1. Non-Catholics for Church ‘Reform’, Clinton allies mock the faithful and demand they embrace secular dogmas, By Robert P. George, The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2016, Pg. A9, Commentary, Houses of Worship.

Mr. George, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, was chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2013-14 and 2015-16).
Arthur Schlesinger Sr. said that anti-Catholicism is “the deepest bias in the history of the American people.” I don’t know if that’s true anymore, as I don’t run into much anti-Catholicism from ordinary Americans.

Yet I can’t say I’m surprised by the noxious anti-Catholic bigotry contained in emails exchanged between leading progressives, Democrats and Hillary Clinton operatives. These WikiLeaks-published emails confirm what has been evident for years. Many elites, having embraced secular progressivism as not merely a political view but a religion, loathe traditional faiths that refuse to yield to its dogmas.

John Halpin of the Center for American Progress, writing in 2011 to Democrat bigwig John Podesta, was exercised over the fact that Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thomson, then-managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, “are raising their kids Catholic.” The horror!

The bigotry on display in the emails is that of people who claim to perceive bigotry everywhere, even where it does not exist. Some on the left have perfected the technique of smearing their political opponents by dismissing dissent from the dogmas of secular progressive ideology—on, say, abortion or marriage—as bigotry. This tactic has only bred more hatred toward traditions of faith that uphold traditional moral values, such as Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism.

Neither presidential candidate has an admirable record of respect for religion. Mr. Trump has been rightly called out for whom he associates with, and Mrs. Clinton should be held to the same standard.

She vowed in the second presidential debate “to be the president for all Americans,” regardless of politics or religion. Given her closest advisers’ animus toward faithful Catholics and evangelicals, millions of Americans ought to be skeptical—especially if they’re unwilling to put politics before faith and common decency.


2. Sharing the Riches We’ve Been Forgiven, by Fr. Roger Landry, The Anchor, October 14, 2016. Fr. Roger J. Landry is the National Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA.

The point of this extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is, as the official motto attests, to help us to become “merciful like the Father”(Lk 6:36). It’s to be so transformed by receiving God’s mercy that we become merciful like God is merciful. Out of all of the teachings and actions of Jesus, perhaps none illustrates this calling and the means to fulfill it than the underappreciated Parable of the Two Debtors (Mt 18:23-35).

The context is Jesus’ response to St. Peter’s question, “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?” Peter suggested an astronomical standard, “As many as 7 times?,” which means giving someone an eighth chance before writing him or her off as incorrigible. Jesus replies, “No, Seventy Sevens.” Whether that means 70×7 (490) or 70+7 (77) times really doesn’t matter, because seven is a number already with a sense of infinity. It means astonishingly never to stop forgiving.

Anticipating the question how one could possibly forgive without limit, Jesus presents the story of the two debtors. The first is brought before the King owing “10,000 talents.” A talent was weight of gold equivalent to 6,000 denarii and a denarius was a full day’s wage. That means that the man owed 60 million days worth of work, something that would take him 164,271 years to pay off. He begged for time to pay it off, but he would have needed to live to 165,000 years old to have the chance to do so. To monetize his debt in today’s figures, if he were making $100 a day (or $12.50 an hour), he would have owed $6 billion. But Jesus tells us that when the King saw the debtor pleading absurdly for time, his “heart was moved with pity” and he forgave the entire debt. He didn’t even make him pay what he could. He forgave it all. We’re supposed to see in this what God does for us: He forgives our entire debt. He forgives us seven, seventy-seven, 490 times and more.


3. Pope: hypocrisy is a kind of spiritual schizophrenia, Pope Francis’ Daily Homily, October 14, 2016.

Pope Francis urged Christians to always tell the truth to avoid succumbing to hypocrisy which he described as a kind of spiritual schizophrenia that makes us say many things but without putting them into practice. He was speaking at his Mass on Friday morning celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.

In his homily at the Mass, the Pope took his cue from the day’s readings to reflect on the dangers of hypocrisy by warning Christians against the leaven of the Pharisees. Noting that there’s a good leaven and a bad leaven, he said the former builds the kingdom of God whereas the latter only creates the appearance of the Kingdom of God.


4. About Those Unthinking, Backward Catholics, Archbishop Chaput’s Weekly Column, October 13, 2016.

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).

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.


5. When American Catholic politics split the Church, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, October 13, 2016, 4:30 PM.

For history professor Christopher Shannon, Catholics in American politics have a long history, yet this legacy is overshadowed by a troubling disunity in the present.

“This rupture in the Church and the change in American politics has only hardened divisions within the Church,” said the Christendom College professor. “What frustrates me or troubles me is that they seem to be more concerned about ‘where’s our country going?’ than ‘where’s our Church going?’.”

Prior to the 1960s, the unity that people see in the Church was also reflected in a political unity, Shannon thought.

“Catholics, for all of their infighting, could see themselves as a united people in the Church, and also because they were united in their politics,” he said in a Sept. 9 interview with CNA.


6. Two years later, few Hobby Lobby copycats emerge, By Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico, October 11, 2016, 5:19 PM.

Obamacare supporters warned two years ago that if the Supreme Court allowed the owners of Hobby Lobby craft stores to eliminate birth control coverage because of their religious beliefs, others would rush to follow — and not just to eliminate contraceptives, but also, potentially, treatments like blood transfusions and vaccines.

Those fears haven’t been borne out.

Since the 2014 high court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, only 52 companies or nonprofit organizations, have told the government they plan to opt out of Obamacare’s requirement to cover birth control because it violates their religious beliefs, according to a POLITICO review of Obama administration records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

That’s in addition to the employers who filed about 100 lawsuits against the contraception mandate, as well as an unknown number of employers that may have directly informed their insurer, instead of the government, of their religious objections — a tack taken, for example, by Georgetown University, a Catholic institution that offers insurance to students and employees. Telling the government or one’s insurer that the mandate violates one’s religious beliefs sets in motion the court-ordered accommodation that requires the insurer to provide and pay for such coverage directly.

Several insurance industry sources say they haven’t gotten many such requests.