Before proceeding, you might want to review my post "Magisterium of Nuns".
Remember: In direct opposition to the US Catholic bishops, the Catholic Health Association (CHA), run especially by liberal Catholic women religious, backed the "health care" reform legislation of the Pres. Obama, Sen. Reid, and Speaker Pelosi, et al. The backing of the CHA gave "cover" to Catholics to vote in favor of legislation which does not have adequate assurances that taxpayer money will not be used to pay for abortions.
The bishops warned against this. The CHA and a coalition of liberal Catholic women religious defied the bishops.
What we are seeing, as I have written here numerous times, is a battle over who gets to speak for the Catholic Church in the USA.
Will it be the liberal Catholic women religious who compromised on the abortion issue in order to get the rest of their agenda and solidify their power or the Catholic bishops? Though in many ways they are not above criticism, the bishops are nevertheless the duly appointed shepherds of the Church in the US and teachers concerning faith and morals.
Overlaping groups of women religious are also trying to crack the Church’s discipline (celibacy) and teaching (ordination). If they can achieve a victory on one of these, then they will have effectively won.
People of good will can have differing approaches to the problems of health care reform, and the bishops have one voice among many. But abortion is a different matter for Catholics, and the bishops are the teachers, not the sisters.
Now read this from CNA with my emphases and comments:
Helen Osman accuses CNA of fabricating report on Cardinal George and CHA
Denver, Colo., Jun 21, 2010 / 06:04 pm (CNA).- After CNA published a report on remarks Cardinal Francis George made about the disagreement between the Catholic Health Association and the U.S. bishops, [Cardinal George: Sr. Keehan chose Obama over Catholic bishops] Ms. Helen Osman, the Secretary of Communications for the bishops’ conference denied the accuracy of the article. Nevertheless, the news agency stands by its report and maintains that it was corroborated by several bishops.
On June 16, CNA reported that Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), spoke about the fallout from the debate over the passage of the health care overhaul at an executive session of the bishops’ spring assembly in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cardinal George recounted the events that took place prior to President Obama’s signing of the health care reform bill and then wrapped up his remarks by criticizing the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and its president and CEO Sr. Carol Keehan for creating a dangerous precedent [wait for it…] of a parallel magisterium to the bishops. [!]
Reiterating the bishops’ opposition to the health care overhaul for [and this is the main point…] failing to protect the unborn, offer access to immigrants [though we can differ on this point] and protect consciences sufficiently, [really important] the Chicago cardinal said that “Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation.”
He also expressed his disappointment that CHA and other “so-called Catholic groups” had “weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.” [They tried to weaken the authority of the bishops. Will the bishops let them? That is up to the bishops.]
Cardinal George’s comments were corroborated by several bishops who told CNA that they believed the remarks should be made known, given the [get this!] concurrent CHA meeting being held in Denver, Colo. [I suspect Archbp. Chaput was not their keynote speaker.]
However, on June 21, the Secretary for Communications of the bishops’ conference, Ms. Helen Osman, wrote on the USCCB Media Relations blog accusing CNA of inaccurately reporting on the event, fabricating quotations and breaking confidentiality. [The plot thickens.]
[But wait! The nearly-ubiquitous fair-minded] John Allen, the Vatican correspondent for the [sadly] National Catholic Reporter, published a story on the same day as CNA’s report, in which he spoke with Cardinal George about the meeting he had just held with the bishops and the disagreement with CHA.
Cardinal George told Allen, “the dispute with the CHA involves a core ecclesiological principle ‘about the nature of the church itself, one that has to concern the bishops’ – namely, who speaks for the church on faith and morals?” [That sounds consistent with what CNA said.]
“The bishops have to protect their role in governing the church,”’ the cardinal said.
Alejandro Bermudez, the director of Catholic News Agency, stated that “Allen’s report validates CNA’s reporting of the remarks made by Cardinal George at the executive meeting.”
[This next part is interesting…] “Most of the religious outlets who covered the disagreement between the bishops and CHA, such as Commonweal, America Magazine and the National Catholic Reporter, did not support the bishops decision to oppose the health care bill. [And there it is, friends.]
“Where is the outcry from Ms. Osman over their decision? Her post denying our reporting is disturbing, dishonest and unfairly selective, ” Bermudez stated, adding, “We stand by our report.”
“I challenge the Ms. Osman to release the audio recording of Cardinal George’s remarks to the bishops.”
I suspect there will be some additional clarifications.
See this too: