A California Catholic Daily Exclusive:
On Thursday, October 27, the Lane Center of the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco will host John Gehring, “Catholic Program Director” at the organization Faith in Public Life. Gehring will speak on “The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church.”
USF’s timing could have been better chosen. In early October, Wikileaks released emails to and from John Podesta, the manager of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign. In one of the leaked email exchanges, Podesta and his correspondent, Sandy Newman, President of Voices for Progress, discussed methods for undermining the Catholic Church. Newman wrote: “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church… Even if the idea isn’t crazy, I don’t qualify to be involved and I have not thought at all about how one would ‘plant the seeds of the revolution,’ or who would plant them. Just wondering.” Podesta responded, “we created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this.”
Gehring was the Communications Director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good before being hired by Faith in Public Life.
Faith in Public Life was founded in 2006. According to “Discover the Networks,” the organization was granted $400,000 by George Soros’s Open Society Institute (now called the Open Society Foundation) in 2007 and again in 2008.
Prior to his stints with Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Gehring actually served as associate director for media relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
On June 27, 2012 Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, writing for the USCCB, issued an “Advisory Memo to Journalists” which stated:
“We became aware on June 7, that news media received a memo from John Gehring, casting aspersions on the Catholic bishops and their educational project on religious liberty, the Fortnight for Freedom. Mr. Gehring is Catholic Program Director of ‘Faith in Public Life,’ a group founded with help from a pro-abortion group long directed by John Podesta called the Center for American Progress (CAP); like the CAP it has received funding from billionaire atheist George Soros. These do not seem like eminent qualifications for telling bishops how to guide the Church….”
Following Wikileaks’ release of the Podesta emails, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia recalled a meeting he had with two members of group called Catholics United, another front group. On October 13, 2016, His Excellency wrote:
“Back in 2008, in the weeks leading up to the Obama-McCain presidential election, two young men visited me in Denver. They were from Catholics United, a group describing itself as committed to social-justice issues. They voiced great concern at the manipulative skill of Catholic agents for the Republican Party. And they hoped my brother bishops and I would resist identifying the Church with single-issue and partisan (read: abortion) politics. It was an interesting experience. 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.”
An abbreviated history of events at the Lane Center, which will be hosting Gehring: In 2006 the Lane Center co-sponsored the anti-Catholic “Queer Perspectives: Is it Ethical to be Catholic?” and “Alienated Catholics: establishing a groundwork for dialog” seminars. In 2007, the Lane Center sponsored another seminar at San Francisco’s notorious Most Holy Redeemer Church called “How to Survive as a Thinking Catholic.” In 2007, the Lane Center hosted a “Religion and Sexuality” seminar which featured speakers from Planned Parenthood. The same year, the Lane Center announced that Fr. James Keenan, SJ, would be their scholar-in-residence for 2008. On April 28, 2003 Keenan, speaking before the Massachusetts legislature “as a Catholic moral theologian,” opposed Massachusetts Bill H. 3190, which would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Also in 2008, the Lane Center (and “Voice of the Faithful”) hosted Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Australia speaking on “Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church: Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus.” Both San Francisco’s then-Archbishop George Niederauer and Los Angeles’s then-Archbishop Roger Mahoney had denied Robinson permission to speak in their respective dioceses.