While the progressive media fret over the Koch brothers, Adelson, Super PACs, and “dark money PACs” they ignore the largest and most secret Political Action Committee in this country – the Catholic Church. The bishops control over 40,000 agencies, groups and organizations which receive a 501(c)(3) tax code, meaning that no donation, foreign or domestic, and no expenditure need ever be disclosed. Each of these has access to the Vatican Bank revealed by stolen documents to be “a unique ‘offshore’ corridor for politicians around the world who want to keep their money away from legal controls.”
Five former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican endorsed Mitt Romney for president on January 7, signaling that regardless of any domestic U.S. support for Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, Pope Benedict XVI had made his choice and Romney would now have the benefit of his global financial empire.
When bishops from Washington D.C. and the Military Services archdioceses were in Rome less than two weeks later, Benedict launched his 2012 presidential campaign. He warned them of the “grave threat” to “religious liberty” in the U.S. “which finds increasing expression in the political [i.e. Democratic Party] sphere.” The pope said he was particularly concerned with “certain attempts being made [i.e. by President Obama] to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”
(For those who remember, during the 2004 presidential campaign, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, instructed the U.S. bishops to withhold communion from Catholic Sen. John Kerry purportedly for his support of legal abortion. The AP and others reported that the resulting Catholic vote was crucial to Bush’s reelection. When Benedict arrived in the U.S. during the last presidential election year, Bush went out to Andrews AFB to greet him, an honor accorded to no other head of a foreign government before or since.)
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) manufactured a faux “Fortnight of Freedom” holding masses and demonstrations around the country. Their effort, however, was widely recognized as a political operation to energize their anti-Obama crusade.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said he received continuing instructions this month from a Vatican official, Cardinal Marc Ouellet. “The Holy See expressed concern over the current struggle for religious freedom in the United States, ‘in the very country that has been looked to as the guarantor and defender of that first of our liberties given us by God.’”
Romney, meanwhile, echoed Pope Benedict on July 18th at a campaign stop. When asked about his views on the president’s “attack on religious freedom,” Romney replied:
Religious liberty, our first freedom of those enumerated in the Bill of Rights. And the president and his administration said they are going to usurp your religious freedom by demanding that you provide products to your employees. If you're the Catholic Church, that violates your own conscience….And I know we're not all Catholic in this room. But I feel that we're all Catholic today. In our battle to preserve religious freedom and tolerance and freedom in this country, it is essential for us to push back against that.
When Romney returned to the U.S. after appearing in Gdansk the end of July under a statue of Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, he issued a new TV ad charging Obama with declaring a “war on religion” and using an image of, and a quote by, Pope John Paul II.
The candidate then announced the former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See were the new national co-chairs of the Catholics for Romney coalition, sidestepping prominent American Catholics without ties to the Vatican sovereign state. The ambassadors made the usual “our first freedom” blah blah “marriage as a sacred institution” blah blah “Obama is pro-abortion” statement in praising Romney.
The newly named vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, has already made the usual speech: “Catholics must act now to protect their right to religious freedom” blah blah “assault on our religious liberties” blah blah “violation of the First Amendment.”
Ryan has been roundly criticized for his decidedly un-Christian economic policies. Not surprisingly, the pope's appointed representatives have come to the Republican’s defense.
Cardinal Dolan “applauds [Ryan’s] obvious solicitude for the poor,” calling him “a great public servant” whom he “admires immensely.” Dolan said he “bristles when any Catholic politician who dares to suggest that we need to get our fiscal house in order, that we need to balance the budget, that we need to show some frugality and restraint, is automatically branded as anti-poor....Nobody suffers more from runaway deficits and a poor economy than the poor.”
Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisonsin, in defending Ryan stated: “The preferential option for the poor, which is one of the primary tenets of Catholic social teaching, means don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life; help people get out of poverty, out onto life of independence.”
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver: “Claims that Paul Ryan’s plan run deeply counter to Catholic social teaching are unfounded and unreasonable…. Christian stewardship cares for the poor by prudently planning, responsibly spending what is in the realm of the possible, while recognizing the limitations of our resources.”
And that, according to the Vatican, is the plutocrats’ Gospel truth.