Pelosi and the “Lobbying” Bishops

I read this and couldn’t stop laughing. And I don’t know why I was laughing — I guess because it all seems so perfectly on schedule or something:

This lawyer apparently has a strong hate on against Catholics. And a touch of paranoia, I think.

In the sedate and sober world of bankruptcy law, one lawyer’s memorandum sticks out like a sore loser.

“Across the country the court systems and particularly the Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota, are composed of a bunch of ignoramus, bigoted Catholic beasts that carry the sword of the church,” the Nov. 25 filing said.

It went on to call one bankruptcy judge “a Catholic Knight Witch Hunter,” said one trustee was “a priest’s boy” and claimed another trustee is a “Jesuitess.”

It got worse from there. (H/T)

It’s sad, I guess. This lawyer or the client — or both — might be mentally ill; this kind of over-the-top, mouth-foaming hate doesn’t speak to sanity.

But there is so much, lately, that doesn’t speak to sanity.

Take Nancy Pelosi and her assessment that the USCCB, by asking that a “conscience clause” in legislation be an actual, real conscience clause and not a narrow bit of fakery under the name, is nothing but a bit political lobbying:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) on Thursday described America’s Roman Catholic bishops as “lobbyists in Washington, D.C.” in their efforts to persuade the Department of Health and Human Service to rescind a proposed regulation under the new health-care law that would force Catholics to act against the teachings of their church by compelling them to purchase health-care plans that cover sterilizations and all-FDA approved contraceptives, including abortifacients.

The proposed regulation, scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1, 2012, would require every health-insurance plan in the United States to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives (which include abortifacients) without charging any co-pay. The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics cannot be involved in them.

Noting that she is “a devout Catholic,” Pelosi said she sometimes disagrees with the Catholic bishops when they act as “lobbyists.”

“I don’t know if I agree with your characterization of what the HHS put forth,” Pelosi said, “but as a mother of five children in six years, as a devout Catholic, I have great respect for our bishops when they are my pastor. As lobbyists in Washington D.C., we have some areas of disagreement.

If anyone is mischaracterizing things, it is Mrs. Pelosi. What she dismisses here as mere “lobbying” by the USCCB is in fact an act of self-protection based on what are supposed to be constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms. There is a quiet battle being fought between this administration and the mainline churches and the outcome will have all kinds of repercussions down the road for all the faithful — not just the Catholics — and their fundamental, constitutionally-defined right to be who and what they are

Pelosi supports “the waiver that exists” which even other Democrats have admitted amounts to no waiver at all. As Sister Mary Ann Walsh and others have pointed out, the waiver is drawn so narrowly that even Jesus Christ and the early church could not meet its strictures. It is a “waiver” in name only

The regulation HHS has proposed includes a “religious exemption” that does not apply to individuals who, under Obamacare, will be mandated to buy health insurance. To qualify as a “religious employer” that will get an exemption an organization must meet all of four criteria: their purpose must be the “inculcation of religious values,” they must “primarily employ persons who share the same religious tenets,” they must “primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets,” and they must be organized under the specific section of the Internal Revenue Code used by churches per se.

As drawn, the exemption from the sterilization-and-contraception mandate would not apply to Catholic individuals, Catholic hospitals, Catholic universities and Catholic charitable organizations. Thus, Catholic individuals would be forced to purchase health insurance plans that pay for sterilizations, contraception and abortifacients, in violation of the the teachings of their church, and Catholic hospitals, universities and charitable organizations would be forced to choose between dropping health insurance for their employees or paying for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of the teachings of the church.

The church, then, is being put in the position whereby it must either ignore its own moral teachings and provide coverage it considered gravely evil or it must abandon its social teaching and provide no insurance at all.

And as some have noted, it’s Catholics like Kathleen Sebilius and Nancy Pelosi who want to force that choice.

I know some are suggesting there is a “third way” — a solution whereby the church simply drops the insurance and gives the employee a raise to allow them to purchase insurance on their own.

But of course, to do that would mean the bishops were acquiescing to the lie that the “conscience clause” as written is something fair and honest, and should stand as a meaningful precedent. If the bishops were to do that, they would be allowing the government to redefine what a conscience clause actually is, and further devolve the rights of religious people in this country.

They can’t do that. This is a lot bigger than simply trying to find “a way around” an unjust, poorly-written and ultimately right-suppressing bit of legislative language.

The original article notes the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, sayings Obama has not yet decided on this issue, but that he’s hearing from people “concerned” that he will broaden the conscience clause and give true exception to the churches — and apparently hearing from those people matters.

So, I guess that means the faithful need to call the White House and respectfully request that the president allow the churches to be what they are, in this land of the free and home of the brave, where rights are still supposed to matter.

Of course, in Mrs. Pelosi’s world, this will mean we are all lobbyists, now. But silly me…I thought that’s partly what Democracy was all about.

You can call the White House at 202-456-1414

Food for Thought: A Man for All Seasons is one of my favorite films. Here Joseph Susanka watches it and realizes that, his instincts run more to the wussy and placating. And he suspects that’s not a good thing! I think many of us can identify!

But sometimes, you have to just gird the loins, and fight. Belmont Abbey college says it will close its doors if it must.

Meanwhile, Thomas Peters attended yesterday’s not-much-reported-on hearing exploring whether the Obama administration is discriminating against Catholics.

And read George Weigel on Catholics and Freedom

Archbishop Dolan meets with President

New Bishops will have to be Apologists and Politicians

Natural Law is Catholic

Rick at Brutally Honest

Via Rocco Palmo on Twitter

A bitter pill, indeed

Spelling counts

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    A “Jesuitess?” I certainly haven’t heard that one, before!

    (Would Jesuit Tess make a good internet nic?)

    Our local paper recently had a feel-good article about how various churchs in our area were working with the city government to clean up slum areas and help poor people, and how this showed how we can all work together. I can’t help but wonder what will happen if, and when, somebody notices that these churches are anti-abortion, anti-same sex marriage, and are getting some money from the government to help in these projects.

    It’s not going to be feel good, then.

  • kevin

    Her devoutness inspires me. She is so devout. She strikes me as someone who probably says 15 decades a day and also says 5 or so litanies, in between her congressional duties. It is so devout to call the bishops “lobbyists”. That was when I knew how truly devout she was.

  • Beethovenqueen

    Is the general group “Christians” as nasty as well? *snark off*

    Peeps on Earth: Goodwill to men!

  • Todd


    After a few years, it moves from laughably entertaining to boring. Seriously: why would we expect a post on Pelosi/bishops/Democrats to be any different from yesterday’s/last week’s/last month’s/ last year’s?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yeah, I know, Todd; because it’s wrong to pay too much attention to what Pelosi/biships/Democrats are doing! Why can’t we just go with the flow, and stop criticizing them?

    (And, if you find such boring, you’re not being forced to read them.)

    (Beethovenqueen—And your point is. . . ?)

  • Rocco

    First, I’d like to say I love your blog and find myself drawn to it more and more everyday. Thank You. And as a recent revert after a 40 plus year absence, I have a lot to learn and re-learn.

    Why aren’t these pro abortion Catholic politicians excommunicated? Shouldn’t the Bishops try to bring these politicians back to the path of righteousness and save their souls, as well as the souls of all the unborn? I don’t want to believe it’s about money but I really can’t think of another reason.

  • Todd

    RS, actually, when I see liberals criticize the former speaker or conservatives the bishops, that’s when I pay attention.

  • Logan

    Yawn. Another self-satisfied post from Todd. Seriously, why would we expect anything else from Todd other than warning us not to get our conservative diapers in a bunch?

    Danger is always on the Right! Don’t look Left!

  • tonynoboloney

    Wouldn’t Muslims have a problem with the healthcare mandate too ? Perhaps when their imams begin to “lobby” this problem will get some main stream attention.

  • Passerby

    my wife has worked for a long time at a hospital that was bought by the Catholic Church a couple of years back. It’s now part of the Mercy Health organization.

    The Head Nun in Charge in her opening remarks after the Cardinal came out and gave the blessing did the “We’re the Sisters of Mercy … ” speech. The point of which was “… and we take this Jesus stuff seriously.’

    My hunch is that there are going to be some *very* surprised left/libs when the Catholic Church gets out of the hospital business entirely if they’re forced by law to provide abortions.

    … and I can guaran-damn-tee you that there’s not anyone in favor of the abortion-on-demand position that can manage those hospitals that treat 1/6th of US patients.

  • Mark

    Logan, you got that right. Wonder how long the USCCB is going to stand by and allow this katholic to continue to urinate on everything the Catholic Church teaches. It is time to pull the switch on the witch.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, Logan, that is a very good question.

    An aunt of mine, who was very devout, and very much against abortion, was excommunicated because she married a man who’d divorced his first wife, long before he met my aunt. My aunt was, of course, not a celebrity, or particularly wealthy, being an office worker in a business firm.

    The bishops should take a stand on this, and try to bring such politicians back to the right path.

  • dry valleys

    Rocco etc, you think Nancy Pelosi should be excommunicated, but don’t have a word to say about Robert Mugabe, who appears at events like JPII’s beatifiation as if he were some kind of devout Catholic and respected statesman? Bizarre set of priorities.

  • jcd

    At 3:20 in this interview, Bishop Lori speaks about Nancy Pelosi and the “conscience thing” and points out that the REAL issue is The Bill of Rights and religious freedom:–were-facing-immediate-and-palpable-threats-to-religious-freedom-because-of-obama-administration/

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Myself, I’d be perfectly happy with seeing Robert Mugabe excomunicated, and vilified, too.

    But this sort of thing really proves nothing. One could say that the Left “Don’t have a word to say” about tyrants like Castro, or the mullahs of Iran; that they idealize thugs like Che Guevara, and Palestinian terrorists and ignore victims they don’t see as being politically correct, such as abused Moslem women, and Middle-Eastern Christians, Israeli civilians killed in terrorist attacks—but, as I said, that really proves nothing. It’s really just a ploy to distract attention from the subject at hand—in thise case, it’s Nancy Pelosi, and efforts to undermine the Bill of Rights and religious freedom (which, as jcd points out, is the real issue here.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, of course, if religious freedom is endangered, it’s going to be bad news for everybody, not just Catholics.

  • Todd

    RS, actually if you said it, you might be wrong. Castro was a tyrant, but I think he’s a feeble old man now. It doesn’t seem to do a lot of good opposing these guys militarily. 1950-53: and North Korea is still a hole. Bay of Pigs and ’62 showdown, and Cuba is still a hole. Vietnam: ditto. Only old people who either supported Che or vilified him knows who he was–and that tells you something.

    I don’t think there is anything at all with undermining the Bill of Rights and freedoms going on today that didn’t start in 2001. Republicans wringing hands and moaning, “We have to be safe” isn’t a lot different from Dem’s wringing hands and moaning “We have to be fair.”

    On the ground, Robert Finn is more of a danger to the faith from within Catholicism than Rep. Pelosi. How many Catholics do you know who left the Church because of the former Speaker? Then let’s have a show of hands on Cardinal Law.

  • friscoeddie

    LOL about the calls for Nancy Pelosi excommunication. When she spoke a eulogy to 2000 mourners at the funeral Mass of a San Franciscan icon priest, Peter Sammon, a Mass presided over by Cardinal Levada, the only ‘slap down’ but not even noticed, was she spoke from the Cantors mike not the Ambo. Excommunication for the Italian Catholic grandma should be removed from your Christmas list as it will not happen…Now lets talk about Newt…

  • Rocco

    dry valleys

    Mugabe wasn’t invited to the beatification as your post implies.

    “The Vatican did not personally invite Mugabe to the Sunday event, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press office.”

    These cables from the Papal Nuncio for South Africa, James Green, seem to imply the Pope is walking on eggshells with Mugabe and fear an outright condemnation might not be in the best interest for South Africans living in Zimbabwe.

  • dry valleys

    And another thing, about Pelosi being “personally” against abortion but supporting having it legally available. Let’s note that she herself has an exemplary family life, bearing five children (as far as I know, never even entertaining the thought of having one aborted) and remaining faithful to her husband throughout the years, which is more than can be said for a lot of people.

    A lot of us think the nuclear family is the best model for society. I don’t view gays as any kind of threat, they will only ever be a minority and ultimately it’s heterosexuals who will either sustain or destroy family life as we understand it. And referring to the first sentence I have written in this paragraph, it is ultra-ccompetitive neoliberal economics that has done most to undermine family life. As just one example, the lack of maternity/paternity leave in America as opposed to most European countries (Britain is in mid-Atlantic as usual, and comes off worse for it). In the end it is Thatcherism, Reagonomics or whatever name you want to give it that is the killer to the social values you support.

  • dry valleys

    “and ultimately it’s heterosexuals who will either sustain or destroy family life as we understand it”

    With divorce and with men abandoning their children, which happens far more than it did before the 1980s, and that’s not a coincidence.

  • Mr. Lynch

    Re: “lobbyists”
    It is truly pitiful to hear elected officials speak disdainfully of “lobbyists”. For what is lobbying, other than the concrete exercise our constitutional rights as Americans to “petition our government for the redress of grievances”?
    When the Sierra Club or NARAL approaches Mrs. Pelosi asking her to represent their point-of-view, does she put her nose in the air and call them mere “lobbyists”? I doubt it.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, the disdainful attitude towards “Lobbyists” is troubling; I guess we’re just suppsoed to shut up, and not question our “Betters?”

    And, no, I doubt Pelosi would have the same attitude towards the Sierra Club, or NARAL. She considers herself a Catholic, yet, apparently, is contemptuous of her chosen church.

    (We get it, Todd and Valleys, we get it; there’s no danger on the Left. /Sarc.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I’m not Catholic myself, so I can’t say who, if anybody, has left the church because of Pelosi.(And I have absolutely no idea who Robert Finn is, or why he’s supposedly a danger.)

    The problem seems to be that Pelosi herself has left the church, while still pretending she’s in it. And, up until now, a lot of people have been willing to pretend along with her. And she is someone with power and influence, who doesn’t seem to be too—-well, comfortable with her own church, or her church’s bishops, trying to uphold her own church’s beliefs, and stand up for freedom of conscience.

  • Todd

    RS, the thing about Church membership/association/baptism, is that moral perfection or moral close-to-perfection is one issue. Baptism and actual membership is another. To be out when you say you’re in means that the institution has to kick you out, and clearly, they haven’t done this in the case of Rep. Pelosi. They haven’t for Bishop Finn either.

    That said, there’s a separate issue about high profile believers giving scandal to the point of being a factor for others to lose faith.

    And that being said, giving scandal doesn’t equate with some believers being disapproved of by other believers. Personally, I wish Rep. Pelosi was more pro-life on the abortion issue. But she’s not my representative, so I don’t get to vote for her. She’s not a particularly articulate spokeswoman for the intersection of faith, theology, and thelay apostolate in the world. But then I don’t expect her to be.

    I recall a number of ideological issues of the past few years. FOCA turned out to be a phantom issue, but I’m sure it raised lots of money for the Republicans. Rep Bart Stupak was as pro-life as a Democrat seems to get these days, but his problem was that he wasn’t pro-life like the movement and he wasn’t sufficiently anti-insurance reform. Even if I didn’t have 35 years of frustration with the political pro-life movement prior to the election of 2008, I would harbor deep skepticism about anything combining conservative politics, abortion, freedom of religion, and particular non-Republicans.

    I could accept a person having doubts about major party politics and corporations and how that combination presents danger to freedoms. But this peripheral stuff strikes me as more manipulation than grounded in fact.

    RS, you like to make fun at all this. But count me as a skeptic on this political front.

  • friscoeddie

    RS says “I’m not Catholic myself, so I can’t say who, if anybody, has left the church because of Pelosi.(And I have absolutely no idea who Robert Finn is, or why he’s supposedly a danger.) ‘
    Keeping on posting though.. ..but try google with ‘bishop’ before Finn… uninformed opinion welcomed here.. [sarc]

  • Logan

    friscoeddie, do you have a point to your above posts? If so, do explain.

  • OldLineStateDad

    I have a question for dry valleys. If the paternity/maternity leave is so much better in Europe, then why aren’t Europeans haivng more children, or at least enough to hit replacement level? I agree that the lack of paternity leave in the US is a problem, but there does seem to be a correlation between the generosity of the welfare state and the number of children being born in said state. Virtually all of the European countries that we Americans are always being told have better family benefits, also are below replacement levels on population.

  • Gayle Miller

    We need to remember that the Dems are all about tolerance and equality!

    Now that you’re finished laughing at that patent nonsense, just bear in mind that Nancy Pelosi is to being a Catholic as Bill Clinton is to marital fidelity!

    In other words, let the Lord sort it out!

  • Teresa

    I stopped paying attention to Pelosi when I realized that the Botox got to her brain. The suggestion to call the White House is good however, I think we can call until the cows come home and it will not change anything. As well, waiting for the Bishops to stand up and publicly excommunicate Pelosi is futile. November 2012 can’t come soon enough.

  • Todd

    As for the “correlation between the generosity of the welfare state and the number of children being born in said state” there’s a more direct correlation to the education and employment level of women and children who are born to them.

    Let’s be careful to disabuse ourselves of the myth that conservatives are somehow more moral on life and family issues than liberals. People are what they are: sinful, misbehaving, largely out for self-interest.

  • Logan

    Let’s be careful to disabuse ourselves of the myth that conservatives are somehow more moral on life and family issues than liberals. People are what they are: sinful, misbehaving, largely out for self-interest. – Todd
    I wholeheartedly agree.

    People are people across the spectrum of right and left.

    But let’s be careful to understand that liberal “values” – as I think I can generalize in a modern description; totally suck.

  • Todd

    “But let’s be careful to understand that liberal “values” – as I think I can generalize in a modern description; totally suck.”


    All one has to do is google “republican sex offenders” to get a fairly reliable list of people who profess something the total opposite of reliability.

    Treat all politicians and political people with skepticism, even (or especially) if they profess to be orthodox Catholics.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Todd, we get it; there are no dangers on the Left. It’s all the Republicans’ fault.

    Teresa, I fear you’re right about the bishops not excommunicating—or even rebuking—Pelosi. That’s sad.

    And, no, contacting the president isn’t going to help.

    I things are better in 2012. . . but it’s going to be a rough year.

  • Todd

    “That’s sad.”

    More accurately, that’s life. We don’t always get our way. True in childhood. True in adult life.

    Why not focus on giving exemplary witness in one’s life where we are, rather than expect it from our so-called betters? For every single one of us, our own Christian witness is more meaningful to a circle of friends and family than that of politicians, celebrities, and bishops. Rather than focus on getting someone excommunicated or pining for scarlet letter H’s to get pinned on people we dislike, why not focus on getting our own house in order? The repetition of sarcasm certainly is a place to start.

    “But sometimes, you have to just gird the loins, and fight.”

    More often than not, the battle waiting to be engaged is within. Too often Catholics go looking for a fight rather than address the one in front of their noses.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Unfortunately, Pelosi, being a politician with a great deal of power of influence, can’t just be ignored. For one thing, she provides a bad example, and is creating sandal—not to mention causing trouble for the church she claims she belongs to, up to, and including, dismissing its bishops as “Lobbyists”, and trying to bully them into supporting lifestyles they disapprove of.

    That’s not just “Scarlet Letter” stuff—that’s throwing one’s weight around, like Caesar. (“Those Christians will worship me as a god!”) In short, she’s abusing her power.

    And, of course, the uncomfortable question arises—why is this woman allowed to defy church teachings, on very important issues—the value of life is pretty bedrock—without so much as a rebuke from the bishops? Such defiance, practiced by an ordinary church member, would definitely get them excommunicated. But Nancy gets away with it.

    Couldn’t be because she is a powerful politician, could it?

    (But, no, no, no, we must stop trying to condemn Nancy! After all, the only danger comes from the Right! /Sarc.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I remember the words of Our Lord about “Rendering unto Caesar.”

    Christians must remember this:

    Caesar is always glad to accept our help when he wants us to help him clean up slums, feed the homeless and hungry, tend society’s victims, such as abused and trafficked women; then we get accolades, then the press comes out, and takes pictures of church workers and politicians, smiling, with happy slogans like “Working together!” and, “We can do it!”

    However, when Caesar gets a bright new idea for a grand new social experiment: adoption by same sex couples, birth control for all, government mandated abortion, euthanasia of the “unfit”—whatever the great new experiment is—and churches balk, and refuse to go along—then, Caesar doesn’t like us so much anymore; in fact, he can get downright nasty, about trying to enforce his will. When this happens, the church has to make a choice.

  • Logan

    Todd, if you want to argue your point by Googling the deviant personal failings of politicians on the Right, you’ll never run out of ammunition for your view. I think, however, you should be more concerned about what group promotes Judeo-Christian values and standards.

    If Nancy Pelosi was a nobody and just spat her venom at the Church, I wouldn’t care. But Nancy has power – a lot of it. And she’s using it to tear down those standards of morality. If that elicits a yawn from you, fine. Whatever.

    It’s convenient that since the Left has no standards of personal morality, they can never be charged with hypocrisy. Funny how that works.

  • Todd

    “And she’s using it to tear down those standards of morality.”

    I don’t agree. She’s a politician, and one I don’t feel at all inclined to support for a host of reasons. However, it does the Right no good to exaggerate their case against her.

    What elicits the yawn are those who make a caricature of concerns that should otherwise be considered. “Nancy gets away with it.” Y’all sound like the elder son of Luke 15 who had his own issues with Dad. I don’t see how you’re going to gain any satisfaction whatsoever campaigning for the excommunication of a sister Catholic in some Karl Rove vibe. Some of you are so soaked with modern political shenanigans, it could be considered a scandal–if the whole schtick weren’t so laughable.

    It’s also an exaggeration that the Left has no standards of personal morality. I believe some on the Right want that to be true, and want it desperately. But that’s simply not the case. If you want to consider you’re in a war, fine. But you’d better be prepared to go into battle with open eyes and minds or you’re going to get your butts kicked. Like 2008.