This Came Out of San Fran?????
The American Catholic Church is fractured and splintering with a deep ideological divide separating the camps. This is not news. (True) But what had been common knowledge in Church circles in private conversations is now in the headlines of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
This has come about because of the intense national debate about health care reform. The American Catholic bishops don’t like the bill (the Senate version) in its present form because it expands abortion coverage, does not cover immigrants, and does not offer enough conscience protections.
Recently, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) both came out publicly in support of the Senate version of the bill. Some of their comments even went so far as to characterize the bishops’ stand, especially on abortion, as “false.” 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. Di-di-di-dah!!!!
For years, most of the leadership of the LCWR and the Catholic hospitals (most of which are owned by these very same LCWR leaders) (a point ignored by the media for the most point but 1 I mentioned a few days ago) 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. (emphasis mine) Like I said, did you ever expect to see this coming out of San Fran????
This view rightly offers deep concern for justice for the poor and vulnerable, (The Church has always taught this, but never that it was the government's job. It was the Church's, hence the hospitals these orders founde in the 1st place to do so.) but like so many in this age-group, minimizes or trivializes the unborn. (True, way to true. But get ready, more is to come. he names names.) “Network,” the Washington, D.C. lobbying arm of the LCWR does not include pro-life legislation as part of its work. (Again, true, it doesn't mention anything about abortion as a social justice issue, despite Pope John Paul calling it the most important social justice issue there is.) If it does at all, it distorts the term “pro-life” to be so ambiguous and far-reaching that it includes everything. (Distorts is an understatement.) Thus, the sisters can say with a straight face that the current health care legislation is “life-affirming.” They ignore or claim as “false” what the bishops and every pro-life institution in the country has recognized as a flawed bill that will advance abortion.
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. Ideological yes, but part of that ideology is that they support the woman's right to an abortion.
There is a value in having this private tension now public. Like an angry boil, it is better to break open than to keep festering and growing.
Fortunately, as pointed out by Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Director of Media Relations for the USCCB, the group of sisters making these statements is relatively small in comparison to the number of sisters and communities of women religious in the U.S. (To read the LCWR & the Main Stream Media coverage you wouldn't know that. Remember they claimed to be speaking for 59, sisters. A number that I often saw rounded up to 60,000.) Read Sister Walsh’s comments here:
The 103 other sister communities came out with a statement in alliance with the bishops: