracy can find itself in the same integralism that suffocates the life of some conservative expressions of Catholicism – where a misunderstood “subsidiarity” is championed and where our tradition on the beauty of sexuality is Puritanized.

It isn’t a very thorough e-mail and it is tough to conclude that “Conservative Catholicism” is being bashed, trashed, or mocked by the authors. There isn’t “a contempt” for Conservative Catholics.

I don’t think Halpin knows much about Catholicism, I don’t think Palmieri knows much about Catholicism, and I don’t think Podesta knows much about Catholicism. Their organization is funded by big money capitalist groups of old, some of which also support right-wing think tanks that conservatives love: the common denominator here being economic liberalism (capitalism).

Subsidiarity is something conservatives bring up but don’t seem to understand, but I bet Halpin doesn’t understand it either.

“Thomistic” can mean lots of things, but if it’s tied to “Thomism”  – and not Saint Thomas – then criticism can be justifiable (and, yes, in general plenty of conservative Catholics don’t know what that is).

I suppose I simply wanted people to have a copy of the e-mail to read for themselves, as it isn’t what I’d consider bashing – but you need strong headlines, I guess.

The exchange does make me sad. Considering Catholicism a “politically conservative religion” breaks my heart. This election has foolery written all over it – and Catholics are fooled into playing the game. Some (Priests) are so foolish they’re backing Donald Trump. Others (here and here) are almost foaming at the mouth to offer guidance on voting that disregards essential components of what the US Bishops have offered us.

Let’s call it what it is: a contest, a game, a pageant. The name of the game is also capitalism, and its preference for immorality is blindly ignored – when not supported – by Catholics as they condemn evils the system generates. When are we going to grow up and start figuring out how to move beyond such treacheries? Embrace socialism, distributism, anarchism and throw away your idols – whether they are political candidates/parties or your liberal desires (such as capitalism).

In fact, let’s start over and express ourselves in the hyped up way this pageant deserves.

***

Headline

Breaking News: Leaked Clinton Team E-mail SLAMS Catholics

Body

Top members of the Clinton Campaign and the Center for American Progress exchanged e-mails in 2011 bashing Catholics of all stripes.

The e-mails are entirely insignificant but painfully demonstrate that Catholics are held in disdain by political elites in the United States.

The gross e-mail contains what may be considered the most extreme attack on Catholicism to-date, wherein one Clinton supporter considers the possibility of Catholicism being a “politically conservative religion”. These are fighting words, folks. No one – especially not people who don’t understand Catholicism – should ever think such horrible things.

Of course, the ignorant authors of the e-mails in question probably adhere to some philosophy that shares roots with a “Conservative” Catholicism, specifically liberalism, but conservative Catholics and the authors (whatever the heck they identify as) are buried far too deep in the liberal mindset – both wanting to disregard ethics and love for humanity in their preferred areas – that they really don’t understand how closely allied they are to one another.

Until next time,

Keith Michael Estrada

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