Francis Cardinal George
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment. In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here is their released statement in its entirety:
December 9, 2009
Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform
Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form
Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail
BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE
TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”
Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”
One would be hard-pressed to find a term more frequently abused in recent years than ‘fundamentalism’. More often an insult than anything else, it’s been used to describe figures ranging from Pope Benedict XVI to Richard Dawkins to Osama bin Laden. One refreshing exception to this imprecision is Cardinal George of Chicago, who offers what I think is a fairly useful definition in his recent book:
“Fundamentalism is a self-consciously noncritical reassertion of identity and autonomy by selecting certain antimodern, antiglobal dimensions of local (especially religious) identity, and making them both the pillars upon which identity is built and the boundary against further global encroachment.”
What I like most about this definition is that it is descriptive rather than pejorative. It restores a content to the word beyond lazy journalistic slang for ‘someone I don’t like.’ For instance, Richard Dawkins is not a fundamentalist. He may base his identity on what appears to me to be an insufficiently self-critical foundation, but he is neither antimodern, nor antiglobal, nor entirely noncritical. Similarly, as any familiarity with his writings will attest, neither is Pope Benedict XVI.
As President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago today spoke out on the Notre Dame scandal. The money quote: “So whatever else is clear, it is clear that Notre Dame didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation, …” Note however that the Cardinal also spoke of corresponding with Jenkins several times on the issue. That of course will get approximately nowhere. Jenkins and the powers that be at Notre Dame have made very clear that they will not back down. They should be compelled to do so. Here is a fisking of the press report by Father Z.
Salvete AC readers!
Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:
1. Cardinal George had a private unscheduled 30 minute meeting with President Barack Obama yesterday afternoon. Outside of the normal platitudes issued between the USCCB and the White House, nothing substantive of note can be reported. Although Cardinal George issued a YouTube video warning to President Obama concerning the United State’s moving towards despotism the day prior to his meeting. President Obama seems to have responded positively to Cardinal George’s proposal of “an agenda for dialogue” which was issued early this year.
2. The secular and liberal media, i.e., the mainstream media, have pretty much remained silent on Pope Benedict’s visit to Africa. Is it because they don’t want to report the problem of condoms only exacerbating the issue of AIDS and not wanting to hear about the sanctity of life? Is it beneath their elitism to do anything with Africa? Or is it because the mainstream media could care less about Africa because of the pigment of their complexion? Remember Rwanda and southern Sudan, the media remained silent.
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf made similar comments, for the link click here.
Pope Benedict XVI congratulates President Barack Obama; Cardinal George proposes "an agenda for dialogue and action"
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
On the occasion of your inauguration as the Forty-fourth president of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that the Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.
As Jim Lackey of the Catholic News Service says, “straight off the presses”. Cardinal George released a statement roughly around 1:00 pm Central Standard Time. I’ll put some commentary later this evening, in the time being here is the official statement by the USCCB concerning President-elect Obama and abortion [emphasis and commentary mine]:
STATEMENT of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil.” (Psalm 127, vs. 1)
The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States welcome this moment of historic transition and look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the members of the new Congress for the common good of all [nice to see the bishops say 'all' to encompass the unborn children and encapsulate them within the common good]. Because of the Church’s history and the scope of her ministries in this country, we want to continue our work for economic justice and opportunity for all; our efforts to reform laws around immigration and the situation of the undocumented; our provision of better education and adequate health care for all, especially for women and children; our desire to safeguard religious freedom [this is important as it relates to FOCA later] and foster peace at home and abroad. The Church is intent on doing good and will continue to cooperate gladly with the government and all others working for these goods [excellent summary of the mission of the Church in America, from economic justice to reformation of immigration law, better education, adequate health care, and the fostering of peace here and abroad].
The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all [amen]. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law [I would say "this is bad law"]. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation [here is where FOCA is alluded to] that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself.
Cardinal Francis George, speaking this morning as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said all Americans should “rejoice” that a country which once tolerated slavery has elected an African-American as president – and, in the same breath, he issued a blunt challenge to the new administration on abortion.
“If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons, were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be President of the United States,” George said.
“Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good,” he said.
Pope Benedict, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a dean from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University weigh in on the results of the election.