Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

10/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There was overwhelming support for everything Father Reese had to say, almost every time he mocked the bishops the majority of those in attendance laughed loudly

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."

Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., former editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University where he focuses on religion and public policy.

Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., former editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University where he focuses on religion and public policy.

Highlights

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Holy Trinity catholic Church, Fr Thomas Reese, Faithful Citizenship, Georgetown, Obamacare, HHS Mandate, Affordable care Act, Contraception mandate, abortion, Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan, Catholic Vote, Deal W Hudson, Keith A Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Last week, as we reported, Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in Washington, D.C. printed an article about the upcoming US Presidential election election in its parish bulletin dissenting from settled Church teaching on the priority of moral issues in politics.  A number of parishioners communicated with Pastor Mark Horak, S.J., their concerns about the article, written by Dean Vincent Rougeau of the Boston College School of Law. 

This past weekend at Holy Trinity, as part of their Sunday Speaker Series, Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J.
gave some remarks on the election, now only a week away. Father Reese's remarks certainly kept the attention of the 250 or so people in attendance.

About Republicans, Father Reese imagined them saying to themselves, "Maybe we can pick up some Catholic votes if we oppose Obama's original contraception mandate."

Such charity is rarely met in political speech in the nation's capital - much less among the Catholic clergy who dare to discuss politics.

Father Reese seems to know a great deal about the Republican mind: He claimed that initial Republican opposition to the HHS mandate was driven by polls, but once Republicans found out that women like the contraception mandate, they "ran away" from their opposition.

Perhaps Father Reese has missed the steady drumbeat of references to the HHS mandate made by both Gov. Mitt Romney and Cong. Paul Ryan during the campaign?

Given that the GOP was not alone in opposing the HHS mandate, that the Catholic Bishops made even more noise about it with their "Fortnight for Freedom," what did Father Reese have to say about them?

"Bishops may be unhappy about the contraception mandate, but they have only 200 votes in this election," was the view expressed by Father Reese.

Father Reese evidently takes not only a quantitative view of the issues but a quantitative view of the Bishops' authority, as least in regard to the upcoming election. A Bishop is just one more vote, nothing more.

Father Reese argues the Bishops should support what he euphemistically calls "accommodation" with the Obama mandate. What it should be called is "selling out," at the very least. Reese thinks the Bishops just keep making different "excuses" so they can oppose the mandate.
 
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."

There were no gasps or grimaces at these remarks.  There was overwhelming support for everything Father Reese had to say, almost every time he mocked the bishops the majority of those in attendance laughed loudly.

The Bishops, Father Reese added, "are on a political campaign" to have the contraception mandate regulations changed. In fact, some of the Bishops use language saying religious liberty is a moral absolute, but it is "not."

Father Reese, evidently, is not too concerned about the Bishops' role in this election: "What the Bishops say would be important if Catholics actually followed them."

At the same time, Father Reese cited the Bishops' own document, "Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship," in order to summarize, and add authority to, his own view of how a Catholic can vote for a pro-choice candidate, "if they are voting for that candidate out of other moral concerns."

We know that Father Reese has read and understands the bishops' New Introduction to Faithful Citizenship, so it must be the case that he has chosen to ignore its explicit rejection of the position he stated.

Unfortunately, it's Father Reese's one-liner on "Faithful Citizenship" that is the dominant message being communicated to most Catholics across the nation, a message corroborated by the alphabetical voter guides being distributed by state Catholic conferences. 

Father Reese, former editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University where he focuses on religion and public policy.

Few Catholic churches in our nation are as venerable as Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in Washington, D.C.  Founded in 1794, Holy Trinity's first pastor was Francis Neale, S.J.; the second pastor of Holy Trinity, Benedict J. Fenwick, S.J., became the second Bishop of Boston and founded Holy Cross College; the third, John McElroy, S.J., founded Boston College.

Today, Holy Trinity serves over 3,500 families, 10,000 people, and is still administered by the Society of Jesus. Holy Trinity, in our opinion, is a shining example of the institutionalized dissent that has characterized the Catholic Church in this country for the past forty years. 

This type of dissent is rarely ever addressed by anyone of authority in the Church and, as a result, is considered as representative of what the Church stands for by the media and other observers.

Both the message delivered by Father Reese at Holy Trinity Catholic Church and its enthusiastic reception this past weekend is a paradigm of the vacuous and bitter mentality that still pervades the majority of our most prestigious Catholic institutions. We are fortunate that so few of the younger clergy embrace it -- our academics, however, that's another matter, and another story.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Striking back at the Dems! Koch brothers allocate nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS for 2016 presidential race Watch

Image of David Koch, one of the leaders of a political action network that has the monetary power to spend hundreds of millions on political races.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems the Koch brothers have no plans to ease their political spending habits in 2015, as top officials in the brothers' political network released a budget of $889 million to be spent on the vast political network ahead of the 2016 presidential race. LOS ... continue reading


Turning off spigot: Obama aims to possessively guard oil-rich Alaskan coastline from development Watch

Image of Alaska's coastal plain has been at the center of a fight between conservationists and advocates of greater energy exploration in the U.S. for a very long time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just because there's been relief at the corner gas pump doesn't mean that the United States won't need any more oil in the near future - far from it. As such, many are infuriated that U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to designate the vast majority of Alaska's ... continue reading


And the field gets thicker! Rubio joins Bush, Romney, Walker and Christie as 2016 presidential hopeful Watch

Image of Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida may be crafting a campaign team for a potential 2016 bid.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A fifth Republican is making noise that could be interpreted as intent to make a 2016 presidential run. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Florida Senator Marco Rubio is possibly gathering a campaign team, planning out a slew of state visits starting in February, and ... continue reading


Scott Walker enters the 2016 Republican nomination ring with speech attacking Obama's failed policies Watch

Image of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave a speech in Iowa, a move which may put him in the running for the Republican nomination.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may have been the first Republicans to make it clear-though still unofficial-that they intend to run for the Republican nomination in 2016, but ... continue reading


Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney hold summit meeting: Are they plotting election strategy? Watch

Image of There have been stories in a number of outlets that Jeb Bush proposed the meeting weeks ago, in order to thank Mitt Romney for his past party leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are having a summit meeting. The meeting will be in Utah. Speculation swirls about what the meeting will entail. Some GOP party officials hope "the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns ... continue reading


An average of 27 late-term abortions happen every day in the United States; the bill to protect the unborn from this cruel pain was dramatically dropped by the GOP Watch

Image of 10,000 babies are killed each year through late-term abortions.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An estimated 10,000 unborn babies are killed each year through late-term abortions. This averages out to 27.4 abortions taking place 20 weeks or later per day or 1.14 per hour, according to the Congressional Budget Office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pain ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Pope Francis, Politics, and Catholic Social teaching Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone - Fidelity to the Gospel requires that we be able to prophetically challenge the positions of all political parties, and that our loyalty to Christ and his teaching supersedes our loyalty to any political party, although such loyalties are not per se incompatible with being a Christian.

By Matt C. Abbott

It remains true that the right to life is the most fundamental right and that the duty to defend it is a more urgent priority than other social justice priorities. But to what extent that fact helps or hurts a political party depends upon the party, and his ... continue reading


President Obama fiercely hits the country with proposed $320 billion tax hike, explained in his annual State of the Union Watch

Image of Obama plans on spending his remaining two years in office helping the middle class experience the prosperity of the recovery.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two years before President Obama's departure, he has vowed to spend his remaining time "playing offense." In his annual State of the Union, Obama will address his proposal to increase tax hikes on America's "one percent." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Parts ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder denounced as 'coward' and 'hypocrite' by former FBI agent Watch

Image of A former FBI agent says that Attorney General Eric Holder has used the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former FBI agent K. Dee McCown, who left the agency in 2008, has written a strong letter to Attorney General Eric Holder where McKown denounces Holder as a "coward" and a "hypocrite." McCown says he was compelled to write after the shooting deaths of two New ... continue reading


President Christie? New Jersey governor builds PAC for 2016 run Watch

Image of New Jersey Governor Christ Christie is likely seeking to run for president in 2016, setting up a political action committee that may be up and running as soon as February.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's actions have already made it abundantly clear that he intends to run for president in 2016, but the most recent sign from the Republican should silence all deniers. Christie is organizing a political action committee which ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:11-18
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:1-20
1 Again he began to teach them by the lakeside, but ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 28th, 2015 Image

St. Thomas Aquinas
January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter