Obama “turns his back on Catholics”

Washington Post opinion writer (and former Bush speechwriter) Michael Gerson is adding his voice to the growing chorus of critics who charge the Obama White House is betraying its Catholic supporters:

In 2009, the University of Notre Dame set off months of intra-Catholic controversy by inviting a champion of abortion rights to deliver the school’s commencement address. When the day arrived, President Obama skillfully deflated the tension. He extended a “presumption of good faith” to his pro-life opponents. Then he promised Catholics that their pro-life convictions would be respected by his administration. “Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion,” he said, “and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health-care policies are grounded not only in sound science but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women.”

Catholics, eager for reassurance from a leader whom 54 percent of them had supported, were duly reassured. But Obama’s statement had the awkward subordinate clauses of a contentious speech-writing process. Qualifications and code words produced a pledge that pledged little.

Now the conscience protections of Catholics are under assault, particularly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). And Obama’s Catholic strategy is in shambles.

Shortly before Obama spoke at Notre Dame, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts brought suit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), seeking to eliminate a grant to programs that aid victims of human trafficking. Because Catholic programs don’t refer for abortions, the ACLU alleged that public support amounts to the establishment of religion.

The Obama Justice Department defended the grant in court. But last month, HHS abruptly ended the funding. It did not matter that an independent review board had rated the bishops’ program more effective than those of its competitors — or that career HHS employees objected to the politicized handling of the grant. HHS announced it was giving preference to grantees that offer “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.” This was described by one official as “standard procedure.” So it is now standard procedure in the Obama administration to deny funding to some Catholic programs based solely on their pro-life beliefs.

The process that produced the HHS decision remains murky. The USCCB has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for more details. But it is difficult to imagine that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was not involved in a matter of this much obvious controversy. Sebelius — an outspoken pro-choice Catholic — has a long history of conflict with Catholic authorities…

…“We are in a war,” Sebelius told a recent pro-choice meeting. Opponents of the administration, she said, are trying to “roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive health care in America.” This is no longer the “presumption of good faith.” It has all the hallmarks of a vendetta.

Read the rest.


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96 responses to “Obama “turns his back on Catholics””

  1. More political hack-jobs based upon false premises.

    Again, the Obama Administration is increasing the funding of other programs. The whole meme is outright false that he is stopping support of Catholic based programs.

    How many of these hacks would say the GOP are anti-Catholic for their desire to stop all kinds of Catholic aid programs? The GOP is working hard to cut back funds, and many have even attacked churches which aid immigrants, trying to make it against the law for Catholics to help out immigrants. Where was the cry of religious persecution then?

    So a Bush speech writer is willing to engage in lies once again? Got it.

  2. Dcn Greg:
    Is this a case of “cause-and-effect” or a mere coincidence of timing that Gergen’s op-ed piece follows on so quickly after Archbishop Dolan’s quiet visit to the White House ?

  3. People have questioned me when I said this has been the most anti Catholic administration in my lifetime. There is no question about it.

  4. This is not the most anti-Catholic administration. Far from it. You have a heightened political rhetoric from GOP-idolaters, but nothing else, really.

    And why does no one mention things like Michael Voris and his attack on USCCB programs telling Catholics to withhold funding? I would think the plank in our eye, with Catholics trying to squash USCCB funding as a “Catholic” thing to do, is far more important then trying to read political tea leaves with basically an ink blotter test.

  5. Sebelius should be excommunicated.

    A lot of people would argue that she already is, and has done it to herself.

    Dcn. G.

  6. Not at all.
    Michael Voris is trying to get funding of a USCCB program stopped. And he is not the only one. And if you look carefully, many social justice programs supported by and funding by the USCCB are under attack by the GOP.

    No one is saying it is a war against religious liberty or an attack on Catholics when this is done. Even if the GOP has people trying to arrest Catholics for feeding immigrants.

    No. We only hear this rhetoric from one side. Why? It’s obvious.

  7. Henry, making red herring arguments hardly advances your case in support of the Obama administration. What has happened with other grants is really beside the point being made about the human trafficking grant: the contention is that Catholics were denied continued funding solely because of our opposition to abortion, a basic marker of Catholic identity which President Obama pledged to respect. Bringing up the embarrassing Michael Voris–much criticized on this blog already–is itself embarrassing, a sure sign that you cannot defend the HHS decision on its own merits: “Forget the grant stuff! Look over there! Loudmouth Voris is at it again!”

  8. Ron
    First, this is not support or lack of support of the Obama administration. Getting facts straight is important. We need to stop with the rhetoric, this outrageous claim that Obama is somehow anti-Catholic and snubbing the Church. While he, like Bush, is not Catholic, and doesn’t believe in everything Catholics believe, and he is a secular president whose administration will follow secular polices, this is not the same thing as an all out assault on Catholics and an attack on religious liberty. When these posts ignore the whole story, ignore all the things Obama’s administration has done with Catholics and the increased funding it has given — even recently — to many projects (including ones opposed to abortion), then the dishonesty in the rhetoric is clear. Those other grants ARE quite important — if one is making the fear-mongering case that Obama is stopping funds to Catholics and Catholics who oppose abortion, then the fact that other grants are being increased by him shows otherwise. And again, the dishonesty is methodology — looking only to the negative, not the whole story, and ignoring similar things from the GOP? It’s not about support, it’s just about getting the facts right and stopping political hackery with the continued false meme of the GOP is the one people support. That’s all this is about. It’s disgusting. It’s false. The whole story behind this has been shown to be based upon faulty premises. Let’s be honest, and know how the real world works now.

  9. “GOP-idolaters” Idolatry is a very serious sin. For you to accuse someone specifically of this, or the entire population that votes for one political party is beyond rude.

  10. As for defending the HHS on its own merits – we don’t have the merits, we have SPECULATION by people engaging political hackery.

    On the other hand, Voris (and people like him) are not being denounced with “they are anti-Catholic.” No one talks about the most-anti-Catholic GOP ever, even if their attacks on Catholic principles abound. It’s always only one side which gets this kind of rhetoric. It’s simplistic and false.

  11. In other words, if people were saying “The Republicans hate Catholics and are trying to squash religious liberty because they are trying to have Catholics arrested for feeding immigrants,” I would also denounce that. The reason has nothing to do with Catholics or a war on Catholics. The reason is a false ideology which needs to be called out, but to add into it a religious liberty, they hate Catholics kind of rhetoric, is fallacious from the base. And people will begin engaging confirmation bias after, never once proving their assertion.

  12. There are people who idolize the GOP, and this can be seen in how their religious rhetoric is one with the GOP’s agenda, ignoring Catholic principles which reject the GOP rhetoric. It’s one thing to be voting for one side; it’s another to have politics turn into religion, which is exactly what is going on.

  13. Henry I have no idea why you are so protective of Obama, especially if you are a Catholic. Any Catholic would need more than a “plank in the eye” NOT to see, at the VERY least, the absoulute most “pro-abortion” President in US History. For starters, here are a few facts:

    1. Obama voted AGAINST babies born alive as a Senator; no problem for Obama killing a living breathing baby “born alive”, a fact, along with legal abortions after 22 weeks (when the fetus can feel pain), all of the “anti TORTURE, anti waterboarding hyprocrites would do well to keep in mind). Three terrorist were waterboarded, 53 million babies aborted, yet not a word about the “torture” to the unborn.
    2. First act after elected to POTUS, Obama overturns the Mexico City Abortion Policy, which now ALLOWS the money to flow to pay for abortions.
    3. Both Michelle and Obama campaigned heavily with planned parenthood, promising to keep abortion sacred.
    4. Obama appoints Sebullius as HHS, the most anti-Catholic, anti-life Catholic in the administration (campagined for Tiller the Baby Killer for partial birth abortion rights), long ago denied the Eucharist.
    5. Most to all of Obama appointees staunchy pro-choice, including a known pedophile running Educatioin.
    6. This is a little known, not reported in the MSM aka’s Obama shills, that last year, Obama used US funds to sway elections in Kenya allowing for the first time, abortions in Kenya; impeachable offense by the way, but who’s looking?

    I could list hundreds more, how many would you like Henry? These are FACTS, of which is not included is the blind eye to black genocide of his own race.

    If that isn’t enough in and of itself to make the Obama “anti-Catholic”, I would quesiton your definition of Catholicism. The fact that you have to stretch all the way to a non sequitur of Michael Voris is more than telling.

    Social Justice and all things Catholic Henry start in the womb, period.

  14. Klaire

    You ignore all the pro-abortion policies that the GOP Presidents have supported, ignoring history and way over-simplifying issues. That is always what happens, this dualistic ignorance of the GOP and an attempt to demonize while ignoring the full details. This “most pro-abortion” rhetoric can only happen from people who really ARE ignorant of past presidents and what they did. It reminds me of how Bush was pro-life despite his support for ESCR (bragging about it!). Always turn a blind eye to GOP presidents and what they do to promote a culture of death, always ignore context, and wham you can make a political hack attack!

    Grow up, study history.

  15. I don’t think Gerson is a hack and a liar. At the same time, I don’t believe the Obama administration is anti-Catholic in a wholesale way or in its motivation (though it may be militantly “pro-choice”). … I do think it’s wrong to deny funding to that anti-human trafficking program, assuming it’s effective–though I’d like to know more about how the program operates and whether it is plausible to consider it seriously impaired by its refusal to make referrals for contraception and abortion….I certainly believe Catholic agencies/facilities in general should be allowed to follow rules of conscience in relation to abortion and contraception. At the same time, I think it’s unfortunate that the church ever outlawed contraception in the first place, and that in this respect it can get lumped together with abortion.

  16. Oh, btw, thank you for proving the GOP idolatry — questioning people’s Catholicism if they see things differently from a GOP rhetoric (filled with half-truths, ignorance, conspiracy theories, etc). Sorry, you prove my point.

  17. Did he write speeches about Iraq, trying to create justification for an unjust war based upon lies (WMDS, fear of nukes, etc)? Yes. I will call him a liar — one who engages outrageous lies for warmongering.

    And when he is engaging this “they are anti-Catholic” meme, yes, this is political hackery. Plain and simple. Especially since it is based upon false premises.

  18. Here is what the canon says:

    Can. 1398 A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

    Comments: (a) A person can excommunicate him- or herself by “actually procuring” an abortion; it does not require action by any ecclesiastic tribunal or hierarch. (b) However, can we legitimately say that by carrying out the law of the United States that the Catholic secretary of HHS has “actually procured” an abortion and so has “done it to herself”? Looks like someone arguing that 1 + 1 = 12.

  19. I’ve been watching Henry Karlson’s tactics here for some time now. His opening gambit is the ad hominem, followed by a pugnacious and pugilistic posture with all who would disagree. It’s crossed into troll behavior and is making the Deacon’s Bench an inhospitable place to gather.

  20. Gerard

    Oh, really? It’s funny; I see the ad hom. consistently engaged by people speaking against Obama. “The most pro-abortion” “the most anti-Catholic” president. That’s ad hom. That is typical of a certain GOP-leaning contingent.

    I love how it is trolling when I, as a Catholic, don’t embrace the political rhetoric of the Republicath.

  21. I mean you are the one who has called Catholic Social Justice programs “communist” or “collectivist,” but hey, I am the troll who engages ad hom? Really?

  22. Klare
    What is the basis of what yo list as facts? I am pretty sure that
    This is a little known, not reported in the MSM aka’s Obama shills, that last year, Obama used US funds to sway elections in Kenya allowing for the first time, abortions in Kenya; impeachable offense by the way, but who’s looking? If this is little known how do you know it?
    Most to all of Obama appointees staunchy pro-choice, including a known pedophile running Educatioin. Accusing a person of being a pedophile is serious – why have you not contacted the police to have him investigated?
    As far as your first statement – he didn’t vote for it he voted present which is a big difference.
    These seem to be the at best ridiculous and at most lies.
    I am not an Obama fan, but we don’t have to resort to untruths or non-factual accusations. If this how you define your faith, please reread the commandments.

  23. RP…

    Some argue that supporting the right to abortion supports an act that is intrinsically and always evil, and thus constitutes an act of heresy — which in itself automatically incurs excommunication.

    You can read one variation on that argument at this link.

    Dcn. G.

  24. I think Deacon Greg is correct. A person need not have an abortion herself to participate in the crime of abortion and incur automatic excommunication. Commentaries to canon law make this very clear:

    “Obtaining an Abortion

    Any Catholic who deliberately and knowingly obtains a procured abortion commits a mortal sin and is also automatically excommunicated, under canon 1398.

    Under the laws of secular society, if one person commits a crime, then anyone who deliberately and knowingly provides essential or substantial means for that person to commit that crime is called an accessory to that crime and is also subject to the penalties of law. Similarly, any Catholic who deliberately and knowingly provides essential or substantial means for any woman to procure an abortion also commits a mortal sin and also incurs the same sentence of excommunication.

    Any Catholic who substantially assists another in the deliberate sin of abortion is also guilty of serious sin and also incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

  25. Sebelius is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame and power on earth. Vendetta? What a drama queen. The scales will fall from her eyes soon enough and what she sees may not be pretty.

  26. Ladies and gentlemen …

    Before this goes off the rails, please take a deep breath. Stay on point. Stick to facts. Avoid attacks and slurs. Please. Discuss the matter at hand respectfully. If you don’t, I’ll shut down comments. Thank you.

    Dcn. G.

  27. That argument looks like 1 + 1 = 4, not as far fetched but if taken to its logical extreme would prevent Catholics from serving in any leadership role in HHS, to enforce current US law.

  28. Deacon Greg,

    In the Code of Canon Law, the law is silent on legislators who vote for abortion funding, and one of the commentaries goes so far as to suggest (rightly, I think) that abortion legislation is usually tied to other appropriations, making a veto gravely harmful to others in unrelated matters. In such a case, the otherwise pro-life legislator is left with weighing the difference between two evils.

    Is this fairly accurate from what you know?

    It seems that the Church could probably do a better job at clarifying when a legislator or governmental administrator becomes a formal cooperator in abortion, and Sebilius would be a really good case study.

  29. Gerard …

    My knowledge of Canon Law is fairly limited, but what you describe is in line with what I know. A Canon Law expert would have to weigh in to clarify. (Paging Ed Peters..?)

    Dcn. G.

  30. Henry maybe it’s time you study a little history. For starters, here’s the evidence for the change of the Kenya Constitution, to open the way for legalized abortions, funded with 23 million ILLEGAL dollars of American tax payers’ money.


    Next you might want to wonder down ESC research lane and first take note of the Execuative Order Bush wrote to make ESC research illegal with tax payer money (private institustions like Harvard and the state of CA, and all other private investors, were not affected by this EO). Obama REVERSED the EO after taking office (easily found by a google search).

    Furthermore, it was because Bush pushed all of the taxpayer research into ADULT stem cell research, it resulted in not only many cures, but the ONLY cures do date in any stem cell research work (only disasters so far when embryonic cells are used). It also paved the way for the discovery of the “adult stem cell-like” cells. There is no questioin that Bush advanced cures and research in Adult Stem cells.

    For the record Henry, I’m not a Rebublican, nor do I march to any political talking points. I follow the teachings of Christ/the Catholic Church.

    What former GOP presidents did or did not do is not the discussion. We are talking about pro choice Obama and his anti-Catholicsim. If you want to have that discussion with other presidents, GOP or otherwise, you best start you own blog/thread on that topic.

    Continuning along with history, might want to study up on Obama’s Educational Czar Jennings and “fisting and queering”, all links can be found in this piece, also with much “not know history.”


  31. Some actions of the hierarchy with respect to her:

    “In early March 2009, Archbishop Raymond F. Burke prefect for the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court, declared that Sebelius should not approach the altar for Communion in the United States, and he noted that, “after pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin”[67] Sebelius vetoed pro-life legislation in Kansas in 2003, 2005, 2006, and again in 2008.”

    “Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Fred Naumann asked that Sebelius no longer receive Holy Communion because of her position on abortion. Naumann criticized Sebelius for vetoing HS SB 389.”

  32. Aside from his anti-religion stance, Mr. President has fallen miserably in the popularity polls. Is everyone wrong about him? I think not. Hope and change!

  33. “What former GOP presidents did or did not do is not the discussion.”

    If you are making comparative claims, yes, it is for discussion. Oh, and again, Bush BRAGGED about being the first president to FEDERALLY fund ESCR. He got the ball rolling. He bragged about it in the 2004 election year.

    And, you prove you fall for hoaxes: http://www.lifenews.com/2010/07/12/int-1590/ (the Kenya Constitution one, for example); again, the whole rhetoric of the anti-Obama crowd is ready to lie and misrepresent facts for political gain.

    Oh, and “American Thinker”? Really!?!

  34. “Anti-religion” stand? This is the man who said everything must be viewed in light of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (to the ire of Rush). Anti-religion?! Please.

  35. If Obama would sacrifice Catholic support for a measly 17 million grant to the Migration office he could be accused as being as dumb as his GOP opponents. He is not Cain or Perry.

  36. Be more specific–what grants have received increased funding? How is President Obama working closely with Catholics? How have Republicans been trying to control Churches? You make claims, but give nothing to back those claims up. I read the claims against Obama and read “specific behaviors and polices” that back up the claim. Where is your data?

  37. And in an Obama second term – God forbid – I predict he will change his position on gay marriage and support it. Mark my words. He’s already “moving” on the issue. When he doesn’t have to face the voters again you bet he’s going to shove every left wing social agenda item down our throats.

  38. I personally don’t think these types of articles are helpful. The responses are very predictable. Conservatives and Republicans will attack and demonize Obama. Liberals and Democrats will defend and support Obama. Nothing is accomplished and divisive language rules the day and weakens our Church. Neither party is more or less pro-Catholic than the other. If you look at abortion and same sex marriage, many would say the Republicans are more Catholic. If you look at the issues of immigration and poverty, many would say the Democrats are more Catholic. (I’m sure the last two sentences will further provoke many Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals) I really think we should leave personalities out of it, as well as who is more “pro-Catholic” or who is “turning their backs on Catholics.”

  39. 54% of Catholics voted Barack Hussein Obama ? OK , the horse got out of the barn. There is plenty of time until the next election to re-energize and see to it that this POTUS does not get re-elected.

  40. Oh is that what Rev Wright taught him to say? I guess sitting in that church for 20 years made him pro-religion. Please.

  41. Oh Henry, where has the GOP done anything to stop anyone in any way from supporting immigration? You aren’t refering to illegal immigration are you? Seems like we have just seen Penn State get hit pretty hard for not doing more to bring illegal activity to the attention of authorities. And is the position of the Democratic Party that illegal immigration is supported by them and not to be stopped in any way? Is the party pro open borders?

    Lets stop illegal immigration and then evaluate the needs of the country for immigration changes keeping in mind a need for time to allow assimlation into our country by the immigrants who arrive. And yes, in this evaluation, there should be open discussion on how best to help poor countries so that their citizens can live where they are and thrive. That is the best answer for the poor and for America. Henry, are you for open borders and no laws regarding immigration? Please use the phrase illegal or legal immigration so we can understand your posts more clearly.

  42. Henry, the major difference is that Michael Voris is a private citizen and Catholic, not in the federal government. He has a right and obligation as a Catholic to stop those things going on in the Catholic Church which are against Church teaching. When an arm of the USCCB is caught supporting organizations that support abortion and birth control, pointing this out so that Catholics are aware of this hypocrisy is something all Catholics should be doing. How can an organization that uses the USCCB to support organizations in direct violation of non negotiable teaching in the Catholic Church not be an issue that should be identified and stopped. Thus, it is far from what you classify as an attack on Catholics or their freedom. Silencing Voris would be an attack on religious freedom and on Catholic teaching and our ability to watch what some around the bishops are doing. God forbid we do not watch what the leadership of our church is doing after the recent past history of some covering up perversion.

  43. friscoeddie, Obama is arrogant and believes he has many catholics in his hip pocket. Lets face it, many are hanging in there even when the entire attack on Church teaching and the Catholic Church is well laid out for them. The 17 million is only part of a massive overall attack. Remember, he hates those who take their religion seriously and cling to their faith.

  44. Rick, you have to understand Henry throws out these statements and never backs them up with facts. At the same time, he complains about saying things not based on facts.

    Kind of like throwing out that Nixon was the most pro abortion president and then linking to a massivley hateful Anti Catholic site that made the claim.

  45. Please show the information showing GOP trying to arrest people for feeding immigrants. Of course there is none, only left wing rhetoric. If you mean trying to stop support programs for people who have broken the laws of America, I thought all politicians took a vow to protect and defend our laws. Even there, your rhetoric on GOP wanting to have Catholics arrested for feeding “illegal” immigrants needs to be detailed even when it is against the law as aiding and abetting crime.

    Henry, how about just once doing what you call others to do “people will begin engaging confirmation bias after, never once proving their assertion.” Prove what you are posting on this blog over and over as lies about the GOP.

  46. To think that Obama is making 17 million dollar decisions in the oval office is to think he is also shopping for low gas prices in DC gas stat ons.
    Please don’t base your augments on absurdities .

  47. So the Catholic Church has no religious freedom of its own to denounce the errors of Voris and people like him? And the idea that he is a “private” individual makes it so he can lie and distort Catholic teaching? Really? Wow, Arius should have just stayed a layman!

    No, once again, it is the double-standard which I am calling out. More importantly, the fact you have all kinds of people promoting outright rebellion within the Church should be a far greater concern. Jesus, again, said get the plank out of your own eye first. Again and again, all the excuses shows political expediency (among other things).

  48. Rick, again, Henry has nothing factual to report. His constant refrain that Bush funded ESCR is of course taking a small truth without the entire story. Bush funded a very small part of this attack on life for which the entire left wing and Democratic Party attacked him for not opening the gates to massive funding and no limits on the killing of embryo’s. Bush tried to come up with a Solomon solution of cutting the living embryo issue in two and made both sides angry. It also gave outright liars and those who would distort truth like Henry this lie to continue to spout without edit. Henry, would you like to spout the position of the Catholic Church against all ESCR research and also to spout off the Democratic Party of death and abortion position that there should be zero restrictions on the killing or the funding? And how about being honest for once and stating that this is also the position of the Obama administration and that it was one of the first things he did in opening up more killing of these babies.

  49. Carl

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say I don’t offer evidence and then say I offer evidence from anti-Catholic sites. Oh, and btw, just because the site is anti-Catholic does not mean it is wrong in what it says about Nixon (to do so it to actually provide a real instance of ad hom!).

    I have provided evidence. I pointed to examples. I don’t exhaustively do so, because I know if people wanted to do so, they could examine it further. But for people whose goal is political and confuses political rhetoric for religion, no matter what is offered, some excuse will be given (look up confirmation bias).

  50. Henry, please explain how everyone including Colin Powell and all the major democrats including those on the intellegence communities were all seeing the same info on Iraq and saying the same things as W. Bush were not also all liars? Remember that Clinton and Gore were calling for regime change in Iraq based on WMD long before Bush took office based on intellegence. Please show where you can prove that Bush knew all the intellegence was a lie and then lied? Talk about liberal left wing talking points.

  51. Everyone wasn’t seeing it; Powell didn’t see it, just went with what he was given; heck when he was giving his speech, I knew it was wrong and using information, at the time, which had been proven false. And Clinton and Gore were also wrong, so? This isn’t a “liberal, left wing” talking point; this is a CATHOLIC talking point. Bush’s team was told many by the Vatican it was wrong, and they ignored the Vatican — heck, they tried to teach the Vatican moral theology (LOL!). The fact is, you are reading things in a very American political position, not as a Catholic. You prove my point.

  52. I can’t wait for all the GOP Catholics here to jump on the newbie Catholic Newt bandwagon. The Church gave him two annulments but denied Henry the 8Th one. And we Irish paid the price for 400 years.

  53. So it turns out that Obama’s definition of a “sensible conscience clause” differs significantly from that of most (perhaps all) Catholic Bishops. That a politician (of either party) would “stretch” the definition of common words should not be surprising. The most succinct statement I have heard concerning this so-called “sensible conscience clause” is that it effectively requires Catholic hospitals and medical personnel to require that their patients show that they are Catholic before they are allowed to be treated, or the Catholic medical personnel lose their conscience exemption. As a Catholic, I don’t see that as sensible.

    The only reason Obama got that 54% of the Catholic vote is because vast numbers of Catholics are ignorant of their own Church’s teachings to a breathtaking degree. In particular, “the Church” has issued layers upon layers of statements that can at times be found to be contradictory – because of the various sources these statements come from. A statement from “the Vatican” may not necessarily be a statement the Pope has even read, much less agrees with. This is certainly true with some Catholic theologians not agreeing with Papal teaching. And it is also certainly true with the actions of a famous institution such as Notre Dame that claims to be Catholic and at the same time still operates under the principles outlined in the 1968 Land O Lakes declaration, by which it declares itself to be independent of the Church’s teaching magisterium! If you love the Mass, the sacraments and all the rest (every defense of Notre Dame’s Catholic character I have heard claims they practice all these things on campus in abundance and I agree, they do) – BUT, you don’t accept the final authority of the Pope over what you teach as faith and morals – in my mind that is Anglicanism, not Catholicism.

    What schools teach instead of genuine Catholicism has consequences. This time it is Obama the Democrat, but it could just as easily be a secular Republican chosen by ill-educated Catholics.

  54. And do you know for a fact that Newt did not warrant getting these annulments? I doubt you do as the grounds are confidential.
    I also doubt he would have established his own Church had he not been granted the annulments.

  55. Carl: I have just read your comment made a while ago but there is no reply button for me to respond to it.

    You wrote: “Obama is arrogant and believes he has many catholics in his hip pocket… . Remember, he hates those who take their religion seriously and cling to their faith.”

    How audacious of you to state such opinions as assertions of facts!

  56. Romcatholic:
    I wouldn’t have clue what Newt would have done if he had not had his marriages annulled. Why? Because from what I have observed about him over the years, he does “his own thing.”

  57. Rom Cath; I and many others do not want to know any of the sordid grounds for his annulments. and we are all happy they are confidntial

  58. I so don’t get the “Newt thing.” Why as Catholics/Christians, isn’t “repent and forgivness enough?” To the extend we extend mercy, will be the extent God gives it to us.

    Who among us wasn’t/isn’t a sinner? It isn’t “what we were” that matters in the eyes of God, it’s “who we are now.”

    As for Newt, I accept God’s mercy. To any who can’t, isn’t that worse than the “sins of Newt?” What a horrid standard to be held to (never mind that Christ died for our sins).

    As for Henry VIII, people knew the faith well at that time; suspect he didn’t have grounds for the annulment unlike today when most are so clueless as to what a Catholic Marriage really is, pretty much any of the uncatechized can justify an annulment. Also, back then the church was tied in with political rule, probably not too easy to undo. That’s at least my best guess on Henry VIII, in addition to the potential public scandal which would have been huge at that time.

  59. Nor do you have a right to know anymore than anyone has the right to judge whether or not he should have gotten them. It has no bearing on whether or not he could be a good president. A few presidents ago we had quite a scandal but people still fawn over him don’t they?

  60. Well said. It is a de facto form of Protestantism and has been for 40 years. You can’t even find a theology department in some Catholic institutions of higher learning.

  61. My biggest problem with Newt is his outright hypocricy on the issue of marriage fidelity. He was having an affair at the same time that he was voting to impeach Clinton for having an affair and lying about it. If you are trustworthy in small matters you can be trustworthy in larger matters. Untrustworthy in small matters, untrustworthy in larger matters. It isn’t about judging and forgiving, but about his character. He can seek forgiveness and it should be given, but does that mean that we have to forget what he did and pretend that it didn’t happen? He needs to re-establish his credibility, not just hope that we have forgotten about his poor behavior.

  62. Friscoeddie Henry VIII had no grounds for an annulment because his issue was lack of a male heir (which is his fault not his wife’s biologically speaking). Events after the marriage are not grounds for an annulment unless they relate to issues that would prevent true consent being given. Lack of a male heir is not grounds for an annulment, but lack of children might be if it could be proven that the spouse was infertile before the vows were wexchanged, knew about it and delibrately hid it from their spouse. That Newt got 2 isn’t an issue since a second marriage after a first one without an annulment would be automatic since the person was not free to enter into the second marriage so it would be invalid for that reason.

  63. Okay, so Newt is in the mix about Obama supposedly being the most anti-Catholic president ever. Newt would like us to believe that he is the most pro-Catholic politician out there. He loves this church nowadays. And no, of course his professions on that point cannot possibly be related to the fact that he is running for president and has real vulnerability in terms of a history of serial infidelity. (Could be he is sincere about his newfound faith. I’m not willing to rule it out. Just a bit skeptical, that’s all.)

    But would Newt govern in a pro-Catholic vein? Or would he ignore most Catholic social teaching of the last seventy or hundred years and favor more tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent at a cost to programs for the poor and other vulnerable groups? Would he be more interested in playing hardball, partisan politics, even at the cost of doing things that would undermine human development (e.g., meaningful funding for education; nutrition programs for schoolchildren from poor families; equitable access to health care for all)? Being “pro-Catholic” has to mean more than fawning all over the Catholic church. Where’s the action that shows that Newt gets that fact that Jesus cared about how the poor are treated? It is possible for a politician to seek the Catholic vote but ignore core teachings of the faith. And I’m not talking about Obama here.

    Republican does not equal pro-Catholic. It just is not that simple. Fox News is not the fifth evangelist.

  64. Carl, your links above at 11:17 again show nothing that supports your position that the GOP is trying to pass laws outlawing people from feeding immigrants. What is shows is a law passed in Alabama to try to deal with “illegal” immigration impact in their state. The second is a link to a post by Deacon Greg on Obama administration against Catholics.

    Now you have this post saying you saw when Powell was giving his speech at the UN the you “knew it was wrong.” You are smarter than Colin Powell who didn’t see it despite the fact that he spent multiple days with staff at the CIA headquarters and with military intelligence looking over all the information and you have never seen any of it. Henry, your arrogance is amazing. You claim everyone else who agreed which was the vast majority in both parties even long before W. Bush was in office and after and supported Bush on Iraq and WMD were all liars as well? Can you actually be claiming this…is this a far left and far right wing joint conspiricy that only Henry Karlson knew to be all lies and fabrications? You are quickly making yourself a joke here.

  65. Henry, no, it is when you post accusations without benefit of any links showing any proof to back your wild statements and when you are confronted and continue to come up with idiotic defenses that make arguments against your own position that makes you a troll.

  66. Kevin, you and Deacon Greg have it correct in the area of excommunication. That is what has driven the argument about the USCCB document that calls for a need to have a proportionate reason to vote to support those who keep abortion legal and funded such a topic. I have often asked those who vote to support pro abortion candidates for what a proportionate reason could be to 4,000 babies being killed each and every day for decades up to a total of 54 million babies and have yet for anyone to post a response. Most try to use social justice issues but helping the poor does not quite add up to proportionate. Hard to help a dead child with funding. Also, the argument on what to do for the poor can be handled in different ways and many argue that putting huge federal programs together which always show massive failure by any measure is not that answer, but even if it could be made more effective, would not be a proportionate reason and frankly would have the support of both parties if it were effective.

  67. Henry, that is not what you are trying to say.

    Deacon Mike makes a case for a less harsh discussion and we could all hope for that. However, I have asked elsewhere how this is really possible when we are talking about such a wide gap between some very important issues. The Church tried to help with the USCCB voting information document. I think they tried hard to make the document give equal weight to every committee within the USCCB. One thing they did make clear is that abortion is a very important issue since it involves the destruction of life. To support an abortion candidate, one needed to find a “proportionate reason” and this was in line with a message from Pope Benedict which stated non negotiable postions.

    “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

    – protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    – recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role.”

    Now some post that the other side is equal in that it supports as Deacon Mike says ” immigration and poverty” better. However, I think one can make an argument that both parties support immigration and both parties in their platform and postions do not come out for open borders or support illegal immigration. I have yet to see a Democrat come out to say that we should throw open the borders and let everyone in and make everyone a citizen. Few seem to remember that a Republican, Ronald Reagan, went to bat for a one time amensty type of program to work with the Democrats and those in his party that supported it based on the agreement that the federal government would then seal the border to prevent the mess from happening all over again with those here illegally running rampant. The border was never sealed. Catholic teaching says countries have the right to protect their borders. In fact, the Vatican has some very strong immigration policies in place. Mexico does as well with much strong anti immigration policies than the USA. Try living and working illegally in the Vatican or Mexico and applying for benefits or tapping into their social services programs.
    On poverty, one can argue that what the Democrats have done for poverty is utilize trillions of dollars building massive government agencies and programs and those in poverty are worse off as a result. Almost every measure of family and work has been harmed by these programs. Because the Republican Party has other solutions to truly help those in need, it does not mean the Democratic approach is more Catholic. That is a huge difference. On one side differences which both fall into any area where Catholics can disagree and on the other with abortion an area that is non negotiable according to the Pope and the USCCB. Major difference.

  68. No, you did not provide proof. If I gave as a link to prove that there is no racism in American history at any time and used as my proof statement a site from the KKK it would not be taken as proof. You gave a link which was not only anti Catholic, but had articles linked on its front page claiming the Pope and Catholic leadership was in a long term plot to overthrow our freedom in America other such idiocy. I do not want to go back another time to find the link you gave but it was so idiotic that anything at that site would be suspect.

    I had asked Deacon Greg to take a look at what you were listing as proof to see if it should not be edited from his blog it was so bad.

    Frankly Henry, I am not going to respond to you anymore as I think you have some nut loose up above and cannot seem to follow reason.

  69. Deacon Steve, on Newt, I think it is fair for people to judge their support based on marriage fidelity if they so choose. Nothing wrong with that. If we automatically eliminate all those who have cheated or lied, we limit the field quite a bit especially in the political world. JFK would never have made the grade. Since the Catholic Church gave Newt annulments, one could argue he never did cheat as there was never a marriage to cheat on. He could have had sex outside the marriage, but he was we can assume forgiven for that in the Catholic Church reconcilliation. One thing is certain, we know everything there is to know about Newt as he has been vetted as the major focus of the democratic party for about a decade even to the point that there were rewards posted for any information on republicans by the likes of the porn industry. Clinton was impeached when he lied under oath and you have to remember it all started with accusations not of simple sexual harrassment, but of rape by multiple women. Clinton knew that he was lying under oath while in office to defend our laws and the constitution. He did so not to protect the country, but his own hide. Also, he was the most powerful person in the USA having sex with one of the lowest positions in government, an intern half his age. It was reported that the sex was going on while he was talking to the military about sending troops into combat and it was during a time when the government was shut down and people were out of work as a result. In my view as someone who gave sexual harrassment lectures to many businesses, one of the most gross of sexual harassment violations possible based on power even if there was consent. see the Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson case where it created the situation from the Jones rape accuastion that led to questions about patterns and Lewinski and the lie. Thus, it was harassment law supported by the liberals trying to get Clarence Thomas that put Clinton in a position to lie under oath and obstruct justice, the crimes for which he was impeached.

  70. HMS, the words of Obama campaigning was a complaint that many in this country cling to their religion and their guns. He was certainly not kind to those who take their faith seriously. So it was not my opinion, but hearing his own words.

    “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    Notice he tied both the Clinton and Bush administrations as doing nothing for these people and thus they were left to their religion..guns, etc.

    So with him in office for three years plus..what do they have now to cling to. He simply does not understand or apparently like those who cling to the actual teaching of their religion which is what this topic is all about. Many of these towns were former strong union towns who priced themselves out of business and Obama is certainly clinging to these same unions only now they are with public sector workers pricing them out of jobs or driving states and cities bankrupt.

  71. Steve, hate to break it to you, but Catholic teaching of the last seventy or hundred years does not call for more tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent to build massive central government programs for the poor and other vulnerable groups. Jesus never called for taxes on the rich so that Rome or the Jewish leaders could set up centralized programs to select who gets government support and who does not. Neither has the Catholic Church in any form of magesterial teaching. One can easily evaluate the impact of LBJ and democrats ever after war on poverty by the money it has spent, the committment in terms of the total budget, its impact on the poor families, and the fraud, waste and abuse and see that this has not been a shining moment for anyone to stand behind. Why can’t we look at new ways to help the poor and have a discussion about how best to deal with poverty. Catholic teaching says we should help the poor. One of the most effective programs to help the poor during my lifetime was one started by Will Rogers who had massive fund raisers all over the country during the depression and getting the rich to provide matching or better funds to everything raised. Another is to fix the urban school system by providing vouchers to promote better school choices in these neighborhoods or to have targetted investment areas in urban neighborhoods. all of these do not involve massive government involvement or control and all have been proposed by the republicans along with many other things and been blocked by the Democratic Party more interested in growing government and control than in ending poverty. More taxes, more regulations, more control, and more government has not proven to be a great thing over the last 50 years. Time to move on and try new things. Newt will come in with those new ideas and everyone will beneift in my opionion.

  72. At the risk of being accused over-simplification,

    Has it occurred to anyone else that the Administration of the President of the __United States__ is possibly….just possibly….. trying to make decisions to best suit the majority of American people? That the focus of the administration is not on Catholics (what? who? where?) but on trying to improve the lives of everyone?

    of course not, who am I kidding? Why do I come back here? *sigh*

  73. Carl, despite what much of the GOP would have you believe, Jesus never encouraged the wealthy to hoard their wealth and ignore the poor. Christ preached constantly on what we — society — owes to the poorest among us.

    Jesus was not a politician and did not have a twelve point plan for eliminating poverty, true enough. But He did tell his followers to render to God what is God’s and render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s. Pretty easy to see that Jesus wasn’t going to let the Pharisees use him to justify tax evasion. Yet that’s what today’s GOP so often stands for: tax breaks for the wealthiest; huge loopholes for big corporations (otherwise known as corporate welfare), combined with willful indifference to the poor. The safety net is a very Christian idea. Simply asking the poor to beg for the generosity of the rich (hoping the rich come through) is not real social justice.

    A decent public school should not be seen as unreasonable expectation, even if the GOP would prefer to invest in elective wars and fund groups such as Black Water, Haliburton, and other war profiteers (no — not ancient history: all within the last decade, during the most recent Republican administration). Newt and friends seem inclined to turn public schools (some of which are very successful, some of which need much help) into another for-profit venture. (Check out the lengthy investigative piece that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran about a week ago on one of the biggest, nationally connected for-profit corporation that makes huge profits by creating schools that are really just real estate schemes. All supported by standard-issue Republican policy makers, including big thinkers such as Newt.)

    I would never claim that God is a Democrat. I just wish some in Newt’s camp weren’t so quick to buy his pro-Catholic label when in fact he seems to care much more about those who are the wealthiest than those who live in poverty. Hoarding that wealth, working feverishly to keep it out of the tax pool — well, that’s not congruent with anything resembling Christianity in my book.

  74. Yes, I pointed out the fallacy in your argument, and I’m the one who can’t follow reason.

    As for “proof,” again, it’s clear, anything anyone can give will not be seen as “proof” to you; all one can give is evidence. This is also an issue of reason. But of course, I don’t think you understand this point either.

  75. Carl

    Oh, you know what I am trying to say more than I am? Seriously? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!!?

    Carl, you just proved what you are with this comment.

  76. I would never vote for any pro-choice Democrat, especially Obama. But Obama has an excuse. He does not know any better. Bishop Hubbard of Albany and Father Jenkins of Notre Dame know better. I save and spew my wrath on them.

    It would break my heart to have to vote for two-annulment Newt against Obama, but vote for him I would–and then I’d go home and put on a hairshirt and vomit.

  77. “Carl, despite what much of the GOP would have you believe, Jesus never encouraged the wealthy to hoard their wealth and ignore the poor. Christ preached constantly on what we — society — owes to the poorest among us.”

    That’s right. Christ advocated charitably helping the poor. Nowhere does he advocate forcibly taking money from one to give to another. Charity is the free giving from one’s heart, not an IRS agent coming to somebody’s door and with the threat of jail handing money over. That’s an act of power enforced over people. That’s not what Christ advocated.

  78. Manny, for the record, you are still free to give to charity after you have paid the taxes that you rightfully owe as a citizen of this country. No one I know says that private citizens should not be allowed or encouraged to donate to charity. Go and do it. (For all I know, you already ARE doing that. Good deal.)

    But this is a false either/or that’s thrown at us frequently by the GOP, including Newt: Either we give a relatively low tax rate to the wealthiest Americans (and corporations) and tax the middle class at a disproportionately high rate AND couple that tax inequity to drastic cuts for human services/education, OR we are usurping the role of Christian charity in our society. That’s a non sequitur. If you are extremely wealthy (like the Koch Brothers, like Warren Buffet, like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, like the CEOS who received huge bonuses last year), you should be expected to pay a good percentage of your income (especially unearned, dividend and interest-derived income) in income tax. You benefit, after all, from living in a relatively stable, secure society, a place where people don’t kidnap you off the street every thirty days; your corporation benefits from that stability and relatively high level of literacy, etc. That’s one of the benefits of having a safety net — kids in the U.S. don’t have to quit school at age eight in order to help support their families.

    It is not anti-Christian in the least to expect the wealthiest folks to pay their way and help support that stability through meaningful levels of funding for education, health care, etc. But yes — you ARE still free to donate to charities. By all means, do so. A fair tax system does not deprive you of that right. There’s still plenty of need out there. Donate, donate, donate. Responsible citizenship and Christian stewardship — they most certainly CAN go hand in hand.

  79. Steve, if one is to talk about the tax code in America and believe that the GOP are responsible for tax breaks for the wealthy and the Democrats never deal in tax breaks for the wealthy, one is being very naive. Guess which party has fought for the most tax breaks for their donars over the years? It is by far the Democrats. Guess which presidential candidate got more money from Wall Street in the last election? Guess which party ties to the unions, 8 of the thier top ten donars, got massive tax breaks and waivers from ObamaCare? Did you guess Democrats?

    There is an age old myth that because the GOP does not support massive growth of the federal government that they are not for the poor. Every evaluation that has been done on the impact of the massive money spent in the war on poverty has not come out on the positive side for the poor they claim they want to help. Dollar for dollar, we get virtually nothing for the massive amounts spent and in the process the once strong family structure of the poor has been fractured. On top of that, we have programs in place that some have classified as ponzi in nature because they are showing they cannot be sustained based on the simple numbers of how many are drawing out and how many are paying in.

    Frankly, it seems to be time to put aside these labels and to demand of the federal government a very good accounting of what they are doing with our money and what impact it is having on the people involved. We need to open up discussion on schools which the democratic party refuses to protect their teacher unions even as they send their kids to private schools. Every solution to every problem is not a federal government solution requiring growth of government and higher taxes or greater regulations. I wish those who support the Democratic Party would demand a solid accounting of every dollar spent and it impact. You want decent public schools, how about having a new look at the failing schools and demand new solutions. And on issues like Blackwater and Haliburton, those companies have done the jobs for both democratic and republican administrations and at times did so with no bid contracts from both parties because they were the only game in town. The reason these companies were used is because they could do it for a fraction of the cost of the government and do it better.

  80. The comment about Obama’s “education czar” is just inaccurate. Ken Jennings had a mid-level job in the Education Department rather than being “education czar”.

  81. Steve, I think it would be a great way to get the wealthy involved without raising taxes. Will Rogers did it during the Depression with huge results. He set up a huge number of national fund raising programs and also was able to get the wealthiest to match the donations raised in multiples of what was collected.

    We have had huge fund raisers after 9/11 and with New Orleans and also with Haiti and other areas. I think energizing the American people at large to give to get rid of the debt would be a worthwhile thing to do. Raising taxes during a bad economy is never good. Obama said this just last December when he signed the two year extension of the original Bush tax cuts of 2000. So this is Obama position on them in December of 2010. Nothing has improved and raising taxes is still a very bad idea.

    I just read an interesting study just being completed in the Cincinnati paper.


    Seems like when you look at all levels and disposable income overall, the poor, the middle class, and the rich have all done better over the last 30 years. I wold like to see some changes to help both the lower and middle class, but do not believe that raising taxes on the wealthiest will help them at all, and probably will make it worse. Careful what you wish for.

  82. “Carl”…

    Could you provide more information, please, on the Will Rogers fundraising program you describe? I’m curious about how much money he raised, when, and where it went.

    Thank you.

    Dcn. G.

  83. Carl-

    Maybe he was referring to the other pro-life issue, the Death penalty, which is as morally reprehensible in the Catholic tradition as an abortion. It’s great at that the GOP is against abortion (all though there are pro-abortion Republicans) but they have consistently supported lethal executions of inmates who are just as human as an unborn fetus.

    You cannot be pro-life if you believe in the death penalty. That is a fact

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