From the Catholic News Agency:
The email exchange, entitled “Catholic Spring,” also suggests that two organizations – Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United – were created for such a purpose.
“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,” wrote Sandy Newman, president of progressive organization Voices for Progress, in the first of two emails in the February 2012 exchange.
The recipient of the email, John Podesta, is Catholic and a graduate of Georgetown University. He currently serves as the head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for presidency....
In the exchange between Newman and Podesta, the former began by asking if contraceptive coverage and the then-newly announced HHS mandate could be used as a wedge issue to place between Catholics and the bishops.
The U.S. Bishops’ Conference, numerous Catholic institutions, and other employers of faith have challenged the mandate since its inception in 2011. They have argued that the regulation’s requirement that employers provide and pay for contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and procedures violates their deeply-held religious beliefs.
In the email, Newman went on to say, “Of course, this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of 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 to the inquiry by saying, “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.”
At the time of these emails, Catholics United was headed by executive director James M. Salt. Salt also serves on the board of directors of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
In 2012, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good was headed by Alexia Kelley. Since then, she has served as the senior advisor and deputy director in the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as well as the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She currently serves as president and CEO of Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, a Catholic grant-making organization.