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White House kept CHA informed on 'compromise,' with bishops in the dark

Catholic World News - February 14, 2012

Did Sister Carol Keehan, the head of the Catholic Health Association, help the White House prepare for its “compromise” proposal for the HHS mandate? The National Catholic Register examines the evidence in a probing analysis.

Sister Keehan—who had become an ally of the White House with her stalwart support for the Obama health-care program even after the US bishops turned against it—apparently consulted with officials of the Obama administration before the “compromise” was announced. Her public statement in support of the revised plan was available even before President Obama announced it.

By contrast, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) did not have access to the details of the revised plan until Friday night, February 10. The USCCB issued an ambiguous response to President Obama’s statement at first, since the conference was unable to analyze the actual proposal. Only later did the bishops’ conference—after studying the actual plan—issue a second statement opposing the revised plan.

In fact, the Obama plan was not really revised, notes Richard Doerflinger of the USCCB. The original HHS mandate was left unchanged, but the administration added that “some time in the coming months we will issue new rulemaking for organizations that are not exempt from the mandate,” Doerflinger reported.

Thus when Sister Keehan endorsed the administration’s “compromise,” she was in effect endorsing a plan that has not yet been disclosed.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Feb. 14, 2012 8:54 PM ET USA

    Sister Kathleen should simply be removed from her position. Who in her religious order is responsible for her? You cannot be head of a Catholic Association and not adhere to something as deeply Catholic as protecting all life. Sister Kathleen has proved herself over and over again as hostile to basic Church (Our Lord's) teachings. What are the laity to think? What are young people to think? This kind of inaction is what erodes the Bishops' authority.

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Feb. 14, 2012 7:11 PM ET USA

    Sister Keehan, thy name is Talleyrand. Actually, that's probably more praise than she deserves.

  • Posted by: benedicite4426 - Feb. 14, 2012 4:47 PM ET USA

    Sister Keehan should now do the honorable thing and resign her position.

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