“Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good. Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance” (CCC 2288).
The issue of health care dominated the debate during the 2010 election. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, attempts to provide universal care for American citizens long supported by the bishops.
Some people falsely assume that for health care to be universal it must be managed by the federal government. In fact, the bishops have never stipulated how universal health care – reasonable access for everyone to adequate health care – should be achieved. It could have been achieved by a combination of personal and corporate insurance coverage, supplemented by philanthropic and governmental programs. (more…)
From Jack Smith at the Catholic Key Blog comes an important report on a story from the diocesan newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Remember this is Nancy Pelosi’s diocese and one of the most “progressive” in the country.
Smith writes about a former friend and colleague, George Wesolek, who serves as Director of the Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Wesolek, Smith explains, “is no conservative, but rather that type of thoroughgoing pro-life, Catholic social justice advocate that is much talked about but rarely evidenced.”
Wesolek wrote a column in Catholic San Francisco that Smith describes as dropping “a bomb.” Wesolek writes:
So now we have some nuns accusing the bishops of lying about abortion. Are you shocked? Don’t be because this has been going on for a long time.
For years, most of the leadership of the LCWR and the Catholic hospitals (most of which are owned by these very same LCWR leaders) have been advancing a view of Catholic social teaching that reflects a vision that they learned in the 60s and 70s – a tired feminism that distorts the role of women and has at its center the freedom of women to “choose” to kill the infants in their womb if they so desire.
This view rightly offers deep concern for justice for the poor and vulnerable, but like so many in this age-group, minimizes or trivializes the unborn. “Network,” the Washington, D.C. lobbying arm of the LCWR does not include pro-life legislation as part of its work. If it does at all, it distorts the term “pro-life” to be so ambiguous and far-reaching that it includes everything. Thus, the sisters can say with a straight face that the current health care legislation is “life-affirming.”
The votes on health care are changing by the hour. The leadership of Catholic Advocate has learned from our allies in the battle to protect life on Capitol Hill that NOW is the critical time. There are two Members of Congress who especially need to hear from Catholics in their districts. Congressional offices are open in Washington D.C. Please contact them TODAY!
The House of Representatives will convene at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 21, 2010 for final consideration of the health care bill. The leadership of Catholic Advocate has been in regular contact with our connections on Capitol Hill and their offices will be open throughout the weekend.
NOW is the time to keep the pressure on certain Members of Congress who have yet to make their decisions public. If you live in one of the following districts, please contact them TODAY and tell them to VOTE NO on the pro-abortion health care bill.
The Catholic Advocate community knows March Madness started early on Capitol Hill. Every day Catholic Advocate is learning of other Members of Congress who are starting to understand American Catholics DO NOT want them voting for the pro-abortion health care bill. In addition to those we have previously alerted our community to, below is a list of additional Catholics who need to hear from you TODAY!
Thursday, March 18, 2010 the House Committee on Rules will consider Chairwoman Louise Slaughter’s parliamentary gimmick that will allow Members of Congress to vote on the procedure rather than a simple up or down vote on the health care reform bill.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-08 – Catholic) and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are leading this effort to push through a health care bill that includes federal funding for abortion because they DO NOT have the votes. Catholic Members of the House Committee on Rules need to hear from you that this is unacceptable. NO TRICKS – UP or DOWN VOTE!
We have a duty to contact our Members of Congress and tell them to oppose the health care bill. There is a very simple way for the Catholic Advocate community to “Write Your Representative.” Step one select your state; Step two enter your zip code; Step three click on “contact my representative”. You will be taken to your Member of Congress’ website where you can find their phone number in Washington to call or a way to send them an e-mail. It is critically important for Catholics to be heard NOW at this critical moment as Congress is close to passing this major piece of pro-abortion legislation. We cannot let the labor unions and other pro-abortion lobby be the only pressure on Congress.
Special Note from Catholic Advocate:
In addition to contacting your own representative, there are ten Catholic Members of Congress who might become critical votes and need to hear from our community.
According to their website “CHA’s Vision…the Catholic health ministry will be a vibrant presence in enhancing the health of communities and access to quality care for everyone, with special attention to those who are underserved and most vulnerable.”
Let them know it is important to stand for the most vulnerable – the unborn.
Appearing on “Meet the Press” August 24, 2008 Nancy Pelosi tried to speak for the teachings of the Church on the Sanctity of Life.
MR. BROKAW: Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you’re looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, “Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?” what would you tell him?
REP. PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child–first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There’s very clear distinctions. This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and–to–that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who’ve decided…
MR. BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it…
REP. PELOSI: I understand that.
MR. BROKAW: …begins at the point of conception.
REP. PELOSI: I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions. That’s why we have this fight in Congress over contraception. My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must–it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think. But that is not the case. So we have to take–you know, we have to handle this as respectfully–this is sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully and not politicize it, as it has been–and I’m not saying Rick Warren did, because I don’t think he did, but others will try to.
Now she is invoking prayers to St. Joseph the Worker on “his feast day”, March 19, 2010 as a reason to pray for the “life affirming” health care legislation. In her remarks, she also highlights the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Sisters of Notre Dame “both of whom taught her” and signed the March 16, 2010 letter supporting the health care legislation. Well that starts to explain it!
Speaker Pelosi is WRONG once again. The health care bill is NOT “life affirming”.
Catholic Advocate does not need to say anymore. Watch the video so you can see Speaker Pelosi’s remarks for yourself.
P.S. The Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker is May 1; small technicality, Madame Speaker. March 19 is the feast day of St. Joseph of Nazareth, the Husband of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus. St. Joseph of Nazareth, the patron saint of fathers who knew what it meant to protect the life of the unborn…the one who would become our Savior.
Reconciliation…The “Slaughter Solution”…Senate version…House version…Conference Committee…Whip Count…game changer. These are all words and phrases that only the Washington D.C. culture could use interchangeably in everyday conversation and lately they are all we hear when the punditry discusses politics and the health care reform legislation.
For most American Catholics, it probably seems like the first time you tried to understand the Latin Mass and thinking to yourself moving to English was a part of Vatican II you understood the logic behind. I am confident in American Catholics that if they sat down they would understand all of these versions of Washington-speak. The point is they should not have to be an expert in Congressional parliamentary gimmicks to know what is at stake in the health care bill.
American Catholics understand the issue at hand is simple. There are the non-negotiable issues in the health care legislation such as opposing federal funding for abortions and preserving the rights of the Church to operate based on its teachings.
Then there is the broader issue of health care reform. The over 20 million Catholics who, according to Gallup, regularly attend Mass know the fact stated by my colleague Deal Hudson when he recently wrote “Catholics need to realize there is no ‘Church’s view’ on the present health care bill, but there is a position being taken by the bishops’ conference. The Church teaching Catholics are obliged to consider comes in the form of moral principles that must be applied prudentially to the legislation under consideration. A majority of Americans do not support the current legislation. Even more Americans think the “reforms”, as proposed, will hurt the economy.
Washington will focus on the deal making and back room strategy sessions to manipulate the rules of Congress and the words of the Constitution even after any vote occurs. American Catholics should neither focus on what a cable show talking head thinks, what Bishops Conference officials are saying or not saying, nor the flawed stance of the Catholic Health Association. We need to focus instead on the basic fact Congress should not allow the federal government to fund abortion and take matters into our own hands.
On January 4, 2010, Catholic Advocate encouraged Congress and the President to start over on the health care legislation. We believe a more appropriate strategy to address the needed reforms would be to separate the legislation into individual, smaller portions. Pass the parts in a methodical and thoughtful manner instead of force feeding American Catholics a policy that in reality does not make sense for their families.
Catholics have a right and a duty to hold fire to the feet of our elected officials. If you are reading this and have also grown increasingly frustrated by politicians voting against your values, there is a very simple solution. Become a Catholic Advocate, ensure your voice is heard, and become the real game changer.
On Monday, March 15, 2010, the Budget Committee started the process to reach Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s goal of voting on the health care legislation later this week without the pro-life Stupak-Pitts language. During Monday’s consideration, pro-life members were unsuccessful in adding the House pro-life language into the Senate bill. The actions on Monday were purely procedural and another example of the majority party in Congress voting against life. One of the next steps will be Thursday when the House Rules Committee takes up the Senate bill.
Monday’s actions are just another example of why we have a duty to contact our Members of Congress and tell them to oppose the health care bill. There is a very simple way for the Catholic Advocate community to “Write Your Representative.” Step one select your state; Step two enter your zip code; Step three click on “contact my representative”. You will be taken to your Member of Congress’ website where you can find their phone number in Washington to call or a way to send them an e-mail. It is critically important for Catholics to be heard NOW at this critical moment as Congress is close to passing this major piece of pro-abortion legislation. We cannot let the labor unions and other pro-abortion lobby be the only pressure on Congress.
Establishment political observers are calling the congressional race in California’s 53rd district “David vs. Goliath” – and that’s alright with Mari Hamlin Fink because she knows that outcome.
Mari is a ninth-generation San Diegan. Her San Diego ancestry can be traced back to the 1700s with Don Jose Francisco Ortega, who arrived on one of the Portola expeditions and helped Father Junipero Serra build the California missions.
Mari has spent the last thirty years serving in numerous leadership positions throughout her community. Mari says her Catholic upbringing is responsible for a lifetime of service in the non-profit sector. “I bring an ethic of service taught to me by my faith all my life. Serving and working for one’s fellow man is the highest and greatest act of charity we can give.” Mari’s experience finding successful solutions at the community level is why she opposes the intrusive over-reaching big government agenda of the Obama administration.
In January, Mari Hamlin Fink announced her candidacy for California’s 53rd district in the heart of San Diego. Should Mari win the June five-way Republican primary she will face ten year veteran Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat born in Massachusetts.
Fink cites the business as usual in Congress with complete disregard for the will of the people as motivation to enter the race. “Elected officials need to remember they serve at the pleasure of their constituents,” said Fink. “Too much time in Washington following party leadership that serves special interest groups and ignores what people back home want has led to a real disconnect,” she added.
Mari shares the sentiment of thousands of frustrated Americans as Congress continues its reckless spending and increases the deficit to dangerous, unprecedented levels. “Congress’ spending represents a fundamentally flawed welfare state mentality,” said Fink, “the Pelosi-Davis model creating new entitlement programs will bankrupt this country.”
San Diego Catholics should pay close attention not only to Davis’ support for “government as usual” but her votes against non-negotiable teachings of the Church.
The mother of three sons, Mari Fink believes in the sanctity of life. She feels all life needs to be protected and will work to safeguard the dignity of all, especially the disabled, terminally ill, elderly and unborn.
Fink also believes in protecting the institution of marriage because it is in the best interest of all our children. Susan Davis is an original H.R. 3567 co-sponsor, a bill “To repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.” Davis has joined with advocates of same-sex marriage working overtime to have H.R. 3567 reach the floor of the House of Representatives and repeal a 13 year-old law previously supported by 85 percent of Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. If they succeed in passing the bill, and it is signed by President Obama, 40 states will be forced to recognize same-sex marriages.
In 1996, the Catholic bishops in the U.S. expressed the Church’s teaching this way:
“[W]e oppose attempts to grant the legal status of marriage to a relationship between persons of the same sex. No same-sex union can realize the unique and full potential which the marital relationship expresses. For this reason, our opposition to ‘same-sex marriage’ is not an instance of unjust discrimination or animosity toward homosexual persons.”
Democrat Party leaders in Washington have grown comfortable with the 53rd district’s decade-long support for their pro-abortion candidates such as President Obama, John Kerry, and Susan Davis who have all received over sixty percent of the vote. Fink feels Davis is vulnerable. “The people in this district are independent thinking and want a common sense approach to today’s important issues. They believe in main street values. Susan Davis has not legislated consistent with these values.”
Those who know her work in the community believe she is the most viable primary candidate because of her years of living and working in the district. In addition Mari has a secret weapon; her pastor and official campaign chaplain, Fr. William Kernan, loaned her a relic of St. Ann for campaign headquarters.
Mari has placed her campaign under the protection of St. Ann, the same saint her mother dedicated all her children. The devotion to St. Ann began in the U.S. when the Passionist Priests and Brothers built a monastery in Scranton, Pennsylvania over a mine. They called on St. Ann numerous times over the years when foundational damage threatened their magnificent structure. Mari believes as the Passionist monks replied in the midst of their challenges, “Saint Ann will take care of her own.”
By Matt Smith, Catholic Advocate Vice President, who, when he is in San Diego visiting family, attends St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in San Diego.
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.