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Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput speaks at a Vatican press briefing for the Synod on the Family on October 7, 2015.Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, October 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Fallout from anti-Catholic bias exhibited by high-level Clinton campaign staffers continued Thursday with a leading Catholic prelate weighing in to call out the bigotry exposed in the emails, the “social justice” groups stirring Church dissent for political gain, and the “cultural damage” wrought by Barack Obama’s presidency.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., said Catholic voters helped usher in the Obama era of hostility toward religion and that the “contemptuous anti-Catholic” prejudice displayed by Clinton campaign staffers in the emails was example of how bad things have become in the U.S. in the past eight years.

“But bad can always get worse,” Archbishop Chaput said. “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.”

The archbishop’s comments reference revelations of Catholic bashing this week in email exchanges during the past few years between Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta and Director of Communications Jennifer Palmieri — both Catholics — and two leftist activists.

Catholic beliefs are trashed as “backwards” in one email, and “conservative Catholics” are condemned for “an amazing bastardization of the faith.” Palmieri also demeans conservatives who become Catholics by reducing their motives to political calculating and at the same time taking a swipe at evangelical Christians.

“I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she writes Podesta and Center for American Progress senior fellow John Halpin. “Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals.”

In another email, Podesta admits that left-wing groups funded by George Soros to agitate Church dissent and which Podesta was instrumental in founding were created for a revolt against U.S. Catholic Church hierarchy — a “Catholic Spring” called for by Center for Progress President Sandy Newman in the email.

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this,” Podesta writes. “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.”

Archbishop Chaput identified this as well in his October 13 column, recounting how he was approached as archbishop of Denver during the 2008 Obama-McCain presidential campaign by two representatives of Catholics United concerned over Catholic influence in the Republican Party and that bishops might identify the Church with abortion opposition in the election.

“It was an interesting experience,” Archbishop Chaput wrote. “Both men were obvious flacks for the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party — creatures of a political machine, not men of the Church, less concerned with Catholic teaching than with its influence.”

He went on to explain how the encounter indicated the men from Catholics United presumed that bishops “were dumb enough to be used as tools, or at least prevented from helping the other side,” but regardless, they were successful in influencing Catholics to the Obama side.  

“Yet these two young men not only equaled but surpassed their Republican cousins in the talents of servile partisan hustling,” the archbishop wrote. “Thanks to their work, and activists like them, American Catholics helped to elect an administration that has been the most stubbornly unfriendly to religious believers, institutions, concerns and liberty in generations.”  

Archbishop Chaput then told his readers that he hadn’t heard from those men again, and this was likely because the battle for the will of Catholic voters had been all but won, stating, “The cultural damage done by the current White House has – apparently — made courting America’s bishops unnecessary.”

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Archbishop Chaput summed up in his column that between the two major party candidates and their flaws U.S. voters have an unattractive choice before them. He also pointed out that the nation has become one “where ‘choice’ is now the unofficial state religion.”

He ran down some of the anti-Catholic bias exhibited in the Clinton campaign staffer emails before sharing the outrage expressed to him in an email from a non-Catholic attorney practicing in church-state matters. The attorney calls the emails leaked this week “some of the worst bigotry by a political machine I have seen.”

“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,” he said. “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,” the attorney continued. “They are, at the very core, trying to turn religion to their secular view of right and wrong consistent with their politics.” 

In joining the Catholic voices calling for the Clinton campaign to renounce the anti-Catholic bigotry demonstrated in the emails by its high-level staffers, Archbishop Chaput employed humor and poked fun at the bias the emails betray.  

“Of course it would be wonderful for the Clinton campaign to repudiate the content of these ugly WikiLeaks emails,” he stated. “All of us backward-thinking Catholics who actually believe what Scripture and the Church teach would be so very grateful.”