Sunday, December 20, 2009

Senator Kennedy's Widow Says Pass Health Care

Vickie Kennedy Asks that we Finish her late Husband's Work

By Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Sunday, December 20, 2009

My late husband, Ted Kennedy, was passionate about health-care reform. It was the cause of his life. He believed that health care for all our citizens was a fundamental right, not a privilege, and that this year the stars -- and competing interests -- were finally aligned to allow our nation to move forward with fundamental reform. He believed that health-care reform was essential to the financial stability of our nation's working families and of our economy as a whole.

Still, Ted knew that accomplishing reform would be difficult. If it were easy, he told me, it would have been done a long time ago. He predicted that as the Senate got closer to a vote, compromises would be necessary, coalitions would falter and many ardent supporters of reform would want to walk away. He hoped that they wouldn't do so. He knew from experience, he told me, that this kind of opportunity to enact health-care reform wouldn't arise again for a generation. (click link for more)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

May God Bless America and Protect Our Commander-in-Chief

The President Honors Those Who Served and Serve

Our servicemen and -women have been doing right by America for generations. And as long as I am commander in chief, America is going to do right by them.

And that is my message to all veterans today. That is my message to all who serve in harm's way. To the husbands and wives back home, doing the parenting of two; to the parents who watch their sons and daughters go off to war and the children who wonder when mom and dad is coming home; to all our wounded warriors, and to the families who laid a loved one to rest. America will not let you down. We will take care of our own.

And to those who are serving in far-flung places today, when your tour ends, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil, you will be home in an America that is forever here for you, just as you have been there for us.

That is my promise, our nation's promise, to you.

President Barack Obama
November 11, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009



full story in the link:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered a critical endorsement to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday by signing off on late-night agreement to grant a vote on an amendment barring insurance companies that participate in the exchange from covering abortions.

"Passing this amendment allows the House to meet our criteria of preserving the existing protections against abortion funding in the new legislation," the Bishops wrote in a letter to individual members. "Most importantly, it will ensure that no government funds will be used for abortion or health plans which include abortion."

The Bishops' conclude: "For the Catholic Church, health care is a basic human right."

Saturday, October 31, 2009



The economic crisis in the United States has left many Americans without security: the security of having a job, the security of having health care, or the security of having a sufficient retirement fund. For the nearly 40 million Americans who have been living in poverty, these kinds of security have always been out of reach, and the current crisis has amplified their struggles. For nearly 40 years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has helped the poor fight for fair wages, affordable housing, and access to health care. Now more than ever, CCHD needs our support to help lift people up and out of poverty. Families are struggling. Our faith is calling. Join the numbers who care. Please be generous in this year’s Collection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is GOP Leader McConnell in Bed with the Communists?

Agent of Communist Government and Wife of Senate Republican Leader

We have heard a lot of baseless accusations against the President's patriotism and tea partiers calling him a Communist.

It turns out the agent of Communism in Washington, DC might be Elaine Chao, former Republican cabinet Secretary and current wife of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Ms. Chao has recently taken a job with the Communist government of the city of Wuhan, People's Republic of China.

Like Lenin said, the capitalists will sell us the rope we will hang them with.
Or, like the GOP says, its just business.
Pray for the oppressed Catholics of Red China.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama Sends Delegation to Rome to Honor Fr. Damien

President Obama says St. Damien gave voice to voiceless, dignity to the sick

Wednesday, October 14, 2009
By Megan Sweas
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- President Barack Obama expressed his "deep admiration" for St. Damien de Veuster and offered his prayers for all those celebrating the priest's "extraordinary life and witness."

He issued the statement Oct. 9, two days before the pope canonized the Belgian priest and four others at the Vatican.

St. Damien dedicated his life to those afflicted with leprosy, now called Hansen's disease, in Molokai, Hawaii.

Obama, who was largely raised in Hawaii, noted that St. Damien "has earned a special place in the hearts of Hawaiians. I recall many stories from my youth about his tireless work there to care for those suffering from leprosy who had been cast out."

The missionary priest, who was from Tremelo, Belgium, ministered to patients with Hansen's disease on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, where they were banished to the settlement of Kalaupapa. He was renowned for treating them with love and compassion. He ultimately contracted Hansen's disease and died in 1889.

"Following in the steps of Jesus' ministry to the lepers, Father Damien challenged the stigmatizing effects of the disease, giving voice to the voiceless and ultimately sacrificing his own life to bring dignity to so many," Obama said in his statement.

The president drew parallels between leprosy and diseases such as HIV/AIDS that afflict millions around the world today, saying "we should draw on the example of Father Damien's resolve in answering the urgent call to heal and care for the sick."

Appointed by Obama to the delegation representing the United States at the canonization were: Bishop Larry Silva, who heads the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu; Sister Carol Ann Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association; U.S. Sen. Daniel Kahikina Akaka, D-Hawaii; U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, D-N.J.; and Stephen Prokop, superintendent of Kalaupapa National Historic Park.

Leading the delegation was the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Miguel Diaz.

Friday, October 9, 2009


"The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Peace to President Obama is greeted with appreciation in the Vatican, in light of the commitment demonstrated by the President for the promotion of peace in the international arena, and in particular also recently in favor of nuclear disarmament. It's hoped that this very important recognition will further encourage that commitment, which is difficult but fundamental for the future of humanity, so that the desired results will be obtained."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lecture at Fordham University on the Oblate Sisters of Providence

I am sure this will be a worthwhile event for any who are in the area.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Conservatives to Re-Write Bible


It seems our friend Andy Schlafly, Esq., son of conservative standard-bearer Phyllis Schlafly (not the gay one) feels a need to re-write the Bible to correct all of the liberalism in it.

This is so crazy, I can't go on. Read about it yourself in the link below.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Biden Joins With Prelates in Prayer for Our Nation and for Principles of Justice


He is our country's first Catholic Vice President, but Joe Biden joined thousands of others as a humble communicant at Sunday's Red Mass, the annual votive Mass said for the opening of the Supreme Court session. Presiding at the Mass was Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston served as the homilist. Also attending the Mass was the newest Catholic Justice, Sonia Sotomayor as well as Obama cabinet secretaries Ken Salazar and Ray LaHood.

Concelebrating at St. Matthew's Cathedral alongside Archbishop Wuerl were the Archbishop of the Military Services Tim Broglio, Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington and Washington's three auxiliaries. The Red Mass is held annually on the first Sunday of October, the eve of a new Supreme Court term. It was begun in 1954 and is sponsored by the John Carroll Society. However, its roots date from the 14th century when a Mass was held in Paris and other European capitals for the judiciary. The name comes from the red vestments worn for the votive Mass of the Holy Spirit as well as the red robes of judges at the time (with the Protestant Reformation, black replaced red for judges).

Right wing extremists called the Mass "a mockery" and led a protest against the Cathedral. The same group recently picketed the Bishops' Conference, objecting to their support for national health care.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pro-Life Evangelical Protestant Church Endorses Obama's Health Care

Pro-Life Clergy to endorse Obama's Healthcare plan

A group of clergy known for their strong opposition to abortion, led by the head of the evangelical, pro-life Church of God in Christ, will endorse the President's health care plan, reinforcing his assertion that taxpayer dollars won't pay for abortions.

Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., a Los Angeles minister who heads the massive Church of God in Christ -- are scheduled to announce their support for the legislation at a news conference this morning. And they will offer a full embrace of the government-run insurance option that some Republicans have claimed opens the door to taxpayer-funded abortions.

"In accord with our commitment to Christian teaching, we wholeheartedly affirm the president's position that medical costs related to the abortion of fetuses shall not be covered by healthcare plans funded by this initiative," Blake will say today, according to an advance copy of his remarks.

The abortion issue is, admittedly, complicated. Under the plan, millions of Americans currently uninsured will purchase insurance from the private market. An estimated 2 million could receive insurance from their employer without any government subsidy. As is the case now, private employers and not the government will decide if abortion is covered. Pro-life leaders are divided if it is really appropriate to oppose employers providing insurance just because some of them may adopt plans that cover abortion. About 2/3rds of private plans cover abortion but this has never been a major issue for most right-to-life organizations.

In other cases, workers will be able to buy private insurance on exchanges. This gets more complicated. The government will help set up the exchange. Some private insurance companies may choose to cover abortion but consumers would be guaranteed a pro-life option. Consumers may receive tax credits depending on their income, to help purchase insurance. If there is a public option, it would function like Medicaid does now. The underlying law allows abortion coverage in Medicaid, but an appropriations rider passed every year known as the Hyde Amendment prohibits abortion funding. Democratic leaders have promoted a compromise that leaves the status quo in place. Abortion would be prohibited based on the annually renewed Hyde Amendment.

The Church of God in Christ is one of the world's largest Pentecostal denominations, with an estimated 6 million members. Its leadership, including Blake, has been heavily courted over the years by Republicans including former President George W. Bush, who viewed them as potential conservative allies because of their views on abortion, same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Reason the Right Wing Hates Notre Dame


NCAA basketball coaches who are sometimes rivals on the court came united to Congress on Tuesday to push for quick approval of health care reform.

"Now is the time to press full court," Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey said on Capitol Hill.

Coach John Thompson III of Georgetown University, the country's first Catholic college, joined with Coach Brey along with fellow coaches Ed DeChellis of Penn State, Oliver Purnell of Clemson and Tubby Smith of Minnesota.

The event, hosted by Minnesota Senators Al Franken (DFL) and Amy Klobuchar (DFL), was a push to guarantee health coverage for all, regardless of preexisting conditions, and require minimal or no deductibles for cancer-screening procedures.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Civil War Within the Right Wing

It is a common phenomenon. When things start going bad in a group, they sometimes turn on each other. For the hard Right Catholics, is has been a bad time. A strong majority of Catholics rejected their demands and voted for Barack Obama. The President received an honorary degree at Notre Dame. Senator Kennedy was given has Catholic funeral with two Cardinals participating. Two conservative bishops who were becoming pastoral disasters were moved out as the episcopal leaders of the local church -- Bishop Martino of Scranton fired and Archbishop Burke, formerly of St. Louis, moved to a bureaucratic desk job in Rome. The American bishops continue their witness to unborn life, as they should, but also uphold their historic call for national health insurance. They have refused to play along with the right-wing attempt to kill health care reform.

Now, feuding factions in the opposition to Notre Dame have turned on each other. One group -- NDResponse -- seeing that the critics of the President's address at Notre Dame were becoming their own worst enemy -- stepped in to take control of the messaging shortly before the President's visit. Probably a smart move giving how off the wall the protesters were becoming.

NDRespone cut a deal with the University that they would be the sole and exclusive campus protest group. They and anyone they declared part of their group had permission to be on campus the day of the President's address. They were clear what conditions had to be met to be part of their group. They sent this message out:

Concerning Signs and Graphic Images:

Any person willing to respectfully and constructively demonstrate their disapproval of the University’s decision to honor President Obama at commencement is welcomed to stand alongside students at this rally. Graphic images and signs not in keeping with the tone of this rally will not be permitted on Notre Dame’s campus. ND Response reserves the right to have individuals who do not follow student requests escorted from campus by security personnel.

In other words, you play by their rules or not at all.

Well, about 88 protesters were too extreme for NDResponse. They were arrested and now they want amnesty. This has now become a cause celebre for them. One faction of the Right Wing arrested and expelled from campus by another faction of the Right wing. The Right is turning in on itself.

It gets worse. Tomorrow, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry and his supporters are staging a protest outside the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to dissuade them from their support of health care reform. They will be rallying against the “temptations of Socialism” and threatening that bishops who support reform may “lose their souls.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

USCCB Press Statement on Health Care Reform

USCCB Officials Welcome President Obama's Statements On Abortion, Care For The Poor In Response To Health Care Address

WASHINGTON—Calling it an important contribution to a crucial national debate, officials speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed President Obama's September 9 address on health care reform, particularly his statements regarding abortion and the uninsured.

"We agree that 'no one should go broke because they get sick,'" said Kathy Saile, Director of Domestic Social Development at the USCCB. "That's why the U.S. Bishops have worked for decades for decent health care for all. The Catholic Church provides health care for millions, purchases health care, picks up the pieces of a failing health system, and has a long tradition of teaching on ethics in health care. Health care reform that respects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and urgent national priority. We welcome the President's speech as an important contribution to this essential national debate and task."

"We especially welcome the President's commitment to exclude federal funding of abortion, and to maintain existing federal laws protecting conscience rights in health care," said Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB. "We believe that incorporating essential and longstanding federal laws on these issues into any new proposal will strengthen support for health care reform. We will work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that these protections are clearly reflected in new legislation, so no one is required to pay for or take part in abortion as a result of health care reform."

"We agree with the President that there are details that need to be ironed out," said Saile. "And with his address last night, we see the opportunity to work towards a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity, access for all with a special concern for the poor, and inclusion of legal immigrants. We also see the possibility of meeting the bishops' goal to pursue the common good and preserve pluralism, including freedom of conscience and a variety of options, and restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Joe Wilson in the Cathedral?

Joe Wilson in the Cathedral?

Saturday evening, September 12th and the faithful gathered at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC for the annual Mass for the Blessing of Human Labor, which has been held on or around Labor Day for better than fifty years. The Archbishop was presiding and in attendance were leaders and rank and file members of the labor movement. Entering the Cathedral , I joked with my companion that some of the people participating in the anti-tax/anti-Obama rally earlier that day might inadvertently be attending.

Maybe not as much as the more high class Red Mass that will be celebrated next month for the legal profession and the judiciary, but it was a solemn affair – the Archbishop incensing the altar, the deacon singing his parts, the choir at its best. Yes, some of the union members in attendance came in their work clothes as is custom, but it was no clown Mass with liturgical dance during the canon.

All was good until around the middle of the Mass, when one person decided some “audience participation” was needed. On my part, first shock, and then hearing whispered to me “Is Joe Wilson in the Cathedral?”

Is this where we have come? First during a presidential address to a formal joint session of Congress and now at Mass in the Cathedral?

After the first outburst (there would be more), my stomach knotted and I became more sensitive to my surroundings. Yes, it did seem some of the congregation were from the tax protest but I could not tell if the “Wilsonista” I noticed was. When the Archbishop called forward the union stewards present for a special blessing, I heard murmurs from a pew back about the “SEIU” t-shirts some wore.

After Mass, the Archbishop hosted a pleasant reception for the union officials and others present and over some food, drink and fellowship, the tension passed away. I started to take even some amusement about some well-intentioned conservative protesters fulfilling Sunday obligation and by chance exposed to the Labor Mass. But I am seriously disturbed that Congressman Wilson’s action on the floor of the House has now emboldened others to misbehave at serious events, even Holy Mass.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Senator Kennedy's Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me - and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.

There will be struggles - there always have been - and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat - that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family's health will never again depend on the amount of a family's wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will - yes, we will - fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.

In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America's behalf inspires the entire world.

So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.

At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.

And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

With deep respect and abiding affection,


Monday, September 7, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

AFL-CIO President Sweeney Honored As Catholic Model

Georgetown University Grants Highest Honor to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
by Tula Connell, Sep 4, 2009

It’s rare for a major university like Georgetown to grant honorary degrees. But rare are individuals like AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Last night in a formal robe and gown ceremony followed by a celebration with Archbishop Donald Wuerl in Georgetown’s elegant Riggs Library, Georgetown University President John DeGioia conferred upon Sweeney the degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

Sweeney has dedicated his life to improving the lives of America’s working families, motivated in large part by his religious faith, one infused with the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church. Recognizing how Catholic doctrine influenced Sweeney’s life-long quest for justice and fairness for working people, DeGioia explained the importance of honoring Sweeney:

For many years, John Sweeney has worked to champion the dignity of workers—and work. And we at Georgetown take seriously the Catholic commitment to social justice for working people that has inspired John Sweeney’s remarkable career. That commitment has recently led us, with the help of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, to inaugurate a new effort here, the “Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor,” which we will formally inaugurate later this fall—and in whose work we hope to engage many of you in the years to come. Through its work, we hope to contribute, in our own way, to the tradition that John Sweeney has so well exemplified.

Throughout Sweeney’s more than 50 years of serving those who toil to earn their pay, he has joined his work in the labor movement with dedication to the faith community. He was an original member of the Catholic Common Ground Project, formed by the late Cardinal Bernardin. He participated in an a Vatican Social Justice conference and has been honored by Catholic Charities of Washington, and by Catholic universities such as his alma mater, Iona College in New York, and Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Noted labor historian and Georgetown professor Joseph McCartin, who was instrumental in the process which led Georgetown to recognize Sweeney, read the degree citation, which states in part:

Driven by family, faith, and a profound sense of justice, John J. Sweeney has had an indelible impact on the struggle for workers’ rights in this country and around the world. His efforts, as president of the AFL-CIO and with the many other organizations he has served, have always championed the right of all people to be able to live and work with dignity.

From an early age, John Sweeney understood the importance of worker solidarity and its role in Catholic social teaching. He credits his beliefs to the values and ethics instilled in him by his parents, to his father’s participation in the local transit worker’s union in New York City, and to his Catholic education at Cardinal Hayes High School, Iona College, and Xavier Labor School. Taken together, this formative upbringing instilled in Mr. Sweeney a sense of purpose that he has carried with him throughout his whole life.

Saying faith “has been the bedrock of my life,” Sweeney said at the ceremony the “Holy Father [Pope Benedict XVI] reaffirms our belief in government as a legitimate tool for correcting injustice and inequality, and for regulating business. He writes: ‘The market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak.’

He also reinforces the spiritual teaching that society should honor work—work is a way of worshipping God and participating in God’s ongoing act of creation. Honoring the dignity of work is the core of our shared support for free labor unions, for the absolute right of workers to join together and bargain collectively, and the absolute obligation of corporations to honor those rights and hold themselves to higher standards of social responsibility.

As someone who has had the honor of working with President Sweeney for nearly 20 years, it is my turn to recognize AFL-CIO President John Sweeney for holding me, and many of us in the labor movement, to these higher standards of social responsibility.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Most Reverend William F. Murphy
Bishop of Rockville Centre
Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 7, 2009

Over the years we Americans have redefined the summer by making Labor Day the“extra day of vacation” that recognizes the work we do throughout the year. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact looking at the history of the struggle for wages and benefits, I think that an extra “day off” for all Americans fits in with the spirit of the whole American experience of the meaning of work. It is a moment to recognize the value and dignity of work and the contribution and rights of the American worker. It is time well spent.

Labor Day this year comes at a time when we face a number of challenging problems, many of which cause us to reflect and ponder on what the future will bring. As complex andchallenging as the current economic situation is and the new elements that challenge us all,Americans are still fundamentally an optimistic people. We have an abiding faith in the values that have shaped our nation and an ongoing commitment to work together to address the problems and build on the strengths of who we are. This attitude mirrors the deep and powerful virtue of hope that our Church and, in a special way, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, have emphasized as a mark of all the faithful disciples of Jesus.

We are called always “to give an accounting of the hope that is in us.”(cf. 1Pt 3:15) This is especially true in difficult times that can try our spirits and test our wills.

A New Encyclical

Earlier this summer, Pope Benedict XVI published his long awaited encyclical, Caritas inVeritate. This teaching of Benedict brings together a whole range of theological and social issuesin a perspective that is in some ways very new and challenging. The Holy Father covers a wide gamut of subjects that reflect many of the Church’s traditional concerns in the social field while placing them in broader anthropological and cultural context. In this way the encyclical reflects questions that have long been central to the theological reflections of this Pontiff who constantly plumbs the implications of understanding of the human person before God.

The Pope reminds us,“the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is…the human person in his or her integrity: Man is the source, the form and the aim of all economic and social life.” (#25)

The Pope revisits the traditional teachings of his predecessors on the value of the human person, the dignity of every human being, and the integral development of human society to promote human flourishing. His reflections reaffirm the teachings of Leo XIII on labor and PiusXI on subsidiarity. With John XXIII and John Paul II, he insists on the value of solidarity and focuses with a special emphasis on Paul VI’s passionate commitment to the Third World and the development of peoples.

In the new encyclical, the Holy Father affirms and extends traditional Catholic teaching on the centrality of work to the whole human experience. Decent work, according to the encyclical, “means work that expresses the essential dignity of every man and woman in the context of their particular society: work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers, both men and women, with the development of their community; work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination; work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for children, without the children themselves beingforced into labor; work that permits the workers to organize themselves freely, and to make their voices heard; work that leaves enough room for re-discovering one’s roots at a personal, familial and spiritual level; work that guarantees those who have retired a decent standard of living.”(#63)

Pope Benedict renews and reminds us of the Church’s classic support for the right of workers to choose freely to form or join a union or other types of workers’ associations. Pope Benedict endorses this and adds to it the responsibility of workers and unions “to be open to the new perspectives that are emerging in the world of work.” (#64)

This Labor Day statement is not the place to give a complete overview of the newencyclical. It remains, however, a major point of reference for us all as we give thanks to God forthe meaning with which God has endowed work as a reflection of the dignity of every worker, a“co-creator” with God in this world of human endeavor. That vision of cooperation with God inbuilding up this world through our work underscores the need for us all to cooperate andcollaborate with one another in making work and the workplace a project of human solidarityand mutual respect.

An Example of Respecting the Rights of Workers

In this Labor Day reflection, permit me to call your attention to a positive step forward inrespect for workers in one crucial area of our life: health care.

This year, after years of discussions, leaders in Catholic health ministry, the labor movement, and the Catholic bishops sought to apply our traditional teaching on work and workers and to offer some practical alternatives on how leaders of hospitals, unions, and others might apply our principles as an aid to reaching agreements in their own situations.

The principal participants— the Catholic Health Association (CHA), the AFL/CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)—reached agreement that offers guidance and options on how workers can make a free decision about whether or not they want to be represented by a union. They agreed on basic principles including mutual respect and open and honest communication as ‘guides’ to appropriate conduct for both employers and union representatives. This paves the way forworkers to make informed decisions without undue influence or pressure from either side.

Thebasic elements of such an approach include mutual respect, truth, and a commitment to let the workers decide whether or not they want to be represented by a union. This was not easy or simple. There were many different points of view and perspectives that at times seemed irreconcilable. The dialogue was long, candid and constructive. It led to a significant consensus statement entitled, Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for CatholicHealth Care and Unions.

This project achieved a significant accomplishment: a consensus among all the parties on a set of principles, processes, and guidelines for a respectful and harmonious approach to let workers in Catholic health care facilities make free choices about unionization. This is offered for voluntary use to help facilitate worker’s choices in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation for the good of the workers themselves.

Special thanks are due to the leadership of the CHA, AFL/CIO, and SEIU. All involved join me in special appreciation for the patient and wise leadership of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Thanks in no small measure go as well to the guidance of the Feerick Center at Fordham law School under the direction of Dean John Feerick. The dialogue tried to look at real situations and genuine differences in light of some basic themes in Catholic social teaching. The document offers some practical guidance and alternatives on how leaders of hospitals, unions, and others might apply these principles by adapting them to their own situations.

Because Catholic health care is a ministry, leadership must reflect in its own operations the words and example of Jesus. For the Church, health care is a continuation of the healing mission of Jesus. This is a gift to both the Church and to society at large. In our nation, one person out of six receives care at one of more than 600 Catholic hospitals or 1,200 other Catholic health care ministries. In the past, tension and misunderstandings too often marred relations between Catholic health care and labor. In an effort to look at that and move beyond it, the participants in the dialogue sought to find alternatives that would structure and guide a positive process with the good of the worker as the centerpiece.

This group of leaders, representing all the principal entities involved, affirmed two key values: (1) the central role of workers themselves in making choices about representation and (2)the principle of mutual agreement between employers and unions on the means and methods to assure that workers could make their choices freely and fairly. The document calls for civil dialogue between unions and employers focusing on how the workers’ right to decide will be respected. The heart of this consensus is that it is up to workers—not bishops, hospital managers,or union leaders—to decide “through a fair process” whether or not to be represented by a union and if so, which union.

It is our hope that this voluntary guidance and process agreement willprove to be a significant help for greater respect for workers on behalf of all interested parties now and in the future.

Other Issues in Health Care Reform

This Labor Day comes as our nation is engaged in a wider debate on reform of the healthcare system. As Congress discusses various proposals, the USCCB is committed to bring to this challenging issue the principles of Catholic social teaching as important truths that have the capacity to analyze and measure each serious proposal brought forward. The Catholic bishops continue to work for health care that is accessible, affordable, and respects the life and dignity ofevery human being from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. To cite Pope Benedict, “A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as thedignity of the human person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to thecontrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued andviolated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.” (#15)

Health care is an essential good for every human person. In a society like ours, no one should lack access to decent health care. Perhaps no other topic has engaged such a large number of citizens or produced such a wide range of opinions and points of view. This can help us avoid the pitfalls that occur when legislation passes without enough dialogue and reflection. I urge you to join the bishops in advocating for health care reform that is truly universal and protects human life at every stage of development. We must remain resolute in urging the federal government to continue its essential and longstanding prohibitions on abortion funding and abortion mandates.

Our government and laws must also retain explicit protection for the freedom of conscience ofhealth care workers and health care institutions. For more on USCCB advocacy on health care reform see our website,

Somewhat different but still a matter of basic human dignity is the challenge ofimmigration reform. This too has a part in the current health care debates. As a nation we have to be concerned about the integrity and safety of our borders. But that cannot overwhelm issues of respect for the dignity of immigrants who come to our country for so many varying political and economic reasons. We are a nation of laws. We as a people respect the laws of our country and state and local municipality. New peoples also are expected to do the same as good citizens or as good people desirous of becoming citizens. Most immigrants work hard, pay taxes, contribute tosocial security, and are valuable members of our society.

Yet too often these same immigrants, including legal immigrants, are denied access to health care services. This should not happen in asociety that respects the rights and dignity of every person. For all these reasons our immigration law and related laws must guarantee fair treatment to the millions of immigrants in our countrywho contribute to our economy and the common good. This is not an issue of “us” and “them.”

They, the new peoples among us, are an integral part of the “us” that constitutes the greatdiversity that is our nation. In that context, we bishops are convinced that it is imperative that legal immigrants be included in any fair and just health care legislation that seeks to offer adequate care that is universal and advances the common good of all in our country. An adequate safety net should remain in place for those who still remain without health care coverage. (Formore information on the bishops’ efforts on immigration see:


As we seek to rebuild our economy, produce a better health care system, and improve theimmigration system, we are presented with unique opportunities to advance the common good.

Pope Benedict’s new encyclical insists that the ethical dimensions of economic life begin withprotecting the life and dignity of all, respect for work and the rights of workers, and a genuinecommitment to the common good. As the Holy Father points out: “it is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only reallyand effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity.” (emphasis in the original, #7)

On this Labor Day, let us remember those without work and without hope. Too often in our public discourse anger trumps wisdom, myth outweighs fact, and slogans replace solutions.We can work together and rebuild our economy on the moral principles and ethical valuesoutlined by Pope Benedict in his new encyclical. This Labor Day, we should take a moment topray for all workers and all those without work. We should also ask God’s help in living out theChurch’s call to defend human life and dignity, to protect workers and their rights, and to standwith the poor and vulnerable in difficult economic times. In his new encyclical, Pope Benedict challenges and reassures us: “As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we aresustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice.” (#78)

May God bless you this Labor Day and may God watch over and bless those who are committed to the care and protection of all the members of our nation who share the Americandream of “liberty and justice for all.”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pope Sends Apostolic Blessing to Senator Kennedy

Senator Kennedy's letter to the Holy Father:

Most Holy Father, I asked President Obama to personally hand-deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am so deeply grateful to him.

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God's blessings as you lead our church and inspire our world during these challenging times. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines. I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, and although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life.

I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family. And both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provided solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.

I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator.

I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I'm committed to doing everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I'll continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.

I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me.

Response from the Holy See:

The Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spirtual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of our universal church.

His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.

Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.

Thank You, Senator Kennedy

"They called him the Lion of the Senate, and indeed that is what he was. His roar and his zeal for what he believed made a difference in our nation's life. Sometimes, of course, we who were his friends and had great affection for him would get mad at him when he would roar at what we believed was the wrong side of the issue. But we always knew and we were always touched by his passion for the underdog, the rights of working people, for better education, for adequate health care for every American,"

---- Theodore Cardinal McCarrick

Thursday, August 27, 2009

'Christians' Could Care Less About 45 Million Without Health Care

Conservative Protestants say U.S. health care system 'is working'

WASHINGTON — Conservative Christian groups on Wednesday (Aug. 26) ramped up opposition to health care reform, saying the current system "has problems" but "it is working."

Members of the newly formed Freedom Federation, includes, among others, the American Family Association, the Church of God in Christ, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council Action, Liberty University and the Traditional Values Coalition.

On abortion, Federation members said they are concerned that although the word "abortion" does not appear in the draft bills, it will be paid for by the government under the proposed reform.

Although an estimated 45 million Americans lack health insurance, federation backers said they support the current system. "There may be problems," one leader said, "but it is working."

Another leader agreed, saying, "America does offer the best health care in the world.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Republicans Still Hate FDR

News Item: ex-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said Obama has "the most left-wing agenda since Roosevelt "
Really, Rudy? You think FDR is the type of President to be opposed at all costs? Are you still stuck on Republican Isolationism, opposition to Social Security, and Fair Employment Practices?

I say, Happy Days are Here Again! Vote for Roosevelt and Repeal!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Eunice Kennedy Shriver is ailing. Please remember her in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Catholics Demand Health Care Reform NOW!

Catholics are joining with President Obama to demand health care reform now. Catholic Charities, the Catholic Health Association and the St. Vincent de Paul Society – the three leading Catholic organizations involved in caring for the sick – have produce a compelling video on the need for action along the lines of the President’s plan. See the video here:

Catholics including these groups and social action organizations like Catholics United are asking the faithful to call and e-mail members of Congress to express support for Congress to enact health care reform now.

Thanks to these organizations and other Catholic leaders, we are maintaining the momentum for health care reform efforts despite vicious attacks by Right Wing groups opposing every plan before Congress than would insure the uninsured while controlling costs.

Right Wing groups also have tried to pressure the Catholic bishops to stop Catholics from supporting health care reform. Roger Playwin, the National Executive Director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society rejected false claims by Right Wing partisans, telling a conservative activist criticizing the plan, "The bishops' office has advised us that that's not accurate.”
Catholic Charities has been in the lead of efforts as well. Catholic Charities president Fr. Larry Snyder has sent a letter urging Congress to enact health care reform.

Catholic Health Association President Sister Carol Keehan has visited the White House to represent CHA and to help the President with his health care plan. Sister declared “We know how urgently change is needed for both moral and economic reasons.” President Obama appears in a video CHA has developed in support of health care reform.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bishops Issue Guidelines Respecting Union Rights at Catholic Hospitals

From the Catholic Labor Network:

As many of you have heard, a major break through was recently announced between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Health Association, and trade unions who have been active in organizing Catholic hospitals.

As was noted in the USCCB Press Release, "The result of more than ten years of work, this document offers guidance for Catholic health care employers and unions on how to create a fair process for health care workers to decide whether or not to form a union. The three-way dialogue between the Catholic bishops, Catholic health care leaders, and leaders of organized labor used Catholic social teachings to establish common ground on alternative approaches to protect the rights of workers."

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said:

This is a landmark moment for health care workers. The foundation for reaching this agreement was mutual respect for the histories of both Catholic health care and workers' rights. Because of their willingness to engage in dialogue, the bishops and the leaders of Catholic health care displayed real courage and leadership and have set an example for all to follow.

Pope Benedict XVI recently noted that Catholic social teachings are strongly supportive of workers' freedom to form unions and recognized the importance of workers' rights in a modern economy. Unfortunately, recent studies show the freedom to form a union is at risk from a legal climate that allows management harassment and intimidation. The principles put forward by the Catholic bishops are an important response to these trends in the workplace.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama Picks Catholic Leader as Surgeon General

Dr. Regina Benjamin

President Obama has nominated a Catholic health care leader to serve as Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin. She is a graduate of Xavier University in Louisiana, founded by St. Katharine Drexel.

Whispers in the Loggia writes about her:

Founder of a rural Alabama health clinic for the poor that was devastated three times (twice by hurricanes, once by fire) since its founding in 1990, Dr Regina Benjamin was reelected to a second term on the board of the US' Catholic Health Association at its yearly assembly last month in New Orleans. Even more notably, though, Benjamin's work both at home and nationally were recognized in 2006 when Pope Benedict awarded her the papal cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice ("For the Church and the Pontiff") -- the Roman accolade reserved for laity, religious and permanent deacons who've given distinguished service to the church.

The first African-American woman to lead a state medical association, the 53 year-old nominee -- whose grandmother helped found a Black Catholic parish, its first Masses offered in her living room -- must be confirmed by the Senate before she can become the nation's "top doc."

In the meantime, CHA President Sr Carol Keehan "rejoice[d] for the nation" in a statement released just after this morning's announcement:

In Dr. Benjamin, we have a brilliant physician who understands health care, nationally and internationally; but even more important, she knows the health care needs of the people of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, who she meets on a daily basis.Dr. Benjamin will enrich the nation because she brings competence and integrity to this very important role. This is coupled with the daily experience of trying to meet the health care needs of a very vulnerable community. Our nation will greatly benefit from her leadership and her background in national and international efforts to deliver quality health care.CHA congratulates Dr. Benjamin and looks forward to working with her to improve the health of our great country.

Friday, July 10, 2009


The Pope very much wanted to meet with the President and scheduled an unusual afternoon meeting to accommodate him at the end of his Italian stay for a G-8 summit meeting. In the tradition-conscious Vatican, most such meetings are held earlier in the day. The Vatican also arranged live television coverage of the open session of the meeting after their private talks.

Benedict also broke Vatican protocol the day after Obama was elected by sending a personal note of congratulations rather than waiting and sending the usual brief telegram on Inauguration Day.
The First Lady and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, joined him at the end of the meeting, and gifts were exchanged. The President gave the Pope a stole that is a relic of St. John Neumann, CSSR, an American saint and immigrant. Several senior White House staff members also met the pope, with some either shaking his hand or kissing his ring.
According to the Pope's official spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, the pope was "very impressed" by Obama and that the pontiff was "extremely satisfied" with the talks. Father also said that "Obama told the pope of his commitment to reduce the number of abortions and of his attention and respect for the positions of the Catholic Church."
The pope also gave the president a copy of his latest encyclical, "Charity in Truth," which called for a "world political authority" to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies to pull the world out of the current crisis and avoid a repeat.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Papal Encyclical: Workers’ Rights to Form Unions Must Be Honored

by Seth Michaels, Jul 8, 2009

In a new encyclical released yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of the Catholic Church discusses the challenges of a global economy. He notes that workers’ ability to form a union and bargain is at risk and makes it clear it’s a matter of moral imperative to preserve that freedom.
Here’s what the pope has to say on the need for workers to have the freedom to form unions:

Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labor unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum, for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honored today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.

The Vatican and a wide variety of Catholic leaders have continued to express support throughout the year for workers’ freedom to form unions, and many Catholic scholars and organizations like the Catholic Labor Network and Catholics for Working Families have come out in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day




Cardinal Praises President Obama

Cardinal George Cottier, former theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II, praised the President's "humble realism." Styled as an analysis of two Obama speeches – his May 17 commencement address at the University of Notre Dame and his June 4 speech to the Islamic world in Cairo – His Eminence was overwhelmingly positive, repeatedly arguing that Obama’s “realism”, as well as his commitment to finding “common ground”, resonate with Christian tradition and the social teaching of the Catholic church.

The Cardinal compared Obama’s Notre Dame address to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, in its accent on dialogue and common ground, and to the document Dignitatis Humanae of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) on conducting the search for truth in a pluralistic society. Christians, Cottier wrote, “can be in agreement” with Obama’s “way of framing the search for solutions.”

full story here:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

President Obama Accepts Holy Father's Invitation

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has extended an invitation to the President to meet with him on July 10th and President Obama has very graciously accepted the invitation. The Pope and President have had telephone conversations previously but this will be the first face to face meeting. The White House confirmed that Mrs. Obama will join the President when he meets with the Holy Father.

Pope Benedict XVI broke protocol by sending a congratulatory message to Barack Obama after he won the election in November (54% of Catholics supported him). The normal practice is to wait for the swearing-in (at which the Pope also sent greetings). Anxious to meet with Obama, the Pope agreed to an afternoon meeting to accommodate the President's schedule. Typically, popes have such meetings in the morning.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows: Gay Congressman and Archbishop Chaput Show Political Unity at Catholic Parish

I must admit, when openly gay Congressman Jared Polis sent me the following flyer for a rally he was having at a Catholic Church AND with Archbishop Charles Chaput in attendance, my reaction was "now there is an odd couple."

But, it is a good witness that people of good will can come together on an issue, even when they have profound differences on other issues.

A national movement including businesses, unions, faith-based organizations, civil rights groups, conservatives, liberals, and community activists is forming to advocate comprehensive immigration reform, and I would like to invite you to take part in that overwhelming support for comprehensive immigration reform by attending our HUGE event:

When: Saturday, June 13th, 2009 12:30 PM-2:00 PM (doors open at 11:30 AM)

Where: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Parish Center 11385 Grant St., Northglenn, CO

Our June 13th event is part of the United Families tour. United Families is a nationwide tour led by Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez to encourage Congress to pass just and humane immigration reform in 2009! In over 20 cities, families that suffer under our broken immigration policies have told their stories to thousands of onlookers, the media, and elected officials. I am honored to bring Congressman Gutierrez to Colorado.

You have the opportunity to be a part of this historic tour and a part of the solution! Colorado families will tell their stories of how our broken immigration system has impacted them. Archbishop Chaput, Father Ames, Rabbi Firestone, Reverend Simpson, and Imam Ali will help us to understand how our faith calls us to action.

Finally, Representatives Gutierrez and I will explain what action Congress can take and how YOU can help. Please join us Saturday for this momentous event as faith leaders, community members and congressional champions for immigration reform join to demonstrate the urgency of fixing our broken immigration system.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Wonderful Day for Notre Dame

Full text and video of the President's outstanding speech at Notre Dame:

Time magazine on the Pope's cold shoulder to the Obama-haters:,8599,1898756,00.html

I watched the address on CSPAN. It was tremendously moving, causing me to get teary-eyed. The faculty, students and assembly could not have been more enthusiastic about the President and Father Jenkins remarks didn't shy from taking on his critics. It was great to see Father Ted as well.

The handful of hecklers did nothing but show themselves to be the cranks that they are.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Great Day for Female Triumph!

Rachel Alexandra wins the Preakness, the first female to win in 85 years!

A magnificent animal. You go girl!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

And for this reason, the degree of doctor of law is conferred!

"A community organizer who honed his advocacy for the poor, the marginalized and the worker in the streets of Chicago, he now organizes a larger community, bringing to the world a renewed American dedication to diplomacy and dialogue with all nations and religions committed to human rights and the global common good.

Through his willingness to engage with those who disagree with him and encourage people of faith to bring their beliefs to the public debate, he is inspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, culture, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Conservatives Find an Ounce of Common Sense

The coming public relations disaster for the Right wing at Notre Dame has finally started to put a little bit of common sense in the conservative movement.

After calling Notre Dame "immoral," "Satan's tool," "no longer Catholic," "supporting murder," and "having betrayed the Church" one right wing group, NDResponse, has decided to deal with the Devil to save its own skin.

While NDResponse hardly stood apart from the rhetorical extremism of Notre Dame critics, they are now working hand-in-glove with the University to keep off campus those pro-life voices deemed "off-message."

NDResponse has negotiated with the University the exclusive right to be the opposition voice to the President. With the cooperation of Notre Dame campus security, they are banning any person they consider "disrespectful" or "not constructive" to their message. They will have veto power over any sign or image not in keeping with the tone and message they have set and Notre Dame security will enforce their decisions.

This is not expected to eliminate "off-message" protesters, but will keep them off campus to the degree University security is able to enforce this agreement with NDResponse.

This writer has to say she is pleased with this development. While not opposing Notre Dame's invitation to the President, I have always felt a respectful and constructive witness to life while he visits the campus is appropriate. I congratulate those who are willing to take the time to make that witness in the fashion described.

It also has been clear that the Right-wing has so whipped up its camp followers that the unleashed extremism was creating a very ugly face of conservative Catholics. A small circus was in the making and it was not going to benefit their cause. They were looking crazy, rabid and hateful.

On the other hand, this may be a day late and a dollar short. The more extreme element will not go away. One can imagine what they will say to the moderates for using University security to enforce the exclusion of those these wish to "censor." Randall Terry and Alan Keyes already have indicated they expect to be arrested. A civil war among the Right-Wing could emerge as the bigger story (expect the far right to compare the moderates to Jews cooperating with the Nazis). We will see. But for now, it appears that at least an element of the Catholic Right has acknowledged their problem, which is the first step on the road to recovery.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Right Wing Goes Insane over Opposition to Notre Dame

Peter Steinfels, one of the Church's most respected journalists on Catholic concerns, has an excellent column in today's New York Times. Steinfels shows just how extreme and counter-productive the anti-Obama/anti-Notre Dame protesters are.

Bishop Robert Finn (R-MO) has even gone so far to equate the President and the Notre Dame community with Satan.

The extremists are attacking the University administration, faculty, graduation class and student body as enemies of the pro-life movement.

Selections from the article follow.

May 9, 2009
Roman Catholics’ War Over Abortion

Discord is nothing new for Roman Catholicism. But the controversy surrounding the appearance of President Obama at the University of Notre Dame’s commencement on May 17 suggests that run-of-the mill discord among American Catholics is escalating into something closer to civil war.

Just watch that airplane circling over the famous Golden Dome of Notre Dame’s Main Building and the spire of the university’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The plane pulls a banner with a picture of an aborted fetus.

The group flying the banner is unhappy not just with the university but also, according to a spokesman quoted in The South Bend Tribune, with “the pro-life community at Notre Dame.”
“If they were doing a good job of reaching the campus,” he said, “it’s unlikely Obama would have been invited.”

Now listen to Bishop Robert W. Finn, bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese in Missouri. “We are at war!” he told an anti-abortion convention on April 18. “We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan.”

Although this war must never involve violence, he said, and Christians must love the human enemies who come under Satan’s power, “even without their fully realizing it,” he went on to say that the most dangerous enemies were not those openly attacking the church but “more subtle enemies.” These included Catholics who “attack the most fundamental tenets of the church’s teachings.”

Mark Noll is a leading historian of American Christianity, an evangelical and a strong opponent of abortion who joined Notre Dame’s faculty last year. In an interview this week, he said “temperate objections” to Mr. Obama’s appearance could stimulate useful thinking about the role of the church in politics and the nature of a Catholic university. Still, he said, “I am surprised at the visceral level of the opposition.”

An editorial in America, the weekly magazine published by the Jesuit order of Catholic priests, characterized much of the opposition in even stronger terms: “They thrive on slash-and-burn tactics,” the editors wrote, adding that “their tactics, and their attitudes, threaten the unity of the Catholic Church in the United States, the effectiveness of its mission and the credibility of its pro-life activities.”

Of course, the editors are now being accused of “slash-and-burn tactics” themselves, if not of falling under the power of Satan.

The student body and especially the graduating seniors appear overwhelmingly in favor of hearing him. Afterward, people may wonder what all the fuss was about.

In 2004, a few bishops seconded that demand during Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign. The resulting furor and division among the bishops led them, at their June 2004 meeting, to hammer out a statement on “Catholics in Political Life.” It is this hastily composed statement, now being treated as highly authoritative, that is being waved at Notre Dame.
It includes the injunction that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” (It also includes a plea for “more effective dialogue and engagement with all public officials.”) Exactly what the bishops meant by “in defiance” is unclear, especially as it might apply to non-Catholics whose adherence to Catholic teaching can hardly be presumed.

But the wording of the statement was less important than the feeling behind it — a feeling that the anti-abortion cause was not being loyally supported by Catholics themselves.
In 2008, that sense of betrayal turned white hot, what with a majority of Catholic voters and even some Catholics well-known for anti-abortion views supporting Mr. Obama,

Increasingly, conservative Catholics appear to be making a specific form of anti-abortion politics, condemning the administration root and branch, a test of Catholic identity.

The problem, at least to the editors of America magazine, is that “it is not adherence to the church’s doctrine on the evil of abortion that counts for orthodoxy, but adherence to a particular political program and fierce opposition to any proposal short of that program.”

for the full article, go here:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Republican Leader Condemns Democrats for Encouraging Too Much Adoption

from the Washington Post:

Parental Leave Passes Committee as Foe Foresees Families Stocking Up on Kids

By Joe Davidson

When it comes to paid parental leave for federal employees, everything isn't simple motherhood and apple pie.

To Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, legislation that would allow Frankie and Flo Fed four paid weeks of leave following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child is a dollar sign -- $850 million over five years.

To Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who has waged a decade-long fight for the bill, it's an investment in the nation's future, an effort that would improve children's health and boost employee productivity.

Maloney's side won the debate yesterday as the committee approved her bill on a voice vote and sent it to the full House.

"No federal employee who's a new parent should be forced to choose between their paycheck and their newborn -- or newly adopted -- child in those vital first few weeks home," Maloney said. "As the nation's largest employer, the federal government can -- and should -- lead the way on this issue."

Currently, federal employees who have been on the job at least a year can take up to 12 weeks of leave, but without pay.


Save for Issa, the Republicans had nothing at all to say about the measure, leaving it to their leader to play the Scrooge who uses money as a hammer against the family value of mothers and fathers staying home with their newborns or newly adopted children.

Issa is concerned that federal employees could adopt children year after year after year, all the while collecting those four weeks of paid annual leave.
Workers "could have one adoption or one foster child per year, resulting in every year you get a new foster child, every year the husband and wife if they are both federal workers would take four weeks off with pay, because they have simply taken in a new foster child," he said before the vote.

Can't you see Frankie and Flo stocking up on kiddies like the old woman who lived in a shoe, who had so many children she didn't know what to do? Frankie and Flo would get that paid month each year for each new one, doing damage to Uncle Sam's wallet in the process.

Issa's vision of federal workers adopting one child after another provided an opening for Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) to plug National Foster Care Month, which is now.

"I happen to represent a district that has the largest number of children in foster care in the United States of America," he said. More than a third of kids in his Chicago don't live with their parents, he added.

"I would be delighted if federal workers or any other workers . . . adopted one of these children every year," Davis continued. "As a matter of fact, I'd give them a Medal of Honor if every year they found that they could adopt another child, because there is a tremendous need for children to be adopted."

With yesterday's vote, the committee moved the United States one step closer to joining the global community of nations, the "163 countries [that] recognize the importance of providing paid leave to families," Maloney said.

"The United States, along with Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea, does not."

May 7, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Conservatives Denounce Vatican over Obama

the full article is here:

The Stakes at Notre Dame
Words From Rome Change The Debate on Inviting Obama
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Thursday, May 7, 2009

We now know that the reaction of right-wing Catholics to Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama falls into the category of "more Catholic than the pope."

To the dismay of many conservatives, the Vatican's own newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has offered what one antiabortion Catholic blog called "a surprisingly positive assessment of the new president's approach to life issues" -- so positive, in fact, that a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee was moved to criticize Pope Benedict XVI's daily.

The Vatican newspaper offered its analysis as Catholic liberals and conservatives are battling fiercely over Notre Dame's decision to invite the president as this year's commencement speaker and to grant him an honorary degree. The article will strengthen the liberal claim that the Catholic right's over-the-top response is rooted at least as much in Republican and conservative politics as in concern over the abortion question.

The April 29 essay by Giuseppe Fiorentino, L'Osservatore's frequent foreign affairs contributor, painted Obama as a moderate on many fronts. "Some have accused him of practicing excessive statism," Fiorentino wrote, "if not even of making the country drift toward socialism." But "a calmer analysis," he said, suggests that Obama "has moved with caution." (I rely here on a translation of the article posted yesterday on the Vatican's official Web site.)

On abortion and the other life issues, the article concluded that Obama "does not seem to have established the radical changes that he had aired."

In loosening the rules on federal funding of stem-cell research, the paper noted, Obama did not go as far as many in the antiabortion movement feared he would. "The new guidelines regarding embryonic stem cell research do not in fact follow the [prospective] change of route laid out months ago," Fiorentino wrote. "They do not allow for the creation of new embryos for research or therapy purposes, for cloning or reproductive ends; and federal funds can only be used for experimentation with surplus embryos."

Then came a carefully worded sentence declaring that "these measures do not eliminate the reasons for criticism in the face of unacceptable forms of bioengineering that work against the embryo's human identity, but the new regulations are less permissive than expected."

This restrained view contrasts with charges that Obama is the "most radical pro-abortion president in history," words used earlier this year on the Christian Coalition's Web site. ...

The consternation on the right over the Vatican article was immediate. Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee in the United States, told that L'Osservatore's assessment was "not helpful" and that "there's nothing middle of the road about the substantive policies that this administration is pursuing on life issues."

Rank-and-file Catholics do not share in the conservatives' gloominess. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that two-thirds of Catholics approved of Obama's performance in office. Pew also reported that 50 percent of Catholics thought Notre Dame was right to invite Obama, while only 28 percent said the invitation was wrong. ...

Largely lost in the Notre Dame furor is the extent to which the ferocity on the Catholic right has emboldened moderate and liberal Catholics to fight back.
The current issue of America magazine, published by the Jesuits, includes a sharply worded editorial criticizing the "divisive effects of the new American sectarians" which "have not escaped the notice of the Vatican."

"Their highly partisan political edge has become a matter of concern," the editors write. "That they never demonstrate the same high dudgeon at the compromises, unfulfilled promises and policy disagreements with Republican politicians as with Democratic ones is plain for all to see. It is time to call this one-sided denunciation by its proper name: political partisanship."