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The Obama Catholic Coalition Meets in D.C.

By: Deal W. Hudson & Matt Smith

In the wake of the 2004 defeat of John Kerry, leftwing Catholics, aligned with the Democratic Party, got down to serious work. The result was a coalition of organizations, publications, writers, academics, and activists that helped convince a majority of self-identified Catholic voters to vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history, Barack Obama.

That same coalition met late last week at a Washington Briefing hosted by the National Catholic Reporter. Coming on the heels of their victory in passing the abortion-funded health care bill, the standing ovation given to Sr. Carol Keehan comes as no surprise.  The recipient of personal attention from the President, Keehan used her Catholic Health Association, a trade association of Catholic hospitals, to pronounce the health care legislation acceptable for Catholics. Her role was aptly rewarded when she was given one of the pens used by President Obama to sign the pro-abortion health care law.

Prior to the election, the media accurately reported that Sr. Keehan’s support of the health care bill was in opposition to that of the Catholic bishops. The bishops explained repeatedly they would not support a bill containing federal funding for abortion. Sr. Keehan refused to admit the presence of the funding along with her other differences with the bishops. Indeed, at the briefing she reiterated that she was in agreement with the bishops on the bill and on the non-presence of abortion funding.

Other leaders of the health care revolt against the bishops spoke at the briefing, including Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, who organized the religious order letter supporting the health care bill praised by Nancy Pelosi; Morna Murray, President of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good; Patrick Whelan, President of Catholic Democrats; and Speaker Pelosi herself who was there to rally her Catholic troops to help deliver on immigration.

It’s no surprise that Trinity University in D.C., a private, all girls, progressive Catholic University would host a forum of this nature with the liberal and Democrat-aligned National Catholic Reporter. It’s the alma mater of Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius, both of whom are featured prominently on the Trinity University website.

When Pelosi was first elected Speaker a special Mass was celebrated at Trinity with Rev. Robert Drinan, S. J. as homilist.  There could have been no more appropriate choice to honor Speaker Pelosi, since Father Drinan was the central figure in the creation of the pro-abortion Catholic politician.  That creation now outnumbers pro-life Catholics among members of Congress.

The issue of dissent by Catholic politicians, over abortion and marriage, has become increasingly contentious in recent elections.  Republican Catholic Outreach was successful in 2000 and 2004 in securing support for the pro-life GOP candidates over the pro-abortion candidates put forward by the Democrats.  The 2008 Catholic effort for McCain-Palin failed to take advantage of the momentum of previous presidential campaigns and the present RNC has done next to nothing to rebuild the effort.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele, himself a Catholic, did find the time, however, to appear at the Washington Briefing to make some remarks.  That was probably a wise choice because it brought him face to face with the coalition that must be beaten for a pro-life candidate to take back the White House in 2012.  The leadership of this Catholic Left coalition supports, helps elect, and provides cover for elected Catholic officials who routinely dissent from Church teaching.  In short, the priorities of the Democratic Party are put ahead of the Church.

Considering ourselves to be Catholic first, Republican second, we have both worked successfully on behalf of the Republican Party and candidates to reach out to Catholics. We are regularly attacked by progressive Catholics for our involvement in politics and for engaging Catholics and Catholic politicians who seek to compromise on non-negotiable teachings of the Church for the sake of social justice arguments. We shake our heads at the charge of being GOP shills against Catholics who uphold the Church’s teaching on abortion.

RNC Chairman Steele spoke to the Catholic Left coalition about his faith.  But, the leadership in this coalition has no interest in changing its mind on abortion and related issues – the Church’s message on life has been explained to them by John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Cardinal George, Cardinal O’Malley, Cardinal Rigali, and Archbishop Dolan, among many others.  When the National Catholic Reporter, the Catholic Health Association, and the Catholic Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious endorsed the health care bill they knew exactly what they were doing.

GOP leadership would be well-advised to stop speaking to deaf ears and study how these groups and their leadership spearheaded the Catholic effort for Obama in 2008. Their effort on Obama’s behalf in 2010 promises to be even bigger and better funded.  GOP indifference to this effort is just another instance of what fuels the tea party phenomena and why a similar attitude is spreading among faithful Catholics.

We at Catholic Advocate are educating grassroots Catholics about the importance of keeping their eyes not only on who gets elected but those groups and individuals who feed and protect them in office.  We are telling Catholic voters to make both parties earn their votes, or they will be taken for granted.

Part of the overarching problem is with the Church itself. As we are seeing in the aftermath of the health care debate, there are no consequences within the Church for groups that actively work among Catholics to promote abortion. Sr. Keehan and Speaker Pelosi, like most Catholics, are not used to being held accountable.  Lay Catholics, however, may well use their votes this coming November, and in 2012 to do what the bishops are so reluctant to do.

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7 Responses to The Obama Catholic Coalition Meets in D.C.

  1. DJP says:

    It seems to me that many sisters, like Sister Keenan, wants to split the church over our ideological differences. The church they seek and have been trying to create is devoid of the basic message of the Gospel: that Jesus came to save us from our sins in order for us to receive the gift of eternal life and that we are to help people as He would, but they would have us believe that bringing people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and into the sacramental life of the church is not the church’s central message. When Catholics aren’t clear about the basic Gospel message than it stands it reason why we would so disagree over health care. Without basing our beliefs upon Jesus’ death and resurrection, we begin to accept abortion as a right, same sex marriage as a valid expression of commitment and women priesthood as a form of justice and equality.

    These sisters never did care about the unborn; remember, we had these women as our college professors, and they never did understand Christian marriage because they were so bitter toward the men in the church. Now, they are beside themselves. They don’t know how to handle this conservative pope and they see every belief that they had tried to undermine now coming back to bite them in the rear-end.

    They have been quietly opposing the teachings of the church for decades. They shoved their theories, theologies and new Age Religion for the past 40 years down our throats and now finally, there are bishops who are no longer afraid to tell these so called women religious what they really think.

    For too many years, bishops and priests were intimidated by these women. “Yes sister, no sister and thank you sister.” Now we have a new generation of priests who had very little contact with these women and are no longer afraid to give them a piece of their mind.

    The tides are changing, let’s just hope that these tidal waves come sooner rather than latter.

  2. Donald Felix II says:

    Amen, amen & amen to DJP comments!!!

    When the religious took off their garb and started to dress like the world in the 60’s, 70’s & the 80’s – the world and it’s vises ate them up. It always has and it always will – it is just to powerful. For pride comes before the fall the scriptures says – and it is always our pride who we must fight.
    As started above by DJP, we the silent ones who have been beaten, spit upon by these lefties for years. It has been our valley of tears.
    Now she (Holy Mother Church) is raising up men & women dressing like people set apart for the Masters work, who put Holy Obedience first, personal Holiness second, & thirdly them – that needs to be put into the trash where it belongs – then go out into this world of sin to bring in the sick and weary among us to the safe harbor of Holy Mother Church & the rich Sacraments. Interesting that the orders of relgious women most growing in America are the ones who want to ware the full garb.
    At 59 years af age – I have seen the good and the bad in our Church & the past 50 years the left has had their way – the NOW women in the church & the weak, spineless men who have bent their knee’s to these liberal women & to this world.
    You can always tell that their can be error – when you see a priest who celibrates Mass as if it is waisting his time, his flippent jestors, OH, the routine of it all – oh my heart breaks every time I see the old and the young at Mass not having a clue what is taking place at the alter of grace before us. Weak Mass = weak and sickly sheep among you.
    Then the masses of cattle go up to recieve Him as if going to a fast food line at Mickey D.. Their eyes wondering all over, seeing how the others are dressed, making sure they are right up close next to the person in front – not to leave any space, we must hurry up, etc…
    If they really new what was beeing placed before them, they would be on their knees asking for forgiveness to be unworthy to receive such a sublime gift.
    Lastly, these Now women ( these wayward nuns) who have chosen this agenda are getting old and like the Jews wondering in the desert for 40 years – they will not enter My rest – and these will not as well!!! But Ido pray and fast for them to return & find their moral campus before they return to dust.

    In Jesus, Mary & Joseph,

  3. andrew trew says:

    Sister Keehan’s support for final versions of health care reforms raises an obvious question… Sister Keehan if the legal text she advocated was so favorable to Catholic pro life teaching and concerns on abortion…why did President Obama need to sign an Executive Order ensuring pro life protections ?

  4. Maria Lima says:

    AMEN, AMEN! I am proud of you both! This article is great; I am most intrigued by your comment about the Church’s failure to have consequences, at least to consistently uphold some, for those politicians who advocate abortion…I have so often wondered that myself!!!!
    During the Bush campaign in 2004, I remember attending a Catholics for Bush breakfast and meeting that had Ed Gillespie in attendance…it seemed to me at the time, and I did some volunteer work for the group back then, that the group was well organized. Where has that gone???? And why do some Archiocesis allow for a priest like Fr (uuuughhh, i CRINGE at using that title with him) Phleger (unsure of the spelling) in chicago, even going so far as to recognize him for his activism…yet other Archdiocis, such as my own in Miami, are SO RELUCTANT to allow conservative voices to be heard, when they advocate clear Church teaching!!!??? What can we do?

  5. Diane says:

    Catholics are divided in America. Whose fault is that?

  6. Pingback: Sister Carol Keehan Misrepresents Her Support of the Health-Care Bill

  7. Joe says:

    I believe there are many Catholic members that are not aware of a conservative message or group that will allow them to be informed or heard. These members are falling out of democratic society and not sure if they belong in the conservative group so they are out there as independents.

    The Tea Party has a growing momentum and is a group many can relate to regardless of their political party. Americans joining together to tell Congress and the President…Listen to your employers.

    The RNC needs to get the message to these people.

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