Aquinas Deplorable

In the 1930’s, my uncle, Father Michael Nardone, was among a small group of priests newly arrived from Italy establishing a seminary in Maryland. One night, the Klu Klux Klan came looking for them and set fire to a cross on the seminary lawn.  Somehow amid the chaos and torching he managed to escape the hangman’s noose, a turn of fate for which he credited the Blessed Mother Mary.

Three quarters of a century later, my family history is relevant for our times as we learn from WikiLeaks the anti-Catholic bigotry that still exists and permeates the Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Proof of this is in the email exchanges among John Podesta, the man now running the Clinton campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, and John Halpin, a longtime official with the Center for American Progress, a pro-abortion “progressive think tank” founded by Mr. Podesta.

In snarky correspondences between Mr. Halprin and Ms. Palmieri, Halprin sniggers about a New Yorker Magazine article discussing Rupert Murdoch, owner and CEO of News Corporation and a convert to Catholicism.  He huffs at a reference that Murdoch had his children baptized in the Jordan River, calling it an “amazing bastardization of the faith.” This is the same river where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.  Halprin went on to demean all converts experiencing a Jordan River conversion as “totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Pontius Pilate would agree.

In addition to accusations of being “attracted to systematic thought and severely backwards . . . ”,  Halprin and Palmieri pontificate that Catholics are a bunch of rubes who “throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ ” because they “want to sound sophisticated.”

Mr. Halprin’s insulting reference is to the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, a Thirteenth-century Dominican friar and philosopher whose writings are considered pillars of the faith.  Aquinas, called the Doctor of the Church, established some of the fundamental constructs of Catholicism. Among them is the belief that truth is real, can be experienced in natural law, and is waiting to be found.  What’s more, virtues such as prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude are a natural part of everyone’s makeup and they, likewise, can be discovered through God and faith.

I take the ‘Thomastic’ slur personally, because as a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Edison, NJ (now Bishop Ahr), and thanks to a cadre of  Felician Sisters and lay teachers, I had to study the good saint, especially the Suma Thologiae,  his most notable triste on Catholicism.  Having read the WikiLeaks transcripts with their anti-Catholic screed, I discovered several truths, as Aquinas preached could be uncovered.

  • First, here’s the difference between the obscene rants Klan members must have yelled while they burned their cross at my uncle’s seminary and the bigoted emails of the Clinton campaign’s echelon: The Clinton team used a thesaurus.
  • Second, that Mr. Podesta and Ms. Palmieri have not been discharged from the Clinton campaign and that the former Secretary of State has not severed her relationship with Mr. Halprin is tacit proof Mrs. Clinton has no problem with this anti-Catholic bigotry.
  • Third, anti-Catholic bigotry remains the last socially accepted form of prejudice in this country and will remain so until Catholics decide they won’t take it anymore. A good start would be to no longer support and reelecting politicians who represent the intolerant policies of statist progressives. It is their programs that have decimated the traditional family unit and family life, a fundamental belief among Catholics as the foundation of the civil society and the conduit to experiencing truth in this world.

Finally, no one should blame Mr. Podesta, Ms. Palmieri – both Catholics – and Mr. Halprin, for their inability to grasp the awareness of experiencing truth and virtues.  After all, they live and work in the Hillary Clinton orbit where such things are nonexistent. Moreover, given their world view, how galling it must be for them to have to 40 percent of the U.S. population believing that in Aquinas, there was someone smarter than they are.

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