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Hudson & Fournier: Catholic Countdown to Election 2012, Day 7. Rev. Thomas Reese, SJ, A Jesuit Calls the Bishops 'Just 200 Votes' Comments

More alarming was Father Reese's support for Obama's policy forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception. The Bishops, Reese said, have ignored economic studies that insurance companies would actually save money by providing contraception. "Contraception is a lot cheaper than live births, especially if the live births are problematic." Continue Reading

1 - 10 of 37 Comments

  1. Floreat
    1 year ago

    In Fr Reese's lengthy reply above, I didn't notice any statement on the reported remark, that abortion is cheaper than live births, and the implications drawn from it.

    Perhaps Fr Reese would state clearly for the record his position on abortion and contraception and US government plans to have employers pay for them.

  2. Judy Claar
    1 year ago

    Deal Hudson and Deacon Keith, and Thomas J. Reese, S.J.: Now, I am on the Other Side of the Looking Glass, and I AM confused! Blessings to my brothers...

  3. Jeffrey Weiss
    1 year ago

    So this just landed in my e-box:

    Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Responds to Attack by Deal Hudson



    I am amazed at how inaccurate is the account by Deal Hudson and Keith Fournier of my talk at Holy Trinity on Sunday, October 28.



    http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=48260



    The report is so inaccurate it makes me ask whether Hudson or Fournier were at the talk (they cite no one as the source of their information).



    For example:



    1. Hudson and Fournier claim I said the Bishops should support the Obama administration’s February adaptation on contraceptive coverage, which exempts religious institutions from paying for contraceptives in their employee health insurance plans but requires the insurance company to provide it anyway. In fact, in response to question during my presentation, I expressed my support for a complete exemption from the contraceptive mandate for religious institutions. Last June, I participated in a White House meeting lobbying the administration for a complete exemption for religious institutions and their insurance providers.

    2. They claim that I “said that the bishops may be unhappy about the contraception mandate, but they have only 200 votes in this election.” This quote is totally out of context. I was describing how the Obama Administration decided it could ignore the views of the bishops because they have only 200 votes. I noted that the Obama Administration looked at the public opinion polls rather than listened to the bishops.

    3. They also complain that I mocked the Republicans for supporting the bishops for political reasons and running away when the polls turned negative. That is true. I noted that although the Republicans continued to talk about “religious liberty,” they stopped using the word “contraceptives.” What Hudson and Fournier do not mention is that I also mocked HHS and the administration for its four-part definition of “religious employer,” which I referred to as “dumb.” I believe in making fun of both parties when appropriate.

    4. The authors note that I cited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” (2007). True. I quoted paragraphs #34 & 35 on voting. I also noted that bishops like Cardinals Donald Wuerl and Francis George do not support denying people Communion depending on how they vote although some bishops do. The idea that the 2011 “Introductory Note” somehow invalidates paragraphs #34 & 35 is nonsense. If the authors have a problem with these paragraphs, they should take it up with the bishops.

    5. They also complain that there was laughter from the audience. True. I believe in using humor to keep my audience attentive at an evening lecture. Do the authors' senses of humor extend only to jokes aimed at Democrats?

    I could list more inaccuracies, but the authors’ real problem seems to be my criticism of Republicans, for whom Mr. Hudson is campaigning. Unlike Mr. Hudson, I have not endorsed or campaigned for any candidate.



    The authors talk of “charity” in political speech, but they have no qualms about slandering a Catholic priest and a Catholic parish for partisan purposes. That such a report appears on a site with the name “catholic.org” is itself a scandal.







    Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

    Senior Fellow

    Woodstock Theological Center

    Georgetown University

    Washington, DC 20057-1137

    Office: 202-687-1941

    Cell: 646-573-4877

    http://Woodstock.georgetown.edu

    http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/georgetown/this_catholics_view/


  4. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
    1 year ago

    I am amazed at how inaccurate is the account by Deal Hudson and Keith Fournier of my talk at Holy Trinity on Sunday, October 28.

    The report is so inaccurate it makes me ask whether Hudson or Fournier were at the talk (they cite no one as the source of their information).

    For example:

    1. Hudson and Fournier claim I said the Bishops should support the Obama administration’s February adaptation on contraceptive coverage, which exempts religious institutions from paying for contraceptives in their employee health insurance plans but requires the insurance company to provide it anyway. In fact, in response to question during my presentation, I expressed my support for a complete exemption from the contraceptive mandate for religious institutions. Last June, I participated in a White House meeting lobbying the administration for a complete exemption for religious institutions and their insurance providers.

    2. They claim that I “said that the bishops may be unhappy about the contraception mandate, but they have only 200 votes in this election.” This quote is totally out of context. I was describing how the Obama Administration decided it could ignore the views of the bishops because they have only 200 votes. I noted that the Obama Administration looked at the public opinion polls rather than listened to the bishops.

    3. They also complain that I mocked the Republicans for supporting the bishops for political reasons and running away when the polls turned negative. That is true. I noted that although the Republicans continued to talk about “religious liberty,” they stopped using the word “contraceptives.” What Hudson and Fournier do not mention is that I also mocked HHS and the administration for its four-part definition of “religious employer,” which I referred to as “dumb.” I believe in making fun of both parties when appropriate.

    4. The authors note that I cited the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” (2007). True. I quoted paragraphs #34 & 35 on voting. I also noted that bishops like Cardinals Donald Wuerl and Francis George do not support denying people Communion depending on how they vote although some bishops do. The idea that the 2011 “Introductory Note” somehow invalidates paragraphs #34 & 35 is nonsense. If the authors have a problem with these paragraphs, they should take it up with the bishops.

    5. They also complain that there was laughter from the audience. True. I believe in using humor to keep my audience attentive at an evening lecture. Do the authors' senses of humor extend only to jokes aimed at Democrats?

    I could list more inaccuracies, but the authors’ real problem seems to be my criticism of Republicans, for whom Mr. Hudson is campaigning. Unlike Mr. Hudson, I have not endorsed or campaigned for any candidate.

    The authors talk of “charity” in political speech, but they have no qualms about slandering a Catholic priest and a Catholic parish for partisan purposes. That such a report appears on a site with the name “catholic.org” is itself a scandal.

  5. Judy Claar
    1 year ago

    Vin: No one in the Church has told us directly who to vote or not to vote for. The reason is, our great Church thinks we are smart enough, that we are versed in our Faith enough, that we have been listening to our Catholic leaders enough, so that we therefore, can make an informed and intelligent True and Honest Catholic decision on who to vote for.

    I ask you to read: "Hudson & Fournier Catholic Countdown To Election 2012 Day 6. The Art Of Speaking Catholic Nonsense". I also ask you to read my post there. I do not See how a Catholic can misunderstand who to Honestly vote for after reading this Wonderful article!
    It will help you and others to vote a free and honest and True Catholic Conscience.

    I wrote more in depth on what I thought were the important issues of their article. I both expounded and expanded with Facts. My post is intended to help Catholics make a True Catholic decision, IF they could not make a choice after reading the "Day 6" article.

    Please let me know what you think after you read Both pieces. I am glad you are truly searching. I think in your heart of hearts, you have always known who the Church is for.
    The Church is for Life. Love. Truth. The Body of Christ is Life. Prayerful Blessings...

  6. Kristen Ciaccia
    1 year ago

    Of course, it is true that to pay approximately $350 a year for a woman of child-bearing age’s birth control pills is far less expensive then to pay for a live birth and child. Over the fertile period of a woman’s life (ages 15-40) an insurance company would spend only $8750 on contraception. Now on the other hand, if a woman were to have 3 children, all uneventful natural births, the insurance company would pay at least an extra $21, 000-$30, 000 and that is not including post natal care for the child.

    Fr. Reese is wise to bring this to the attention of Catholics. Using his reasoning I would like to bring to the attention of my fellow Californians an idea that will completely solve the debt crisis in the state. If the governor gives each Californian household a $20, 000 voucher to relocate to another state within 5 years and each household complies, then in 5 years California will no longer have a debt crisis. In fact, California will never experience another debt crisis in my lifetime or my grandchildren’s because California won’t have a population!

    The fact of the matter is that live births are not the crushing medical expenses that insurance companies must cover. Live births, aka children, are the future consumers that will purchase health insurance plans down the road. Live births will provide tax dollars that will underwrite the government health programs that insurance companies have profited from in recent years. I also could begin to dissect the real cost of the birth control pill and I am confident I would fine that the birth control pill costs far more than $30 a month when you add in all the health problems and treatments that occur due the use of the birth control pill.

    Every heresy starts with affirming one truth but then falls into the error of denying other truths. Fr. Thomas Reese’s comments do not really instruct Catholics and the bishops about economic theory as much as they instruct Catholics and the bishops that Fr. Thomas Reese is a heretic. He does not outright reject the sanctity of a human life, but he does not embrace the truth that you can’t put a price tag on the value of a human life. Fr. Thomas Reese does not push an agenda of contraception as perhaps Sandra Fluke does. He just does not seem to fully embrace that contraception and abortifacients like the birth control pill are intrinsically evil. Because Fr. Thomas Reese has not embraced the total truth he is reasoning “half-cocked” and I believe it is why he can arrive at a lame conclusion that it is cheaper for insurance companies if no one is born and, yet again, the bishops are out of touch and not really understanding economics.

    However, it is Fr. Thomas Reese that is really out of touch. He is out of touch with reality. His line of reasoning puts his own life and value in jeopardy as he is moving into a stage in his life when he will be requiring more medical care and unlike a newborn child, treating him is not an investment in the future but rather a financial drain on the system. If the time ever comes when Fr. Thomas Reese’s life and value is measured in pure dollars and cents by an insurance company and our government healthcare program, I think he will find it is the “out of touch” Catholic Church and Her Bishops who won’t care about the economics, but instead will refuse to put a price tag on his value and life, heretic or not.

  7. Rob
    1 year ago

    I believe if Obama wins, the drumbeat of opposition to anti-life policies and the HHS mandate will continue as it should. I believe the true test will be if Romney/Ryan wins. If all this angst against Obama is not turned into the fire of accountability, I'm not sure what we've gained. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the operational definition of insanity. Personally, I think it's a grave scandal to use the prolife issue to garner votes but do nothing substantial about the issue. To me it holds the same gravity as our wayward Catholic politicians who misuse the faith to futher their causes and confuse voters.

    Maybe we have a confused laity because they don't get a clear message from the clergy? Maybe the decades of terrible faith formation and the lack of ownership of our faith has caused this mess? Maybe it's just time for all of this to come home to roost? But if we make it through another GOP presidency without any substantial changes, then it will not be the dems that need to be dismissed, but the GOP. But somehow I do not believe we have the courage to do that.

    I am praying that status quo does not rule the day. Guess we'll know in just over four years right?

  8. Vin
    1 year ago

    I keep listening in vain for a definitive, YOU CANNOT VOTE FOR ABORTION thus OBAMA CANNOT be a CHOICE!! I am sure Jesus would not approve of the obfuscation the good Bishops put out for some reason beyond my comprehension. The Church is being attacked from within as well as without and only our attention to the numerous messages sent by God through the apparitions of our Blessed Mother will save us. Personally, I think we have gone so far to the left as to be lost for years to come. Obama will probably win this election because we don't deserve any better at this time. As far as Father Reese, what can I say. I am speechless.

  9. Susan
    1 year ago

    This was printed in our church bulletin ( http://www.stjospar.org/Weekly%20Bulletin.html ) today: It hits the nail on the head!

    STATEMENT OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF PENNSYLVANIA
    ON THE 06 NOVEMBER 2012 ELECTIONS

    01 November 2012
    Each year on this day the Catholic Church celebrates “All Saints Day.” This solemnity remembers those who have fulfilled their earthly vocation and now enjoy eternal happiness in the presence of God. These saints may be unnamed, but they certainly are not unknown. Their lives are characterized by steadfast faith and charitable works. They exemplify what it means to love God and love one’s neighbor.
    We celebrate these unnamed saints because all of us share a universal call to holiness. God the Father calls us, through Jesus, to be perfected (cf. Matt 5:48) and to live “as becomes saints” (Eph 5:3). As aspiring saints, we, too, must meet the challenges of our own time in history with boldness and humility, with courage and gentleness, and with an attentive docility to the Holy Spirit at work in our world.
    We, the bishops of Pennsylvania, see next Tuesday (November 6), Election Day, as a day of historical challenge for our time. We propose this statement now because the upcoming elections, at every level, offer a critical opportunity for Catholics – i.e., all of us who are believers: clergy, religious, and lay alike – to exercise our civic duty and fulfill our social responsibility in a way that becomes us as aspiring saints.
    Because politics is the place where competing moral visions of a society meet and struggle, our democracy depends on people of conviction fighting for what they believe in the public square, yet doing so with an abiding respect for one another. That struggle includes and depends on all of us, precisely as Catholics. For if we believe that a particular issue is gravely evil or that it will result in serious damage to society, then we have a duty, both as Catholics and as Americans, to hold political candidates accountable.
    The 2012 elections take place during the Year of Faith. As Pope Benedict XVI explains, this year is necessary because, while many people continue “to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society,” nevertheless “in reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, … it is often openly denied” (Porta Fidei, no. 2). Today it is no longer the case, as it was for our country’s Founders, that religion can provide a shared moral framework and vocabulary for a pluralistic democracy. In fact, Americans would do well to realize that many of our country’s leading thinkers in law, higher education, and the social sciences simply no longer believe in the idea of inalienable natural rights guaranteed by a Creator higher than the State – one of the cornerstone principles of the American experiment.
    This has serious implications because many of our most urgent political issues – ranging from the economy, immigration, and abortion to global security – raise profoundly moral questions.
    These questions cannot be resolved without a common understanding of right and wrong.
    Consider today’s aggressive efforts to redefine the nature of marriage, to exclude parental authority in the choice of the best education for their children, and to force Catholic healthcare and social services to end their ministries unless they violate their religious identities through mandated support of practices contrary to the very sanctity of human life.
    Religious liberty itself – “our first, most cherished freedom” – is no longer secure. At first glance, this may seem otherwise because religious freedom is so deeply ingrained in our national history. But democracy has no special immunity to losing its soul by little steps. As Alexis deTocqueville, the great chronicler of early American democracy, observed more than 150 years ago, “it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life” – because the more the state provides, the more it inevitably controls.
    Events have proven this true. In recent years a pattern of legislative and judicial actions has emerged in our country that undermines religious liberty and jeopardizes the contributions of religious bodies in the public realm. Government policies that seek to impose morally repugnant services on religiously affiliated medical providers, or to limit the freedom of religion to the private realm or to places of worship, or to reduce religious liberty to just another subset of freedom of speech and association, get it backwards; under the Constitution, it is government power that is limited and subject to regulation, not the conscience rights of Americans – whether acting singly, or in organized communities, or through their institutions.
    Today Catholics face a growing and deeply troubling effort that seeks to extend the reach of government into every aspect of social life. In turn, this generates a demand for exclusive allegiance of individuals and groups to the requirements of the State. This demand denies the primacy of associations that exist prior to the State, such as the family, church or synagogue, and even fraternal and charitable agencies. These groups enjoy a priority both chronologically, in terms of historical development, and practically, inasmuch as they engage the vast majority of activity in our everyday lives.
    As Christians we do owe an appropriate loyalty to the State. We strive to maintain good relations with civil authority. But our primary allegiance must always be to God and to God alone. As St. Thomas More once said so eloquently, we are God’s good servants first. That is the nature of our personal calling; that is our human mission; and that is something we cannot forsake without betraying our baptism. Moreover, our calling and mission as Catholics remain fully consonant with the historic American understanding of law and justice.
    Our allegiance to God and our reverence for religious liberty are not sectarian interests; rather, they render testimony to ideals of truth and charity that serve all people. As Pope Benedict XVI states, “In the present social and cultural context, where there is a widespread tendency to relativize truth, practicing charity in truth helps people to understand that adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful but essential for building a good society … ” (Caritas in Veritate, no. 4).
    The task of building a good society makes our Catholic civic engagement vitally important. But as Christians, we also have the religious duty of making the message of salvation known to all people. Impelled by the love of God, we draw others to Jesus Christ by doing good for our neighbor. And we fulfill this baptismal mission by conforming our lives to our faith so that we become the light of the world.
    At election time, charity and truth are expressed through the votes we cast in favor of the inherent dignity of every human person and the common good of all. In this respect, faith must inform our electoral decisions. The Catholic faith is always personal but never private. If our faith is real, then it will naturally and necessarily guide our public decisions and behaviors, including our political choices.
    And so, we, the bishops of Pennsylvania, urge citizens to vote this year, and we encourage Catholics to learn what our faith believes about the issues at stake in the 2012 election. To do this, we recommend a review of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship and Living the Gospel of Life, both available online at www.usccb.org.
    Ideas have consequences. Beliefs shape our culture. We revere the best ideals of our American democracy. We embrace the truths of our Catholic faith. In this mutuality of politics and religious conviction – as informed citizens and as steadfast believers – we strive to fulfill the human vocation in our own day, just as all the saints have done in past ages.
    In this Year of Faith, let us bring our faith to bear on how we vote this Election Day.
    And may God, in His goodness, continue to bless America.

    +Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap
    Archbishop of Philadelphia
    +Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali
    Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
    +Daniel E. Thomas
    Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
    +Timothy C. Senior
    Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
    +John J. McIntyre
    Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
    +Michael J. Fitzgerald
    Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
    +Martin Nicholas Lohmuller
    Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
    +Louis A. DeSimone
    Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
    +Robert P. Maginnis
    Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
    +John Oliver Barres
    Bishop of Allentown
    +Edward Peter Cullen
    Bishop Emeritus of Allentown
    +Mark Leonard Bartchak
    Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown

    +Joseph Victor Adamec
    Bishop Emeritus of Altoona-Johnstown
    +Lawrence Thomas Persico
    Bishop of Erie
    +Donald Walter Trautman
    Bishop Emeritus of Erie
    +Lawrence Eugene Brandt
    Bishop of Greensburg
    +Joseph P. McFadden
    Bishop of Harrisburg
    +David Allen Zubik
    Bishop of Pittsburgh
    +William J. Waltersheid
    Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh
    +Joseph Charles Bambera
    Bishop of Scranton
    +Joseph Francis Martino
    Bishop Emeritus of Scranton
    +James Clifford Timlin
    Bishop Emeritus of Scranton
    +John M. Dougherty
    Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Scranton



    **********************************************

  10. Judy Claar
    1 year ago

    I do have to comment. I agree with Bill Sr. This needs to go out to All of our Bishops. I also agree with Ramon M.D. I have encountered too many people who have been stung by the Jesuits. What started out as good and holy, I now question. (I know not All are good or bad, I do not judge here). My personal encounters of those having been stung, have been with those I have known personally, and those whom I have met traveling in my life. There are some Jesuits who have led others astray from the Church...physically and/or mentally. Now, you probably will not air this, but so be it. It is the Truth. And then, I think that if you will not post it, why then am I, or would I, waste my time?

    Because I believe that it is important to do what Bill Sr. suggests. The Church is being attacked within as well as from without. Pope Benedict did well biting into Peru? (S.A. anyway). There needs to be so so many many wee bites in America! The Church has some of her pieces to her great mystical puzzle missing. They are some of the True Body of Christ. Sunday Blessings...


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