Once he finished helping to elect President Obama by claiming that John McCain had done things that had “made politics dishonorable,” Jim Wallis began work immediately to help push the Democratic agenda through his writings, his blog, and his willingness to team with anyone who would help destroy Republican opposition to the Obama plan for health care, immigration, and finance reform.
Most recently, Wallis appeared on the Chris Matthews Show to talk about how those who oppose Barack Obama’s plans for the country just do not understand the need to support the common good. Wallis told Matthews that Catholics should support the Obama agenda because of its concern for the common good.
The theme of “the common good” is woven throughout Wallis’ book, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It.” And, although he often speaks of enlisting Catholics in his cause, it is clear that Wallis has little respect for the Catholic Church itself when he writes on the opening pages of his book that he is leading a movement that will “Take Back Our Faith” and then lists a number of those who have hijacked the faith: “from pedophile priests and cover up bishops who destroy lives and shame the Church.”
The choice to employ the theme of “the common good” is no coincidence. The fake Catholic group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (funded by George Soros and a host of anti-Catholic, pro-choice proponents) has partnered with Wallis several times in the past. Most recently, in the health care debates, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good teamed with Jim Wallis’ Sojourners and the Catholic Campaign funded Pacific Institute for Community Organizations to provide Catholic congregations with a “Health Care Tool Kit.” While the kit’s brochure never denied that the proposed health care reform would fund elective abortions with public money, it stated rather neutrally: “How Congress applies current policy on federal funding for abortion to new systems created through health reform will be an important issue for the faith community.” It also reassured readers that conscience protections would remain in place—even though no such assurance was ever promised.
Now Wallis is championing finance reform. On his blog (www.god’spolitics.com) Wallis wrote that the finance reform passed in the Senate is a “historic accomplishment,” and he encouraged its passage. Claiming the high moral ground, Wallis blogs that in the process of passing finance reform “there were principles that — from a moral and even religious viewpoint — guided our analysis of this legislation. Each of these moral principles is incorporated into the new bill.” It certainly seems like Barack Obama is now consulting with Wallis.
Disparaging those who disagree with him, most recently he has taken on Fox News commentator and host, Glenn Beck. Wallis is especially critical of Beck’s definition of “social justice” because it does not agree with his own and published a posting on his blog entitled: “Why Glenn Beck is a Danger to True Evangelical Theology.”
Wallis is powerful—but probably not nearly as powerful as he thinks he is. In an article he posted on The Huffington Post entitled “Wall Street Repent!” he likens himself to Jesus when he recalls that in his conversations with financial leaders about ethics, some of the more recalcitrant have come to him “like Nicodemus, a religious leader who came to talk to Jesus in private—at night.” This is hard to believe.
Now, Wallis has joined Nancy Pelosi in lecturing to religious leaders to admonish their parishioners–those “sitting in the pews” that they need to support the democratic agenda on key issues. Using the same talking points—and same phrases (“sitting in the pews”) Wallis has demanded on his blog that religious leaders provide “some sermons on the repentance of Wall Street, some pastoral care for the financial giants who sit in our pews, and some prayer vigils outside the nation’s biggest banks.”
Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State? In the last election the Democrats were apoplectic when some of the Bishops even suggested that parishioners should look at life issues when they were voting. And, now Wallis is suggesting that parishioners should be holding prayer vigils outside banks and demanding financial reform?
It is difficult to know what Jesus would do about all of this – but it is hard to imagine that Jesus would be joining Wallis in supporting the pro-abortion policies this President continues to expand. Besides, it seems that Wallis is beginning to think he is Jesus himself…Maybe there really is a reason to keep politics out of our Churches.
Late on May 19, 2010, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced they had withdrawn their membership from The Leadership Conference.
In response, Catholic Advocate President Deal Hudson commented:
“It’s a sad fact of politics that organizations originally founded for one purpose undergo changes over time that affect their mission. With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops removing itself from the Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, the bishops have recognized, as Bishop William Murphy put it, ‘The LCCR has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops’ Conference.’ No one will doubt the ongoing commitment of the Catholic bishops to upholding civil and human rights, but this action was necessary to avoid any confusion about its protection of the most basic human right, the right to life of the not-yet-born.”
The announcement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is below:
WASHINGTON-The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has pulled out of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition group founded in 1950.
At the same time the USCCB reiterated its commitment to oppose discrimination based on race, religion, sex, ethnicity, disabling condition, or age, and said that these are grave injustices and affronts to human dignity.
The bishops withdrew from LCCR after the coalition took one more position in opposition to USCCB policy, this time taking a stand on a Supreme Court nominee. Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, NY, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Peace, announced the withdrawal May 19. His statement follows:
In light of recent events, it has become increasingly clear that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ continued membership in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is not possible because of the LCCR’s expanded and broadened agenda. The interests of the Leadership Conference and those of the USCCB have diverged as the LCCR has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops’ Conference. In recent years, the Leadership Conference has joined others in advocating or opposing nominees for the Supreme Court, a practice which clearly contradicts USCCB policy and compromises the principled positions of the bishops. The latest example of this is the LCCR support of the Solicitor General’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
The USCCB deeply regrets this action has become necessary and pledges to continue our ongoing work on civil rights, racial and ethnic justice, and the protection of human life and dignity. While we cannot continue as a member of this coalition, we will work with those, including members of the Leadership Conference, on particular issues that advance the bishops’ commitment to oppose all forms of racism, unjust discrimination and bigotry.
As the bishops said in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship:
It is important for our society to continue to combat discrimination based on race, religion, sex, ethnicity, disabling condition, or age, as these are grave injustices and affronts to human dignity. Where the effects of past discrimination persist, society has the obligation to take positive steps to overcome the legacy of injustice, including vigorous action to remove barriers to education and equal employment for women and minorities. (86)
An organization called The Coalition for Constitutional Values has put on its web site a 30 second ad supporting Elena Kagan, Obama’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a member of the LCCHR, and as a member pays an annual membership fee. The Leadership Conference claims to work toward creating an America as good as its ideals.
Do those ideals for the bishops include putting pro-abortion justices on the Supreme Court, thus thwarting any efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade? This endorsement of the Kagan nomination is typical of public positions taken by the LCCHR for many years.
In February, I published an article, “Why Did the USCCB Join This Civil Rights Organization?” That article catalogued the various positions taken by the LCCHR that directly conflict with Church teaching. Support for abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception were among them.
It’s no surprise that the web site of the Coalition of Constitutional Values also features the endorsement of Elena Kagan by the Human Rights Campaign, the powerful gay rights lobbying group. Make no mistake about it, the Coalition for Constitutional Values speaks for all the membersof the coalition, including the USCCB!
The Leadership Conference has long been active in shaping opinion on the confirmation of judges. As I wrote in February,
“For many years, LCCHR has lobbied hard against the confirmation of pro-life judges and justices. In the midst of the debate of pro-abortion nominee Dawn Johnsen, [Deputy Director] Nancy Zirkin asserted that civil-rights groups are upset that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) hasn’t made the abortion advocate a higher priority. ‘There’s frustration she’s not at the top of the list,’ Zirkin said.”
The avid support for Elena Kagan, whose support for abortion “rights” has been widely documented, must be regarded as the final straw, a clear signal that the USCCB needs to withdraw from membership in the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights.
The battle over who controls the Internet will soon come to a head. Is it the federal government, as the Obama administration is seeking to establish, or the many private companies who collaborated to create it and the millions of private citizens who use it for their entertainment and livelihood?
Soon we will find out if the federal government is going to take over the Internet. Under the Obama administration the Federal Communications Commission is seeking to force AT&T and Verizon to lease their Internet lines to rival companies.
Requiring Verizon and AT&T to share their lines, the FCC would effectively be putting the Internet under government control. Control of the Internet is precisely what the Obama administration wants with its support of “net neutrality” — the idea that there should be no restrictions or priorities on the type of content carried over the Internet by the carriers and ISPs.
Obama’s support of net neutrality means that all Internet traffic will be treated equally, regardless of where it originated or to where it is destined. “I’m a big believer in net neutrality,” President Obama proclaimed only a few days ago while reaffirming his backing of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The groups backing net neutrality are opposed to companies like Verizon creating different levels of service by charging a higher cost for faster service. Other groups have argued that this kind of tiered service could also lead to “discrimination” against religious content for two reasons: Verizon executives may decide to filter religious content they find objectionable, and religious organizations may not be able to afford the faster service.
Those opposed to net neutrality argue that an Internet kept “open” by government regulation puts families at risk, for example, allowing sex offenders and pornographers to have unfettered access to home computers.
A month ago, in a severe setback to the Obama administration’s push for “net neutrality,” a federal appeals court ruled the Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to issue a 2008 citation against Comcast Corporation for inhibiting some Internet traffic from high-bandwidth file-sharing services.
The court ruled that the FCC had not been legally empowered by the Congress to regulate the network-management practices of an Internet service provider.
The White House and its allies in Congress, however, are moving ahead with their plans to take control of the Internet.
The plan is to insert net neutrality standards into regulations from the 1930s regarding landline telephones. In other words, by reclassifying the Internet as a telecommunication service the FCC will be given a green light to impose its will.
Now, the folks at Cybercast News Service have obtained video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussing immigration reform during her remarks to the gathering and elaborating on her directions to the Catholic Hierarchy on the issue.
In the video we are providing for you here as well, she goes into immigration as part of the “dignity and worth of every person.” Pelosi then continues to tell those assembled about how the hierarchy needs to take to the pulpit if immigration reform is going to pass. Alluding to “whatever the instruction in the pews…” and stumbling over her words.
As a Catholic, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know what priests do during Mass? Well, we know she confuses feast days and the teachings of the church on the sanctity of life…so maybe she just doesn’t pay attention during Mass.
As a Catholic, Nancy Pelosi thinks it is appropriate for the hierarchy and our priests to advocate for immigration reform from the pulpit, but why not talk about the dignity and worth of the unborn lost from the health care bill, Madame Speaker?
As a Catholic, does Nancy Pelosi think they should also use their homilies to support traditional marriage? Or, would she rather they ignore that non-negotiable issue and hope no one notices the Obama-Pelosi effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Let’s just drill down to the basics – I didn’t realize white smoke came from the south side of the Capitol when she was elected Speaker, so what makes Nancy Pelosi think she can give direction to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church?
As the courts continue to be confronted with demands from gay men and lesbian women for access to marriage, and activist lawmakers continue to try and pass same sex marriage laws, the Church remains steadfast in her teachings that same sex marriage is impossible. Well, except on Catholic college campuses—where the concept of gay marriage is open for debate—and there are often faculty members who are ready, willing, and able to provide Catholic cover to politicians looking for help in passing same sex marriage laws.
The latest controversy involves Professor W. King Mott, a gay professor of political science at Seton Hall University. Mott is scheduled to teach a course in gay marriage in the Fall. And, although he claims that the course is “not about advocacy, but about studying the issue from an academic perspective,” Mott has a history of advocacy for homosexual rights and open criticism of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.
In 2005, Mott wrote a letter to the editor of the New Jersey Star Ledger arguing that the Catholic Church “attacks gay men as a scapegoat instead of addressing problems of pedophilia within the priesthood.” As a result of the letter, Mott, who was then associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall, was asked to step down and resume his former tenured faculty position.
TheChronicle of Higher Education reports that the reason for Mott’s demotion was because he signed his letter to the editor as a university official. According to Thomas White, a university spokesman, the issue was not that Mott was critical of the Church, but that “he was critical of the Church while representing Seton Hall.”
While Mott was quoted in a 2005 issue of The Chronicle as planning to “leave Seton Hall once he finds a new job,” it appears that he has not yet found that job. He continues at Seton Hall as a tenured professor of political science, Chair of the Faculty Senate, and as one of 12 members of the Presidential Search Committee—the committee charged with hiring the highest ranking person on the Seton Hall campus. He is hardly a marginalized man.
Still, Mott will most likely assume “vulnerable victim status” now that Archbishop of Newark, John J. Myers, has indicated that Mott’s course will conflict with Church teachings. Academia loves a victim—and all rallied to his side in 2005 with faculty protests, letter writing campaigns, and angry pleas to the administration when he was returned to his tenured faculty position. In the strange drama that takes place on Catholic college campuses throughout the country, there is nothing that gives a faculty member higher status than when a bishop even questions something that a faculty member does.
Still, the Star Ledger reminds us that at Seton Hall, “The archbishop serves as chairman of Seton Hall’s Board of Trustees and is president of its Board of Regents, the governing body that oversees academic issues. Archbishop Myers is just doing his job. But, because so few bishops are willing to take the courageous stand the Newark Archbishop has taken, it is shocking for most of us to see a bishop actually confront a faculty member.
The bishops should know that professors like Mott have tremendous influence both on and off campus. A recently released Georgetown study shows that Catholic students enrolled in Catholic institutions were less likely to move toward Catholic Church teachings on abortion and gay marriage than those enrolled in non-Catholic institutions. The study indicated that in addition to moving toward increased support for abortion, Catholic students enrolled on Catholic campuses showed dramatic increases in support for gay marriage.
Thirty-nine percent of Catholic students enrolled in Catholic colleges and universities claim to have moved further away from the Church’s definition of marriage as a union of one woman and one man. This movement away from the Church has repercussions far beyond the campus as both faculty and alumni have become activists in favor of same-sex marriage.
A few years ago, Boston College graduate Kara Suffredini, a legislative attorney for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told an alumni gathering of the Lambda Law Students, “I want to begin by saying that everything I know about queer activism, I learned at Boston College….put that in your admissions brochure.”
The Jesuit University of San Francisco recently announced that their Public Interest Law Foundation is honoring California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno for his support for gay marriage in his dissent in the Proposition 8 decision. Moreno’s award follows a similar award in 2008 when USF honored Therese Stewart and Shannon Minter for their “courageous” work in gaining rights to same sex marriage for gay men and lesbian women. USF Professor Julie Nice was recently interviewed on KCBS radio where she denigrated the “whim of the voters” who voted against same sex marriage and claimed confidence that the voters’ will would be overturned by the California courts.
Providing platforms and awards to gay marriage supporters on Catholic campuses creates confusion—not just for students, but for lawmakers and voters—far beyond the campus. Professors like Mott can capitalize on that confusion by continuing to convince others that social justice demands that gay men and lesbian women have access to marriage.
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.
In his continuing quest to bring attention to himself, Cardinal Mahony was one of the most vocal protestors of Arizona’s controversial new immigration law at the May Day Rally in Los Angeles. Chanting with protestors from atop a flatbed truck at the start of the rally, Cardinal Mahony was described by the Los Angeles Timeshttp://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/01/local/la-me-0502-mahony-20100502 as being “enlivened by the throngs of adoring supporters who kissed his hand and asked to be blessed.”
Cardinal Mahony has become a hero in the Latino community. Claiming that Arizona was becoming like “Nazi Germany,” the Cardinal spent the past week criticizing policymakers who passed a law which would target those with “brown skin, black hair and listen to ranchera music.”
Indeed, in a series of statements that made many Catholics cringe, the Cardinal was described by a Los Angeles Times reporter as saying that the Arizona legislation has a positive side because it is “an important part of moving on.” The Times reporter claimed that the Cardinal was referring to the fact that the immigration issue “gives the Catholic Church a welcome break from criticism of its handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests.”
Now Cardinal Mahony has a new website called FacesofImmigrants.org which calls on Catholics to refuse to be “side-tracked by heated rhetoric and political posturing.” Perhaps he should take some of that advice himself. Comparing Arizona to Nazi Germany might qualify as “heated rhetoric.” Still, the Cardinal makes some good points on the website where he provides the actual stories of the immigrants themselves.
The stories of struggling families—fearful of deportation and separation from loved ones—are poignant. As Catholics, we have to listen to these stories. Immigration is not just about the violent drug smugglers and the lawlessness at the border. Having lived for more than 15 years in San Diego, I agree with Cardinal Mahony that we need to “take the time to open our minds and hearts to hear the actual stories of the immigrants themselves.”
There are many hard-working immigrants who came here to find better lives for themselves. These hard-working, taxpaying immigrants deserve our attention and our help in bringing them out of the shadows. There really can be a middle ground between Cardinal Mahony and Republican lawmaker, Tom Tancredo, who in 2006 said he would like to “shut off all immigration.”
But, we first need to secure the borders. The Arizona legislation is what happens when the federal government fails to act. The citizens of Arizona have gotten to the point where they believe they needed to take matters into their own hands. Most of us cannot blame them—they are protecting their families, their farms, and their economy. The Arizona legislation is a start because it may help move federal immigration reform. And, it is not helpful for Cardinal Mahony to compare them to Nazis.
Kevin Hall, an attorney in Columbia, SC, is a convert to the Catholic faith and has served on the board of the Sisters of Charity Foundation for eight years. He resigned from the board after the order joined a number of other women’s religious who endorsed the health care bill containing federal funding for abortion.
Kevin Hall’s letter of resignation, however, was sent to all the priests of the diocese of South Carolina and over 200 board members of all the Sisters of Charity foundations in Ohio, where they are headquartered, and South Carolina. Hall told me that he hopes other board members will begin to express similar concerns to the leadership of the order.
Hall also published an op-ed explaining his decision in The State, the leading newspaper in South Carolina. He made it clear that his position was the same as the Catholic bishops, as well as the ordinary, Bishop Guglielmone of Charleston. Rather than listening to the bishops,
“Providence and the Sisters of Charity ended up supporting a bill endorsed by the likes of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League. Such strange company should have been a clue to the sisters and Providence that their efforts were seriously misguided.”
Sr. Judith Ann Karam, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System, responded to Hall in a subsequent op-ed saying she wanted to “clarify several unfortunate misstatements.” Sr. Karam maintained, “To say that we would support any legislation that would enable federal funds to be used for abortion is simply not true.” This is a strange assertion, since the federal funding for abortion in the bill is widely recognized by the bishops, pro-life groups, and the pro-abortion lobby.
Karam argues, essentially, that the bishops are wrong about the presence of abortion funding in the bill. The Sisters of Charity, she says, are “in accord with the Catholic Health Association and other health providers, that this law would not provide federal funding for abortions and includes many safeguards to ensure this does not happen.”
If there is no federal funding for abortion in the health care bill why would you need safeguards?
As Kevin Hall pointed out in his op-ed, it’s not by accident that Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, applauded the sisters who defied their “bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform.” Would Richards be celebrating if the bill did not contain funding for abortion, i.e., “reproductive health care,” services? As Hall adds, “In Planned Parenthood’s parlance, ‘reproductive health care’ long has included aborting the lives of the unborn.
Hall’s resignation is one of several significant public responses to the defiance of Catholic medical institutions to the bishops’ opposition to the health care bill. The fact that Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, has receded from public view so quickly suggests that support is being withdrawn, and she is doing damage control. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI withdrew the two hospitals in his diocese from the CHA. Tobin did not mince his words:
“I am writing to request that St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, sponsored by the Diocese of Providence, be removed from the membership list and mailing list of the Catholic Health Association as even the association with CHA is now embarrassing.”
Rev. Jay Scott Newman delivered a homily on March 21 at St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC containing a similar denunciation of St. Francis Hospital run by the Bon Secours Health System. Given its support of the health care bill, Father Newman said:
“Bon Secours Health System has now laid bare the terrible truth that St. Francis Hospital is a Catholic institution in name only. You may continue to need their services for medical reasons, but please do not make the mistake of supporting that institution simply because there is a crucifix on the wall. There is no essential difference between a secular hospital and a theoretically Catholic hospital when the latter does what the Bon Secours System has done: namely, accept and endorse material cooperation with evil against the teaching of the Bishops of the Catholic Church.”Father
Newman made national news after the 2008 election when he recommended confession for parishioners who had voted for Obama. Writing for his parish bulletin, Newman explained:”Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law.”
That evil, the killing of innocent life, has now received the official blessing of the Obama White House and the Congress controlled by the Democratic Party. The health care bill containing billions of dollars for abortions – funding explicitly denied by Sr. Keehan and Sr. Karam – will soon send the abortion rate in this nation skyrocketing.
The question remains, whether more bishops will remove their hospitals from membership in the CHA, whether more board members will step down from the Sisters of Charity, and whether more priests like Father Newman will be speaking plainly about the tragic consequences of the 2008 election.
See also LifeSiteNews’ coverage of Kevin Hall’s resignation.
The present White House is having a huge impact on the Church in America. It’s typical to hear talk about the influence of the Church on politics, but at the present moment the influence is definitely in the other direction.
The pro-abortion forces in this country and the “social justice/seamless garment” crowd in the Church have been empowered by the new Congress and presidency. The reason the Church is so weak right now is the sudden power of groups like the Catholic Health Association, Catholics United, and Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good.
These groups, and their leadership, have straight lines of communication throughout the Church, through the USCCB, chanceries, parishes, and various Catholic associations. This is the network that drove the twisted interpretation of “Faithful Citizenship” through parishes nationwide in 2008.
They plan to do an even better job in 2012, unless we do something about it, unless we stop them.
Obama’s leadership, along with that of Pelosi, has strengthened the hand of the most anti-Catholic, anti-life elements of our culture, both here and in Europe, at the EU and the UN.
The threat of arresting our Holy Father on his upcoming trip to the UK should be a huge wake-up call for what we are up against.
The Church will eventually exert its influence, but for the present moment it is up to independent groups, like Catholic Advocate, to minimize the influence of the fake Catholic groups, especially the psuedo-Catholic groups funded by George Soros, liberal foundations, and labor unions. The media must be forced to describe them for what they are, as we did with Voice of the Faithful.
If we claim the role of Catholic lay expertise in politics then we can’t constantly be looking to the bishops to solve our problems. We should resist the impulse to ask the bishops to do all this work for us.
If we’ve made any mistake since the election it has been focusing on the bishops rather than training Catholics to be politically active and building a coalition of Catholics with other like-minded people of faith.
The only thing we should ask of the bishops is to rewrite the “Faithful Citizenship” document, which caused so much confusion in 2008.
We should not allow the defense of life to be treated as anything other than a Catholic effort, rather than a partisan one. Not only you and I are accused of being “shills” for one party as a result of our emphasis on life and marriage, but several of the more visible bishops as well.
We cannot wait for the Church to reform itself from within so that it assumes a commanding role in shaping our culture and politics. Instead, we must win targeted victories against the kind of leadership that strengthens the hand of the left-wing in the Church and the culture.
If we have another election like 2008, Church reform will be put off for many years to come.