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Cardinal George lays blame on CHA for passage of health-care reform bill

June 17, 2010

The president of the US bishops’ conference believes that the Catholic Health Association (CHA) bears a great deal of responsibility for the passage of health-care reform legislation that expands coverage for abortion.

Speaking at a meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago revealed that he and other USCCB representatives had tried to persuade the CHA not to endorse the health-care bill, after a pro-life amendment was defeated. Their efforts were in vain.

When he signed the legislation, President Barack Obama presented the CHA president, Sister Carol Keehan, with a pen used in the ceremony, in recognition of her role in helping ease Catholic opposition to the bill. Cardinal George said that “the Catholic Health Association and other so-called Catholic groups provided cover for those on the fence to support Obama and the administration.”

While the USCCB was meeting in Florida, the CHA was holding its own conference in Colorado during the past week. John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter notes that CHA leaders were unflinching in their support for the health-care bill, and unapologetic about their role in securing its passage.

Ironically the bishop whose diocese is playing host to the meeting of the US hierarchy, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, questioned whether the USCCB had a right to expect other Catholic organizations to follow the bishops’ lead on a political issue. Bishop Lynch said: “I have never before this year heard the theory that we enjoy the same primacy of respect for legislative interpretation as we do for interpretation of the moral law."


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  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Jun. 18, 2010 4:20 PM ET USA

    My head is exploding. Card. George said this when he met with Obama: “It’s hard to disagree with him because he’ll always tell you he agrees with you,” he said. “Maybe that’s political. I think he sincerely wants to agree with you. You have to say, again and again, ‘No, Mr. President, we don’t agree (on abortion).’ Unfortunately, Cardinal George continued: "But we can agree on a lot, and we do, and that’s why there is so much hope." How's that hope going Cardinal George?

  • Posted by: Ken - Jun. 18, 2010 10:04 AM ET USA

    The USCCB bears as much of the responsibility for ObamaCare passing as the CHA. The USCCB supported Obama's drive for "comprehensive health care reform" up to the point when it became obvious the final bill would provide public funds for abortion. Given Obama's past support for any type of abortion procedure, it was foolish to think the final bill would say anything less. The USSCB is as complicit in the passage of this monstrosity as the CHA.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 17, 2010 9:44 PM ET USA

    Bishop Lynch, isn't that fallacious reasoning? I don't think the issue is whether Catholic organizations need to agree with all Your political opinions. The issue is whether Catholic organizations should support a law that expands public funding for elective murder. Surely You understand that. Don't You?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 17, 2010 7:49 PM ET USA

    Is it surprising that Bishop Lynch is defending CHA? He is on their board of trustees. He is listed, along with his picture, on the CHAs website in the Governance section. Still surprised?

  • Posted by: Hal - Jun. 17, 2010 5:40 PM ET USA

    Umm, what "legislative interpretation"? This was a money bill for CHA. Enjoy the silver!