Monthly Archives: February 2010

Catholic Politicians Shouldn't be Jekylls and Hydes

By Brenda Steele

Was President John F. Kennedy instrumental in “privatizing” religion? Russ Shaw, writing for InsideCatholic.com thinks that is the case. In his piece titled “Privatizing Religion” Shaw recalls that JKF’s assurance that his religious views were his “own private affair” has allowed future Catholic politicians to  pick up his mantra.

Case in point, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. We all recall her Newsweek interview when she whined that she “mourned” a “difference of opinion” but that her own free will allowed her this. Pelosi is hardly the only Catholic politician to exercise this idea of separating faith from the public square. Others come to mind, such as John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. The list is long, and you know who to add.

So, the question begs to be asked, “How does one proclaim to be a faithful Catholic and yet “separate” the teachings of their faith from day to day decisions, whether these be concerned with family issues, work issues, or political ones? It is not enough to be a “good” Catholic by attending, at a minimum, Sunday Mass and, perhaps, participating in the life of the Church, and then dismiss Church teachings on Monday in favor of a “separatist” attitude.

This insistence of “my faith is personal,” subscribed to by far too many Catholic politicians, makes me wonder if they have split personalities! Can you have a movie without popcorn, an Oreo without a glass of milk? No, of course not, just as you cannot be one person in church and another outside of church. Our beliefs determine “who” we are at all times, whether in the public square, in church, or within our families.

I say to all Catholic politicians, let the beliefs of your True Catholic faith shine through, guide all you do and say, and give glory and honor to our Lord. Don’t be a Jekyll and Hyde.

Thank You Leader Boehner!

2-25-10 Posted by admin in Abortion, Blog, Gallery, Health Care, Recent Articles 3 Comments

By Matt Smith

Yesterday, Catholic Advocate President Deal Hudson asked:

Who will stand up when the cameras are on and oppose abortion funding?

This afternoon, Minority Leader John Boehner (R, Ohio – 8th), a Catholic, answered the call.

“The Stupak-Pitts amendment — which reflects the will of the American people on the issue of federal funding of abortion — is supported by a bipartisan majority in the House but was excluded from the President’s proposal…”

“Pro-life Democrats in the House have already pledged to vote against this provision. Health care reform should be an opportunity to protect human life — not end it. This fundamental issue isn’t even listed as a topic for discussion at the summit.”

Leader Boehner had requested the White House invite Congressman Bart Stupak (D, Michigan – 2nd) to the summit because of the key role he played in successfully adding an amendment ensuring the sanctity of life was preserved during the House of Representatives’ debate.

With Congressman Stupak not in attendance, Leader Boehner carried the banner for the unborn by directly telling President Obama that Americans do not want abortion funding in any version of health care reform.

Catholic Advocate updated our community in advance of the summit with “What specifically should concern American Catholics?” about the White House proposal still embracing a majority of the Christmas Eve Senate-passed health care reform legislation.

“The Senate legislation does not include the Stupak-Pitts language. The approach, endorsed by the White House on February 22, 2010, allows subsidies for abortion coverage and even directly funds abortion through grants to community health centers.  National Right to Life pointed out that by increasing funding for community health centers to $11 billion without ensuring funds cannot be used to pay for abortion, the President’s proposal actually expands abortion, with more money than the previous version included.  Additional concerns, including conscience protection issues and back door abortion mandates, also remain within the President’s proposal to the same extent as they existed in the Senate bill.”

Catholic Advocate thanks Congressman Boehner for his leadership at the White House Health Care Summit.

One Question From American Catholics For Health Care Summit Participants

2-24-10 Posted by admin in Abortion, Blog, Health Care, Recent Articles 1 Comments

As the White House prepares to host the Blair House Health Care Summit on February 25, 2010, the leadership of Catholic Advocate has one simple question:

“Who will stand up when the cameras are on and oppose abortion funding?”, asks Catholic Advocate President Deal Hudson.

President Obama’s plan, announced Monday, used the Senate passed language as a starting point. Catholic Advocate agrees with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that the Senate language should be unacceptable to American Catholics.

To read the full press release, visit the Catholic Advocate Press Room.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 4:30 p.m. – February 24, 2010:

At the time Catholic Advocate issued our press release, Republican Members of the House of Representatives had not yet confirmed their attendance at the Blair House Health Care Summit. Subsequently, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R, Ohio – 8th), House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Dave Camp (R, Michigan – 4th), and Congressman Paul Ryan (R, Wisconsin -1st) were announced as part of the Republican delegation attending the summit bringing the total number of Catholics attending to twelve. We include Leader Boehner and Congressmen Camp and Ryan in our question to participants.

Also today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R, Ohio – 8th) sent a letter to President Obama asking Congressman Bart Stupak (D, Michigan – 1st) be included in the Blair House Summit.

In the letter, Leader Boehner writes:

“As you know, the Stupak amendment is not included in the Senate version of the health care bill, nor in the new proposal you put forth earlier this week and designated as the starting point for the discussion that will take place at Blair House on February 25. But public opinion surveys (including two recent surveys conducted by CNN and Quinnipiac University) consistently indicate that the Stupak amendment reflects the will of the American people.

“During the House floor debate on H.R. 3200, I individually questioned each of the Democratic committee chairmen with jurisdiction on health care issues to seek their assurances that the will of the House, as reflected by the support of a bipartisan majority for the Stupak amendment, would be preserved when a final health care bill is crafted by the Democratic majority in Washington. None committed to working to ensure that the House position is preserved in a final health care bill. These same majority committee chairmen will be representing the House in the February 25 summit….

“I write today to respectfully ask that you invite Rep. Stupak to participate in the February 25 health care summit so that the will of the American people – and that of a bipartisan majority in the House – on the critical issue of life will be appropriately represented during the discussion…”

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 9:00 a.m. – February 25, 2010:

More news broke late yesterday when it was learned the White House made a last ditch effort to invite Senator Olympia Snowe (R, Maine) and Senator Ron Wyden (D, Oregon).

Fox News received the following statement from her spokesman, John Gentzel:

“Senator Snowe did receive a call from the White House this morning to attend tomorrow’s bipartisan health care summit. While she greatly appreciates the invitation, the Republican leadership understood the rules of the summit, as established by the Administration weeks ago, were that the Democratic and Republican leadership would select their own members to participate in the event. The Republican leadership had long since selected their team and therefore, it would have been inappropriate for Senator Snowe, under those circumstances, to accept the invitation. This is a summit between the leadership and the President and she believes it is a critical opportunity for the respective leadership teams to convey their ideas directly with the President. Throughout this process, Senator Snowe has been sharing her views with the White House and she assured the White House today that she will continue to play a leadership role on this vital issue in the days and weeks after tomorrow’s event.”

It is interesting to note the White House was dismissing Minority Leader Boehner’s call to include Congressman Bart Stupak in the summit while at the same time working around the ground rules.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 1:00 p.m. – February 25, 2010:

Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (R, Louisana – 2nd), the only Republican to vote for the health reform legislation, says he’s unlikely to do so again. Congressman Cao is Catholic and once prepared for a vocation to the priesthood.

“I have conveyed to the White House that at this point I cannot support the agenda that’s being pushed because of the federal funding for abortion,” Cao said in an interview with CNN. “Unless the abortion language changes, I cannot support the president’s program.”

Health Care Summit

2-23-10 Posted by admin in Abortion, Blog, Featured Issues, Health Care 0 Comments

Health Care Summit

On February 25, 2010, the White House invited Members of Congress to a Health Care Reform Summit at the Blair House. On Monday, the President released his own 11-page health care proposal. Read Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith’s commentary on the President’s proposal which closely resembles the Senate version passed on Christmas Eve and similarly expands abortions. Catholic Advocate has created a summary of those attending the event who might have some influence when the cameras finally roll on Thursday. Click here to see the list and pray Congress and the President make the right decisions on the sanctity of life.

Members of Congress Attending February 2010 Health Care Summit

2-23-10 Posted by admin in Abortion, Health Care, Uncategorized 3 Comments

The following is a list of those attending the February 25, 2010 Blair House health care summit:

U.S. Senate

U.S. House

*denotes Catholic (12 total)

Note: This list is current as of Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. If additional Members of Congress confirm attendance, Catholic Advocate will update the list.

Play It Again, Sam…Obama-care Still Funds Abortion

By Matt Smith

President Obama campaigned on working with both sides of the aisle to achieve “progress” for America. He played into Americans’ growing frustration at Washington grid-lock, making promises he has not kept. Many members of the minority party have consistently been denied access to the one-sided, one-political party work on health care legislation while it has been fumbled by the President’s own party.  Then, a year into office, President Obama issued this call during his State of the Union:

“… if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.  Let me know.  Let me know. I’m eager to see it.”

The bold State of the Union dare was followed by publicly inviting members of Congress down to a health care summit being held this week.

One of the first mistakes President Obama made was leaving the crafting of the health care legislation solely to Congress. This signature domestic policy issue of President Obama spent the majority of 2009 mired in a lack of direction, focus, and attempts to make the legislation a vehicle for radical social change. Normally, when the White House has a policy priority it is communicated, both officially and unofficially, with the Congress what they want in the legislation, taking a leadership position in negotiations.

At the beginning of 2010, Catholic Advocate called on President Obama to start over on health care reform. The premise for our call was the White House endorsement of the Christmas Eve Senate language which all will remember included the pro-abortion Senator Ben Nelson Nebraska-compromise. Now, 13 months into office the President has finally chosen to lead by advancing his own 11-page health care proposal. Unfortunately, the “new proposal,” deliberately released prior to the supposed “bi-partisan” health care summit, is just a repackaging of the previously passed Senate version.

Recycling bad policy is not leadership. Maintaining the Senate language is unacceptable to the non-negotiable teachings of the Catholic Church on the sanctity of human life.

President Obama declared eight times during his campaign for the presidency that he would open negotiations on health care reform for all Americans to watch on C-SPAN. C-SPAN’s CEO Brian Lamb even sent a letter to the President asking him to open any negotiations to cameras. Once again, 13 months later, the President is finally implementing a promise…well sort of. But, like a bad reality show, Thursday’s summit will just be staged political theater. Except, in this situation no one will be receiving any roses, and the only thing that should be voted off the island is the persistence of bad policy.

By introducing this proposal in advance of the summit he is hosting to listen to members of Congress, the President has essentially told them he is not open to new ideas, just the same flawed policies from last year.

What specifically should concern American Catholics?

The Senate legislation does not include the Stupak-Pitts language. The approach, endorsed by the White House on February 22, 2010, allows subsidies for abortion coverage and even directly funds abortion through grants to community health centers.  National Right to Life pointed out that by increasing funding for community health centers to $11 billion without ensuring funds cannot be used to pay for abortion, the President’s proposal actually expands abortion, with more money than the previous version included.  Additional concerns, including conscience protection issues and back door abortion mandates, also remain within the President’s proposal to the same extent as they existed in the Senate bill.

A famous quote of candidate Obama included:

”You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.

“You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.

“We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

In this situation, I could not agree with you more, Mr. President. Let us pray members of Congress involved with supporting the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House have the courage to speak up later this week when the cameras are finally rolling.

Why Tom Golisano Believes in Ave Maria University

2-22-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

By Deal W. Hudson

Last November 5, Ave Maria University celebrated a generous gift of $4,000,000 from Tom Golisano, chairman of Paychex, the second largest payroll processor in the U.S. It’s not surprising that Golisano’s gift, being owner of the Buffalo Sabres hockey and Buffalo Bandits lacrosse teams, will go to build its field house, where its sports teams will compete and wellness programs will take place.

Golisano is a well-known public figure in New York, having run three times for governor on the Independent Party ticket, and, most recently, having moved to Florida in protest of high state taxes in New York.

Some of Golisano’s political affiliations and comments have led to criticism of Ave Maria University for accepting his gift. The controversy was ignited immediately after the November 5th event and culminated in an article by The Wanderer on January 28. The Wanderer article called into question the relationship of Tom Golisano to Ave Maria University.  It was entitled, “AMU Patron Golisano…Super Generous to Anti-Life Dems.”

Following the argument on some Catholic blogs, The Wanderer article cites three main pieces of evidence to back its criticism:

1.  a 1994 New York Times article in which Golisano describes himself as pro-choice;

2.  a $1,000,000 donation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention;

3.  and his millions in support of the William J. Clinton Foundation.

At their regularly scheduled meeting in November (shortly after the controversy began), when the board and its committees met, the Golisano gift was thoroughly discussed.  According to Paul Roney, AMU’s chief financial officer, after discussion, members of the board asked the administration to further verify its initial understanding of Golisano’s pro-life position.  Following the meeting, the administration was thoroughly “satisfied” that the New York Times article was inaccurate and Golisano was pro-life; this was then conveyed to the board.   Among those present at the meeting were Adam Cardinal Maida, Rev. Benedict Groeschel, Ambassador Michael Novak and chair, Michael Timmis. The issue was not brought up again at the February board meeting other than reports of the recent groundbreaking ceremony of Fieldhouse.

Nick Healy, president of Ave Maria University, told me that the board had relied on what Mr. Golisano had personally confirmed, but “since we continued to receive criticism, we decided to ask him to put it in writing.” Golisano readily agreed, “there was no resistance to that.”  Golisano sent a letter to Thomas Monaghan, chancellor of Ave Maria dated December 3, 2009. In it, he claimed the New York Times misinterpreted him as being “pro-choice.” Golisano said, “I am pro-life now and have always been pro-life. I believe a woman’s ‘right to choose’ ends when sexual activity results in pregnancy. Hence, I do not believe that a woman should have a right to an abortion.”

Tom Golisano’s public declaration of his pro-life convictions was enough to convince Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, who had expressed his concern. Reilly wrote,

“I am relieved and grateful that Mr. Golisano has publicly opposed legalized abortion. This is the best possible outcome of a situation that helps demonstrate the importance of Catholic institutions refusing honors for public opponents of fundamental Catholic teachings and avoiding even the appearance of compromising Catholic identity.”

Deacon Keith Fournier, writing at Catholic Online, defended Ave Maria University against what he considered “petty, vicious attacks.” Fournier further explained, “It appears that Mr. Golisano, like most of us reading this article, is a work in progress. His long life reveals that he held some positions in the past which do not comport with those which he holds today. Some within certain segments of the Catholic blogging community were only too eager to point out those positions of the past.”

One thing about Tom Golisano is very clear – through his B. Thomas Golisano Foundation he  has been a generous philanthropist. He has donated over 6 percent of his net worth ($1.3 billion) to charity.  Much of his wealth has gone to universities, health care, Catholic education, science education, and services for people with developmental disabilities. (Golisano himself has a handicapped son.)

It’s unfortunate, in my opinion, that some Catholic bloggers have used their disagreement with Ave Maria University over Golisano to cast doubts on Tom Monaghan’s and AMU’s pro-life credentials.  If anything about Monaghan is beyond reproach it’s his commitment to the protection of innocent life.  His perseverance in the face of a boycott against Domino’s pizza by pro-abortion activists is a matter of public record.  In other words, Tom Monaghan did not cringe, did not back down, but put everything on the line to stand up for his Catholic convictions.

In making his gift, Tom Golisano knew what both Tom Monaghan and Ave Maria University represented – a Catholic faith based upon a clear reliance on the Magisterium’s pro-life teachings.  Tom Golisano gave his $4,000,000 to a man and an institution he believed in.

Australia Will Have Its First Saint!

2-21-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

By Brenda Steele

Pope Benedict XVI announced at a meeting of cardinals on Friday that Sister Mary MacKillop will be canonized on the 17th of October. Australians are ecstatic; Sister Mary will be their first ever saint. Celebrations have already begun in Sydney, as visitors to her memorial chapel, and there is always a steady stream, come to petition to Sister Mary and pray at her tomb.

Mary MacKillop, beatified in l995, is credited with two miracles. In l961 it was declared by the Church that she cured a woman suffering from terminal leukemia who had been praying to her. In l993 Sister Mary was again credited by the Vatican with the healing of a 66 year old grandmother with incurable lung cancer. This woman wore a relic belonging to Sr. Mary and prayed to her constantly.

The process to determine whether a cure can, indeed, be attributed to an individual is long and arduous. Medical documents and testimonies must be examined thoroughly, scientific experts must examine them as well as Church officials before reaching a conclusion; it often takes many years.

Mary MacKillop founded the Sisters of St. Joseph order in 1867 in Adelaide, Australia along with Father Julian Tenison Woods. The order they co-founded was dedicated to the education of the poor in South Australia. Sr. Mary and her Josephites, who had taken vows of extreme poverty, followed their mission into the Outback or wherever they were led, and lived in just as much hardship as their flocks.

In 1871, following a disagreement with then Bishop Sheil over educational practices, Mary was wrongly excommunicated. Not long after, in 1872, the bishop, realizing his mistake, had the censure lifted and she was completely exonerated. Sister Mary, a stalwart defender of her order’s rules and teaching practices, has sometimes been referred to as the “rebel nun.”

Sister Mary MacKillop spent her life ministering to the poor, young and old, and ensuring that the poorest of the poor in the countrysides of Australia, were schooled. Before her death in l909, Mary and the Josephites had created more than 40 schools near Adelaide alone, with many others in Queensland and New South Wales. Her order expanded to New Zealand and a school was established there as well.

Loved and revered by the Aussies, one recent visitor to her tomb commented, “It’s not just for Catholics; it’s for the whole Australian public. We are all quite excited.”

Catholic Advocate’s president, Deal Hudson, will be making his first trip to Australia in a few days. While there he will be visiting with Cardinal Pell in Sydney, and, no doubt, Deal will find his way to the tomb of Sister Mary MacKillop in North Sydney to pay his own respects and offer a prayer.

It is Time to Start Answering the Questions about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

By Matt Smith

On February 2, 2010 Catholic Advocate reported to our community about the latest research into grant recipients of the USCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) program.

The issue we, along with others, are raising is simple. Money donated by an “official” entity of the Church should not be used to work against the teachings of the Church.

When will the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stop diverting attention from the issue and begin to answer the questions at hand?

As of February 2010, research conducted by American Life League (ALL) and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry (BVM) has revealed USCCB CCHD money being granted to 18 organizations supporting pro-abortion and/or same-sex marriage policies and advocacy, and an additional 31 organizations that should be investigated. The organizations are separated into three sections: A) Groups Recently Defunded by CCHD; B) Groups Recommended for Defunding by CCHD; and C) Groups Recommended for Independent Investigation.

The Reform CCHD Now Coalition believes the evidence demonstrates the CCHD grant approval process is flawed and errantly diverting funds from its original intent to groups supporting policies in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Coalition has called for an independent review followed by reform, transparency, and improved stewardship of the money donated to the CCHD program.

Why should this matter to the faithful American Catholics in the pews on Sunday?

Catholic Advocate has been consistent with comments that the CCHD program is a well-intentioned effort in need of redirection. The CCHD grant program is funded by one of the thirteen “National Collections” facilitated each year by Dioceses for the USCCB. For some, it is an extra envelope in which to place a contribution, and in other parishes it might be the ushers passing around the baskets a second time.

CCHD donations range from $7 – $9 million each year which means, with 18,280 parishes in the U.S., the average parish contribution ranges from $382 – $492 each year.

The pro-abortion and same-sex marriage Chinese Progressive Association, one of only two organizations the USCCB has defunded, received a $25,000 grant in 2008 which amounts to the contributions of 65 parishes. Another organization, the Southwest Organizing Project in Illinois promotes abortifacient birth control and has yet to be investigated or defunded. They received $80,000 over the past two years which amounts to the contributions of 104 parishes.

The basic fact that ANY money is going to groups working against the teachings of the Church should be a source of concern. To date, solid evidence has shown $2,306,500 in grants has gone to groups advocating for issues contrary to the teachings of the Church. This represents the annual contributions of almost 6037 parishes – or nearly 1/3 of Catholic parishes in the United States.

Following ALL and BVM revealing information about the CCHD grant program, questions have been raised about participation by USCCB officials on the board of an organization where member groups received grants. This same umbrella group is involved with, among other activities, the America Votes project which is in clear violation of the USCCB’s own CCHD Policies.

Instead of answering the questions about their work on the board or knowledge of these groups and their activities, the USCCB staff and two bishops circled the wagons around one individual. They declared these questions were personal attacks and defended his support for Church teachings. No one, at any point, has questioned this individual’s dedication to the Church. In fact, ALL’s report goes out of its way to not question individual pro-life beliefs.

Additionally, it has been claimed the researchers should have met with USCCB staff to discuss their findings. Unfortunately, this is another falsehood, since meetings with members of the Reform CCHD Now coalition were either declined or canceled by USCCB staff.

In the course of defending their colleague against mythical personal attacks, the surrogates for these officials have now, in turn, done the very thing they condemned by attacking my colleague Deal Hudson. Nothing Deal Hudson has written attacked the convictions of USCCB staff. However, they have chosen to engage in a merciless attack of their own. I have known Deal Hudson for over 10 years. I have witnessed firsthand his strength as a husband and father. We are all human and make mistakes. He made one nearly 16 years ago, sought redemption, and I know the pain it caused is something he regrets. The USCCB surrogates are not attacking a side of a debate – they are attacking a family.

The surrogates, coming to the defense of the USCCB, have also labeled those raising these questions as “conservative,” “right-wing,” “Republican” Catholics. So, following the logic of these surrogates makes supporting the sanctity of life or working to preserve marriage as a union between one man and one woman (both non-negotiable teachings of the church) now something they are going to attempt to tag with political labels.

It is one thing to question the work of individuals or how an entity distributes funds, it is another to support surrogates making personal attacks. If the USCCB is truly non-partisan and believes both sides should be engaging in a civil debate on this issue, then they should immediately and publicly condemn these divisive political labels and the truly personal attacks on Deal Hudson.

What have we asked our bishops to consider?

  1. Suspend CCHD grants.
  2. Conduct an independent audit and review of all the organizations that have received CCHD grants during the past ten years to ensure programs, support for public policies, and affiliations are consistent with the teachings of the Church.
  3. Develop and publicly distribute new policy guidelines to Diocesan offices for the vetting and approval of CCHD grant proposals.
  4. Review the participation by USCCB staff in outside organizations and develop a conflict of interest policy that prevents such participation from supporting groups that work against the teachings of the Church.

Perpetuating perceived personal attacks and the five public attacks by USCCB surrogates against Deal Hudson are a distraction that needs to stop. It is time the USCCB and the CCHD start addressing the issues raised by ALL and BVM research. We should begin working together to prevent money donated by hard working Catholics to be  used against teachings of the Church.