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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.

“Nobody’s Pro-Abortion”…well except you, Mr. President

In Pennsylvania on March 8, 2010, President Obama ended his health care reform campaign rally with a classic political battle cry about being sent to Washington to make the tough decisions and do what is right. “Those of us in public office were not sent to Washington to do what’s easy,” he continued. “We were sent there to do what was hard. We were sent there to take on the tough issues. We were sent there to solve the big challenges.”

A recent segment on one of the daily cable shows engaged in the discussion about why the abortion issue in the health care legislation is becoming such a hot political issue for the White House. It might be because the President made the decision to take the easy political road for himself instead of doing what is right and “do what was hard” by standing up against the pro-abortion lobby that helped put him into office.

Near the end of the last presidential debate on October 15, 2008, Candidate Obama declared:

“The last point I want to make on the issue of abortion. This is an issue that — look, it divides us. And in some ways, it may be difficult to — to reconcile the two views.

“But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’

“Those are all things that we put in the Democratic platform for the first time this year, and I think that’s where we can find some common ground, because nobody’s pro-abortion. I think it’s always a tragic situation.”

A month later, E.J. Dionne wrote on November 15, 2008 in his Washington Post column:

“Once he assumes office, Obama might be tempted to forget that moment, issue the pro-choice executive orders that the abortion rights movement expects and move back to the sagging economy. But doing this would be both politically foolish and a breach of faith with the pro-life progressives who came to Obama’s defense during the campaign. They argued that Obama truly was committed to reducing the number of abortions. He shouldn’t turn them into liars.”

E.J. Dionne went on further to show how Candidate Obama was not alone in working to convince American Catholics that voting for him would align with issues of importance to them.

“Rep. Tim Ryan, a pro-life Democrat from Ohio, stumped all over his state urging Catholic groups and others on his side of the abortion question to put their faith in Obama’s pledge. He’s confident Obama will keep it.”

Unfortunately, as you will see below, President Obama’s abortion pledge was nothing more than an election year promise he had no intention of keeping. E.J. Dionne’s prophetic caution of temptation has become a reality.

With a Catholic Vice President, 16 Catholic Democrat Senators, 9 Catholic Republican Senators, 98 Catholic Democrat House Members, and 38 Catholic Republican House Members for a total of 162 Catholics in Congress – the Catholic Advocate community needs to lift up those Catholics such as Congressman Bart Stupak and others fighting the pro-abortion policies of President Obama and hold fire to the feet of those who consistently vote against the Sanctity of Life.

The List…

LifeNews.com Editor, Steven Ertelt, recently compiled a list of “bill signings, speeches, appointments, and other actions that President Barack Obama has engaged in that have promoted abortion before and during his presidency. While Obama has promised to reduce abortions, and some of his supporters believe that will happen, this long list proves his only agenda is promoting more abortions.”

Catholic Advocate believes it is important to share Steven Ertelt’s compilation with our community to inform them about how many different ways the abortion lobby can have influence on policy through appointments, executive orders, and passing legislation in Washington, D.C.

The list follows…

During the presidential election, Obama selected pro-abortion Sen. Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate.

Post-Election / Pre-Inauguration

  • November 5, 2008 – Obama selects pro-abortion Rep. Rahm Emanuel as his White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel has a 0% pro-life voting record according to National Right to Life.
  • November 19, 2008 – Obama picks pro-abortion former Sen. Tom Daschle as his Health and Human Services Secretary. Daschle has a long pro-abortion voting record according to National Right to Life.
  • November 20, 2008 – Obama chooses former NARAL legal director Dawn Johnsen to serve as a member of his Department of Justice Review Team. Later, he finalizes her appointment as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Obama administration.
  • November 24, 2008 – Obama appoints Ellen Moran, former director of the pro-abortion group Emily’s List as his White House Communications Director. Emily’s List only supports candidates who favor taxpayer funded abortions and oppose a partial-birth abortion ban.
  • November 24, 2008 – Obama puts former Emily’s List board member Melody Barnes in place as his director of the Domestic Policy Council.
  • November 30, 2008 – Obama names pro-abortion Sen. Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State. Clinton has an unblemished pro-abortion voting record and has supported making unlimited abortions an international right.
  • December 10, 2008 – Obama selects pro-abortion former Clinton administration official Jeanne Lambrew to become the deputy director of the White House Office of Health Reform. Planned Parenthood is “excited” about the selection.
  • December 10, 2008 – Obama transition team publishes memo from dozens of pro-abortion groups listing their laundry list of pro-abortion actions they want him to take. [Note: One of the groups that helped draft the memo was the Rebecca Project for Human Rights - an organization that has previously received USCCB CCHD grants]

Pro-Abortion Presidential Record – 2009

  • January 5 – Obama picks pro-abortion Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as the chairman of the Democratic Party.
  • January 6 – Obama chooses Thomas Perrelli, the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to kill his disabled wife, as the third highest attorney in the Justice Department.
  • January 22 – Releases statement restating support for Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions and has resulted in at least 50 million abortions since 1973.
  • January 23 – Forces taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. Decison to overturn Mexico City Policy sends part of $457 million to pro-abortion organizations.
  • January 26 – Obama nominee for Deputy Secretary of State, James B. Steinberg, tells members of the Senate that taxpayers should be forced to fund abortions. Nominee erroneously says limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional.
  • January 29 – President Obama nominates pro-abortion David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General.
  • February 12 – Obama nominates pro-abortion Elena Kagan to serve as Solicitor General.
  • February 27 – Starts the process of overturning pro-life conscience protections President Bush put in place to make sure medical staff and centers are not forced to do abortions.
  • February 28 – Barack Obama nominates pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • March 5 – The Obama administration shuts out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, made the invitation list as did other pro-abortion groups.
  • March 9 – President Barack Obama signs an executive order forcing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.
  • March 10 – Obama announces the creation of a new foreign policy position to focus on women’s issues. He names Melanne Verveer, an abortion advocate, to occupy the post.
  • March 10 – Reverses an executive order to press for more research into ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells without harming human life. The order Obama scrapped would have promoted new forms of stem cell research.
  • March 11 – Obama signs an executive order establishing a new agency within his administration known as the White House Council on Women and Girls. Obama’s director of public liaison at the White House, Tina Tchen, an abortion advocate, becomes director of it.
  • March 11 – Obama administration promotes an unlimited right to abortion at a United Nations meeting.
  • March 11 – Obama administration officials deny negative effects of abortion at United Nation’s meeting.
  • March 17 – President Barack Obama makes his first judicial appointment and names pro-abortion federal Judge David Hamilton to serve on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • March 26 – President Obama announces $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that has been criticized for promoting abortion and working closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.
  • April 7 – The Vatican has rejected three Obama ambassador nominees because of their positions in favor of abortions.
  • April 7 – Obama names pro-abortion law professor Harold Hongju Koh as the top lawyer for the State Department.
  • April 7 – Puts more abortion advocates on his White House advisory council for faith-based issues.
  • April 8 – Obama nominee for assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, Ron Weich, is pro-abortion.
  • April 14 – Obama administration releases document that claims pro-life people may engage in violence or extremism.
  • April 17 – Obama administration releases the proposed guidelines that implement his decision to allow taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.
  • April 23 – Refuses to appeal a ruling requiring the FDA to allow 17-year-old girls to purchase the morning after pill without either a doctor visit or parental involvement beforehand.
  • April 27 – Obama’s women’s ambassador Melanne Verveer touts Obama’s decision to send $50 million to the United Nation’s Population Fund.
  • May 5 – Details emerge about a terrorism dictionary the administration of President Barack Obama put together in March. The Domestic Extremism Lexicon calls pro-life advocates violent and claims they employ racist overtones in engaging in criminal actions.
  • May 8 – President Obama releases a new budget that allows the Legal Services Corporation to use tax dollars to pay for pro-abortion litigation.
  • May 8 – President Obama’s new budget calls for taxpayer funded abortions in the nation’s capital.
  • May 8 – President Obama’s budget eliminates all federal funding for abstinence-only education.
  • May 15 – Appoints pro-abortion New York City health commissioner Thomas Frieden as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • May 17 – During his commencement speech at Notre Dame, Obama deceives listeners into thinking he wants a conscience clause, promoted embryonic stem cell research and misstates his pro-abortion record.
  • May 26 – Appoints appeals court judge Sonia Sonotmayor as a Supreme Court nominee. Sotomayor agrees that the courts should make policy, such as the Roe v. Wade case. Sotomayor is later opposed by pro-life groups and supported by pro-abortion groups and those who know her say she will support abortion on the high court.
  • July 2- Calls for an unlimited right to abortion at a United Nation’s meeting.
  • July 7- The Obama administration admits it ignored the majority of Americans who opposed the proposed guidelines that would implement Obama’s decision to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.
  • July 14 – Obama science czar nominee John Holdren is revealed to have written before that he favors forced abortions.
  • July 30 – Awards several pro-abortion activists with the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • July 31 – Tells the National Institutes of Health to adopt rules that allow embryonic stem cell research.
  • August 4 – Information becomes public that Ezekiel Emanuel, an Obama advisor at the Office of Management and Budget and a member of Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, supports rationing health care for disabled Americans that could lead to euthanasia.
  • August 6 – Obama is criticized for asking people to “snitch” on groups and people who oppose the pro-abortion health care bills in Congress.
  • August 13 – Obama wrongly says a senator backed the pro-euthanasia components of the health care bill.
  • August 23 – Says pro-life advocates are making “phony claims” about the health care bills. Also says the claims are false.
  • August 24 – Releases veterans guide promoting euthanasia.
  • September 13 – Misleads on the federal conscience clause in a health care speech and misleads on abortion funding.
  • September 13 – Obama waits two days to comment on shooting of pro-life advocate whereas he commented immediately on shooting of abortion practitioner.
  • September 15 – Senate confirms Obama’s new regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who is pro-abortion.
  • October 5 – Selects pro-abortion lawyer and Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum for the EEOC.
  • October 5 – Anounces he will give the keynote speech for pro-abortion group Human Rights Campaign.
  • October 19 – Obama’s serve.gov web site promotes the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
  • October 21 – Obama administration web site promotes pro-abortion health care bills.
  • November 6 – Endorses the House version of the health care bill that, at the time, contains massive abortion funding, rationing and assisted suicide promotion.
  • November 26 – Copies Thanksgiving proclamation of President Bush but leaves out pro-life message.
  • December 2 – Authorizes taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research that kills days-old unborn children.
  • December 3 – A pro-abortion Obama judicial pick, Louis Butler, is approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • December 7 – Announces his endorsement of the pro-abortion Senate health care bill.
  • December 16 – Obama administration forces Americans a second time to spend millions more on embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life.
  • December 17 – Signs a bill that overturned the 13-year-long ban on funding abortions with tax dollars in the nation’s capital.

Pro-Abortion Presidential Record – 2010

  • January 18 – Gives speech supporting pro-abortion Senate candidate Martha Coakley.
  • January 26 – Renominates radical pro-abortion activist Dawn Johnsen to a top Justice Department position.
  • January 28 – Promotes the pro-abortion health care bill in the State of the Union address.
  • February 2 – Submits new budget calling for taxpayer funding of abortions and more money for Planned Parenthood.
  • February 5 – The Obama administration issues a new order for the U.S. military requiring all military hospitals and health centers to stock the morning after pill.
  • February 8 – The Obama administration admits it improperly conducted a threat assessment on pro-life groups in Wisconson who were preparing to rally against a new abortion center at a University of Wisconsin health clinic.
  • February 16 – White House visitor logs reveal Obama has gien Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards frequent access to top staffers.
  • February 22 – Unveils changes to the pro-abortion health care bill that keep abortion funding, expands abortion funding, and require a monthly abortion fee on Americans.
  • February 24 – Obama administration proposes expanding embryonic stem cell research further.
  • February 26 – Obama selects pro-abortion magistrate judge Timothy Black for the District Court Bench for the Southern District of Ohio. Black gets the endorsement of NARAL.
  • March 3 – Officially decides to use the controversial reconciliation procedure to pass the pro-abortion health care bill over the filibuster rights of those opposed.

By Matt Smith, Vice President of Catholic Advocate

At Catholic Advocate, we rely on our community members to help us fulfill our mission to build and support a Catholic community engaged in the political process. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

Why There is No Church Teaching On the Health Care Bill

By Deal Hudson

Even I was surprised a few weeks ago at the strength of the positive response to my column asking, “Is It Time for a Catholic Tea Party?” There’s considerable unrest among faithful Catholics who differ with the USCCB on some of its major policy positions as well as its mistakes in funding pro-abortion groups through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Part of the turmoil, I think, stems from a basic misunderstanding on the part of the Catholic laity concerning the lobbying effort of the USCCB to pass legislation.  Many Catholics I have talked to assume they’re obliged to support the legislative recommendations of the USCCB whether they agree with them or not.

For some reason many Catholics do not realize these recommendations – with the exception of those on non-negotiable life issues – require respectful consideration rather than obedient acceptance. Frustration, even consternation, follows for Catholics who don’t realize they are free to differ, and to say so.

Unfortunately, there are clergy who not only contribute to the misunderstanding but also treat respectful disagreement with condescension. The following e-mail was passed along to me by an acquaintance who wrote to his parish priest to question the wisdom of placing the nation’s health care system in the hands of the federal government.  (I’ve edited the email to protect the identity of its author.)

The priest’s response:

“It is so unfortunate that you have such a myopic vision and have made the conscious decision to NOT learn anything about Social Justice, that you would rather listen and believe the words of Hannity and Limbaugh rather than [local bishop’s name] or any Roman Catholic authority on the teachings of the Catholic Church especially in the area of Social Justice and the Social gospel.

I was contacted by Bishop _____ and [another bishop’s]   Secretary.  They both were disappointed in your mindset and your refusal to learn what the Catholic Church actually teaches. I pray that someday you will spend the time and effort to learn, understand and comprehend the Church’s view on Health Care Reform, Immigration Reform, and the understanding that the Body of Christ isn’t made up of only those people you believe to be given the recognition. With that being said, I do not want you to send me any E-Mails or forward any articles that are contrary to the teachings of the Church.  I pray that God may have mercy on you.” (Emphasis added)

The lack of pastoral courtesy requires little comment, except to say, this sort of demeaning clerical tone pushes the suppliant further away and exacerbates the discontent.

More disturbing than the tone is the false claim that there is a “Church’s view on Health Care [and] Immigration Reform.” To substitute “Church” for USCCB is to infuse legislative priorities with the aura of Episcopal authority about the teaching of faith and morals.

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.

Catholic leadership at all levels could help stem the rise of mounting concern with the USCCB by clarifying the mission of the conference and the ecclesial rationale of its role as a Catholic lobby to the U. S. Congress.