In his recent Crisis article, "Two Newmans and Two Springs," Fr. Rutler offered a brilliant analysis of the current situation facing Catholics loyal to the teachings of Jesus Christ as we approach the November 8th presidential election. I should like to offer a summary of the points he made, which I hope will sober up all but the most tepid of Catholics.
On a Tuesday in 1852, at the First Provincial Synod of Westminster at Oscott College, Blessed John Henry Newman delivered a sermon, “The Second Spring, in which he observed:”
Have we any right to take it strange, if, in this English land, the spring-time of the Church should turn out to be an English spring, an uncertain, anxious time of hope and fear, of joy and suffering,—of bright promise and budding hopes, yet withal, of keen blasts, and cold showers, and sudden storms?
Newman might deliver these words in our day, when the Body of Christ seems as divided as the U.S. The issues which confront the American people rival those which were calamitous in past history and the explanations of them by Church and State make a mockery of reasoned discourse. The Church during this election season appears as a giant more “comatose” than “slumbering”.
What might stir the Mystical Body of Christ? The unearthing of documents containing sarcastic efforts by Clinton political strategists to destabilize and bribe her, depriving her of supernatural dimension to become a instrument of the State, much as Gallican Church of the 17th and 18th centuries. There exist emails from February 10-11, 2012 of correspondence entitled “Opening for a Catholic Spring?” between John Podesta, and one Sandy Newman, president of the Voices for Progress PAC. Newman is no John Henry Newman nor are his dreams of Spring like those of the Cardinal’s preached at Oscott. For Sandy, “There needs to be a Catholic Spring in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church,” might be a rallying point To “plant the seeds of the revolution” Sandy offers the mandate for contraception coverage in medical plans.
Mr. Podesta’s replied: “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.” Alleged Catholic Podesta is a past president of the Center for American Progress, a think tank that promotes “LGBT equality and women’s reproductive health and rights.” Who might help bring about this springtime? Whynot the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who addressed the heterodox Call to Action conference in 2008, and past board member of the National Catholic Reporter?
Now Sandy Newman admitted to a “total lack of understanding of the Catholic Church” since he is Jewish, and thus deferred to John Podesta for effecting this “anthropogenic climate change,” But his ignorance of Catholicism did not prevent him from using the Catholic Church as a proxy for community organizing. In 1993 he hired one Barack Obama to register voters in Illinois. It was Obama who wished to ally Cardinal Bernardin with the United Neighborhood Organizations of Chicago, which was allied with Obama’s Developing Communities Project. In this he was helped by Monsignor John J. Egan, a close associate of the archtect of social restructuring, Saul Alinsky, whose strategy was to procure the sympathies of well-intentioned Catholic clerics in his godless Marxist program: “To [expletive] your enemies, you’ve first got to seduce your allies.” Ultimately Bernardin split himself with the more extreme organizers, including Obama. We are all aware that Mrs. Clinton admired Alinsky, but her senior thesis at Wellesley College took issue with his opinion that universal change is “impossible from the inside” and necessitates sweeping revision from the outside.
Given the thrust of my blog about my book, my interest was piqued by Alinsky’s dedication for his Rules for Radicals, the focus of Hillary Clinton’s college thesis: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history … the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.”
Fr. Rutler is brilliant in his observation that the e-mails of Sandy Newman’s advice to Podesta “are sulphuric like Screwtape’s animadversions in the Screwtape Letters of C.S. Lewis.” For Fr. Rutler they remind one of the words of Cardinal Newman in “The Patristical Idea of Christ”:
Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshaling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general Apostasy from it. Whether this very Apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, as he has already been delayed so long, we cannot know; but at any rate this Apostasy, and all its tokens and instruments, are of the Evil One, and savor of death…. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform. This is the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work to which he is putting you; he tempts you to rail against your rulers and superiors; he does so himself, and induces you to imitate him; or he promises you illumination,—he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his.
Fr. Rutler reminds us that Mrs. Clinton, addressing the 2015 Women in the World Summit, chillingly said that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” On this we may learn from a Doctor of the Church— Saint Hildegarde of Bingen. Here is her account of the tricks and techniques of Alinsky’s Lucifer:
Religion he will endeavor to make convenient. He will say that you need not fast and embitter your life by renunciation… It will suffice to love God… He will preach free love and tear asunder family ties. He will scorn everything holy, and he will ridicule all graces of the Church with devilish mockery. He will condemn humility and foster proud and gruesome dogmas. He will tear down that which God has taught in the Old and New Testaments and maintain that sin and vice are not sin and vice…
So there we are at this crossroads of culture and, more than that, of civilization itself. Two Newmans proffer two Springtimes and they are not occasional variations of a common climate. Our nation has endured recent years of eroding faith and moral reason. It cannot endure several years more in the confidence that the erosion can be reversed as though it were just the habit of a cyclical season. There is a better prospect, but it is possible only if Catholics assent to the lively oracles of the Gospel and cast their votes and vows against those who are against it. The Newman who is blessed saw a Catholic Spring in the pulpit at Oscott that is not the clandestine plot of e-mails….I listen, and I hear the sound of voices, grave and musical, renewing the old chant, with which Augustine greeted Ethelbert in the free air upon the Kentish strand. It comes from a long procession, and it winds along the cloisters. Priests and Religious, theologians from the schools, and canons from the Cathedral, walk in due precedence. And then there comes a vision of well-nigh twelve mitred heads; and last I see a Prince of the Church, in the royal dye of empire and of martyrdom, a pledge to us from Rome of Rome’s unwearied love, a token that that goodly company is firm in Apostolic faith and hope.
I can only close with Teresa Tomeo’s aspiration:
Compelling article from Fr. Rutler on attempts to attack Church teaching from within. I only wish this story and the concerns raised from WikiLeaks were exposed beyond Catholic and other Christian outlets. So please read, share, and pray for the protection of our religious freedom.