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.”
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.
Catholic Advocate has raised questions in recent weeks regarding grants made to non-Catholic organizations from the proceeds of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) national collection held the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. As Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith wrote on February 19, “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.”
The goal of the CCHD collection is to support anti-poverty programs. The research done by other organizations has demonstrated grants have been distributed to some organizations advocating for public policy or supporting initiatives that contradict non-negotiable Church priorities.
What have we asked our Bishops to consider?
Suspend CCHD grants.
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.
Develop and publicly distribute new policy guidelines to Diocesan offices for the vetting and approval of CCHD grant proposals.
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.
As of the announcement of the National Collection for Life, neither the Bishops nor their lay staff have responded to our questions. Some defenders of the CCHD program have chosen to level personal attacks because we are speaking out on these issues with the program. We promise the Catholic Advocate community to remain in optimistic prayer they will work with us to reform the CCHD program and return it to funding programs to assist the poor instead of non-Catholic groups supporting same-sex marriage and abortion-related policies.
The leadership of Catholic Advocate, in the process of examining the source of CCHD funding from the annual national collection program, noticed something obvious in the list of national collections – the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops DID NOT have a National Collection for Life.
The leadership of Catholic Advocate felt it was important to also focus on having a beneficial impact on building a culture of life in our society. Yes, it is important to reform the CCHD program to prevent pro-abortion groups from receiving Catholic donations. It is equally important to also seek support for the positive efforts our Bishops undertake with their pro-life activities.
Why support the bishops’ pro-life activities?
“The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, under the guidance and direction of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, works to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and organize for its protection. The Secretariat is involved with positive educational campaigns and advocacy we as Catholics can support.”
Some of their programs include:
Develop educational material on pro-life issues
Conduct educational campaigns in the Church – e.g.,
Respect Life Program that begins on the first Sunday of each October
Conduct educational campaigns in the public square – radio, print, exhibit
Circulate fact sheets and other information on critical issues
Publish Life Issues Forum, a biweekly column for Catholic newspapers
Publish Life Insight newsletter
Encourage and enable programs to meet the needs of pregnant women, children, persons with disabilities, those who are sick or dying, and all who have been involved in abortion
Provide dioceses with pro-life liturgical suggestions each month
Coordinate/advise on public policy efforts concerning these issues
Assist dioceses to implement major pro-life programs
Our Catholic values are under attack each and every day from outside and, tragically, sometimes within the Church. We must remain vigilant against the efforts to undermine and work equally hard to sustain the effective programs making a difference defending the sanctity of life.
We as Catholics have a responsibility to support programs and policies working to advance the mission of our Church.
Supporting a National Collection for Life sends a positive message to our bishops that we will pro-actively stand with them when we know our contributions will be used to further the cause for life.
Planned Parenthood is at it again. This time, in Springfield, IL they’re offering “do-it-yourself” abortions through the use of drugs so that women can “complete” the killing of their babies within the comfort of their own homes. Oh, and I forgot to mention, at the bargain basement price of only $435.
An article in The State Journal-Register offers a very unbiased report on this new effort by Planned Parenthood to make abortion accessible to all. Citing that “some residents have had to drive at least 90 minutes to abortion providers” Stephanie Cox, a PP nurse -practitioner, notes that she is “relieved” this will no longer be necessary.
“I have seen so many women just devastated that they have to travel,” she said. “I just know it’s very burdensome for some women, especially women with small children already, or who can’t get off work.”
These “medication abortions” are by appointment only at the Springfield, IL PP health center. Once there, the “patient” is given one drug in pill form, mifepristone (RU-486), to be taken at the clinic. They are sent home with another pill, misoprostol, to consume, which should cause the baby to be aborted within 24 – 48 hours. Just think, you’re in and out in a short period of time, armed with meds to “do the job,” and headed for home.
Enter Shirley Caldwell Smith and Springfield Right to Life, thank goodness! They’ve already held a prayer vigil at the PP clinic and aired a minute long radio ad asking community members to pray for the lives of these unborn babies who will die if abortion comes to Springfield. Let’s hope they keep up the protests, and let’s all pray that their efforts will change the hearts of some of these women considering aborting their babies.
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.
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.
Catholic Advocate has just discovered a mistake in our Catholic Scorecard. Bart Stupak is listed as having “not” voted with the Catholic vote on item #3 for the 110th Congress, “The Smith-Stupak Amendment to Protect the Mexico City Policy.” Obviously, this is an error, and for this slight to Bart Stupak we are most regretful.
We are currently updating and revising the Catholic Scorecard (you will like it!) as it will be much more user friendly and interactive.
This change in Congressman Stupak’s voting record gives him a 71 percent pro-life score rather than the 57 percent as noted on the scorecard.
Our humble apologies are extended to Congressman Bart Stupak for this error and to our community for giving you incorrect information.
Lila Rose and Live Action have succeeded in getting an Alabama Planned Parenthood abortion clinic put on probation. The clinic in Montgomery, AL has one week to answer charges it has provided abortions to underage girls, as young as 13-15, without parental consent. They must come up with a plan to address these state violations in the future or risk being closed.
A member of Live Action, the pro-life, youth led movement based in California, posed as a 14 year old seeking an abortion without the consent of her parents. She was told by a clinic worker that “someone else besides a parent could give consent.” This advice and counsel were caught on an audio tape the activist participating in the sting was concealing.
Live Action, a non-profit student group, led by 21 year old president, Lila Rose, has visited dozens of abortion clinics across the country. Members pose as underage pregnant girls seeking abortion counseling.
According to Lila Rose it is “routine at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics to be told medical lies and to be subjected to manipulative counseling.”
“They will do or say anything in order to sell more abortions to more women, whether it is covering up sexual abuse or lying to women about medical facts,” says Rose. “Our team has visited dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics undercover. Planned Parenthood, while claiming to support patient self-determination, operates with an ‘abortion-first mentality.’”
Lila Rose and her youth-led movement are “dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion, the greatest human rights injustice of our time.” They employ sting operations at abortion clinics throughout the nation, gathering information and proof that many are providing inaccurate medical counseling and abortion services to underage girls.
Planned Parenthood take notice: Lila Rose and the pro-life youth of Live Action who work alongside her, will find you out if, in fact, you are dealing in unlawful abortion practices.
Kudos to Lila Rose, to Live Action, and to all the other young pro-lifers in America who are becoming a pro-active voice in helping to stop abortion. They have courage, conviction, and commitment, but most of all they have a strong faith, and know what they are doing is God’s work.