Updated: 4:54 Nov. 10 --
Received notice at about 3:30 today from the Archdiocese of Seattle that the "Morality of Health Care Reform" discussion has BEEN MOVED to Seattle University. Yipee! It's still too bad that our Catholic schools feel compelled to host this kind of thing but at least they won't be defiling the Cathedral.
If you haven't heard by now, St. James Cathedral has decided to host the strangely titled forum, "The Morality of Health Care Reform: The debate's missing link".
Pro-abortion legislator Jay Inslee is one of the invited speakers. He was demoted from "keynote" speaker status to panelist late last week. Laura Rehrmann, president of the Group Health Foundation and "in-charge of patient care" at Group Health Cooperative will also be on the panel. Group Health has a reputation as an abortion center and will allow doctors to assist with suicides at their "health" centers after the passage of I-1000. Ms. Rehrmann is a parishioner at St. James Cathedral.
Why is the Cathedral allowing this event to take place?
I had about a 20 minute conversation today with Helen Oesterle director of Religious Education at St. James about this very question. Her explanation and justification for this event was a mess of contradictions and excuses combined with the usual happy talk. Words like dialogue, Catholic faith, conversation, and respect were used to defend the indefensible.
At the web site Catholics for Obama Ms. Oesterle is a signatory to the "Petition to Endorse Barak Obama." The petition includes the statements that Barack Obama is pro-life and that trying to overturn Roe v. Wade has been a ineffective strategy and that promoting health care for pregnant women and better infant care, day care and job training will help reduce abortions.
Besides the fact that this is complete hogwash I now understand why she repeated several times, "Abortion is legal" and "There are different ways to approach the issue of abortion." People who are supporters of legal abortion should not be setting the agenda for events at a Catholic Church. Maybe Ms. Oesterle believes that Jay Inslee is pro-life as well.
If rape were legal would Ms. Oesterle be promoting a "respectful" dialogue with promoters and profiteers of rape at a forum on the morality of reforming the justice system? And then refuse to discuss the problem of rape? Maybe rape isn't a problem if it's legal. It's hard to figure out how these people think.
I think it is becoming evident that this event is nothing more than an attempt by Democratic Catholics to hijack the Church and rally Catholics behind President Obama's health care bill.
That's why pro-lifers are so upset about this forum.
Trust has completely broken down between the faithful and those in the employ of the Archdiocese and other Catholic institutions. One need look no further than the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, which is sponsored by several communities of Catholic sisters. For the life of me I have yet to find the words "Jesus Christ" or "Catholic" on their web site or in any of their documents. However, they love to throw around the words "social justice" and "Catholic social teaching." I don't think the ladies at IPJC would recognize Catholic social teaching if it came up and bit them in their collective rear end.
Their newsletters include articles by priests bad-mouthing the Holy Father, young students promoting population control, and their latest new age "Convocation" included priestesses, (Is that Suzanne Thiel of Roman Catholic Womenpriest?!) agitators for women priests, and promoters of legal abortion.
Then there's Seattle University. Their latest slap in the face to the Church and lay faithful was this "thoughtful conversation" on "reproductive justice" that included Planned Parenthood's chaplain. Gee, why isn't he invited to the morality of health care forum!
Add your own outrage from your parish, Catholic school, seminary, or the chancery in the combox below.
No one doubts that there is a need for health care reform. The Catholic doctors know it and pro-lifers certainly know it but using our Church to push a political agenda is plain wrong. If parishes like St. James are going to sponsor forums like this they need to present the Catholic way of approaching the problem, not the Democratic party way and especially not one that promotes abortion.
Catholics are owed Catholic parishes with Catholic teaching. Is there not one soul in the Seattle area who can present a truly Catholic approach to health care reform? Do we have no expert on Pope Leo XIII's social encyclicals, which are the basis for Catholic social teaching, not the worn out "seamless garment"? Is there no one who can speak to distributive justice, catholic economics, and subsidiarity? Why are we constantly using the language of the political parties , left vs. right, conservative vs. liberal to define how Catholics are to approach health care reform? It's time to get the party politics out of Catholic discussions on health care and social justice.
Back to the phone call...
According to Ms. Oesterle, radical pro-abortion representative Jay Inslee will only be speaking on the "very narrow" aspect of how Catholics can impact the legislative process. She also described how this would be a wonderful opportunity to dialoge with Rep. Inslee on our Catholic faith and possibly evangelize him. (Notre Dame redux!) However, she also said this event "would not be about abortion." How pray tell are we to evangelize Mr. Inslee if we can't even discuss a key component of our Catholic faith?
Catholics need to ask Ms. Osterele -- Who is doing the evangelization here? Are we going to be forced to listen patiently to a radical pro-abort lecture Catholics in their own Cathedral about the morality of health care reform? The thought is almost too much to bear.
So if Inslee is simply there to give us a civics lesson, then I would argue that his participation is hardly necessary. Is there anybody left in American who doesn't know how to vote or contact their Congressman?
Going back to my point above, is it possible this event is to try and activate pro-abortion and "social justice" Catholics in order to counteract the pro-lifers and others who are fighting so valiantly against the current plan? The only people who would be in favor of Obama's health care plan are people who are indifferent to abortion or in fact pro-abortion.
Overall my conversation with her was less than productive. She certainly did most of the talking and made it very clear to me that "this is not about abortion" and they "will refuse to allow this event to be hijacked." (Look whose doing the hijacking!) Fine. Let's move on from abortion. What about contraception, euthanasia, fetal farming, IVF, human egg harvesting, and embryonic stem cell research? I admit, abortion is almost passé with the current crew running the show in Washington DC but does Ms. Osterle have any idea what the "health" experts who so desperately want socialized medicine are planning next?
Now that she and the Obama supporters at the Cathedral have truely hijacked our Church and social teachings for their own political ends what can she possibly mean by "not allowing the event to be hijacked"? I can only assume she means she'll refuse to have people asking tough questions like --
How can a practicing Catholic like Ms. Rehrmann, who is in charge of "patient care" allow abortions to be performed at her hospital?
Does she not see the unborn child as a patient entitled to care?
How does Ms. Rehrmann justify the use of assisted suicide at her hospital?
How will giving tax-payer funded abortions to illegal immigrants help advance the cause of justice for immigrants?
Add your own questions for the participants in this ridiculuous charade in the combox below.
As with the Notre Dame scandal earlier this year, it would appear that the vaunted "dialogue" is nothing but a fog, hanging silently over the participants and impossible to grasp. I have a new found respect for Hilary Clinton and her "listening tours."
The purpose in my call was to simply find out whether they would allow questions at this forum. She indicated that it is still being decided but that most likely they will take questions only in the form of written questions to be reviewed and selected by the organizers. And since the forum "isn't about abortion" and they don't want it "hijacked" by the truth we can assume that any questions pertaining to abortion will be filtered out by the organizers who don't want to embarrass the panel. What kind of a dialogue is this?
From there she launched into an attack on "all the misinformation out there" and a defence of the decision to host this event.
It's our position here at AIW from years of observation and research that the "health care" system is firmly in the hands of the culture of death. Even the Catholic health care system is tottering. Look no further than PeaceHealth, which stated in an article in the Catholic Progress of December 11, 2008 that PeaceHealth is working on identifying an organization to which staff would refer patients seeking physician-assisted suicide. They already do this in Oregon. How in the world can a Catholic hospital justify cooperating with a grave evil like euthanasia?
Catholics and Christians of all good will should be standing up to reclaim health care for the common good and a culture of life rather than finding ways to compromise and cooperate with the people responsible for the killing and gruesome experiments that are taking place.
The gate to all these immoral things is wide, and getting wider all the time. It's time those who earn their keep working in our Catholic institutions tried to narrow the gate and help save the souls of their fellow citizens.