New Wikileaks Email: Pushing Catholic Revolution ‘à la Occupy’

News: US News
by Christine Niles  •  •  October 20, 2016   

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WASHINGTON ( - The latest Wikileaks revelations show the Clinton campaign mused on the possibility of launching large-scale demonstrations, protests and sit-ins "à la Occupy" against the U.S. bishops to oppose Church teaching on contraception.

In an email leaked Thursday by hacktivist Wikileaks, Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, is shown continuing to wonder what a "revolution" in the Catholic Church would look like and how it could be launched.

Writing to Hillary Clinton's campaign chief John Podesta (a Catholic), Newman writes, "I suppose it's conceivable that a few organizers could spark a high-profile demonstration or two (a la Occupy) that might turn out to be the spark."

Recall, Newman was responding to Podesta's email, which read, "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."

As has extensively reported, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United are Podesta's front groups that look orthodox on the surface, but whose purpose is to secure the Catholic vote for Democrats and their liberal agenda.

Podesta himself had been responding to Newman's earlier note criticizing the U.S. bishops for fighting the HHS Mandate, which would've forced the Catholic Church and Catholic entities to cover contraception, in violation of the Catholic faith:

This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98% of Catholic women (and their conjugal partners) have used contraception has me thinking ... 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. Is contraceptive coverage an issue around which that could happen. The Bishops will undoubtedly continue the fight. Does the Catholic Hospital Association support of the Administration's new policy, together with "the 98%" create an opportunity? (emphasis added)

Newman went on to muse, "I have not thought at all about how one would 'plant the seeds of the revolution,' or who would plant them. Just wondering" (emphasis added).

The Occupy Movement took center stage in September 2011, when thousands rallied at New York City's Zuccotti Park to protest Wall Street corruption. The Occupy movement spread throughout the world, with protests taking place in nearly 1,000 cities in 82 countries by October 9. More than 600 communities within the United States took part. The movement continued to spread throughout the next year, with Occupy protests on every continent except Antartica by October 2012. The slogan of Occupy Wall Street was "We are the 99%" — identifying with the majority of Americans not within the top 1 percent of wealthy.

The Occupy movement was inspired by the Arab Spring, a series of both peaceful and violent protests in the Middle East in 2010 pushing for government overthrow. Some of the riots led to civil wars, particulary in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. One of the common slogans chanted during Arab Spring demonstrations was "The people want to bring down the regime."

Newman's reference to "the 98%" is an allusion to the Occupy Wall Street slogan "We are the 99%" — except Newman's "98%" refers to the large number of Catholics who use artificial birth control, and who would form the base of his revolution pushing for change on Church teaching against contraception. This could presumably lead to the Church's acceptance of Obamacare's HHS Mandate and contraceptive coverage in Catholic healthcare plans.

When Newman expresses his desire to "plant the seeds of revolution" in the Church, and further clarifies that "a few organizers could spark a high-profile demonstration or two (a la Occupy) that might turn out to be the spark," he is not envisioning a quiet theological revolution that takes place on paper. Rather, the thrust of his message shows a desire for large-scale demonstrations, sit-ins and protests (perhaps outside the U.S. bishops' headquarters, or outside dioceses or churches) in the vein of the Occupy movement spreading to hundreds of communities across the nation and the world, organized by dissident Catholics.


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