In response to the leaked emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, the head of the U.S. Bishops Conference (USCCB) has issued a stern statement decrying efforts to interfere in the Church’s self-governance for “short-term political gain.”
The statement from Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, President of the USCCB, came after an uproar over revelations that Podesta had set up two “Catholic” dummy organizations to exert influence over Church teaching in the wake of the Obama administration’s HHS mandate and to bring about a “Catholic spring.”
In leaked emails, Sandy Newman, founder of the left-wing group, Voices for Progress, asked Podesta for advice on how best to “plant the seeds of the revolution” within the Catholic Church. In response, Podesta boasted that he had already founded two organizations for this purpose: “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” and “Catholics United,” a group accused in 2012 of seeking “to silence the Church from speaking to the great moral issues of our age.”
Kurtz suggested that Podesta’s actions constituted a breach of religious freedom, “one of the founding principles of our republic,” which ensures the right of faith communities to “preserve the integrity of their beliefs and proper self-governance.”
If reports are true that “some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the Church for short-term political gain,” Kurtz said, “this is troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country.”
In his statement, the Archbishop said that Catholics “expect public officials to respect the rights of people to live their faith without interference from the state. When faith communities lose this right, the very idea of what it means to be an American is lost.”
On Wednesday, Catholic League president Bill Donahue said that while billionaire George Soros is the single most influential donor to anti-Catholic organizations, John Podesta has been Soros’ “point man” in this endeavor. Together, “they have sought to manipulate public opinion against the Catholic Church,” he said.
Donahue demanded that Hillary Clinton fire John Podesta for his attempts to subvert the Catholic Church for political gains, in response to which the Clinton Campaign has dug in its heels, suggesting that the indignation over Podesta’s actions is a “faux controversy.”
Clinton spokesman Glen Caplin has attempted to deflect the attention from Podesta, turning instead on Wikileaks.
“By dribbling these out every day Wikileaks is proving they are nothing but a propaganda arm of the Kremlin with a political agenda doing Putin’s dirty work to help elect Donald Trump,” he wrote in an email.
Meanwhile a group called Catholic Association has demanded a response from Catholic Vice-Presidential candidate Tim Kaine for the allegedly anti-Catholic stance of his ticket.
The group’s president, Ashley McGuire, noted that Tim Kaine has made his Catholic faith an integral part of this campaign. “What does he have to say now that the curtain has been pulled back and the blatant anti-Catholicism of his ticket revealed?” he asked.
“Catholics deserve a response to the mockery of their faith seen in the leaked emails from the Clinton-Kaine ticket from the candidate who has used his Catholicism when convenient to push a radical agenda,” said McGuire.
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