Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Archdiocese of San Francisco Paper Drops a Bomb - Today's MUST Read

George Wesolek is a friend and former colleague who serves as Director of the Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. He is no conservative, but rather that type of thoroughgoing pro-life, Catholic social justice advocate that is much talked about but rarely evidenced. In a column today at my former paper, Catholic San Francisco, Wesolek drops a bomb, excerpt:

So now we have some nuns accusing the bishops of lying about abortion. Are you shocked? Don’t be because this has been going on for a long time.

For years, most of the leadership of the LCWR and the Catholic hospitals (most of which are owned by these very same LCWR leaders) have been advancing a view of Catholic social teaching that reflects a vision that they learned in the 60s and 70s – a tired feminism that distorts the role of women and has at its center the freedom of women to “choose” to kill the infants in their womb if they so desire.

This view rightly offers deep concern for justice for the poor and vulnerable, but like so many in this age-group, minimizes or trivializes the unborn. “Network,” the Washington, D.C. lobbying arm of the LCWR does not include pro-life legislation as part of its work. If it does at all, it distorts the term “pro-life” to be so ambiguous and far-reaching that it includes everything. Thus, the sisters can say with a straight face that the current health care legislation is “life-affirming.”

Um, this, I think, is a conversation starter. Of course there are no shortage of people on both sides of the divide who believe and say this type of thing privately and then expediently pretend otherwise in public. Wesolek has done a great service in dropping the facade. Do read the whole thing.

One quibble: Wesolek goes on to say:

Some have said that the sisters are taking this position because they have deep economic interests because of their hospitals. I disagree. Their rationale is ideological. I believe that they truly believe in health care reform…so much so that they are willing to trivialize the abortion issue and throw in their lot with the Obama administration.

I am one of those who has argued that economic interest is at work in the Catholic Health Association’s support of the Senate bill. I agree with what Wesolek said about ideology, but that principled position is not in tension with the economic interests of Catholic hospital executives who dearly want more paying customers. If it was in tension, those executives would have canned Sr. Carol Keehan long ago.

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