Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Catholic Health Association does not represent Catholic beliefs

On Sunday, the White House Chief of Staff made his rounds on the Sunday morning shows. Jack Lew, attempting to defend the Obama Administration's recent "accommodation" on the Contraception/Sterilization/Abortifacient Mandate.

This comment stood out, especially since he mentioned CHA more than once in different appearances.

[O]n Friday we had a broad range of groups endorse where the president's policy is. We had the Catholic Health Association, which understands health care extremely well and is true to Catholic beliefs.
The President of the Catholic Health Association is Sr. Carol Keehan. [Edit 2/15/12 to add] Her position in support of the "accommodation" conflicts with the teaching of the official teaching body of the Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who disapproved of the so-called "accommodation" on Feb. 10.

So who is Sr. Keehan? In case you did not know:

Before the "accommodation" was publicly made, it was learned that the Sr. Keehan had been made privy before it became public. She had already emailed support to the Administration before the "accommodation" was announced. Her comments were then emailed to Obama supporters, including many of his Catholic supporters.

In March 2010, Sr. Keehan was given an honorary "presidential pen" given to political supporters when Obama signed the original bill.

On Monday, a donor emailed Sr. Keehan the following:

On behalf of all the women and men of Riverside for Choice I would like to thank you for protecting the rights of all women to have free access to essential health services including the contraceptives that allow us to control our own health and bodies. You have been a hero for choice in your Partnership with President Obama.
The emailer offered to send a donation to CHA, to which Sr. Keehan replied to this praise with" Thanks so much" and asked the donor to give to a poor woman in California.

In 2008, Sr. Keehan applauded then-Obama's appointment of pro-abortion Tom Daschle as secretary of HHS. See also in the previous link the Bishops' concern, now prophetic, that Catholic hospitals could be forced out of business.

Sr. Keehan received a standing ovation from a number of pro-abortion politicians last year in support of the initial Obama Health Care bill.

In June 2010, then president of the USCCB Cardinal Francis George called CHA a "so-called Catholic group." At the time Sr. Keehan insisted (despite the contrary in the bill) that Obama's health care plan wouldn't fund abortion. Of that, the Cardinal said, "Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation." And he added, again, prophetically,
[T]he dispute with the CHA involves a core ecclesiological principle 'about the nature of the church itself, one that has to concern the bishops' – namely, who speaks for the church on faith and morals?
[EDIT 2/15/12 to add] Dr. Anne Hendershott at Kings College in New York argued how the Obama Administration in June 2010 was already using Sr. Keehan as a "propaganda czar."

Sr. Keehan's consistent support for pro-abortion politicians is essentially no secret. So when on the Sunday morning talk shows, Chief of Staff Lew cited Keehan's organization as an example of "Catholic" support, one must understand that Keehan's organization is consistently on the side of whoever supports abortion and/or contraception. [EDIT 2/15/12 to add] And as mentioned earlier, she contradicts the very teaching body of her own Church on the matter.

Needless to say, neither Sr. Keehan, nor CHA, is representative of the Church's beliefs.

For further reading, see
EDIT 3/2/12 to add: Biography of Sr. Keehan at National Catholic Register.

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