Monday, March 26, 2012

Bishops Support Obama on Key Funding Issues

The Catholic Bishops have sent a letter to all members of Congress. It touches on a wide variety of issues but specifically supports President Obama on key domestic policy issues such as Pell Grants, workforce training and development, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and other priorities. The Bishops says the Administration should spend more on housing for the poor and elderly.

The Bishops also warn against shifting health care costs to senior citizens and the disabled. This is a key feature of the Ryan Budget plan.

They also say that in addressing budget deficits, it is wrong to exclude raising revenue and cutting military spending.

A link to the full letter is below.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New York Bishops Seek Fairness for Farmworkers

When the US passed laws in the 1930s establishing minimum wages and overtime and protecting the right of workers to form labor unions and bargain with employers, the law excluded farm workers from its protections. The New York Daily News reports how Cardinal Timothy Dolan and his brother bishops in New York are lobbying state legislators in Albany to extend those rights and protections to New York state farmworkers:

Fairness for farm workers

Cardinal Dolan
EDITORIALS, New York Daily News

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Timothy Cardinal Dolan leads an invigorated group of Catholic bishops, eight strong, to Albany on Monday.

The bishops have more than a new leader at the helm. They have a new priority: For the first time, the prelates are asking the Legislature to grant equal labor rights to New York farm workers.

Great news. The condition of the men and women who grow and pick our food is a moral outrage.

Because of an accident — an insult, actually — of history, farm workers are, alone among all workers, denied the basic protections the rest of us take for granted in a modern economy.

They get no overtime pay. They are denied a day of rest. And they are not allowed to organize to pressure their employers for change.

This is all written right into the law, crying out to be fixed.

For more than a dozen years, this newspaper has demanded justice. The bishops have also been on the right side of the issue — but this is the first time it has cracked the top tier of their agenda.

Why? Because historic progress is in reach.

The Democratic Assembly has for years passed the bill, and Gov. Cuomo wants to sign it.

The catch is — has long been — the state Senate.

Manhattan Sen. Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat, is gathering co-sponsors. Long Island’s Carl Marcellino, a Republican, is on board as the numbers climb to the 32 needed for passage.

Majority Leader Dean Skelos must let his GOP members take a vote of conscience. That would allow Brooklyn’s Marty Golden and Staten Island’s Andy Lanza to do the right thing.

Joining Dolan and the church is the New York Civil Liberties Union; that ought to tell you something. Mayor Bloomberg and his sparring partners in labor, such as the city and state teachers unions and the AFL-CIO, are on board too.

Regardless of political persuasion, all realize: Those who grow and pick our food are not second-class people. They are our neighbors, entitled to equal protection under the law.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012



Please click the link below to sign the petition against placing a bust of Rush Limbaugh in the Hall of Famous Missourians at the State Capitol Building near a bust of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. This is an affront to many Catholics by having a likeness of a Catholic saint prestented as equal to the man of noted foul sexual behavior.

His remarks concerning the torture of Abu Ghraib prisoners were nothing short of atrocious and totally opposed to Catholic values. According to him, the people that committed those crimes were simply “… having a good time … you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?” The people of America do not want to be viewed as sadists that approve of torture as a form of stress relief after a hard day at work.

His recent misogynist attacks on Ms. Sandra Fluke were beyond shocking. Not only did he state that she was a “slut” and a “prostitute”, he also commented that she has “so much sex that it’s amazing she can still walk” and demanded that she post “the videos of all this sex … online so we can see what we are getting for our money.” By making such statements, he demeans nearly every woman in the United States of America.

In 2009, when returning from a sex holiday in the Dominican Republic, his suitcase popped open, spilling out a supply of condoms and "male enhancement" drugs.

Rush Limbaugh does not represent our great nation. He does not speak for our citizens. He is not who we are. Please do not send this message to the world by including him in the Hall of Famous Missourians.

Here is the link:"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mary Brown: Hypocrite, Welcher and Against Big Government Except When it Lines Her Pockets

Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman is the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for a corporate groups financing the lawsuit.

But it turns out Brown is happy to have the government force other to pay for her medical bills. Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. She has demanded the Court let her get free health care leaving the $4,500 tab to medical providers.

The President rightly argued that the family insurance requirement is justified because everyone, sooner or later, needs healthcare. Those who fail to have insurance are at high risk of running up bills they cannot pay, sticking the rest of society with the cost. Brown's situation is a perfect example of exactly that kind of "uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others."

Brown, reached by telephone Thursday, babbled incoherently. She said she always paid her bills, as well as my medical bills." (Yet she wants the bankruptcy court to let her not pay her medical bills.) She said "I never said medical insurance is not a necessity.” (That’s what the President says too).

She said "I believe that anyone has unforeseen things that happen to them that are beyond their control." (Yes, bucko, and that is why folks need insurance, rather than sticking the rest of society with the tab). Brown also said. "Who says I don't have insurance right now?" (Smart move. I guess you need to withdraw as a plaintiff).

Actually the corporate group has kicked her off as a plaintiff and asked to replace her with a new one. They admitted it has been no easy task to find people who do not have insurance and don’t want it, particularly when their veracity is tested over the time of the litigation.

The hospital she owes money to is less than pleased it is stuck with the tab.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


No doubt, there is a long history of a right wing political extremist element among the Catholic faithful. The accusers of Captain Dreyfus, the collaborators of Marshal Petain, the Falangists of General Franco, not to mention domestically the followers of Father Coughlin, fans of Mel Gibson, and the members of 'Tradition, Family, Property."

But the masses of the faithful never rallied to these right wing elements. Particularly in present day American politics, Catholics reject extremism including the extremist elements within the Catholic community. Catholics have identified with civic leaders and thinkers like Sargent Shriver, George Meany, E.J. Dionne, Mark Sheilds, Mrs. Lindy Boggs, and the Casey family.

Hence we see Rick Santorum losing the Catholic vote even within the Republican Party. Catholic Republicans voting in the Michigan and Ohio primaries showed a strong preference for the moderate candidate (and inventor of 'Obamacare'!!) Mitt Romney. In fact, Romney has bested Santorum among Republican Catholics in every state except Tennessee (who knew there were Catholics in Tennessee?!).

Catholics continue to give President Obama strong support, more so than Protestants. We commend the Catholic faithful for the rejection of the extremism of Rick Santorum and the important support given to the President.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vice-President Biden Prays at Shrine to Blessed Mother

Mexican Prelates Welcome Biden Visit to Guadalupe

On March 5th, Vice President Joe Biden visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe – the most holy Catholic site in Mexico. Mexican Catholic leaders rejoiced and welcomed the USA's first and only Catholic Vice President.

After praying at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Vice President crossed the Basilica square to visit the Antigua Parrogquia de Los Indios (Old Church of the Indians). Calling the site a “great treasure,” Vice President Biden remarked that he would have come to Mexico City if only just for the Basilica .

Monday, March 5, 2012


President Obama, President DeGioia Condemn Crude Personal Attack on Student

Rush Limbaugh, one of the most listened to conservative commentators called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student, a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her use of contraception.  (BTW, in 2009, Limbaugh returned from what has been said to have been a "sex tourism" trip to the Dominican Republic with a suitcase full of Viagra and condoms).

President Obama called the student to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks by the conservative radio commentator and to thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy.

Georgetown President John J. DeGioia praised Fluke's "civil discourse" in a letter to the school community and at the same time criticized Limbaugh's stance, writing, "And yet, some of those who disagreed with her position -- including Rush Limbaugh and commentators throughout the blogosphere and in various other media channels -- responded with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student."  Georgetown, a Jesuit university, is the oldest Catholic college in the nation.

The Limbaugh comment was made as part of the debate around the Blunt Amendment, which would allow bosses to exclude any drug or treatment from a workers' heath insurance if the boss claimed a moral objection. The Senate defeated the measure and House leaders are backing away from previous commitments to bring it quickly to the floor for a vote. 

There has been some question as to how many bosses would ban various procedures, tests or drugs from their employee's health care plans.  House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (a supporter of the House version of the Blunt Amendment) provided some clarity by saying "millions" of bosses would claim a "religious freedom" exemption.

Republican efforts to restrict contraception is emerging as the major social issue in this year's election, with Mitt Romney wasting no time in putting himself on both sides of this issue.