The election of a liberal Jesuit to the papacy thrilled Democrats in the United States, whose unholy alliance with the Catholic left goes back many decades. Barack Obama, one of the pope’s most prominent supporters, has long been a beneficiary of that alliance. The faculty at Jesuit Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., ranked as one of the top donors to his campaign.
In a grim irony, Obama, whose presidency substantially eroded religious freedom in America, rose to power not in spite of the Catholic Church but because of it. The archdiocese of Chicago helped bankroll his radicalism in the 1980s. As he recounts in his memoirs, he began his work as a community organizer in the rectory rooms of Holy Rosary parish on Chicago’s South Side. The Alinskyite organization for which he worked — the Developing Communities Project — received tens of thousands of dollars from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
Obama was close to the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. A proponent of the “Seamless Garment” movement within the Catholic Church in the 1980s, a movement that downplayed abortion and emphasized political liberalism, Bernardin was drawn to the socialism and relativism of the liberal elite. He was so “gay-friendly” that he requested that the “Windy City Gay Chorus” perform at his funeral. He embodied Obama’s conception of a “good” bishop and one can see in his admixture of left-wing politics and relativistic nonjudgmental theology a foreshadowing of the rise of Pope Francis.
Cardinal Bernardin put pressure on his priests to work with Obama and even paid for Obama’s plane fare out to a 1980 training session in Los Angeles organized by Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. The conference was held at a Catholic college in Southern California, Mount St. Mary’s, which has long been associated with Alinsky’s group.
This alliance between the Catholic left and the Democratic left explains the honorary degree Obama received from Notre Dame in 2009, even as he plotted to persecute the Church under Obamacare’s contraceptive and abortifacient mandate. Notre Dame’s former president, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, who supported honoring Obama, had been close to Monsignor John Egan, the socialist who started the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and sat on Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation board.
The unholy alliance also explains how the Democratic Party, despite its support for abortion and gay marriage, won a majority of the Catholic vote in Obama’s two presidential elections. At the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte, nuns such as Sister Simone Campbell shared the stage with abortion activists from Planned Parenthood. A liberal dean of a Catholic university, Sister Marguerite Kloos, even got caught in an act of voter fraud that year, forging the signature of a deceased nun on a ballot. As Thomas Pauken writes in The Thirty Years War, “the radicalization of elements of the Catholic clergy turned out to be one of Saul Alinsky’s most significant accomplishments.”
The election of Pope Francis was seen by Alinskyite activists as a dream come true. “I think that Pope Francis is quite an inspiring figure,” Al Gore said at UC Berkeley in early 2015. The former vice president turned radical environmental activist called Pope Francis a “phenomenon” and laughed at his liberalism: “Is the pope Catholic?” Gore said that he is so “inspiring to me” that “I could become a Catholic.”
Leftists frequently turn up at the Vatican, often invited by one of Pope Francis’s closest advisers, the socialist Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga. Before the pope’s visit to the U.S., a group of left-wing activists and officials from unions and organizations such as the SEIU and PICO (an Alinskyite group founded by the liberal Jesuit Father John Baumann) descended on the Vatican to confer with curial officials about the trip. Around the same time, over 90 members of the U.S. Congress sent Pope Francis a letter, urging him to focus upon politically liberal themes. The leader of this group was Rosa DeLauro, a Catholic who supports abortion rights.
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