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They Do Not Speak for Me: These Catholic Sisters say 'No' to Health Care Bill

By Deacon Keith Fournier
March 18th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'The Bishops´ position is the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.'

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) – As the banter back and forth continues in every news source over the proposed Health Care Legislation, the official teachers of the Catholic Church, the Bishops, have remained steadfast.
 
The proposed legislation - which may be pushed through without a real vote -  MUST be opposed because it will expand abortions and provides federal dollars to do so.

Sadly, 60 religious sisters, claiming to speak for every member of the religious communities they represen,t made National News by signing a letter to Congress urging passage of this fatally flawed Bill. The Bill undermines the fundamental Human Right to Life in its present form.

In the letter they CLAIMED they represent 59,000 nuns in taking this controversial position. However, there are only 59,000 total women living a religious life as nuns or sisters in the United States. They also supported the leader of the Catholic Health Association, Sr. Carol Keehan, who came out publicly endorsing the Bill earlier this week.

These 60 sisters have now publicly and openly contradicted the US Catholic Bishops. They went so far as to claim that this Bill is "Pro-Life" when it will expand abortions. 7 Billion dollars of federal money will be given to community health centers if the bill becomes law. That money can be used to take the lives of children in the womb.

They  also maintained  that the US Bishops clear concerns over the expansion of abortion  were "...false claims . . . the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions." In short, they not only contradicted the Bishops, they claimed they were not giving the faithful accurate information.

Today, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious responded. These are the leaders of thousands of sisters and nuns in the United States. They represent over 103 religious communities of women in the United States.

They take strong exception to the claims that the signatories of the letter to Congress represented Catholic women religious in the United States concerning this life or death issue. Speaking on behalf of their nuns and sisters they issued the following clear defense of the Bishops and opposition to the Legislation:

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March 17, 2010
 
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 Senate´s 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 Church´s position on critical issues of health care reform.

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.
 
Protection of life and freedom of conscience are central to morally responsible judgment.  We join the bishops in seeking ethically sound legislation.

Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan, R.S.M.
President
On behalf of the Membership of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious


 

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