Did they get their thirty pieces of silver?
WASHINGTON, DC, March 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs revealed to reporters today that President Barack Obama actively promoted the Catholic Health Association's public break with the American Catholic bishops to support his health care legislation.
Gibbs also suggested that the CHA and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious' (LCWR) break with the U.S. Bishops has provided legitimate political cover for pro-life Democrats to switch their votes from "no" to "yes."
"I think over the past twenty four hours we have seen strong indications from those in the Catholic Church that support our belief that the legislation is about health care reform, and that it shouldn't and doesn't change the existing federal law [on abortion]. The Catholic Health Association and the order of nun's support is very important," Gibbs told reporters on the White House lawn for Thursday's press conference.
CHA president Sr. Carol Keehan and LCWR sparked an uproar this week after they came out definitively in favor of the Senate health care bill, which top pro-life organizations such as the National Right to Life Committee and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in addition to countless others, have strongly condemned as unacceptable for its abortion funding provisions. Since then, in their quest to woo the final pro-life Democrat holdouts among House lawmakers, party leaders have attempted to paint CHA's support for the bill as a bona fide endorsement from the Catholic community.
So far, the president's strategy appears to have paid off: some lawmakers have evidently already taken the two groups' endorsements as an excuse to switch their vote.
Gibbs cited Congressman Dale Kildee's (D-MI) Wednesday press conference - in which he explained how CHA's endorsement had "affected his thinking" to get him to support the bill - as a sign that Democrats may be able to get more lawmakers on board in the same way.
Gibbs said that the president had been engaged on the issue, and a reporter asked if he had reached out personally to the groups.
"The President met earlier this week with Sr. Keehan of the CHA," said Gibbs, saying the meeting took place in the Roosevelt Room, but that he "did not get a detailed run-down of the pitch that [Obama] made."
"I do know that he was effusive about her support and her as a person for making the courageous statements that she has," he said.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), one of the pro-life Democrat holdouts against the bill, pointed out this week that, as a trade association, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) has more at stake with the bill's passage than it may openly admit.
"I think the hospitals have a different perspective because they're running large institutions," Kaptur said. "They have a lot of issues at stake. They have to balance their budgets and so forth. I think that the Bishops are probably in a different position. I don't think that they're really managerially responsible for these institutions."
Unlike the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, CHA is a for-profit entity, and analysts have pointed out that it would greatly benefit financially from the passage of the bill. CHA had already promised large sums of money to the Obama administration in July to help pass the legislation - before it was ever crafted.
Hey, didn't B.O. tell the Pope to his face that he'd work to decrease abortions in the nation? Funny, I could swear there was a conversation along those lines.
The thing to do now is for the Bishops--or even the Bishop in which the associations HQs resides--to declare them to be non-catholic.
I won't hold my breath
IR, nor will I.
I am constantly amazed at the lack of control the Catholic Church has over their leaders while attempting to exercise complete control over their parishioners. Forgive me if this is poorly worded. I am not Catholic bashing here. I just don’t understand (as an example) how the church universally denies communion to divorced Catholics until they participate in the annulment process (at a hefty fee and under uncomfortable scrutiny) but the church cannot stop its own ordained leaders from high-profile, public demonstrations against the official teaching of the church, such as the support for the health care proposal that will include federal money for abortion. For that matter, nuns and priests who are publicly pro-choice just baffle me. The average parishioner has few choices: comply, find another faith, or quietly defy the teaching of the church. Activist pro-choice nuns keep on speaking out and keep on getting paid. Is the church so short of leaders that they have to keep these people in their positions or risk having an empty seat? And wouldn’t an empty seat be better than having a pro-choice body warming that seat?
Arby, IMO it's just a bunch of good 'ole boys (and girls) looking out for each other. It extends into the Vatican, for example just check out what Cardinal Bernard Law is doing these days. Nice work if you can get it, especially after his role in the sex abuse scandal.
One of the things that keep me believing in the Church is the fact that this sort of thing is nothing new, yet She survives. Any purely human institution would have gone belly up centuries ago.
Some folk might argue for another influence than God being at work in that, I don't believe it. Too many parables in the Bible dealing with our fallen nature and it's constant presence.
But yep, if you're a member of the clergy you can get away with just about anything under the right circumstances.
Maybe thats why St. John Chrysostom is reputed to have said the floors of Hell are paved with the skulls of bishops. Some of those skulls probably belong to Bishops of Rome.
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