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Nancy Pelosi Is At It Again!

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.

Pelosi: Today We Pray To St. Joseph The Worker For This “Life-Affirming Legislation”

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.

By The Numbers…Funding Abortion in the Health Care Bill

I recently asked a senior Capitol Hill staff member about the little known “abortion fee” in the Senate health care legislation the House of Representatives will vote on Sunday.

“Federal subsidies for insurance policies that cover abortion are not allowed under the Hyde amendment.  In order to get around that aspect of the Hyde amendment, the Senate bill employs an accounting gimmick by which funds are ‘segregated.’  Part of that gimmick results in a direct abortion fee for most users of the exchange.  You should be aware that one plan on the exchange will not cover abortion, so in theory pro-life persons could buy a plan that does not charge the abortion fee.  However, if their other needs dictate that they must choose a plan that covers abortion, they will be required to make a direct payment into an abortion fund (see page 2074-2075 of the Senate bill). According to the bill, the payment must be equal to at least a dollar per month and insurance companies may only provide information about the abortion fee as a part of the summary of benefits at the time of enrollment.  Furthermore, insurance companies and the exchange may only provide information about the total cost of a plan without explaining the abortion fee. (see page 2076 of the Senate bill)”

You may recall, in December Catholic Advocate issued a press release calling the Senate language smoke and mirrors. Later, in January, Senator Barbara Boxer was bold enough to confirm in an interview that the Senate bill DOES NOT restrict abortion.

Health care exchanges have gained popularity after being signed into law by then Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. The purpose of the exchange idea is to provide coverage for the uninsured; for example, those not eligible for an employer-sponsored plan or a public program such as Medicaid.

What does it mean when you break it down by the numbers?

The Census estimates 45.7 million people in the United States are uninsured. However, the “Numbers Guy” at the Wall Street Journal has raised legitimate questions about the Census’ calculations inflating the actual number.  Others have reduced the number by 17 million. For illustrative purposes then, we will split the difference at 37.2 million.

  • 37.2 million uninsured potentially enrolled into exchange system
  • $12 / year potentially paid into “abortion fund”
  • $446,400,000 potentially paid into “abortion fund”

The cost of an abortion depends on the stage of pregnancy and which clinic is providing services. First trimester procedures run about $500-$1,000. Second trimester procedures cost $600-$10,000. Taking into account potential needed follow-up or other complications, for illustrative purposes, we will use $7,500 as the average cost of an abortion.

That is potentially 59,520 additional abortions that can be funded by the federal government each year just from this section of the legislation 158 abortions occur every hour. Under Obama-care the number increases to 165 every hour. This does not include the $7 billion of federal money slated for community health centers to be used for abortion.

If President Obama was serious about making abortions rare, he would not be forcing Americans to subsidize an “abortion fund” that increases the number of abortions occurring each day.

Pro-Life Democrats led by Representative Bart Stupak (D, MI-01) and others in the House of Representatives have refused to let their voices be silenced during this debate. Now is the crucial time when they need our support.

They are standing for those who cannot stand.

They are speaking for those without a voice.

By Matt Smith, Catholic Advocate Vice President

Who Are These Fake Catholic Groups?

By Anne Hendershott

Some of the biggest supporters of the current health reform bill—replete with public funding for abortion—are self-described “progressive” Catholic organizations, such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics United, and Catholic Democrats. These Catholic organizations, along with the Catholic Health Association have created confusion for Catholics because at the same time the USCCB has strongly opposed the current health care reform bill because of its inclusion of public funding for abortion, these  Catholic organizations are providing “official” Catholic support for the bill.

This duplicity should surprise no one.  In 2008, these so-called Catholic organizations encouraged Catholics to elect Obama because he would reduce the rate of abortion by addressing poverty as the “root cause.” Supporting and publishing a study by a Notre Dame professor which erroneously claimed that the data demonstrate that reducing poverty reduces abortion, they convinced many Catholics to support Obama’s strategy.  Unfortunately, the study was quietly removed from the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good website after the election when its faulty methodology and erroneous conclusions were pointed out by several social scientists. Professor Bailey, the first author of the initial study, removed his name from the revised report. Joseph Wright remains as the sole author—and is listed as Chairman of the Board of Catholics United on the Form 990 EZ submitted by the organization in 2007.

Now these organizations are providing the same propaganda on funding for abortion in the health care reform bill. But, this time they have placed their people inside the Obama administration.  Witness the appointment of Alexia Kelley, the co-founder and director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Last year, Obama tapped Kelley to direct the federal Health and Human Services Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. For the progressives, she is a perfect choice because for almost a decade, Kelley worked for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Campaign for Human Development. During the years that Kelley worked for the Campaign for Human Development, more than seven million dollars of parishioners’ donations were awarded to the notorious ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

While at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Kelley teamed with Catholics United leaders, James Salt and Chris Korzen, in the 2008 campaign to neutralize the abortion issue by casting it in pro-Democratic Party terms. Salt and Korzen have plenty of political experience, as well. Salt’s political work has involved overseeing the Kansas Democratic Party’s dubious “faith outreach” efforts, including what he calls “messaging work” for the pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius and the development of “faith-based messaging resources.”

On its website Catholics United describes itself as “a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.” But prior to helping to found Catholics United, Korzen worked for several years as a union organizer for SEIU.  Like Salt, Korzen has been a strong supporter of Kathleen Sebelius and organized support for her nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services by garnering signatures in an online petition entitled “Catholics for Sebelius.”

On its website, Catholics United describes itself as a 501(c) (4) non-profit organization—eligible to accept donations. But, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good emerged in 2005 as a kind of sister organization to Catholics United. A 501(c) (3) organization, donors can claim a deduction against personal income tax when they donate money to Catholics in Alliance. Reviewing the 2007 IRS 990 forms for both Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United raises some questions, because Chris Korzen is listed as having received $84,821 in compensation for 40 hours per week from Catholics in Alliance on the group’s 990 Form—even though the Catholics United website claimed he was the director there during the same time period.

Soros, An Early Donor to Catholics in Alliance

Despite their inability to engage in extensive lobbying, Catholics in Alliance has been extremely successful in attracting large donors. Never a friend to the Catholic Church, George Soros, one of the earliest donors, contributed $50,000 to Catholics in Alliance in 2005 and another $100,000 in 2006 through his Open Society Institute. Likewise, Smith Bagley, a major Democratic donor and fundraiser, whose wife, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, is Chairman of the Board of Catholics in Alliance, came close to matching Soros with grants from his family’s Arca Foundation. With a long history of supporting progressive organizations like ACORN, the Gamaliel Foundation, People for the American Way, and Planned Parenthood, Arca contributed $50,000 to Catholics in Alliance in 2007 and another $75,000 in 2008.

The new US ambassador to the Vatican, Miguel Diaz, is another example of the Obama administration’s alliance with liberal Catholics. A member of the Catholics in Alliance Speakers Bureau, Diaz functions as a “theological consultant” for the organization. While Diaz has no published statements on abortion or embryonic stem-cell research, his affiliations, board memberships, and willingness publicly to endorse pro-abortion Democrats like Kathleen Sebelius suggest that he is part of the Church’s contingent that wishes to “move beyond” the “divisive” abortion issue and elect pro-abortion Democrats.

After the controversy emerged within the Catholic community over Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama to give last year’s commencement address and receive an honorary degree, Catholics in Alliance published a full-page ad in the South Bend Tribune entitled “Catholic Leaders and Theologians Welcome President Obama to Notre Dame.”

It is likely that this strategy will continue, as former Gamaliel Foundation community organizer Victoria Kovara was tapped to replace Alexia Kelley as executive director at Catholics in Alliance. Obama got his start in community organizing at Gamaliel.  It is another Soros-funded organization that has been successful in creating local community organizations willing to use confrontational tactics to gain power in progressive causes. Currently Gamaliel has enlisted religious leaders to lobby for health care reform as “a theological imperative.”  It might be time for the Bishops to begin to distance themselves from some of these so-called “Catholic” organizations.  At this point, there is little Catholic about them—except their names.

Anne Hendershott is chair of the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program at The King’s College in New York City, and the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education (Transaction).

Fifty-nine Thousand Nuns Oppose the Bishops on Health Care

By: Deal W. Hudson

“Don’t mess with the nuns!” is a comment I’ve heard over the years from cradle Catholics who were taught by them.  The question now arises whether the undecided Catholic members of the House will be influenced by the 60 nuns, each a leader of their religious order – who signed a letter to members of Congress urging passage of the Senate health care bill now before the House.

These 60 leaders claim to represent 59,000 nuns, and they make it perfectly clear they support the embattled president of the Catholic Health Association, Sr. Carol Keehan, who announced her support of the bill a few days ago.

The letter calls the Senate bill “imperfect” but simultaneously claims it is “the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.”  The sisters call the bill “pro-life” in spite of the fact that thousands of the unborn will be aborted with the 7 billion dollars of federal money being given to community health centers, if the bill becomes law.

What the sisters extol is medical coverage for the uninsured; the end to denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions; support of pregnant women; as well as investment in preventative care and “community health centers that largely serve poor women and children.”  These are the same health centers that the bishops insist will spend federal money on abortion.

These 60 sisters not only reject the bishops’ concerns about the Senate bill but also call them  “false claims . . . the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.”

The 60 sisters, and presumably the orders they represent, thus join organizations like the Catholic Health Association, NETWORK, Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics for Choice, Catholic Democrats, and publications like Commonweal, America, and the National Catholic Reporter in dismissing the Catholic bishops’ publicly stated position that federal funding for abortion is contained in the Senate health care bill.

Like the sisters in their letter, and Sr. Keehan in her statement, most of these groups fail to mention explicitly that they reject the bishops’ analysis of the health care bill.  Is that a sign of respect or merely a refusal to deal with the bishops’ one-page fact sheet directly?  Commonweal should be credited for offering a comprehensive, if tortured, refutation to the bishops’ position, but the sisters don’t reveal whose analysis they are relying upon.

A few days ago, I described Sr. Keehan’s betrayal of the bishops as an example of the failure of the USCCB’s qualified support for the health care bill.  But the spectacle of 60 leaders of women’s religious orders points to the corrosive effect of the “seamless garment” approach to social ethics and public policy.

You can make all the arguments you want about the original intent of Cardinal Bernardin’s now-famous 1983 speech announcing a “consistent ethic of life,” but in practical political terms the seamless garment became nothing more than a convenient excuse for Catholic politicians to ignore the slaughter of the unborn and all its attendant effects on cultural and family life.

There are thousands of women religious at this very moment who are deeply embarrassed and troubled by the publication of this letter.  These sisters can be found at places like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI or the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN.

I can tell you with certainty that none of the sisters from NETWORK called Mother Assumpta Long (Ann Arbor) or Mother Anne Marie (Nashville) to ask either of them to sign that letter.

The dividing lines in the Church are, sadly, all too clear, and the effort of women religious, Catholic academics, Catholic journalists, and Catholics representing the medical profession to pass a health care bill with abortion funding will be, for lay Catholics, a wake-up call, a déjà vu moment of Obama being honored by Notre Dame.

Catholics in the pews are being made more and more aware that something has gone wrong in many of our venerable Catholic institutions and religious orders.

For those who are interested, here is a list of the religious who signed the letter:

Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA

LCWR President

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Joan Chittister, OSB

Co-Chair Global Peace Initiative of Women

Erie, PA

Sr. Mary Persico, IHM

President

Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Scranton, PA

Sr. Susan Hadzima, IHM

Councilor for Missioning and Community Life

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Scranton, PA

Mary Genino (RSHM)

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary

Western American Province.

Nancy Conway CSJ

Congregation Leadership Team

The Congregation of St. Joseph

Debra M. Sciano, SSND

Provincial Leader

Milwaukee Province, School Sisters of Notre Dame

Josephine Gaugier, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters

Holy Rosary Mission Chapter Prioress

Adrian, MI

Kathleen Nolan, OP

Adrian Dominican Sisters

Office of the General Council

Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA

President

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

La Crosse, WI

Corinne Weiss

Servants of Jesus Leadership Team

Saginaw MI

Adrian Dover OP

Prioress

Dominican Sisters of Houston, Texas

Rose Mary Dowling, FSM

President

Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Leadership Team

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(from Mary Martens, BVM, Administrative Assistant)

Beatrice Haines, OLVM

President, Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters

Huntington IN

Joan Saalfeld, SNJM, Provincial

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

U.S.-Ontario Province

Jo’Ann De Quattro, SNJM

Sisters of the Holy Names

U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team

Sharon Simon, OP

President

Racine Dominicans

Maryann A. McMahon, O.P.

Vice President

Dominican Sisters of Racine, WI

Agnes Johnson, OP

Vice President

Racine Dominicans

Pat Mulcahey, OP

Prioress of Sinsinawa Dominicans

Pam Chiesa, PBVM

President

Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Patricia Anne Cloherty, PBVM

Leadership Team, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Gloria Inés Loya

Leadership Team

Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Gloria Marie Jones, OP

Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose

Congregational Prioress and Council

Mary Litell

Provincial Councilor

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity St. Francis Province

Theresa Sandok, OSM

Servants of Mary (Servite Sisters)

Ladysmith, Wisconsin

Sr Claire Graham SSS

General Director

Sisters of Social Service

Encino CA

Margaret Byrne CSJP – Congregation Leader

Teresa Donohue CSJP – Assistant Congregation Leader

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

Sr. Carmelita Latiolais, S.E.C.

Sisters of the Eucharistic Covenant

Joan Mumaw, IHM – Vice President

On behalf of the Leadership Council

Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Monroe, Michigan

Sister Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF

Sisters of the Holy Family

New Orleans, LA

Sister Marla Monahan, SND

Provincial

Sisters of Notre Dame

(St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, KY

and St. Charles Care Center in Covington, KY)

Vivien Linkhauer, SC

Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, United States Province

Greensburg, PA

Dolores Maguire

Sisters of the Holy Faith

Northern California LCWR Region XIV

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Schweiger, OSB

Subprioress

Mount St. Scholastica

Atchison, KS

Marianites of Holy Cross

Sr. Suellen Tennyson, MSC

Congregational Leader

Barbara Hagedorn, SC

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Mt. St. Joseph, Ohio

Francine Schwarzenberger OP

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Denver, Colorado

Sister Maureen McCarthy

School Sisters of St. Francis

U.S. Provincial Team

Milwaukee, WI

Eileen C. Reid, RJM

Provincial Superior

Religious of Jesus and Mary

Washington, DC

Sister Cecilia Dwyer, O.S.B.

Prioress

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

Sister Joann Sambs, CSA

General Superior

Sisters of St. Francis

Tiffin, Ohio

(from Sr. Mary Kuhlman)

Sr. Helen McDonald, SHCJ

Province Leader

Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Leadership Team

Sisters of the Precious Blood

Dayton, OH

The Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis

Sister Jane Blabolil, SSJ-TOSF

Sister Michelle Wronkowski, SSJ-TOSF

Sister Dorothy Pagosa, SSJ-TOSF

Sister Linda Szocik, SSJ-TOSF

Sr. Gladys Guenther SHF

Sisters of the Holy Family

Congregational President

Fremont, CA

Sr. Dorothy Maxwell, Councilor

Sisters of St. Dominic

Blauvelt, New York

Sheral Marshall, OSF

Provincial Councilor

Sisters of St Francis

Marilyn Kerber, SNDdeN

Canonical Representative, Ohio Province

Sisters of St. Louis, California Region

(from Sr. Michele Harnett, SSL)

Ruth Goodwin, OSF

Sisters of ST. Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Leadership Team

Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland

Democrats Lose “Bi-Partisan” Support for Health Care Reform

On November 7, 2009, Congressman Joseph Cao (R, LA-02) became the lone Republican to vote for the House passed health care legislation. Democrats touted the singular support for the bill as a victory for bi-partisanship.

Members of the Catholic Advocate community might not be familiar with the freshman Member of Congress from Louisiana.  Cao is the first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress who came to America in 1975 at the age of 8 as part of the U.S. military evacuation of Saigon. A Jesuit, Cao is open about the role his Catholic faith plays in his life.

Louisiana’s second congressional district is one of the most Democrat districts in the entire country. Political pundits would say a Republican winning the seat likely has the same odds as you or I winning the weekly Power Ball drawing. Cao succeeded by beating embattled and indicted nine-term Congressman William Jefferson.

Recently on CNN, and then again yesterday, Congressman Cao has publicly stated his opposition to the Senate version of the legislation because it retains federal funding for abortion. His remarks are below:

(House of Representatives – March 16, 2010) [Page: H1471]

(Mr. CAO asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

“Mr. CAO. Madam Speaker, the basic tenets of a democracy are those that protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Accessible, affordable health care that protects life is one of those tenets. This is why I applaud President Obama for his strength and determination in pushing for health care reform in the face of great adversity.

I support H.R. 3962, the Health Care Reform Bill, that passed the U.S. House on November 7, 2009, because it tries to provide affordable health care while protecting life. And I stand ready to support health care reform again so long as the reconciliation bill seeks the same goals.

“As of now, the Senate health care bill falls short and even contradicts the most basic principle of civilization: Thou shalt not kill. The Senate bill willfully excludes the language of the Hyde Amendment and seeks to expand funding and the role of the Federal Government in the despicable killing of the unborn. It also fails to incorporate provisions to protect the conscience of medical providers regarding abortion, as found in the Hyde-Weldon Amendment. These flaws are so devastating in their effects that they override any good the Senate health care bill seeks to promote.

“Until this House fixes the abortion language and incorporates a conscience protection clause, I stand firmly in opposition.”

Congressman Cao is taking a path worthy of being held as a profile in courage. He has been a top target for Democrats even before he was sworn into Congress. Congressman Cao deserves praise and support for his stance on the health care bill.

By Matt Smith, Catholic Advocate Vice President

Catholics Need To Be The "Game Changers" on Health Care

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.

By Matt Smith, Catholic Advocate Vice President

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.

  1. Representative Jerry Costello (D, IL-12)
  2. Representative Henry Cuellar (D, TX-28)
  3. Representative Kathy Dahlkemper (D, PA-03)
  4. Representative Joe Donnelly (D, IN-02)
  5. Representative Steve Driehaus (D, OH-01)
  6. Representative Brad Ellsworth (D, IN-08)
  7. Representative Marcy Kaptur (D, OH-09)
  8. Representative Dale Kildee (D, MI-05)
  9. Representative Dan Lipinski (D, IL-03)
  10. Representative Charlie Wilson (D, OH-06)

Catholic Health Association's Support for Health Care Bill Exposes Failure of USCCB Strategy

By Deal Hudson

The Catholic Health Association, a lobbying group for Catholic hospitals, has now offered its support for the health care bill containing abortion funding.  A  statement from CHA president, Sr. Carol Keehan, expresses “concern on life issues” while underscoring the bill’s requirement that “a separate check” would have to be written for abortion coverage.

Keehan’s statement, along with the March 11 letter of her vice president, Michael F. Rodgers to the Congress, is a masterpiece of doublespeak. On behalf of CHA, both Keehan and Rodgers urge passage of the bill. But, while Keehan cites the separate check stipulation for abortion coverage to assuage her “concern,” Rodgers admits abortion coverage would have to be “amended” in a second “corrections” bill.

The position of the Catholic Health Association and its member hospitals puts CHA in direct opposition to the Catholic bishops who have stated unambiguously that the Senate health care bill contains abortion funding.  Bishop Robert F. Lynch of St. Petersburg is on the CHA board, while Bishop Kevin Vann of Ft. Worth is its Episcopal Liaison. Other board members include the four CEOs and seven VPs of Catholic hospital systems.

The Catholic Health Association has long enjoyed an intimate relationship with the USCCB. CHA is often cited by the USCCB as a partner, along with Catholic Charities USA.  For example, in September 2008, Sr. Keehan co-signed a letter with the head of Catholic Charities USA and Bishop William F. Murphy, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urging Congress to pass a stimulus plan. CHA has also been involved in joint efforts with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in welfare-to-work projects.

The long list of such collaborative efforts between CHA and the USCCB is easily found by searching the USCCB website.

At present, the USCCB has not issued any statement directly opposing the Catholic Health Association or any of the Catholic groups supporting the Senate bill such as Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

The lack of such a statement allows the press, the White House, and the Congress to hold up these groups as providing official Catholic support to a public which largely does not know any better.

A direct rebuke from the USCCB towards the Catholic Health Association would not be in keeping with what I have termed its strategy of qualified support, but it would certainly keep wavering members of Congress from finding political cover from these groups willing to accept abortion funding.

With a vote on the bill coming as soon as Friday or Saturday, the USCCB is running out of time to get tough.  The parish bulletin program emailed last Friday by the USCCB comes too late to have any serious impact on a vote this week.

The willingness of such an intimate partner with the USCCB to break with the bishops on the health care bill is just another aspect of its failure to negotiate powerfully with Congress and speak loudly and clearly to the media on this legislation.  Its strategy of qualified support has put the USCCB in a weakened position and allowed the initiative to be taken over by groups with vested interests.  CHA wants federal money for its hospitals, while Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good were created precisely to keep Democrats in power, even if it means further endangering the lives of the unborn.

It’s common sense that you can’t win a negotiation if you aren’t willing to walk away from the table.  Thus far, the USCCB hasn’t shown that willingness. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando understood this when he wrote a few days ago, “No health-care legislation is better than bad health-care legislation.”

It’s alarming to hear the nonchalant attitude of those who remark how many other countries have government-run health care systems that pay for abortions, so why not us?  Bishop Wenski knows what it is that has so many Catholics outraged at the prospect of this bill being passed:

“Using taxpayers’ money to pay for other people’s abortions would make all citizens complicit in what many regard as a morally heinous act. . . . Whatever you might call it, a procedure that results in the death of a living human being — whether at the beginning or end of life — is not health care.”

Special Message from Catholic Advocate:

Are you concerned about the Catholic Health Association’s position on the health care reform legislation?

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.

Click here to visit the Catholic Health Association’s contact information.

Pro-Life, Pro-Family Catholic Mari Hamlin Fink Sets Out To Replace Susan Davis in San Diego

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.

Since entering Congress ten years ago she has consistently voted against pro-life legislation. Susan Davis joined Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, voting against two major pro-life laws – the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (February 26, 2004 – roll call vote 31) also known as ‘Laci and Conner’s law’ and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban (June 4, 2003 – roll call vote 242). Davis also recently voted against Michigan Democrat Congressman Bart Stupak’s amendment to the health care reform legislation to prevent federal money being spent on abortions (November 7, 2009 – roll call vote 884).

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 Bishops Should Change Health Care Strategy Before It's Too Late

By Deal Hudson

The lobbying strategy of the Catholic bishops in the health care debate, thus far, has been one of qualified support.  We support the health care reform bill, the bishops argue, as long as it does not contain abortion funding and provides for conscience protection for health care workers.

The only help the bishops have received in their effort is from Catholic Democrat Bart Stupak whose coalition of pro-life House Democrats is the only hope of either killing the bill or eliminating its abortion funding.

The bishops have made no head-way with the Democratic leadership in Congress, such as Catholic Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, or Catholic Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, both of whom lied about the presence of abortion funding in the Senate version of the bill.

It should be clear to the bishops and their staff at the USCCB that there is no good will in either the Congress or the White House toward their concerns about abortion funding and conscience protections.

It’s time for a change of strategy before it’s too late.  Why?  The answer is simple: None of the Democratic leadership in control of this legislation has the least bit of interest in keeping abortion funding out of this bill. Democratic leadership hopes that by keeping the bishops in the posture of qualified support, the prospect of an outcry from grassroots Catholics will be postponed until after the bill is pushed through by some sort of legislative sleight of hand.

By the time the bishops can restart another national postcard campaign, health care reform with abortion funding will be a fait accompli.

As I have argued all along, even if by some miracle the health care bill was passed without abortion funding, the increased government control over health care services would lead, inevitably, to mandated abortion funding, when abortion advocates immediately head to the courts to finish the job. That the bishops don’t seem to recognize – publicly anyway — this inevitability, is disappointing.

The support shown by the bishops and the staff at the USCCB to Bart Stupak and his pro-life coalition effort among House Democrats is commendable, perhaps even historic. But it is a slender thread upon which to hang their hopes for an abortion-less health care bill.

If there are those among the Catholic leadership who think the bishops’ risky strategy is justified by the immense problem of uninsured American citizens and immigrants, both documented and not, then they should be reminded of the danger of proportionalism.  To put it bluntly, trading universal coverage for federal abortion funding is not morally justifiable.

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius lied about the presence of abortion funding in the health care bill it made national headlines. The corrective came from Richard Doerflinger, from the USCCB pro-life secretariat, and other pro-life leaders from outside the USCCB whose comments were published in a few Catholic news services.  When the Catholic Speaker of the House and Secretary of HHS mislead the nation on such a crucial issue as abortion funding then they should be answered by their peers – the bishops.

Again, the strategy of qualified support is risky, because it means that the Congress and the White House are not hearing the fury that is building at the grassroots level among Catholics.  And, I suspect they are also not hearing about the growing distrust and impatience of many bishops towards this process.


Are Catholics in Congress Ignoring Both the Views of their Faith and their Constituents?

3-9-10 Posted by admin in Abortion, Blog, Health Care 2 Comments

Susan B. Anthony List recently had the polling companyTM, inc./WomanTrend conduct eight Congressional district-wide surveys of N=300 registered voters in each district March 1-3, 2010. The nationwide survey has a margin of error of ±5.65%.

Seven of the eight Congressional districts surveyed are held by “Pro-Life” Catholic Members of the House of Representatives.

  • Indiana’s 8th Congressional District – Brad Ellsworth (D)
  • Ohio’s 1st Congressional District – Steve Driehhaus (D)
  • Ohio’s 6th Congressional District – Charlie Wilson (D)
  • Ohio’s 9th Congressional District – Marcy Kaptur (D)
  • Ohio’s 16th Congressional District – John Boccieri (D)
  • Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District – Jason Altmire (D)
  • Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District – Paul Kanjorski (D)
  • Note: Indiana’s 9th held by Baron Hill (D) (Methodist) was also surveyed

Some of the key findings of the poll include:

Voters Reject Federal Funding of Abortion, Especially in Healthcare Reform

At least three-in-five voters in these eight congressional districts agreed that “Abortion and abortion funding have no place in healthcare legislation.”  Additionally, more than 70% of voters agreed in four of the districts surveyed (Ohio-06, Ohio-16, Indiana-08, and Indiana-09).

At least two-thirds of voters in each Congressional District opposed “using tax dollars to pay for abortions” and in all districts majorities “strongly opposed.”  Furthermore, in three districts opposition reached 80% (Ohio-06, Ohio-16, and Indiana-08).

Catholic Advocate will be watching the votes of these Members of Congress, along with other Catholics in Congress, on health care reform if it continues to include abortion funding and informing our community once the final vote occurs.