Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bishop Finn Says CHA Diminishes Catholic Solidarity

On Wednesday, Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn made a major pro-life speech in Minneapolis where he said the Catholic Health Association should “loudly and publically” reverse their “permissive stance” on the “critically flawed” Senate Health Care Reform Bill. The bishop said CHA’s position "is clearly at odds with the U.S. Bishops Conference and every pro-life group in this country,” excerpt:

We must still hold out insistently for the abortion exclusion. It is wrong to compromise in this regard. In their recent statements, the Catholic Health Association is all too ready to trust that we can somehow “fix” abortion after a bill is passed. Their recommendation to allow the passage of the critically flawed Senate bill is clearly at odds with the U.S. Bishops Conference and every pro-life group in this country. Their permissive stance diminishes the potential that Catholic solidarity might have in requiring the abortion prohibition and other essential elements in a morally sound proposal. If the Catholic Health Association claims to represent Catholic Hospitals they should keep in mind that, as a bishop, so do I represent the Catholic Hospitals within my diocese. Even now they should loudly and publicly reverse their stance and stand with the Catholic Bishops – and the Bishops Committees on Pro-Life Activities, on Justice, Peace and Human Development, and on Migration - in opposing this bill, at least until explicit protections and provisions are included.

It is incredible, that the position of the Catholic Health Association is now being used in television ads by Catholics United to lobby and undercut the convictions of key pro-life Democrats. Several bishops have now publically refuted CHA’s stand and the Diocese of Youngstown, which includes a number of key, targeted Democratic votes has had to issue a clarification that:

Recent statements by Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association and some members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious do not reflect the position of the U.S. Bishops or the Catholic Church.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes the current Senate Health Care Bill.

The actions of Sr. Carol Keehan, NETWORK and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious along with Catholics United have every appearance of being a coordinated effort to undercut the U.S. Bishops and the convictions of pro-life Democrats. They are even being used in a renewed effort to change the vote of Rep. Joseph Cao.

In striking contrast to this perfidy, OSV reports today on the reaction the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, representing significantly younger, active and faithful religious women:

Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Church’s position on critical issues of health care reform.

The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the second conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, believes the Bishops’ position is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.

Note: Bishop Finn’s talk was actually quite wide ranging and inspiring, but also too long for a blog post. You can read the whole thing in the ZOHO viewer below: