The Church continues to teach this essential truth because we know that the poor in various parts of the world have been targeted for decades with population control – contraception, sterilization, and abortion. In economically developed countries, there is a radical anti-birth mentality, which is exported to other nations as if it were a form of cultural, economic, and social progress. In addition, many private institutions, NGOs, and governments consider development and population control as symbiotic – linking legitimate development aid to the imposition of birth/population control. Their verbal engineers call this “sustainable development.”
HLI has confronted this situation since our inception and, in collaboration with the local Catholic Church and international pro-life leaders, continues to fight this radical mentality that attacks the inalienable dignity of the human person. What makes things more difficult and scandalous is when we learn of anti-life agencies working with the support of the Catholic Church, directly or indirectly.
Since I became president of HLI in 2011, we have attempted to work with leaders at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the bishops on its board of directors to resolve the situation and strengthen CRS’s mission and work. HLI has respectfully sought the path of subsidiarity in this conversation, attempting to avoid further scandal to the faithful who want assurance that CRS is acting in accord with Church teaching. Sadly, our attempts have produced no fruit. Instead, we have often been marginalized and shut out of the conversation by those who are deeply invested in the secular development model or who believe that such problems could not occur.
It saddens me that the Lepanto Institute has again found a clear case of CRS disregarding its moral obligation to ensure that those receiving funding are in compliance with Church teaching. This public disagreement was not HLI’s first choice, but given our mission, and the very high stakes both for the Church and for those who are harmed by these programs, we cannot in good conscience be silent.
With the latest Lepanto Institute report, faithful Catholics also have a responsibility. You didn’t ask for this responsibility, and you may want this scandal to simply go away. But it will not go away as long as the status quo remains. Those who are concerned but don’t know what to think are put in the unfortunate position of having to do some research and not simply resort to ideological “camps” who simply take their own side’s word as fact.
To put our cards on the table: we at HLI are convinced that CRS has been caught several times implementing projects that are not only utterly incompatible with Catholic social and moral doctrine, but are also destructive for those supposedly “helped.” Challenged on these reports, CRS routinely misleads the bishops and its supporters, issuing denials that assume great ignorance on the part of the reader as to how these complicated projects occur. Further, when such challenges are raised, CRS attacks the messenger’s motives and credibility, dragging good bishops into the fray with statements that are untrue.
This is our position, but again, we do not ask you to take a side in this scandal (sadly, yes, there are now sides) based merely on a short position statement. In order to understand, more work must be done.
Many say that to understand what’s going on one must “follow the money.” Surely the funding is relevant, but that’s different than proving the case, so one should also not draw a conclusion on this alone. Still, it is worth asking: Who has more at stake in this battle?
CRS receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the federal government, and tens of millions more annually from massive NGOs who not only disagree with the Church on these matters, but also together invest billions annually opposing the Church. CRS receives over 80% of its huge annual budget from a government and organizations that believe population control is the primary development priority today, and these organizations don’t hide this—they don’t think they have to. CRS then receives about 3% of its annual income from the Rice Bowl and other pew collections from Catholics, though Catholics certainly give more via other fundraising channels.
By way of contrast, the party exposing the government documents showing CRS’s participating in this destructive program, the Lepanto Institute, made less than $100,000 last year. Population Research Institute has also initiated previous investigations and, like HLI, has publicly expressed its concern about CRS when private outreach has failed. To our knowledge PRI’s annual budget is less than half that of the lone project that is the subject of the latest controversy. Same with HLI, as much as I wish it were different!
It is our mission at HLI to preach the Gospel of Life around the world, focusing on education, outreach and advocacy. This is why we are reluctantly involved in this debate: Most of the over 80 nations in which we and our partners are currently engaged are in the developing world, and suffer greatly from the imposition of population control programs disguised as legitimate development and health concerns. That’s how the multi-billion dollar aid and development industry works. It’s also why the NGOs who comprise it have such enormous budgets and so little to show for their decades of work: If the intention was to see these nations develop rather than remain dependent on wealthier nations with their own designs, then those responsible for decades of fruitless efforts would have been replaced long ago.
Sadly, though we believe most in the aid industry do indeed have good intentions, the point of the industry is not to succeed and thus put itself out of business, but rather to keep itself in business by perpetuating the corruption of governments that are unaccountable to their own people, but very responsive to massively funded Western development efforts. It’s economics 101: when your revenue is not tied to the productivity and genuine progress of your own people, but rather is tied to complying with the directives of wealthy parties who have their own priorities, you will never see authentic, integral development.
To the most recent case, then: Documents published by the federal government show CRS as an implementing partner in a six million dollar project in the Democratic Republic of Congo; a project whose stated goal was to improve maternal and child health. Not one single person who knows how these projects work would deny that they entail birth/population control as a matter of course. This one was no different — requiring detailed quarterly reports of the receipt and storage of contraception (including abortifacient methods), as well as measurement of the program’s effectiveness in getting more women to use various methods of artificial birth control. The project’s reports show Catholic Relief Services receiving, storing, and helping to distribute 2.25 million units of contraceptives, then reporting the program’s “success” in getting almost 850,000 people to use the methods in the region for which CRS had responsibility.
No one disputes these facts.
CRS has, however, issued a response asking bishops to ignore the Lepanto Institute’s report and direct pastors to support CRS. In its statement of “refutation,” CRS ironically does not even attempt to refute a single charge. They simply, categorically, deny that they had anything to do with any element that was against Church teaching, providing as proof a letter from the sponsoring agency’s director, who says that CRS was clear on this point.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this an odd way to “refute” the carefully vetted reports from the same parner, in which they claimed the opposite.
The problem, CRS says, is that its sponsoring partner forgot that CRS insisted that it wouldn’t promote anything against Church teaching. Somehow the reporting partner mistakenly got the idea — after receiving CRS’s own quarterly reports — that CRS was itself storing, distributing, and measuring the acceptance of contraception among the targeted population in the region for which CRS was responsible, according to the documents.
Tellingly, CRS does not acknowledge in its response the video showing its project director (a medical doctor shown wearing a polo shirt with both USAID and CRS logos) describing the full range of the project’s concerns and its success in getting almost 850,000 people to use new methods of “family planning.” While this may be dealt with in a second response from CRS, the current strategy seems to include the hope that the bishops and you will not actually read the Lepanto Institute report or look at the government documents and video.
Again, I want to avoid questioning motives here and ask that you read both the Lepanto Institute report and CRS’s letter of response. If you are going to express an opinion on the matter, it should be an informed one.
To be perfectly honest, I find CRS’s explanations of its partner’s “errors” insulting (an explanation they rely on quite a bit in their explanations of previous problems), including the fact that they don’t address the majority of documented concerns before turning to attack the motives of CRS critics.
I also don’t want to participate in bashing the bishops on this. I think most would agree that a crucial element of accountability is missing when the only means of verifying claims of wrongdoing is through the agency accused, but I understand the desire to trust and how limited resources can inhibit such accountability. When this does not happen, the faithful who see and understand the problem will fill the gap, out of love for the Church, and they do not deserve to have their characters and motives maligned. This is a further injustice that requires immediate remedy.
As a confessor, I have been blessed to share the Lord’s mercy with penitents who, caught in a situation of their own choosing, hit bottom and seek reconciliation. Our Lord’s mercy is bigger than any problem we’ve gotten ourselves into, and we avail ourselves of His mercy when we turn back to Him in truth, ask for forgiveness, and firmly resolve to amend our lives. Returning to truth can be incredibly painful, but it is a necessary step for healing to begin. Without this honest and crucial step, problems fester, putting souls at risk.
The Church, led by her faithful shepherds, certainly has a role in evangelizing and working for authentic, integral human development. We sincerely want to help them resolve this scandal that is being perpetrated by an organization that is acting in their name. We at HLI remain ready to consult with any bishops who do not understand how the development industry operates and are looking for ways to engage in this essential work without these problems continuing to recur. Let us go forward together in both charity and truth and end this ongoing scandal.
Did you know you can get 20% off a Catholic calendar in October? Will you please support this faithful apostolate and buy a calendar?
Click here to find the full details, including how your family will be automatically enrolled for a 900 Christmas Mass Novena for supporting our apostolate. By the way, the 20% is for a limited time.
Re-reading my lecture notes on Eucharistic Theology: “The way a priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass affects the way the congregation participates in the sacrifice; if the priest offers the Mass reverentially then the congregation participates reverentially too.”
Recently, I went through my seminary lecture notes on Eucharistic Theology, and these are some of the gems of liturgical propriety that refreshed my mind:
Say the Black, Do the Red
The way a priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass affects the way the congregation participates in the sacrifice; if the priest offers the Mass reverentially then the congregation participate reverentially too.
When offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, slow down and be deliberate in your action and words; every liturgical action is done and completed before the next. A successful celebrant never rushes; he does things reverentially and complete.
Do exactly what the red letters in the Roman Missal say, and say exactly what is in black; no more, and no less. Our actions define what we stand for and what we are committed to.
Any intentional deviation from these instructions, among many others, becomes an abuse of the liturgy and a personal act of disobedience rooted in pride and vanity…and carelessness.
Though he has local roots in the Kansas City area, I have never met vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine. From those who do know him, I understand that he is a very affable and likable person.
In the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Senator Kaine acknowledged he was blessed with great Irish Catholic parents and grew up in a wonderful faith-filled family. He also mentioned proudly that he is a graduate of Rockhurst High School, crediting the Jesuits with instilling within him a desire for public service and a commitment to advocate for the poor. I wish that was the end of the story.
It was painful to listen to Senator Kaine repeat the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal. He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans. He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?
With regard to the imposition of religious beliefs, Senator Kaine appears to have no qualms with his public positions conforming with his religious beliefs with regard to such issues as the church’s opposition to racism or our preferential option for the poor. He appears not to be conflicted with our public policies mirroring the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion.
The founders of our nation actually dealt with this issue 240 years ago in the Declaration of Independence, in which they articulate certain self-evident and inalienable rights that government does not bestow but has a responsibility to protect. Our founders actually believed that the right to life is given to us by our Creator, not by the Supreme Court.
Of course, religion will speak about fundamental human rights issues. However, to understand that the government has a right to protect human life is not dependent on religious belief. As the founders’ stated, these are self-evident truths. They are accessible to everyone through the use of reason. They do not require faith.
Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion, if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life? I hope in his science classes at Rockhurst he learned that at the moment of fertilization a new human life has begun with his or her own distinct DNA — different from the genetic code of both the child’s mother and father.
It is difficult to imagine that Senator Kaine has not seen the ultrasound images of his children and grandchildren when they were in their mother’s womb. Is the senator unaware that abortion stopped the beating hearts of 60 million American children aborted legally since 1973?
If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being? This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart. Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life? Our choices end where another individual’s more fundamental rights begin.
As far as Senator Kaine’s fear that if abortion is made illegal, our prisons will be teeming with post-abortive women, we actually have decades of legal history in our own country when this was certainly not the case.
Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion. The laws were enforced against the abortionists. Our own legal experience shows clearly that it is possible to develop public policies aimed at protecting children, not punishing women.
Actually, I wish Senator Kaine would take the time to talk with some of the post–abortive women that are assisted by Project Rachel and other post-abortion ministries helping women and men find healing, hope and mercy after an abortion. Our current permissive abortion policies, placing the entire burden of responsibility for the abortion decision upon the mother, results in millions of women experiencing an inner imprisonment where the bars keeping them from freedom and happiness are the guilt and unresolved grief that inevitably ensues from abortion.
It is interesting that Senator Kaine expressed his personal anguish when as governor he enforced capital punishment sentences. He gave the impression that he attempted unsuccessfully to convince Virginians to abolish the death penalty. Yet, with regard to legalized abortion, I am not aware of Senator Kaine making a similar effort to convince his constituents to work for public policies that protect the lives of the unborn. Instead, he appears eager to champion not only maintaining the status quo, but actually expanding abortion rights.
It is ironic that Senator Kaine expressed such profound concern about imposing his religious beliefs on others, while supporting efforts: 1) to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience by including abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their employee health plans; 2) to put small business owners (e.g., florists, bakers, photographers, etc.) out of business with crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and 3) to force every American taxpayer to help fund abortion.
This presidential election presents all Americans with a difficult choice. Both major political parties have nominated very flawed candidates. In making your decision as a voter, I encourage you to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president. We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration.
Finally, be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe. Unfortunately, the vice-presidential debate revealed that the Catholic running for the second highest office in our land is an orthodox member of his party, fulling embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.
Back by popular demand, the Courageous Priest family-run apostolate has been graced with the opportunity to share with you the 2017 Madonna Wall Calendar showcasing the works of 18th century French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau. This year we are excited to announce two more options. We are adding two more themed masterpieces: St. Joseph and Catholic Inspirational.
I fondly remember hearing a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist say that when you see true beauty, it turns your heart to the Heavenly Father’s House. Well, that is what these Catholic calendars have done. They, without a doubt, turn the heart to Heaven.
What Makes These Calendars So Special?
First of all, they are about our Catholic Faith. But, honestly, when you open the package the typical response is a heartfelt “WOW!” The quality of this calendar is rare.
Touching it, you can actually feel the superior quality, like hands caressing silk.
You can really see the quality and professionalism. Remember the time when you were on vacation with your loved ones and you witnessed the most talented artisan creating the most remarkable craft? It is like that.
You will love these! These Catholic calendars honor both the new and traditional liturgical calendars, which mostly means Saints removed from the old calendar are recognized on this one. Without a doubt, I personally believe God the Father honors both liturgical calendars. It is such a good feeling to see powerful saints, like St. Philomena and St. Christopher, back in their proper places on the calendar. It’s just like rekindling a good friendship lost long ago.
These calendars also include the daily readings making it a spiritual work horse.
As our “Thank You” to you . . .
Your entire family, living and deceased, will be included in the 900 Christmas Mass Novena beginning on Christmas Eve which is offered by the Seraphic Mass Association. Yes, that is correct, 900 Capuchin Masses including you in their special Mass intentions.
“I absolutely love the calendar – the Pictures are just beautiful! Glad I bought it ! Thanx” – Patti W.
“Dear John and Regan, the calendar arrived today and it is everything said and more. Thank you” – Walter B. from Florida
“Can’t wait for my 2 calendars! I am so excited.” – Brian K. Australia
“The beautiful calendar arrived yesterday. It is everything you promised and then some. Some 22 years ago I discovered William Bouguereau and his gently beautiful paintings. Softness which comes from love of The Lord and of Our Blessed Mother is in all of his works. I am delighted that you have made a whole collection of his paintings available in the calendar. What a lovely way to start each new day…and a new month.” June S. from Idaho
“Your beautiful calendars arrived today. The pictures, as you said, are good enough to frame.” – Denise O. from Missouri
How much is it?
Your typical professional-quality calendars range from $14.95 to $21.95 with a higher than expected shipping and handling cost. Yes, you can find some for less, but we are asking you to help support the Courageous Priest family run apostolate. We don’t ask for donations, but we do ask for your purchase. We want it to be a fair price, so we are offering it for $14.95 plus shipping and handling. We hope that is fair enough.
To be honest, this a crazy big event for us. We have sold a whopping 1300+ calendars.
Please act now, aswe are offering an October early bird special. Coming November 1st, we are raising the price. As you know, we are a family-run apostolate and our family life cannot handle a large quantity of last-minute shoppers.
20% Off for a Limited Time Only
This lovely calendar is perfect for the home or office and makes a great gift for Christmas or any occasion. We are having people contacting us so they can order more for their loved ones. So, here is what we are going to do for you. When you buy 3 or more calendars you receive 20% off. Can you believe we had one generous soul order 50! Please note that the 20% discount will be discontinued in the near future.
Please remember to enter the number of calendars you want.
Important: International Orders will be sent a PayPal invoice to cover additional shipping cost. Give it a try, if you don’t agree with the extra shipping charges you can cancel the order. To keep things simple, please pay the invoice in three days. After that, we will automatically cancel the order with no hard feelings.
Do you want to mix and match? Just call 314-833-8371 and we will take care of it.
Sharon from North Carolina said.
“After having just received one of your exquisite calendars of the Blessed Mother with the artwork of Bouguereau. We knew we’d enjoy having 5 more to give as gifts.”
By the Way, We Have a Guarantee.
We Guarantee Your Satisfaction – Buy it Risk-Free. You either absolutely love it or return it with a no-questions asked full refund. We want you 100% satisfied.
So, there you have it. Would you please do Courageous Priest and yourself a favor and buy this before the introductory low rate ends October 31rst. We cannot tell you how much we greatly support your generosity.
May God, who is rich in Mercy, bless you.
Founder, Courageous Priest
P.S. Please don’t wait. The October early-bird special ends Monday, October 31st. All orders will arrive before Christmas. Go ahead and please click on the links above. For questions or to order by check, please call 314-833-8371.
P.P.S. And don’t forget about the the 900 Christmas Mass Novena your family will be automatically enrolled.
P.P.P.S. Don’t forget your friends and family. Over half of our purchases are going to loved ones. And 20% off is hard to find on calendars before Christmas. The 20% off is for a limited time only.
I have voted in every presidential election since 1972 and I have never experienced an election like this year’s. Both candidates are disliked, lack credibility, and have made comments that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The American public is fed up with politics as usual and with the establishment in both parties. So, what should Catholics do when we vote in November?
That question is one that I have been asked by the faithful more this year than in any previous election. Recently in a dinner discussion with a group of Catholics, the conversation turned to politics and became vigorous, as some at the table supported Clinton and some Trump. All eyes turned to me and one of them asked, “Archbishop, what do you think?”
First, I shared my aversion for both candidates. Then I said that they need to reflect on the platforms of both parties, with an emphasis on the human life issues. Everyone at the table knew well the teaching of the Church on life and the dignity of life. They knew that Catholics in good conscience cannot support candidates who will advance abortion. All pretty much agreed that, when it comes to life issues, Catholic politicians on both sides of the aisle have put party ideology before their faith and living their faith in the public square.
This is the most important guidance I can give: allow your ongoing personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church to guide your political decisions. I say this because we believe that the truth about ourselves and the world we live in is revealed in and through him. Our society suffers and has suffered for quite some time because too few people live an integrated life – one that does not divide “the personal” from “the public.”
Looking at Life Issues, The Hyde Amendment
This year there are some critical changes to the two major parties’ platforms that some at the dinner were not aware of. Most important is that this year the Democratic party platform calls for the overturning of the Hyde Amendment, a provision that both parties have voted to include in the federal budget and on other spending bills for 40 years. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer money from being used for abortion. The platform is aggressively pro-abortion, not only in funding matters, but in the appointment of only those judges who will support abortion and the repealing of the Helms Amendment, which prevents the U.S. from supporting abortion availability overseas. Conversely, the Republican party platform is supportive of the Hyde Amendment and just this year strengthened its support for life by calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, banning dismemberment abortion and opposing assisted suicide.
Don’t Forget Religious Freedom
Our conversation then turned to the understanding of the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience, and the ability for faith-based organizations like the Church to provide charity through shelters, hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc., without fear of government interference and the existence of a respect for religious values.
In that vein, the subject was raised of the Health and Human Services mandate. This regulation requires the provision of contraceptives, sterilizations and some abortifacients through employer’s health plans. Most surprising to me was that all at the table were practicing Catholics who are involved in their faith, and a couple of them had neither heard of the difficulty the Obama Administration has created for the Little Sisters of the Poor, nor the litigation that has occurred trying to force them to violate their consciences.
Life is the Fundamental Right
Catholic voters must make themselves aware of where the parties stand on these essential issues. The right to life is the most important and fundamental right, since life is necessary for any of the other rights to matter. There are some issues that can legitimately be debated by Christians, such as which policies are the most effective in caring for the poor, but the direct killing of innocent human life must be opposed at all times by every follower of Jesus Christ. There are no legitimate exceptions to this teaching.
The health of our nation depends on a deep respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and the future of our society depends on how we protect that right. If we don’t, eventually we will go the way of Rome and Greece and other great civilizations that have risen and fallen.
The Church Cannot Change Her Teachings
Some, both in politics and in the Church, have stated that it is the Church that needs to change her teaching to include abortion, same-sex unions, and even euthanasia. Yet, in faithfulness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and to Sacred Tradition, the Church cannot change her teaching on these issues without denying Christ. She would cut herself from the vine and only wither away, as promised by Christ. The further we move away from Jesus Christ and his teachings, the more will our churches empty.
We are where we are today because too many Catholics and other people of faith have embraced the ways of the world and not the ways of Christ. They have not served as leaven that transforms society, but rather have condoned evil and the throw-away culture that Pope Francis frequently reminds us to reject.
When we fail to do this, the government will step in to fill the void. Indeed, the government will become “god” and impose its beliefs on the citizens. One only needs to look to the Health and Human Service contraceptive mandate, or the attempt by President Obama to force a transgender agenda onto public schools. We may even soon see the federal funding of abortion and the approval of physician-assisted suicide in Colorado. We are witnessing the dictatorship of relativism and the erosion of true freedom. And as Pope Francis often preaches, the devil gets in the mix quickly, especially when people no longer believe in God.
Who Forms Your Conscience, Jesus Christ or a Political Party?
So my advice to Catholics in voting in this presidential election is to first look at who forms you and your conscience. Is it your personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the Church, the voice of God which cannot contradict the truth or revelation, or is it the ideology of some political party? Secondly, look at how you have been a leaven in society. How have you sought the common good and the values of the Gospel, especially by serving the poor, the needy, the unborn and the dying. If you truly live your Catholic faith, you will not find complete alignment with any political party, and that is okay. Thirdly, look at how each party platform supports human life from conception through natural death, the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience, the family, and the poor. Finally, do vote, as every Catholic has an obligation to participate in the political process.
For many, the presidential election will involve a choice between the lesser of two evils. On the Colorado ballot, we will also face the evil of physician-assisted suicide, known as Proposition 106. In conforming our hearts and minds with the Gospel and its clear teaching on life, all Catholics are called to vote “no” on this issue. A “yes” vote only furthers the throw-away society, and the culture of death. You will be hearing much more on this in the days and weeks ahead. Let us keep our country and state in our daily prayers, praying for God’s protection and blessings in these challenging, difficult times in which we live. And let us in charity pray for the conversion of those who support a throw-away culture of death!
Fr. Pavone Asks Catholic Priests, Laity to Call on Mrs. Clinton to Denounce Anti-Catholic Bigotry
Courageous Priest Special: We will be offering our Catholic Calendars starting this Monday! They go like hotcakes and we are offering more options this year. Your support is always greatly appreciated.
Founder Courageous Priest
NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today called on Catholic priests and deacons and lay parishioners to urge Hillary Clinton to apologize for and fire staff members who expressed anti-Catholic views in emails recently exposed by Wikileaks.
“It’s one thing to disagree with Church teaching on abortion and other matters,” said Fr. Pavone. “It’s quite another to form organizations to try to subvert Church doctrine and to insult and demean those who adhere to it. The bigotry revealed by current Clinton campaign leaders in those emails is both appalling and unacceptable.”
Emails released by the Wikileaks organization show that Clinton campaign head John Podesta helped organize liberal groups to attack Catholic teaching. They also show exchanges between Jennifer Palmieri, now the communications director for the Clinton campaign, and John Halpin, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, in which people who convert to Catholicism are portrayed as insincere and conservative doctrines of the Church are called a “bastardization of the faith.”
“Priests for Life has asked Catholic priests and deacons around the country to call on Mrs. Clinton to apologize for these insulting and demeaning remarks about Catholics and to fire those who made them,” Fr. Pavone stated. “We have seen this approach before in reference to the Catholic Church, all the way back to Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who founded the abortion industry and said he and his colleagues knew that the Church was their biggest obstacle and had a sophisticated strategy to blunt the Church’s influence.”
“We have also seen Mrs. Clinton assert (at the 2015 Women in the World Summit https://youtu.be/Yj1T1gP4Q9M) that religious beliefs need to be changed in order to advance women’s rights, and we at Priests for Life have had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court for our right to live out our faith against the HHS mandate. The religious freedom of Christians is in danger, and the attitudes and actions revealed in these emails do not help,” Fr. Pavone concluded.
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.
Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver. They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social justice issues. They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party. And they hoped my brother bishops and I would resist identifying the Church with single-issue and partisan (read: abortion) politics.
It was an interesting experience. Both men were obvious flacks for the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party — creatures of a political machine, not men of the Church; less concerned with Catholic teaching than with its influence. And presumably (for them) bishops were dumb enough to be used as tools, or at least prevented from helping the other side. Yet these two young men not only equaled but surpassed their Republican cousins in the talents of servile partisan hustling. Thanks to their work, and activists like them, American Catholics helped to elect an administration that has been the most stubbornly unfriendly to religious believers, institutions, concerns and liberty in generations.
I never saw either young man again. The cultural damage done by the current White House has – apparently — made courting America’s bishops unnecessary.
But bad can always get worse. I’m thinking, of course, of the contemptuously anti-Catholic emails exchanged among members of the Clinton Democratic presidential campaign team and released this week by WikiLeaks. A sample: Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, emailed John Podesta, now the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask about whether “the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage” could be the tinder for a revolution. “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages [sic] dictatorship,” Newman writes.
Of course, Newman added, “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.” Still, he wondered, how would one “plant the seeds of a revolution”? John Podesta replied that “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this . . . likewise Catholics United”(emphasis added).
Another Clinton-related email, from John Halpin of the Center for American Progress, mocks Catholics in the so-called conservative movement, 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, he adds “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what . . . they’re talking about.”
On the evening these WikiLeaks emails were released, I received the following angry email myself, this one from a nationally respected (non-Catholic) attorney experienced in Church-state affairs:
“I was deeply offended by the [Clinton team] emails, which are some of the worst bigotry by a political machine I have seen. [A] Church has an absolute right to protect itself when under attack as a faith and Church by civil political forces. That certainly applies here . . .
“Over the last eight years there has been strong evidence that the current administration, with which these people share values, has been very hostile to religious organizations. Now there is clear proof that this approach is deliberate and will accelerate if these actors have any continuing, let alone louder, say in government.
“These bigots are actively strategizing how to shape Catholicism not to be Catholic or consistent with Jesus’ teachings, but to be the ‘religion’ they want. They are, at the very core, trying to turn religion to their secular view of right and wrong consistent with their politics. This is fundamentally why the Founders left England and demanded that government not have any voice in religion. Look where we are now. We have political actors trying to orchestrate a coup to destroy Catholic values, and they even analogize their takeover to a coup in the Middle East, which amplifies their bigotry and hatred of the Church. I had hoped I would never see this day — a day like so many dark days in Eastern Europe that led to the death of my [Protestant minister] great grandfather at the hands of communists who also hated and wanted to destroy religion.”
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.
In the meantime, a friend describes the choice facing voters in November this way: A vulgar, boorish lout and disrespecter of women, with a serious impulse control problem; or a scheming, robotic liar with a lifelong appetite for power and an entourage riddled with anti-Catholic bigots.
In a nation where “choice” is now the unofficial state religion, the menu for dinner is remarkably small.
This is the best homily on voting ever. To watch the video please click here.
Fr. John Lankeit Money Quotes
“There is a candidate, in this 2016 race for president, who along with that candidate’s political party does, in fact, sanction the killing of blacks and Hispanics in the situations previously described under one particular condition: That that black person or that Hispanic person is still in his or her mother’s womb.”
“One party favors open borders, the other party favors law and order.” . . . But “suppose a candidate for president promoted a policy that would make it legal for someone to kill a Hispanic person if the presence of that Hispanic person made it more difficult to pursue one’s career of choice. How many of you would be comfortable voting for that candidate?”
“God’s mercy is bigger than your sin and your pain. In 10 years of priesthood, I have often been blessed to be the one who gets to welcome back a woman to the merciful embrace of God the Father take her hand and put it back in the hand of God the Father — after she has admitted to, and repented of, her abortion in the Sacrament of Confession,” he said. “A priest in such a situation has the privilege of assuring the woman that she has never for a single moment lost the love of God the Father, nor her dignity as his beloved daughter of that same God, no matter what she did.”
“A priest who is more concerned about the state of his people’s souls than they are themselves deserves the esteem of his people for his willingness to speak such difficult truth to them with genuine love—to put the welfare of his people’s souls ahead of his own reputation, popularity, or comfort,” Lankeit said. “Such a priest should receive respect, admiration, and support, rather than their resistance or criticism.”
“So please pray for, thank and encourage the spiritual father that God has appointed for you and who loves you enough to tell you the truth with those challenging words. Because the priest who said these particular words is your bishop — and my bishop.”