Saturday, January 31, 2009


Rumors aside, FOCA legislation no threat to Catholic health care

Anti-FOCA groups spread misinformation about what the so-far-nonexistent legislation would do

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Internet rumors to the contrary, no Catholic hospital in the United States is in danger of closing because of the Freedom of Choice Act.

As a matter of fact, the Freedom of Choice Act died with the 110th Congress and, a week after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, has not been reintroduced.

But that hasn't kept misleading e-mails from flying around the Internet, warning of the dire consequences if Obama signs FOCA into law and promoting a "FOCA novena" in the days leading up to Inauguration Day.

The Catholic Health Association "is strongly committed to opposing FOCA and (the board) is unanimous that we would do all we could to oppose it," said Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., an elected member of the CHA board of trustees since June 2006."But there is no plan to shut down any hospital if it passes," he added in a Jan. 26 telephone interview.

"There's no sense of ominous danger threatening health care institutions."Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is CHA president and CEO, was equally sure that FOCA poses no threat to Catholic hospitals or to the conscience rights of those who work there."I don't believe that FOCA will pass, although we will continue to monitor all proposed regulations for their potential to help people in this country and for any negative assault on the life issues," she said.

As introduced in previous congresses, the legislation "has never contained anything that would force Catholic hospitals or Catholic personnel to do abortions or to participate in them," she added....

Friday, January 30, 2009


Best of luck to the Pittsburgh Steelers and our fellow
Catholic for Obama, Dan Rooney!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


WHAT: "The Obama Administration and the Catholic Social Agenda"

WHEN: 4-6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 29

WHERE: The Catholic University of America
Vincent Walter Room, Curley Hall
620 Michigan Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C.

DETAILS:. How will the Barack Obama administration address issues of importance to the Catholic Church, such as poverty, peace, immigration, life issues, environmental stewardship and globalization? A panel of experts, moderated by William Barbieri, associate dean and associate professor in CUA's School of Theology and Religious Studies, will discuss such topics in a panel titled "The Obama Administration and the Catholic Social Agenda."

Panelists will include: John Langan, S.J., Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University; Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor of politics at CUA and Life Cycle Institute fellow; John Steinbruner, professor and director of the Center of International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland and Leslie Tentler, professor of history at CUA and Life Cycle Institute fellow. Stephen Schneck, director of the Life Cycle Institute and associate professor of politics at CUA, will provide the introduction to the panel.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cardinal Pio Laghi

Catholics for Obama/The Catholic Majority readers are invited to attend a Memorial Mass for His Eminence Pio Cardinal Laghi at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle 1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW Washington, DC on February 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm.

The Principal Celebrant & Homilist will be His Excellency, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Cardinal Laghi formerly served as Pro-Nuncio to the United States and was a great friend of many readers of this blog as well as the American people. He was a strong, loving voice for peace, reconciliation, justice and human rights. He served as a special emissary of the Holy Father to try to persuade the previous Administration not to enter into the disastrous Iraq war.

Friday, January 23, 2009



WASHINGTON--An executive order banning torture signed by President Barack Obama was welcomed by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

"Based upon the teachings of the Catholic Church, our Conference of Bishops welcomes the executive order," Bishop Hubbard said. "Together with other religious leaders, we had pressed for this step to protect human dignity and help restore the moral and legal standing of the United States in the world."

He added: "A ban on torture says much about us - who we are, what we believe about human life and dignity, and how we act as a nation."In their November 2007 document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the U.S. bishops declared that "direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified" (No. 23). The bishops asserted: "The use of torture must be rejected as fundamentally incompatible with the dignity of the human person and ultimately counterproductive in the effort to combat terrorism" (No. 81).

In September 2007 Pope Benedict XVI, echoing the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, said "[T]he prohibition against torture 'cannot be contravened under any circumstance.'"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Pope gives Obama his blessing
The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI gave Barack Obama his blessing and prayed for his "unfailing wisdom and strength" in a telegram sent Tuesday before the U.S. presidential inauguration.

Benedict urged Obama to remember the "the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice" and to stick to his pledge to work for peace.

"I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities," the telegram said.

The text was made public a few hours before Obama was to be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States.

"Under your leadership, may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society," the pope told Obama.

Such a society must be "marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice," Benedict said.
Saying that "so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence," Benedict said he was praying that Obama keep his "resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace" among nations.

Benedict ended his wishes with a blessing for joy and peace for the new president, for Obama's family and for "all the American people."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009


Sunday, I went to Mass at my parish church. I sat in the pews that were once segregated by race. I approached the communion rail which once was reserved for whites first and with the Lord in the Eucharist coming to Blacks afterwards. I shared the sign of peace with my African American co-parishioners who lived and suffered through such indignities. I began to think of the historic nature of this Tuesday. The choir began the recessional hymn "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and I began to tear up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009



After Barack Obama's historic election, winning 54% of the Catholic vote, millions of decent Americans who did not vote for him, nevertheless saw opportunities to advance the common good by working with the new administration in a bi-partisan manner, reflecting the best of American values.

However, a small, marginal but vocal element of conservatives maintained an extreme hostility and bitterness towards the President Elect, seemingly unable to accept the election of a man they or some of their followers falsely labeled a "Muslim", "socialist," "babykiller," or "terrorist."

By the day after the election, they launched a cynical campaign to convince pro-life Americans that abortion rights legislation would be quickly passed in the new year. FOCA is a poorly written, catch-all/wish list the abortion rights movement hastily put together many years ago that has never even received a subcommittee hearing. It is one of the thousands of bills introduced in Congress that never goes anywhere. Obama never said a word about it at any point during his election contest with John McCain.

Sadly, many Catholics and even bishops either unwittingly or knowingly help fans the flames of misinformation.

Truth cannot be avoided forever, and now leading right wingers are admitting to the fraud they have been pushing since November. Even the Republican American Papist Blog now admits:

"FOCA is not scheduled to be voted on or signed around January 21-22 or anytime in the foreseeable future. The bill doesn't have the needed votes."

Even the Right wing Republican group "LifeNews" now admits that FOCA will not be Obama's first act in office and the President doesn't have this authority anyway.

Friday, January 16, 2009



Catholic schools across the nation will be celebrating the historic inaugural of Barack Obama this Tuesday. Thousands of Catholic school students are travelling to Washington, DC to participate. Others are sponsoring local celebrations.

Karen Rusche, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic school in Cincinnati, decided that the inaugural was of such historic import that her eighth graders would interrupt a spiritual retreat to watch it on TV.

“We don’t want to see it on a rerun,” Ms. Rusche said. “We want to be witnesses to the historical moment.”

Archdiocese of Washington schools have declared Inauguration Day an official holiday. Some parishes are planning special Masses of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Obama Supporter Named New Chair of US Bishops' National Review Board

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has appointed Diane Knight, retired executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, as the new chair of the National Review Board. Knight has been a member of the National Review Board since 2007.

Knight holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A former member of the Code of Ethics Task Force of Catholic Charities USA, Knight serves on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Community Advisory Board, which advises the archbishop and the archdiocesan victim assistance coordinator.

Ms. Knight was also a supporter of Barack Obama in the recent presidential election. Her appointment is considered a slap by the Cardinal and his brother bishops at the hard right-wing element within the Church that seeks to drive Democrats out of the church and away from the communion rail.

Previous chairs include Professor Nicholas Cafardi (2004-5), former dean of the Duquesne University Law School and also an Obama supporter.

Sunday, January 11, 2009



Well over a century ago, with the rise of industrial capitalism, Pope Leo XIII issued his encyclical Rerum Novarum. Reflecting on how the modern economy too often offered the rich and powerful an opportunity to exploit working people, he took consolation in the multiplication of "workingmen' s unions" that helped ameliorate the condition of labor. "There are not a few associations of this nature," the Holy Father observed, "but it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous and more efficient."
But we live today in a nation where associations of this nature are becoming steadily fewer, in large measure because of widespread unlawful action by employers to obstruct the right of workers to organize in unions. Conservative estimates indicate that tens of thousands of workers are fired every year for exercising their lawful right to organize. Seeking a union under today's National Labor Relations Act system is an arduous and dangerous process for employees if their employers object, yet penalties for violating the Act are so trivial as to create economic incentives for illegal union-busting activities.

Catholic social teaching on the right of workers to organize has been admirably consistent over the century since Leo XIII wrote, with John Paul II observing even more emphatically in his 1981 encyclical "Laborem Exercens" that labor unions are "indeed a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice" and in fact "an indispensable element of social life."

We in the Catholic Labor Network agree that trade unions represent "an indispensable element of social life" and that "it were greatly to be desired that they should become more numerous," but that the current condition of labor law in the United States militates against this. The Employee Free Choice Act would help address this problem. For this reason, we in the Catholic Labor Network conclude that the Employee Free Choice Act represents a sound public policy method to effect the purposes of Catholic Social Teaching.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Melkite and Maronite Catholics Lean Democratic

It is a small group, overlooked in many polls, but research by the Zogby Institute indicates that Obama may have done even better among some Eastern rite Catholics than his amazing win with Catholics in general.

Among Catholics of the Greek-Melkite and Maronite churches, it seems that they favored Obama by as much as a 21 percentage point margin. They are twice as likely to call themselves Democrats as Republicans.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Obama Nominates Catholic for DNC Chairman

Gov. Tim Kaine, a devout Catholic to Serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

Meet Tim Kaine. He served as Co-Chair of Barack Obama's Catholic Advisory Committee. His views on abortion are roughly in line with those of George W. Bush. He thinks John Kerry spent too much time on the campaign trail talking about windsurfing and not enough time talking about God and advised Obama on how to talk to Catholic and other faith voters. Most Catholics voted for Obama.

The devoutly Catholic Kaine says that his own strong Catholic faith was his inspiration for entering politics, and that he believes Democrats in general have done a poor job of reaching out to religious Americans.

“I think we need to do a lot better; I really do,” he said. “And I think there has been a hunger in the rank and file of the party for us to do better.”

Kaine served as a Catholic missionary in Honduras in the early 1980s.

Here is a transcript of the speech he gave at the Democratic National Convention:

What an honor to be here on this powerful night! What an honor to speak not just to those gathered here in Denver but to homes across America — and not just those owned by John McCain.

Looking out at this crowd and feeling the energy, I can tell you this: We are making history. I am here tonight not just as the governor of Virginia who knows the people of my state need a better partner in White House not just as a Democrat who is tired of politics as usual, but most importantly as an American who wants to see American values guiding our country again.

For eight years we've seen what happens when a president lets Washington values become more important than American values. Gas prices skyrocket when the White House lets oil companies call the shots. Our children are left behind when an administration cares more about sound bites than sound schools. And middle-class families are left to fend for themselves to save their jobs, their homes and their grasp on the American dream.

Maybe for John McCain the American dream means seven housesand if that's your America, John McCain is your candidate. But for the rest of us, the American dream means one homein a safe neighborhood, with good schools and good health care and a little money left over every month to go out for dinner and save for the future.

Does that seem like too much to ask? John McCain thinks it is. He'll keep answering to the special interests and Washington lobbyists — we're ready for leadership that answers to us. And the leader who will deliver the change we need is Barack Obama.

Now folks, it won't be easy. Change never is. And if we are to succeed, we'll need a little extra something.

The Gospel of Matthew says, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain move mountain' and it will move."

My lifelong faith deepened when I traveled to Honduras to work with Catholic missionaries after my first year in law school.

Hay algunos Latinos aqui? Estamos unidos, verdad?

I learned from a great mentor there, Brother Jim O'Leary, that faith is about more than words or doctrine, it's about action.

And that led me to spend my life in public service.

While I was learning how to put my faith into action in Honduras, Barack Obama was doing the same thing on the streets of South Side Chicago — empowering people to rebuild their communities and reclaim their lives after the steel plants closed down.

Joe Biden has also spent his lifetime putting faith into action — overcoming unspeakable tragedy in his personal life, and as a U.S. senator making our world safer, our air cleaner and protecting women from crimes of violence.

For Barack Obama, for Joe Biden, for me, for all of us, the principles of faith call us to service.

With faith in the American dream, we strive for better schools, economic justice, and smarter foreign policies because we believe in the God-given principles of equality, freedom, and opportunity.

With faith in each other, we work for a common-sense approach to politics that focuses on results, not partisan division, because we recognize that we're all in this together.

Aren't we all tired of a Washington that doesn't have any faith in us? Fellow delegates, fellow Democrats, and fellow Americans, now is the time to let our faith guide us to action once again.

We need to put our faith into action to elect a president who will put middle-class Americans first again and reward companies who create jobs in America instead of shipping them overseas.

We need to put our faith into actionto elect a president who will end our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and invest in green-collar, clean energy jobs right here at home.

We need to put our faith into actionto elect a president who will invest in our students, teachers and schools, and make college affordable once again for every American family. We need to put our faith into action to elect a president who will responsibly end the war in Iraq, give our veterans and their families the support they need, and reinvigorate our military to face the challenges ahead.

If we put our faith into action, we can move mountains. We can move the mountains of negativity and division and gridlock.

We can move the mountains of special interests and business as usual.

We can move the mountains of hopelessness that surround too many of our people and communities.

Does anybody here have a little faith tonight? Is anybody here ready to move those mountains? Starting right here in the Mile High City, we will put our faith into action; we will reject the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain; we will elect Barack Obama our next president. In the words of the gospel hymn, "Move, mountain." Say it with me: "Move, mountain." Say it with me again: "Move, mountain." Mountain, get out of our way!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

CA Catholic School Kids Working to Come to DC for Obama Inauguration

Eighth-graders at Mission Parish Catholic School to Celebrate Inaugural

On President-elect Obama's inauguration day, it's "D.C. or Bust" for 30 eighth-graders at Mission Parish School.

According to the Orange County Register, the San Juan Capistrano teens are determined to be standing on the National Mall when the 44th president takes the oath of office Jan. 20, even though they've been told they must fundraise all of the money themselves –$51,240 by the end of the school year.

"At first, we didn't know if we were going to be able to go, but we started raising money, and it looked more promising," said eighth-grader Julia Kenefick, 13, student council president. "Our whole school is pitching in, and everyone is just coming together. Our slogan is 'D.C. or Bust.'"

"It's really awesome, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said eighth-grader Dominic Salazar, 14, who made six batches of Rice Krispies treats for the bake sales. "A little while ago, people (of different races) couldn't be in the same part of the bus. Now we have our first African-American president, and we're going to be there."