Pres. Obama and his roundtable with religion writers

From CNS:

Obama holds round table with religion writers

By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — President Barack Obama told a morning round table with religion writers [but why?] July 2 that he was profoundly influenced by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago when he worked in community organizing there in a project partially funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development[An interesting detail to include.  You can read about the CHD here.]

Obama said his encounters with the cardinal continue to influence his approach to social issues that are important to the church.  [How does this square with his approach to denying medical care to children who survived an abortion attempt.]

He also told reporters to expect a conscience clause protection for health care workers that will be no less protective than what existed previously[Sooo… this was the reason for the meeting.  He was suborning writers.]
The round table was held in anticipation of Obama’s audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican July 10.  [Trying to soften the coverage?]

This President is very shrewd and does not do things like this for no small reasons.

The late Card. Bernardin was key player in support of the Campaign for Human Development which he helped to found in 1969.

The CHD gave $7.3 million to the Saul Alinsky-style group ACORN.  In 1998 some Catholics raised their voices against what the CHD was doing.  The CHD changed its name to Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

In 2007 the CCHD gave ACORN $1,037,000.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ssoldie says:

    Oh yea! The seamless garment Bishop. again enough said.

  2. Gennaro says:

    Yes the campaign against CHD started around 1998.

    What’s the commonality between this and the Notre Dame Campaign?

    Patrick J. Reilly, Executive Director of the Cardinal Newman Society.

    This gentleman is a true gift to the Church.

    If one goes to and enters the name “Campaign for Human Development” in the search bar, one will see that the oldest research reports are done by him.

    These reports are what started the close examination of CHD.

    If one goes further back with restricted Google searches, one will see that Patrick Reilly was once employed by the NCCB.


  3. Andy K. says:

    I hope one of the mediapeople had the courage to ask this:
    Why was this removed?
    “He also told reporters to expect a conscience clause protection for health care workers that will be no less protective than what existed previously. ”

    What was wrong with the old policy? Why was the old one removed??

  4. Jack says:

    Ah yes, ACORN. The voter/business intimidation group with what, at least thirteen indictments and convictions for fraud. Nice.

    Fr. Z, the Alinsky reference is spot-on. Mr. Obama is playing rope-a-dope with the Catholic vote.

  5. Cleburne says:

    The issue of “conscience clause protection,” a complex issue from a legal standpoint,has been distorted recently by partisans on both sides of the debate. I take it the Prez is referring to the last-minute Bush administration regulation that the Obama administration is attempting to rescind. What the debate rhetoric has clouded are the facts that the Bush regulation did not create conscience protection and that Obama’s rescission of it would not end it. The best thing Pres’t. Obama can do is stay out of it. Do we really want these folks deciding the parameters of conscience protection?

  6. moon1234 says:

    Reveering Cardinal Bernardin is like reverring Bernie Madoff. Both stole money from their flocks and used it for their own agendas (Or to pay off people who they abused or who supported them), had numerous allegations of abuse and fraud, etc.

    Obama, citing Bernardin, just further shows that he is trying to destroy the Catholic church by using clueless writers to champion him as some great crusader for Catholic values.

    I fell ill now. Uhhhh.

  7. James the Less says:

    Isenhart: But a practical question must be dealt with. People see candidates running who think that a woman’s right to abortion should never be repealed; who do not support a human life amendment. Can Catholics disqualify such candidates because they violate the consistent ethic of life?

    Bernardin: Well, certainly. That’s what the consistent ethic is all about. I feel very, very strongly about the right to life of the unborn, the weakest and most vulnerable of human beings. I don’t see how you can subscribe to the consistent ethic and then vote for someone who feels that abortion is a “basic right” of the individual. The consequence of that position would be an absence of legal protection for the unborn.

  8. Rob Cartusciello says:

    People must understand that ever since the U.S. Supreme Court case [i]Employment Division v. Smith[/i], 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the Catholic Church’s consitutional protections have existed solely through legislative largess.

    These conscience clause exist only because politicians permit them, and not because the institutional Church has rights.

    One of the few times in which a law of general application has been shot down was [i]Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah[/i], 508 U.S. 520 (1993), because the law specifically targetted the religious practice of the group.

    We seldom recognize the extent to which the Free Exercise clause has been restricted when it comes to religious institutions.

  9. Peggy says:

    Yes, Obie is trying to manipulate the coverage ahead of time. When Helen Thomas even thinks Obie does that as a general matter, then there is little doubt.

  10. EDG says:

    Good try, Bambi. Pakistanis and Indians laughed when Obama told them he read Urdu poetry, and we should laugh at this, too. I don’t know who’s writing his material (probably Kmeic) but anybody who thinks Cdl Bernardin is somebody to be cited clearly needs his head examined. Without getting into his disturbing personal affairs, just going by Bernardin’s ambiguous and deceptive words, I would say that Cdl Bernardin did more damage to the Church and the pro-life cause than just about any other prelate in the US. More even than Mahony, because Bernardin loved to portray himself as moderate, a man of the “middle way.”

    The problem is that no such “middle way” exists. You either support evil or you don’t.

  11. Ad Orientem says:

    I have major issues with this administration, mostly (but not exclusively) dealing with respect for life. I could not under any circumstances vote for a president with his horrific views about the murder of children (their being born or not is utterly irrelevant). Having said this, I think we should not look a gift horse in the mouth. If Obama is serious (a very big “if”) about supporting a real conscience clause to protect health workers and others who could be forced to choose between their religious faith and their job, then I am all for it.

    Let’s face facts here. We are not going to get much from this administration; and FWIW I don’t think we should dismiss this offer out of hand. Let’s see what it looks like when it is spelled out in legislation before reaching for the stones. Conscience protection is critical, especially for health workers. And if he is serious Obama will take flack from the radical pro-abortion groups for supporting it.

    I recall that immediately after Germany invaded the USSR Winston Churchill delivered a rousing speech about the heroic Russians etc. Later he was asked how a man with his rabid anti-Communist credentials could say those things. Churchill replied that if Hitler invaded Hell he would feel obliged to give the devil a favorable mention in the House of Commons. That’s more or less my position.

    But as the old saying goes, the devil will be in the details. If Obama supports and signs a real conscience clause then I am prepared to give the devil a polite nod. But only after the goods are delivered. Until we see the details one way or the other I suggest suspending judgment on this particular matter.

    In ICXC

  12. cavaliere says:

    I don’t know all the history about Cardinal Bernardin and frankly for this particular situation it really doesn’t matter whether he was good, bad or indifferent. He clearly criticized those who sought to distort his seamless garment theory by placing all social issues on the same level. As James the Less quoted the Cardinal above he said, I don’t see how you can subscribe to the consistent ethic and then vote for someone who feels that abortion is a “basic right” of the individual.

    Rather than getting bogged down in a debate about the merits or lack thereof of the seamless garment theory or a similar debate of his personal virtue or lack thereof we should throw this quote back in the faces of those who would seek to justify their abortion position or the defense of those Catholic politicians who do. Just think if we had used this approach during the last election. How many times did we hear the likes of Doug Kmiec and others justify their positions by pointing to the seamless garment theory and defending the vote for pro-abort Catholics?

    When one responds to their arguments by saying “well Cardinal Bernardin was a bad man,” they will respond, “no he isn’t” and the argument will go round and round endlessly. But how could they respond to the Cardinal’s own statement saying you can’t subscribe to the consistent ethic and then vote for someone who supports abortion as a basic right.

  13. Jill says:

    Interesting discussion. I agree with Fr. Z’s point that Obama does not meet with Catholic writers without having a reason or two to do so. Doing so apparently serves some end he has in mind. I don’t recall such an opportunity for the Catholic press occurring before May 19th. Do any of you?

    It is a good sign that some members of the MSM are finally getting a clue about this administration’s M.O. We can only hope and pray that the rest of them catch a clue sooner rather than later.

  14. AlwaysCatholic says:

    [CCHD’s current criteria and guidelines prohibit partisan activity and funding of any group that engages in activities contrary to Catholic moral teaching, whether or not those activities are funded by CCHD. These criteria are actively enforced and have led CCHD to deny funding to many groups and to quickly terminate any group that violates these prohibitions.]

    REALLY? Take some time and go through the recipents of CCHD money. Acorn would still be receiving money if it weren’t for Fox News exposing the situation. How about money from local Acorn groups to pro-abortion groups! Hmmm. How about looking through other recipients? Oh, they are up on the site. The Bishops Conf doesnt think we will take the time to investigate these groups. Look for yourselves.

    I have found many groups that give money to Pro-abortion causes and to Pro homosexual causes that are in DIRECT conflict with the requirements of the Bishops Conf and CCHD guidelines.

    Any Catholic that puts one penny into this collection every year (CCHD), well I’ll just say I put my donation into the St Vincent dePaul fund of my parish. At least I know it will REALLY go to helping the poor.
    CCHD is a scandal and one day I pray the money given to it will actually be given to Catholic causes. Good Luck!

  15. cavaliere says:

    Here is another comment from Cardinal Bernardin against those who corrupt his so called “seamless garment theory.”

    “I know that some people on the left, if I may use that label, have used the consistent ethic to give the impression that the abortion issue is not all that important anymore, that you should be against abortion in a general way but that there are more important issues, so don’t hold anybody’s feet to the fire just on abortion. That’s a misuse of the consistent ethic, and I deplore it.”

  16. cavaliere: I have seen this quote before. It would be very helpful to have a concrete citation for it. Where and when did he say or write this?

  17. Broadsword says:

    Obama’s meeting reminds me of this one:

    Reply to Bishops Stokesley, Gardiner and Tunstal, sent to the Tower by Thomas Cromwell to persuade Fisher to submit to the King:
    “Methinks it had been rather our parts to stick together in repressing these violent and unlawful intrusions and injuries dayly offered to our common mother, the holy Church of Christ, than by any manner of persuasions to help or set forward the same.

    And we ought rather to seek by all means the temporal destruction of the so ravenous wolves, that daily go about worrying and devouring everlastingly, the flock that Christ committed to our charge, and the flock that Himself died for, than to suffer them thus to range abroad.

    But (alas) seeing we do it not, you see in what peril the Christian state now standeth: We are besieged on all sides, and can hardly escape the danger of our enemy. And seeing that judgment is begone at the house of God, what hope is there left (if we fall) that the rest shall stand!

    The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. And therefore seeing the matter is thus begun, and so faintly resisted on our parts, I fear that we be not the men that shall see the end of the misery.

    Wherefore, seeing I am an old man and look not long to live, I mind not by the help of God to trouble my conscience in pleasing the king this way whatsoever become of me, but rather here to spend out the remnant of my old days in praying to God for him.”

    Are we not the fishers against whom Obama will send his Stokesleys, Gardiners and Tunstals?

  18. Broadsword says:

    (Yes, fishers, not Fishers; there is a reference there._

  19. James the Less says:

    Fr. Z,

    It looks like the quote appears in the 1988 Catholic Register interview. I posted a link of the entire interview in my previous comment.

  20. cavaliere says:

    Fr. Z,

    I don’t have the exact citation for that specific quote on hand but I will find it and forward on to you. In the meantime here is a link to my blog with citations of similar statements. One of them is from Fr. Pavone’s website and is a lecture Cardinal Bernardin gave in 1984 at St. Louis U.
    A Consistent Ethic of Life: Continuing the Dialogue

    The William Wade Lecture Series
    St. Louis University

    Joseph Cardinal Bernardin
    March 11, 1984

    One other one is,

    To ignore the priority attention that the problems of abortion and euthanasia demand is to misunderstand both the consistent ethic and the nature of the threats that these evils pose. On Respect Life Sunday, 1 October 1989, Cardinal Bernardin issued a statement entitled “Deciding for Life,” in which he said,

    “Not all values, however, are of equal weight. Some are more fundamental than others. On this Respect Life Sunday, I wish to emphasize that no earthly value is more fundamental than human life itself. Human life is the condition for enjoying freedom and all other values. Consequently, if one must choose between protecting or serving lesser human values that depend upon life for their existence and life itself, human life must take precedence.”

  21. Check my memory on this, but it was 1984 and the vice-presidential candidate was Geraldine Ferraro, a New York Catholic running on the Democratic ticket. Abortion at the time was the sine qua non of the Democratic Party. In order to take pressure off Ferraro, Governor Cuomo of NY was invited to speak at Notre Dame(there it is again!), and Bernardin spoke at Fordham.. Cuomo gave his “personally opposed, but” speech, while Bernardin introduced the Seamless Garment. It was thought at the time to lessen the importance of abortion in the race.

  22. Gail F says:

    On Cardinal Bernadin: I think that cavaliere is correct, and it’s better to use those quotes from the Cardinal about the misuse of what he said than it is to get into an argument about whether he was a good man (or Cardinal) or not. That’s beside the point, for one thing, and one quickly runs the risk of sounding loony, like the poster above who tried to make him similar to Bernie Madoff! That’s just off-putting. Stick to the facts.

    On the CCHD: I read that it was originally designed to use Catholic money specifically for non-Catholic charities, as a sort of ecumenical “for the common good” thing that apparently made sense at the time.

  23. supertradmom says:

    Putting the reference to Cardinal Bernardin aside for a moment, one should concentrate on Obama’s consistent and cynical manipulation of the press, such as planting questions (Huffington Post) in so-called free press conferences, and knowing the Q and As ahead of time at town meetings. To me, this religious press meeting is just another blatant and, therefore, cynical attempt to get the press on “his side” by vacuous talk.

    How can he truly claim to be influenced by any Catholic, as the president seems not to be at all a “religious” man? Cardinal Bernardin’s name is just being used here, as we really have no proof of influence good or bad. Why can’t the press see this?

    As to the conscience clause, again, this seems to be a smoke-screen comment to put the religious press off guard.

    I hope I am wrong.

  24. Rancher says:

    Supertradmom has it right. Obama USES people including the Cardinal’s name to further HIS agenda. He, much like Hitler, is a master of manipulation. Given his background, minimal as it is, in Illinois–specifically Chicago–politics this is easy to understand. As we have seen in just 6 all too long months of his “rule” he will lie, distort, and “con” to get his way. When that fails he will crush his opposition without reservation.

    His efforts in terms of the Roman Catholic Church are, at this point, the focus of the lie, distort and con approach. I pray that doesn’t work and I pray even more for strength for the Bishops if they take him on–because he and his valueless, immoral henchmen will try to crush them. He is evil.

  25. cavaliere says:

    Fr. Z,
    James the Less was correct. The link to the quote you asked me about, “I know that some people on the left,… was from an interview given in the National Catholic Register in 1988. Here is the link again.

  26. Clinton says:

    What intrigued me most about this round table was how suddenly it was sprung upon the Catholic press. The president of the US
    doesn’t just pencil in last minute meetings — his schedule is filled weeks in advance. Yet here we have Fr. Kearns, of the National
    Catholic Register telling the press that he was invited to the meeting with less than 24 hours notice. The invitees had next to no time
    to prepare, to compare ideas, or to solicit input from others. By the time the blogosphere was made aware of the meeting, it had
    already happened. What could be the purpose of that?

    Oh. I think I just answered my own question.

  27. Aaron says:

    ‘If Obama is serious (a very big “if”) about supporting a real conscience clause to protect health workers and others who could be forced to choose between their religious faith and their job, then I am all for it.’

    But he’s not. He may use such a clause to grease the skids for his health care nationalization plan, but if so he’ll just rescind it later. It’s easy to take back an exception like that; look at how quickly each recent president has switched the restrictions on abortion spending. It’s much harder to end a federal bureaucracy once it consist of buildings and workers and people depending on it. He knows that once nationalized health care is in place, it’ll be impossible to get rid of, so he can afford to make some temporary compromises to get it passed.

    When a group with “Catholic” in its name, which gets to collect money during Mass with the tacit approval of every diocese, supports a group like ACORN that not only supports pro-abortion politicians but the tearing down of all traditional bastions of civilization….is it any wonder the average Catholic layperson doesn’t see a problem with voting for pro-abortion candidates? The collection envelopes his parish sends him indicate it’s okay!

  28. Latekate says:

    The press loves Obama and will do everything they can to make him look good and “help” him advance his Marxist agenda. Chris Matthews even said, gushingly, that he was going to do everything he could to help him after he was elected. He would never have been elected but for the overwhelmingly sycophantic and unquestioning devotion of the MSM, hours of free positive spin while other candidates, Ron Paul most notably, were ignored or blacklisted. The MSM hate Catholics and Catholicism unless it is of the Notre Dame “useful idiot” type. They detest orthodoxy and absolutes.
    The press “see” very well what is going on and they are helping him advance whatever he wants to do. They are eaten up with fear and nothingness and have faith in great “leaders” to create utopia.

  29. Rosie says:

    Why is it so important to do this with “Catholics”? Is it that authentic and faithful Catholics still wield power and influence because they stand with truth? Is that why obama (who by the way is neither president nor American but IS a rabid child torturer and murderer and therefore deserves neither title not capitalization of his alias) and those that share his agenda must arrange a meeting of their own design with false “Catholics” in order to put forth their lies? If so, that is actually good news. It means that they fear even muzzled truth.

  30. Matt Q says:

    I don’t hold any esteem nor any hope for “Catholic” media personnel than I do for the mainstream secular. For the most part, Catholic media just sits around and regurgitates news and sound bites from other sources. Just because the subjects are of interest to Catholics in general or pertaining to the Church, doesn’t mean they are doing anything in-dept or of some major contributional capacity. All one gets is a blurb of this, a mention of that. How about adding a little of how, what, where, why and when? Just click on the various sites which tout themselves as “Catholic.” You’ll notice the same press release, the same wording, the same… the same.

    This meeting with Obama will result in the same thing, a Big Gulp’s worth of his kool-aid, swooning and capitulating, all the more convinced they voted for the right one, with no intention whatsoever of asking the hard questions and doing any follow-up reporting. God forbid Catholic media would have to do their job professionally.

    = = = = =

    Ad Orientem wrote:

    “Until we see the details one way or the other I suggest suspending judgment on this particular matter.”


    If there’s rumor going around your child’s teacher is a molester, you’d just “suspend judgment on the matter” until it was proven? You’d just keep sending you kid to school day after and day until finally one way or the other? Perhaps you would.

    Giving anyone the benefit of the doubt is one thing, but protecting kids comes first in ALL THINGS! Anything where abortion and a “conscience clause” are mentioned in the same breath, we all need to be on guard, and judgment bit be damned.

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