Letter From Catholic Nuns For Pro-Abortion Bill Doesn’t Represent 59K People
by Steven Ertelt
March 18, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A letter form a group of several dozen dissident Catholic nuns whose position in favor of the pro-abortion Senate health care bill is coming under further scrutiny. Now, the nation’s Catholic bishops say the media wrongly represented the letter as speaking for 59,000 nuns.
The letter, which has already come under fire from pro-life Catholic groups, has been responsible for shifting some pro-life Democrats to the undecided column on the bill or leaning towards voting for it.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, emailed LifeNews.com with a rebuttal.
"A recent letter from Network, a social justice lobby of sisters, grossly overstated whom they represent in a letter to Congress that was also released to media," she writes. "Networks letter, about health care reform, was signed by a few dozen people, and despite what Network said, they do not come anywhere near representing 59,000 American sisters."
"The letter had 55 signatories, some individuals, some groups of three to five persons. One endorser signed twice," she noted. "There are 793 religious communities in the United States. The math is clear. Network is far off the mark."
In fact, there are only 59,000 women in Catholic religious orders in the United States, meaning the Network letter could never have represented all, or even most, of them.
Meanwhile, in a new statement, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious spoke out against the letter endorsing the pro-abortion health care bill, saying it is directly opposed to Catholic Church teachings.
The CMSWR statement declares the Senate health insurance bill unacceptable based on the legislations expansion of abortion funding and its inadequate protection of health care workers right of conscience.
Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan of the CMSWR wrote, In a March 15th statement, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on behalf of the United States Bishops in opposition to the Senates version of the health care legislation under consideration because of its expansion of abortion funding and its lack of adequate provision for conscience protection.
Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Churchs position on critical issues of health care reform, Mother Mary Quentin added.
The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the second conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, believes the Bishops position is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church," the group continued.
The CMSWR represents over 103 women religious communities and 10,000 members.
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