Democrats trying to change Church teachings? Nothing new.

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 12, 2016

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” wrote John Podesta, the chairman of the Clinton campaign. He was responding to a supporter who had suggested a campaign to bring change within the Catholic Church, to “demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship.”

A political campaign to change the teachings of the Church: is this unprecedented? Unfortunately, no. In this country, the desire to change the Church in order to advance the liberal agenda was on display more than 50 years ago:

In July 1964, several liberal theologians received invitations to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, for a discussion of how a Catholic politician should handle the abortion issue. Notice now that abortion was not a major political issue in 1964. Ostensibly the meeting had been called to provide advice for Robert Kennedy, who was running for a New York Senate seat. But a candidate was not likely to face questions about abortion in 1964; the Kennedy planners had the more distant future in mind.

From the Hyannisport meeting emerged the argument that a Catholic politician might be “personally” opposed to abortion, yet support its legalization: the flimsy argument that “pro-choice” Catholic politicians have so enthusiastically embraced. And it’s not a coincidence that one of the theologians who had attended the meeting helped form the pro-abortion front group, Catholics for Free Choice.

So it’s an old story, really. But the full truth about the Hyannisport meeting didn’t emerge until 2008, with the publication of my book The Faithful Departed (from which the quote above is taken). With Wikileaks the truth has come out faster.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - Nov. 02, 2016 8:42 AM ET USA

    May they rest in peace.

  • Posted by: feedback - Oct. 13, 2016 12:20 AM ET USA

    Some high-ranking clergy had to be involved in this, and hopefully some names will emerge.