Later this month, the University of San Francisco will honor the Catholic Health Association president who has received the scorn of pro-life Catholics across the country for enabling passage of the abortion-funding ObamaCare law.
Sr. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the CHA, is “credited” with giving Rep. Bart Stupak and other supposedly pro-life Democrats the political and religious cover they needed to reverse their positions against the measure because it lacked any bill-wide language prohibiting abortion funding with taxpaper dollars.
The Catholic bishops, who wanted to support a health care bill but couldn’t do so because of the taxpayer financing of abortion, says Keehan’s compromise resulted in “a wound to Catholic unity.”
The Cardinal Newman Society is urging USF to rescind the scheduled honor.
“It is unspeakable that the University of San Francisco should choose to honor someone who severely damaged pro-life efforts in this nation and undermined the express will of the U.S. bishops,” said Patrick Reilly, the president of the Catholic watchdog group. “The Cardinal Newman Society calls on the President of USF to rescind the offer of this honor and speaking platform to Sr. Keehan.”
USF’s office of University Ministry plans to honor Sister Keehan at its “Stand 4 Conference” later this month, CNS indicates. According to the University, the conference “recognizes religious and spiritual leaders whose actions symbolize a life of courage, commitment, and advocacy.”
“This year we honor Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association,” USF says. “[I]n her letter sent to Congress representing 59,000 Catholic nuns and more than 50 heads of religious congregations and organizations she remarks, ‘health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people.’”
Reilly said, “Keehan won the support of these religious sisters for the healthcare bill in spite of the fact that the U.S. bishops urged Congress not to approve it, because the bill failed to include sufficient conscience protection provisions and left open the door to government-funded abortions.”
Catholic writer Deal Hudson of InsideCatholic.com also weighed in on the contorversy.
“The decision of USF to honor Sr. Carol Keehan is just another example of how the Church’s institutions thumb their noses at the bishops when it comes to the question of protecting unborn life,” he told LifeNews.com Monday afternoon.
“However as long as Sr. Keehan continues as an official adviser to the USCCB there’s not much any bishop can say when a Catholic institution wants to honor the sister who rallied the nation’s Catholics support the health care bill in spite of its federally funded abortions,” he added.
At the event, Keehan will deliver a talk entitled “Health Care as a Social Justice Issue” at the conference, hearkening to the concern pro-life Catholics have that the social justice movement has mistakenly played down concerns about abortion that the Catholic Church teaches are paramount. [related]
On May 21, 2010, leaders in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops—including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop William Murphy and Bishop John Wester—issued a statement which disagreed with the notion that “the divergence between the Catholic Conference and Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association, represents merely a difference of analysis or strategy.”
“Rather, for whatever good will was intended, it represented a fundamental disagreement, not just with our staff as some maintain, but with the Bishops themselves. As such it has resulted in confusion and a wound to Catholic unity,” they said.