The Need for a strong USCCB

Cardinal Francis George issued a statement ‘congratulating’ President Obama for his comments about the Conscience Clause.

I am grateful for President Obama’s statement on May 17 that we should all “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion,” and his support for conscience clauses advancing this goal…

Caring health professionals and institutions should know that their deeply held religious or moral convictions will be respected as they exercise their right to serve patients in need…

…A government that wants to reduce the tragic number of abortions in our society will also work to ensure that no one is forced to support or participate in abortion, whether through directly providing or referring for abortions or being forced to subsidize them with their tax dollars.  As this discussion continues we look forward to working with the Administration and other policy makers to advance this goal.

While this is a fine gesture of charity, it is a dangerous concession to make to a president who has assembled the most pro-abortion administration in the history of this nation. Kathleen Sabelius and Dawn Johnsen are simply two examples of his appointments. Sabelius has strong ties with ‘Doctor’ Tiller and Ms. Johnsen, a former NARAL attorney, has been nominated for the position of the head of the Office of Legal Counsel. This position is the chief legal consultant for the administration. At least two of his key administrative positions are held by members of the pro-abortion group Emily’s List. 

His policies belie his statements. The rescinding of the Mexico City Policy, Hillary Clinton’s embrace of ‘reproductive rights’ as an extension of US foreign aid policy.  The day after his Inauguration, he released a strongly worded statement commemorating Rowe V. Wade. A presidential health care summit held on March 5th of this year included Planned Parenthood but failed to invite one pro-life health care agency or organization. The White House Council of Women and Girls is created, run by an ardent political supporter and whose director of Communications, Tina Tchen, was once vice-president of NOW (National Organization of Women, a pro-abortion group.) Bishops of the USCCB, Cardinal George…need I go on? Unfortunately, I could. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

It is time – past time – for the USCCB as the leading body of Catholic Bishops of this nation to draw a line in the sand. I have the greatest love and reverence for my church – I just want my leaders to remember their pastoral duties and do the right thing. President Obama took the degree from Notre Dame not out of gratitude but as a sign of his dominion over Catholicism in the United States…and our Bishops allowed it to happen.

Actions speak louder then rhetoric. A commencement speech is not a conversation. The president made no real concessions to Catholic values on the issues of life. In fact, if you read carefully, he never made any promises.  Not one. And – frankly – President Obama has already established that promises are not something he feels he should be expected to keep.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship is pretty clear on the importance of certain issues. Abortion, the USCCB stated, was ‘intrinsically evil’. Yet Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and other ‘Catholic’ politicians have not been censured beyond ‘conferences with their bishops’ and the occasional statements. Father Jenkin’s insistence on honoring President Obama – contrary to the clearly stated doctrine espoused in Ex Corde Ecclesia – is inexcusable. There is a remedy for such disobedience – excommunication.

Excommunication sounds harsh – and it is. It is depriving a disobedient Catholic from communion from the Holy See and the Church. But it should be thought of not as punitive, but curative. Excommunication is like chemotherapy for the soul; a drastic and grueling treatment for grave illness. It is also a symbol of authority and – more importantly – perhaps the only means we have left to bring those who have strayed from the teachings of our church to recant their error and restore their Grace. By not taking this admittedly painful action, our Bishops are endangering not only the souls of those Catholics in public life, but also others who believe that their position is somehow acceptable to the Church. And it is clear that they are not.

Being a leader is hard. Being the leader of our Church is much harder. But – as I wrote in John 15 – a Message of Hope – no matter how difficult our path, Christ walked a harder. The easy road is one that leads into sin – the Devil always makes it easy for us to fall into error.

I understand that taking strong, assertive action would have repercussions. Perhaps some Catholics will be alienated by an ‘intolerant’ church. Certainly our secular rivals will seize on our ‘judgmental, prejudicial, and intolerant’ actions.  Once again – read John 15. Would you rather be concerned with being ‘of this world’ or the next? I certainly know my answer.

Cardinal Francis George, while I have the greatest respect and reverence for your office and your vocation, as a person of faith and in good conscience, I fear that I must strenuously disagree with your approach to the President’s statements. Rest assured, I will pray for you and all of our Bishops, Cardinals, Religious, and laity that all will remember the Magisterium. I pray that our church be healed. And – yes – I do pray for Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, and our other brothers and sisters. And – most of all – I pray that the President have a true change of heart and realize that you can never build a just society on a culture of death.


May God bless you all!

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