By Addie Mena
Washington D.C.- Oh anti-Catholicism. You’re always in vogue. And just what we needed to add to this wonderful election journey.

Today, the anti-secrecy and disclosure site WikiLeaks released more than 1,000 emails as part of an ongoing leak of the hacked emails of John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Previously, Podesta worked as the President for the Center for American Progress, or CAP, and the Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.

Within these leaked emails was a 2011 email thread titled “Conservative Catholicism” sent by CAP Senior Fellow John Halpin to Podesta and to Hillary for America Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri. Palmieri previously served as the Communications Director for Barack Obama and President for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where she was serving at the time of the emails.


Halpin begins the email citing a New Yorker article on media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the fact that he and then- managing editor for the Wall Street Journal, Robert Thompson, happened to be raising their kids Catholic. The horror.

Email below (highlights mine):

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Nevermind the possibility that Murdoch and Thompson could maybe – just maybe- be raising their children Catholic because they believe it to be true. No, the faith is purely seen in conservative/liberal terms and, moreso, that faith is a tool of politics.

Then we get to that real kicker – this part:

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First- “bastardization of the faith?” Really? Do you know what the original, first, Church that goes all the way back to the last supper even is, friends? That’s right- the Catholic Church. Pray, tell then, what is the real “faith” here that the Catholic Church is apparently “bastardizing.”

Of course, if you mean “conservative Catholicism” in a political sense I can see your point- as it would be the same with “liberal Catholicism.” But “conservative” does not mean the same thing as “orthodox,” and upholding Church teaching is the exact opposite of an “amazing bastardization of the faith.” The exact opposite.

Secondly what’s wrong with systematic thought and reason? Human beings use reason. It makes sense that our faith works in harmony with that. Also, it’s pretty easy to find out information on Christian Democracy- but given that Christian democracy in large part grew out of Catholic thought… I’m not sure how that’s an argument against being Catholic…

I’m not gonna even dignify that gender relations comment with a response- the Church respects and promotes the dignity of women. Full stop. If you really still believe the Church’s positions on women are “severely backwards” – please educate yourselves:

Palmieri responded…

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I’m really not sure that the defense of the unborn, of marriage, of the poor, of the migrants, of all who are disenfranchised and in need is all that “socially acceptable” on either side of the political aisle, though Catholics may be more welcome in her circles. I don’t know.

That brings us to Halpin’s last response:

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Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Please, Mr. Halpin, Ms. Palmieri, Mr. Podesta, all the researchers at CAP and anyone who needs a very, very basic introduction to the fundamentals of Catholic thought: crack open a catechism. Or at the very least, a dictionary.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “subsidiarity” (n): the principle that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level.

It’s not that hard.

Oh and if you’ve happened to miss the 750 years of philosophy and theology, of which Thomism has been a central part of the discussion (and even forms the foundation of Christian democracy! Which you yourselves promoted!): there is an institute for Thomistic thought, right here in DC.

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