American Bishops find their voice, liberals throw a nutty

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek has an entry about the influence of the US Catholic bishops on the passing of the Stupak/Pitts Amendment.

You might recall that Jill Stanek was a nurse from Illinois who exposed how at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL abortions being committed and babies were being aborted alive to die without medical care.

Here is her entry with my emphases and comments.

November 12, 2009
Bishops in the House

Here was a verrry interesting Associated Press story yesterday on just how involved the US Conference of Catholic Bishops – God bless ‘em – were in getting the Stupak/Pitts Amendment into the healthcare bill. Pretty wild…

    The call came in from Rome, just as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants were scrambling to round up scarce votes to pass their sweeping health overhaul.

    Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, was on the line for Pelosi, calling to discuss adding strict abortion restrictions to the House bill.

    It was just 1 element of an intensive lobbying effort orchestrated by the nation’s Catholic bishops, who have emerged as a formidable force in the health care negotiations. They used their clout with millions of Catholics and worked behind the scenes in Congress to make sure the abortion curbs were included in the legislation – and are now pressing to keep them there….  [And make no mistake.... by using their clout they gained more clout!]

    They don’t spend a dime on what is legally defined as lobbying, but lawmakers and insiders recognize that the bishops’ voices matter – and they move votes. [And as people hear how the bishops influenced the debate, they will pay more and more attention to them. But.... but... the bishops had better have something good to say or they will squander the moral capital they have begun to win back.] Representatives for the bishops were in Pelosi’s Capitol suite negotiating with top officials for 3 hours last Friday evening [!  Get that?] as they reached final terms of the agreement. That was just hours after Pelosi, a Catholic abortion rights supporter, took the call from McCarrick.

    Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley personally appealed to President Barack Obama about the issue near the church altar at the early September funeral for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-MA. Bishops quietly called their congressmen and senators to weigh in.  [Yah... I bet that made a big difference.]

    "The Catholic Church used their power – their clout, if you will – to influence this issue. They had to. It’s a basic teaching of the religion," said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI, a leading abortion foe and architect of the health measure’s restrictions.

[Read carefully...]    It was Stupak who told Pelosi last Friday that if she wanted a deal on the health bill, she’d be well advised to invite the bishops’ staff, who were already in his office, to her table. "I said, ‘Well, they’re here, and they’re one of the key groups you want to have on your side, so why don’t we just bring them in and work this out," Stupak said.  [Yah! Why not?  And maybe they could discuss things like... say... Holy Communion for politicians who push legislation they know would spend tax payer funds on elective abortions!]

    Pelosi did, and the result was a final measure that – much to the outrage of abortion rights supporters – bars a new government-run insurance plan from covering abortions, except in cases or rape, incest or the life of the mother being in danger, and prohibits any health plan that receives federal subsidies in a new insurance marketplace from offering abortion coverage. If women wanted to purchase abortion coverage through such plans, they’d have to buy it separately, as a so-called rider on their insurance policies.

    The outcome has put Obama and Democratic leaders – already struggling for consensus on the complex and politically tricky health measure – in a tough spot. [But!  ... That was not why the bishops got involved.  If that was a consequence, the bishops did not do this as a political maneuver aimed at the present administration.  Their concern was moral and not political.]  Democratic abortion foes in the Senate vow they won’t support health legislation that omits the strict restrictions approved by the House, while abortion rights champions say they can’t possibly vote for a bill that contains them.

    Obama suggested Monday that he wants to strike a balance [Uh huh... suuuure he does.] that doesn’t allow backdoor federal funding of abortions but preserves women’s insurance choices. For now, however, no such middle ground has been identified, and the bishops have served their notice that they will be a player – perhaps the dominant one – in the final outcome[I mentioned the other day in an interview with a newspaper that perhaps the Obama administration had awakened something they perhaps would rather not have aroused.]

    The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the church’s Washington-based advocacy organization, which is staffed by more than 350 lay people, [good heavens] derives its power in large part from the sheer number of Catholics in this country – 68 million – but also from the special moral and religious standing of its members. Many of them are in regular contact with lawmakers, weighing in on issues from immigration policy to benefits for low-income people.

    The conference distributed fliers to every parish in the nation asking people to pray for abortion restrictions and to call their congressmen and senators asking them to "fix these bills with pro-life amendments."

    Some have publicly pressured Catholic elected officials to fall in line with the church’s position on abortion. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI, abruptly canceled a meeting they had planned for Thursday to calm a simmering feud over the issue. Kennedy has criticized the church for threatening to block the health measure over abortion curbs, and Tobin has questioned whether Kennedy can call himself a Catholic given that he has opposed the strict abortion limits bishops were seeking to add.

    Kathy Saile of the conference said Democratic leaders were willing to listen to the group because it has been in favor of the party’s broader push for a health overhaul.

    "We stayed in the conversation until the end, because the bishops have always been adamant about the need for genuine health care reform and want to see health care reform happen," Saile said.

    Another factor that undoubtedly helped: Democrats are keenly aware of the power of Catholic voters, more than 50%t of whom embraced Obama in the 2008 election. That was a substantial swing after Catholics had eschewed the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry of MA, who is Catholic.

[And now read the panicky little nutty thrown by this pro-death liberal. It's the same ol' same ol'.]    The outcome left abortion-rights supporters, who couldn’t muster enough votes in the House to head off Catholic abortion foes’ intervention, fuming. The bishops "essentially got signoff. They dictated this, and it’s totally inappropriate – it’s blatant interference between church and state," said Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority. "The women’s movement and the pro-choice forces feel like they were had."  [Would she care to back up that ridiculous statement?  Where does it say that a church cannot voice its position in the public square?  Does her copy of the Bill of Rights not include that pesky 1st?  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."]

    Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO, a prominent abortion rights supporter who has gathered the signatures of more than 40 representatives who refuse to back a health bill that contains the restrictions, said the bishops had been allowed to overstep their bounds.

    "No one group should get to dictate the outcome of legislation in Congress," DeGette said. "Every group should be listened to, but I don’t think one group should be given veto authority over what we do."  [LOL!  Well... other groups had their say.  The problem this time is that someone listened also to the bishops!]

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Green Inkers, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill, Throwing a Nutty and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to American Bishops find their voice, liberals throw a nutty

  1. The Astronomer says:

    The pro-death people in the Senate and their allies like MoveOn.org and Planned Parenthood, NARAL…etc. have vowed that they WILL see the public funding for abortion restored or else they’ll target these ‘weak’ Democrats in next year’s elections. When push comes to shove in the Senate, I wonder how much influence and COURAGE the US bishops will REALLY have. [The USCCB doesn't run political campaigns.]

  2. capchoirgirl says:

    We finally got the USCCB health care insert in our bulletin last week. Not sure why it was a week late, but better late than never, I guess.

  3. JMody says:

    Excellent!!! History is often made when only a third of a group decide to act (The American Revolution, for example), and over a third of the bishops have been speaking up for a while now.

    Now, if they would only remember the timeless teaching about things like Socialism (bad), subsidiarity (good), or decry no-fault divorce laws, or anything like that, then they could well and truly turn the corner and bust this open for big yards!

  4. IL Catholic says:

    capchoirgirl:

    My parish too.

  5. JPG says:

    I think the analogy of rousing a giant is an apt one. Most Catholics will not picket an abortion clinic. Many seem content with abortion laws as they stand now. Make them pay for it? or worse yet compel Catholic organizations or individual providers to provide such services or lose funding, this becomes a call to arms. Great strides have been made in one sense in the prolife movement. Most Americans now identify themselves as Prolife. I can recall a time when it was a “Catholic issue” with no-one else to oppose, not the evangelicals or the Mormons or anyone but us. As strident as the proabortionists are keep in mind in many states abortion services are not available in most counties. Ohio( at least 16 yrs ago) , abortion was available in three counties. Many who considered themselves prochoice did not want it here in their backyard. Even in the Medical community, physicians in training of ob/gyn were not compelled to learn or participate in an elective abortion. Many if not most would identify themselves as pro-choice but few would learn or perform. This to my already opposed mind betrayed the procedure’s true nature and revealed that most people at some level are repulsed by the act of abortion and want no part of it.
    JPG

  6. Agnes says:

    The “separation of church and state” comment is hilarious – can you envision bishops and priests storming the Capitol in tanks as some sort of coup? That’s right, folks, we’re taking over and establishing a Catholic state! Hands above your heads and Confessionals to your right!

    Poor feminists. I don’t think I would have wanted to be in Pelosi’s shoes with calls from cardinals and visits with bishops! All Father has to do is give me the evil eye and I’m done for!

  7. sanctus3 says:

    It is imperative that people acquaint themselves with all the horrendous aspects of the bill, inform their Bishops and contact Congress. I firmly believe that it is the intent of the Congress to drop the Stupak Amendment before a final vote. I would invite readers to go to American Life League website http://www.all.org and read the excellent articles founder Judi Brown has written. Some of the items that still remain in the bill and listed at American Life league http://www.All.org are:

    1. Individuals may separately purchase plans that
    cover abortions. Private plans may still offer
    elective abortions. (Stupak Amendment)

    1. Expanded access and funding for abortifacient con-
    traception (Sec.2526)

    2. Expanded funding for Planned Parenthood (Sec.1714)

    3. Provisions for euthanasia (Sec. 240)

    4. No conscience protection for health care workers
    (Sec.258)

    5. Forces pro-life firms to extend coverage for
    abortionists. (Sec 304)

    Rationing is sure to occur. One just has to look at Canada and Britain. Pray!Pray! Pray!

  8. Paulus says:

    The “Separation of Church and State” canard is trotted out _every_ time the Catholic hierarchy is seen anywhere near politicians, and usually followed by some drivel about how the tax exempt status of the Church must be revoked. No, actually it’s “REVOKED!!!!!” In caps with exclamation points. Lots of them.

    As Inago Montoya said, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” About the Separation of Church and State principle, anyways.

    Make no mistake though, the pro-abortion crowd is in a tizzy. Now is not a time for half-measures.

  9. Rouxfus says:

    The AP reports:

    “Democratic abortion foes in the Senate vow they won’t support health legislation that omits the strict restrictions approved by the House, while abortion rights champions say they can’t possibly vote for a bill that contains them.”

    I had to scratch my head. How is the lack of gummint funding for abortions in any way reducing a women’s so-called right to choose to have one? It doesn’t. So, then, why can’t these “abortion rights champions” possibly vote for the bill? They claim that opponents of abortion cannot call them “pro-abortion” because they aren’t about promoting abortions, but they exist solely to protect a women’s alleged “right to choose.” But here the bill doesn’t affect their alleged “right to choose”, so they should have no problem with it, right? Wrong. The veil is rent – and we can see what they’re really “about”.

    Secondly, the quotation from the AP report shows what shoddy reporting is going on here. Which Democratic abortion foes made that vow? Can we get a direct quote and names so we can send them campaign contributions? And likewise for the “champions” (oh how heroic that sounds – in fairness they should refer to the “abortion foes” as “innocent life champions”) – who are these champions, what did they actually say, and who are they? Most reporters at least call up sources to provide quotes that back up what they’ve already written, but this reporter apparently didn’t have time to do that.

  10. JonM says:

    Thank you Sanctus3.

    It is imperative that people acquaint themselves with all the horrendous aspects of the bill, inform their Bishops and contact Congress. I firmly believe that it is the intent of the Congress to drop the Stupak Amendment before a final vote. I would invite readers to go to American Life League website http://www.all.org and read the excellent articles founder Judi Brown has written. Some of the items that still remain in the bill and listed at American Life league http://www.All.org are [see above]

    I saw the analysis by the American Life League the other day as well as the rather open intention to nix the amendment in the final conference committee deliberation.

    Respectfully, I don’t see this as much of a victory for Catholic principles or the faith. The Stupak Amendment claims to forbid abortion funding. It does not. It ‘restricts’ paying for abortions and leaves the gaping loophole of ‘life of the mother.’

    Frankly, if it is true that the USCCB was closely working with congressmen on how to get this bill past, then this looks to me and many with whom I’ve chatted, Stupak was little more than a ruse to get a massive socialist initiative through.

    Even if no abortion could take place in a national health care system (which would only happen due to a new court, constitutional amendment, or states standing up), this bill is horrendous. There is nothing redeeming about it. It doesn’t even bother to pretend to address the teaching on subsidiarity, it promises massive increases in private insurance, and after forcing many into the government option will severely limit care.

    I respect all assessments on the matter. Simply because the USCCB is being attacked by Molechians does not tell me that the USCCB is acting as any knight. Molechians will attack anyone not fully in ecstatic embrace of their death mills.

    This appears more as a last ditch attempt by the Spirit of VII leaders soon to retire to foist upon America a very liberal political agenda.

  11. ChadS says:

    Let me get this straight. Rep. DeGette says that “No one group should get to dictate the outcome of legislation in Congress.” Meanwhile she and her 40 accomplices will do just the same when they vote no. Also, we have the leaders of the Feminist Majority upset at this supposed “interference” by the Bishops, yet in the same breath they vow to motivate their supporters to oppose the Stupak Amendment. How is what the Bishops do interference yet they do the exact same thing and they’re just exercising their constitutional rights.

    By the way, I wasn’t at my home parish this weekend, but the one I attended had the Bishops’ letter in their bulletin. I received the bulletin Saturday night, too late for anybody not paying attention and by the time the majority would get the letter on Sunday morning the vote was long over by then.

  12. Traductora says:

    I’m less enthusiastic and I actually think the bishops let themselves get snookered by hanging their opposition solely on abortion; in fact, the Stupak amendment doesn’t even actually prevent payment for abortion per se, but leaves the usual exceptions that render it practically null.

    Aside from the fact that the Democrats have already announced that they’ll strip the amendment out in committee anyway, it was foolish of the bishops to set such a low and easily satisfied standard for the Administration to obtain their approval of a menacing, Orwellian take-over of health care that is going to impact religious rights and the individual right to life in ways I dread to imagine.

    I also think that there are many, alas, among the left-wing “social justice” bishops who are actually very much in favor of this bill because they see it as providing health care for “immigrants” or some such thing, regardless of the fact that “immigrants,” legal or otherwise, already receive health care one way or the other and nobody is perishing in the street for lack of it. But I think we have to acknowledge that there are some very statist folk among our bishops, and while they are losing power and being replaced by men who understand the true stakes here, they probably had a lot of influence on this decision to offer a very narrow and easily satisfied objection to the horrible health-care nationalization bill.

  13. Kimberly says:

    I’m surprised. This article tells me how scarred the left has become that our Bishops are doing the right thing.

  14. esquiress says:

    [LOL! Well… other groups had their say. The problem this time is that someone listened also to the bishops!]

    This is exactly it. The Bishops are allowed a say as long they agree with the party in power. Does the left complain when the Bishops oppose torture/the war/healthcare reform?

  15. Peggy R says:

    Okay. The bishops’ push is impressive. The article acknowledges, however, that the bishops (collectivelY)–or their staff?–are on board with the Dem idea of “healthcare reform.” They settled for some weak abortion restrictions. Conscience matters and elder care rationing were not addressed. Nor family rights, eg, subsidiarity. The USCCB supports socialized medicine in so many words. That disturbs me greatly.

    The abortion issue and rationed care would not be problems if a public option were not being pursued.

  16. Sam Schmitt says:

    “I had to scratch my head. How is the lack of gummint funding for abortions in any way reducing a women’s so-called right to choose to have one? It doesn’t.”

    Keep scratching – you’re thinking too much like a conservative / libertarian here. For a liberal, a right isn’t something natural – it’s conferred by gummint. Further – a right isn’t a right unless it is actively upheld (read: funded) by the gummint. Also, not funding a “right” that is not even currently funded is the same as denying that right (don’t ask me to explain – see comment on logic below).

    “How is what the Bishops do interference yet they [leaders of the Feminist Majority] do the exact same thing and they’re just exercising their constitutional rights.”

    You’re seriously expecting common sense, consistency and fair play (let alone logic) from this crowd?

    It’s OK, I do the same thing all the time.

  17. MaryMaria says:

    Just for the record….I work in our church office and the letter from the USCCB did not hit my email box until after the bulletin was finished so had to wait to put it in until this past weekend….on another note…..we had a non-Catholic lady call our office concerned over statements she heard made on a conservative talk show that the health care bill that passed the House of Representatives contained a clause that would basically do away with home schooling and Parochial Schools…I have not been able to confirm this and was wondering if anyone else knows if this is true or not….if it is then I think the USCCB needs to express concern over this as well……

  18. joecct77 says:

    Rejoice now, because the final bill will have the Stupak amendment removed in conference. Speaker Pelosi is a very good politician. She counted noses and realized that the House Bill would not pass without the Stupak amendment, so she allowed it to come to the floor and pass.

    However, our Dear Speaker is a creature of the Looney Left and will do everything in her power to get Rep. Stupak’s amendment out of there by the time the bill comes up for a final vote. We must remain vigilent in watching the Senate bill and the resulting conference report/bill to see what comes out in final form.

    I am not in favor of this current version of “reform”. Government should facilitate solutions to problems, not participate in the solution. This bill has government intervention all through it.

  19. JohnE says:

    “Obama suggested Monday that he wants to strike a balance”
    Yeah, Obama’s definition of “striking a balance” is the same thing as the “common ground” between a person standing on the edge of a cliff and one at the bottom (“Come on, just take one step my direction.”)

    “No one group should get to dictate the outcome of legislation in Congress,” DeGette said. “Every group should be listened to, but I don’t think one group should be given veto authority over what we do.”
    The air is thinner in Colorado, but not that thin. Veto authority?! How dramatic! It would be sweetly ironic if the 40 pro-abort Democratic senators helped to defeat this bill, which I think needs to be defeated with or without the amendment.

  20. Sandy says:

    I agree, Peggy R. There is a long way to go, or better yet, let’s throw the whole thing out! If only politicians knew what subsidiarity is, and practiced it. We’re way beyond that, I’m afraid.

  21. JohnE says:

    “Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO, a prominent abortion rights supporter who has gathered the signatures of more than 40 representatives who refuse to back a health bill that contains the restrictions, said the bishops had been allowed to overstep their bounds.”

    Not that I would mind to see the bill fail, but I thought it was supposed to be bad to be a one-issue voter. So Rep. DeGette and her cronies really really want tax-payer funded, government controlled, universal health care, but not if doesn’t cover killing people. Sin sure makes you stupid.

  22. Jayna says:

    People don’t understand that the separation of church and state in this country refers to the protection of religion from imposition on the part of the state. If they want the state to protect individuals from religious claims, they need to move to France. That’s how it works there. And they’ll get public health, so it’s a win-win.

  23. wmeyer says:

    Jayna makes an excellent point. But on the other hand, since our elected representatives for more than 100 years seemed to feel the Constitution was more a guide than a rulebook, it is hardly surprising that few voters understand the issue. After all, the phrase “separation of church and state” has no existence in the Constitution. What is there is the establishment clause, which was written to protect churches and all people of faith from the intrusion of government into matters of religion and the practice thereof.

    Despite what politicians might wish us to think, the matter is very clear in the 1st Amendment:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    – Requiring all taxpayers to contribute to the funding of abortion would seem a clear case of making a law respecting an establishment of religion.

    – Requiring Catholic doctors to perform abortions would be “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.