The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


A bishop blogs about health care reform

posted by jmcgee

One of America’s blogging bishops is Bishop Robert Lynch, from St. Petersburg, Florida. He’s been posting his analysis of the health care debate, and yesterday added these thoughts:

Most_Rev_Robert_N_Lynch.jpgLast night I received an e-mail from Sister Carol Keehan whom I had tried to reach by phone prior to writing the previous blog. She was flying and I was busy so we never connected. Sister Carol is a good woman of the Church, no liberal trouble-maker by any stretch of the imagination and a woman who as CEO turned Providence Hospital around from certain bankruptcy and closing to a viable facility in the northeast section of the District serving an increasingly poor and marginalized community. She is worthy of being listened to and the other members of the CHA (Catholic Health Association) board respect both her experience and her wisdom. She writes and I believe I owe it to her to place here: “I need to tell you that the information about our position [in your blog] is incorrect. I know that it is what Cardinal George’s statement says but that is not our position. We believe that the Senate bill as written now, meets the test of no federal funding for abortion. We said that we wanted that preserved in the reconciliation bill not fixed. That is a misrepresentation of our position. We would not have taken the position we took if we were hoping for a fix. It had to be already in place and it is. Many legal scholars, the ABC News “Fact Check” also [say] the same thing. The provisions were negotiated by Senators Casey and Nelson, two of the most ardent pro-lifers out there.”

I must also include for your thinking that several very reliable sources have said the same thing as Sister Carol above. The position of the bishops, which I embrace until I have some certainty that we are wrong, is being refuted by usually reliable sources and last night, Congressman Thomas Perriello, a conservative pro-life Catholic, said that he was convinced that the Senate version would guarantee that no federal funds would find their way to abortion services. If he moves to accept the Senate version, that will be a major moment for the pro-life movement given his past perfect record.

For a fuller context, check out this earlier post from his blog.

While you’re there, surf around his site, too. Bishop Lynch has some interesting postings — including links to DOSP’s YouTube channel, with some very good TV ads that ran in Florida, urging people to return to confession.



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Maria

posted March 19, 2010 at 1:38 am


Excerpt from The Rite of Sodomy Chapter 14–you might want to take what the good Bishop has to say with a grain of salt…
“Bishop Lynch accelerated the rate of “modernization” of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Traditional Catholics report that he radically reduced the practice of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in local parishes and he enthusiastically promoted sex instruction in Catholic schools. He permitted the continuance of Dignity-like Masses for homosexuals and welcomed New Ways Ministry into the diocese. In the horrific case of hospitalized Terri Schindler Schiavo, whose adulterous husband starved her to death, Lynch neither defended the young woman’s right to food and water or her right to Holy Communion as a baptized Catholic, one of the young woman’s few consolations in this world.
Bishop Robert Lynch Manages His Own Crisis
On March 22, 2002, the Diocese of St. Petersburg was hit by more bad news. Bishop Lynch had called an impromptu press conference to deny charges that he had sexually harassed a former head of communications for the diocese. Lynch decided to call the news conference after he heard that the Tampa Tribune was just about to break the story. The 60-year-old bishop said the allegations against him were “unsubstantiated,” which is not to say they were not true.
“I have faithfully and fully lived the celibate vow since the day of ordination,” Lynch said. He told reporters gathered at the press conference that he had asked his superiors (actually they were his subordinates) to review the charges against him because of the intense media scrutiny of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy.
The sexual misconduct charge against Lynch involved former diocesan employee Bill Urbanski, 42, who reported to Church officials that Lynch had sexually harassed him on numerous occasions.
Church officials said they offered Urbanski another job within the diocese but away from Bishop Lynch in September 2002, but Urbanski turned down the offer. Instead, he was given a $100,000 severance package after he agreed not to file a lawsuit. Actually, the figure is closer to $150,000 if the extended salary payment that qualified Urbanski for vested pension benefits is included”.



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Klaire

posted March 19, 2010 at 2:46 am


The bill as written CLEARLY overturns the Hyde Amendment. I would even go a step further and add that abortion, IMO, is a critical part of the bill.
Think about it: If abortion were no big deal, the language would already have been changed, Stupek and the 12 pro life hold outs would easily vote for it; bill passed!
By now we have all seen what desperate measures Obama and friends are willing to take, albeit one of the them ISN’T admendment to the goverment funded abortion. Heck, they are willing to go into the land of “unprecedented and unconstitutional”, AKA, martial law, but they are NOT willing to back off on the abortion language.
Do I need to spell out the big red flag or will it be another Obama bamboozle that Obama worshipers didn’t see coming



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Holly Hansen

posted March 19, 2010 at 7:06 am


Thank you so much for posting this. Thank God for Bishops who listen to various points of view. What is amazing to me is how the “more Catholic than the Pope” folks slam the guy for doing so.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted March 19, 2010 at 8:50 am


Ah, yes, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg. The one who, last year, reserved his sharpest criticism for the faithful who were outraged by Notre Dame’s decision to honor Obama while issuing a lukewarm rebuke to Fr. Jenkins for his poor judgement. The same Bishop Lynch who sat on his hands and did nothing while Terri Schiavo — a Catholic in his OWN diocese — was starved to death in 2005.
On the matter currently pending before Congress, Deacon Greg might be interested in the views of the Bishop who ordained him. In this weekend’s edition of the Brooklyn diocesan newspaper, The Tablet, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio writes: “The health care reform legislation has become a lightning rod which unfortunately has separated our country into various camps. I personally feel that it is time to call a truce. It is time to bring all parties together to engage in the political process which might make a compromise which could satisfy all parties. Although the USCCB supports healthcare reform, especially healthcare for the uninsured as has been advocated for many years, it is very much concerned about and opposed to federal funding for abortions.”
Bishop DiMarzio is suggesting, it would appear, that Congress and the President stop this monstrous legislation — refrain from resorting to the aptly-named “Slaughter Rule” to get it passed — and instead start over from scratch with a modest and sensible plan that a bipartisan majority can agree to and which avoids federal funding for abortions.



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ds0490

posted March 19, 2010 at 9:44 am


This spring, as police hunted for the Rev. Robert Schaeufele, Bishop Robert Lynch refused to give prosecutors information about church officials’ recent questioning of the priest. Father Schaeufele resigned from a parish in April and moved out of state after the diocese confronted him with abuse allegations. Officers found him in Michigan and charged him with sexually battering two 11-year-old boys in the 1980s. A diocesan attorney has said Father Schaeufele admitted he “crossed boundaries” with minors. Last year, the diocese paid $100,000 to its former spokesman to settle claims that Bishop Lynch had sexually harassed him. The bishop characterized the payment as a severance package. The former spokesman, Bill Urbanski, said he initially appreciated Bishop Lynch’s lavish gifts – stereos, cameras, upscale clothes. But he began to feel increasingly uncomfortable when Bishop Lynch would touch and massage him, or would walk around naked in their hotel room during trips. Bishop Lynch described the matter as a misunderstanding: “I did not intend anything. We were close friends.” A diocesan investigation, led by three close Lynch aides, found no evidence to back Mr. Urbanski’s allegations of advances. Mr. Urbanski said investigators never interviewed him.



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Jordan

posted March 19, 2010 at 10:04 am


The hateful words spoken by people about this bishop only show the growth of Satan’s power in our world. It shows the power of his lies. When you allow him to remove love from your heart for the power of false righteousness, you weaken your power to fight him, because his hate has entered your heart. Nothing is ever perfect but Satan tells us lies to convince us that only our idea is right, and to give any consession in order to help some over none, is evil. This bill is not perfect… but we try our best to help some. The hate shown on the comments against people attracted to the same gender and people who believe in and respect our country and President is evidence of that these words come from the power of evil. I pray that your hearts will be filled with the love of Christ!



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Your Name

posted March 19, 2010 at 10:24 am


Jordon, nothing comes more from the gates of hell than abortion, with a close 2nd to all who “rationalize” it. It’s the same old same old, “social justice guise.”
Mark my words, if this passes, within a decade, American will have forced abortions, rationalized again by “costs.” Obama and Pelosi have clearly stated that this is only the first step.
For any who choose to trust the most pro abortion president in American History, the same one who voted AGAINST babies born alive and left them to die in “death rooms” in Chicago hospitals, don’t act “shocked” when it happens. I’m telling you aboriton is part of the “solution” to the cost of healthcare. Also, do know that gate keeper will be non other than the HSH secretary, currently Kathleen Sebalius, supporter of Tiller the Baby Killer late term abortionist.
And for what it’s worth Holly Hansen, that doesn’t make any us who posted “More Catholic than the Pope”, just “Catholic”, at least in terms of abortion. I’m quite sure Pope Benedict would weigh in just as stronly against this bill, as is.



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Klaire

posted March 19, 2010 at 10:26 am


last comment was mine



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ds0490

posted March 19, 2010 at 10:51 am


Once again, abortion becomes a convenient tool to avoid accountability for sheltering abusers. The USCCB used it somewhat successfully over the past couple of years, especially since the Democrats took control of Congress. Now we see attempts once again to use the bodies of aborted fetuses as a bulwark against shining some light on the abusers sheltered therein.



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Klaire

posted March 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

Robert

posted March 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm


During her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton often commented that she felt abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I personally believel abortion should be safe, legal, and never happen at all. The Church has a Higher Power than the state and does not need the state to pass laws–that is, if you actually believe in God. I’m not sure all the anti-abortionists really believe God acts or that God cares for all souls, including those of the unborn. Less focus on laws, more focus on God.



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Reaganite in NYC

posted March 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm


Robert: “The Church has a Higher Power than the state and does not need the state to pass laws. I’m not sure all the anti-abortionists really believe God acts or that God cares for all souls, including those of the unborn. Less focus on laws, more focus on God.”
Oh sure, you want believers to ignore government and lawmaking and stick our heads in the sand and just pray to God. It doesn’t work that way. All Christians have a prophetic calling and that includes speaking truth to power. Obama/Pelosi/Slaughter are proposing a plan that would use tax dollars to fund an intrinsic evil — the killing of the least protected among us — and we have an obligation to oppose this.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted March 19, 2010 at 1:25 pm


St. Joseph’s Day is a godo day to read and ponder all of this. After all, St. Joseph was going to act in accord with the law and divorce Mary.
Inner authority, discernment and most importantly, obedience are all parts of our life of faith. The very word obidence is a word grounded in the verb to listen and not just to act by rote.
In the end, we are left with our love of God, our deepest desire to do the right thing and our conscience.
Of course, one might do otherwise and just rage on in a pedantic fashion putting down all those with whom they disagree and find disdainful. To that end, we all need to be obedient and listen to the Gospel for this Sunday.



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Maria

posted March 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm


Continued Excerpt for The Rite of Sodomy Chapter 14
The entire operation was carried out in almost total secrecy. Lynch’s three loyal subordinates – diocesan attorney, Joseph DiVito, Vicar General Msgr. Brendan Muldoon, and Chancellor Msgr. Robert Gibbons – “reviewed” the complaint against their boss. Only Archbishop John Favalora in Miami was notified of the complaint. Nothing was put in writing. Nevertheless, church officials denied that the payment was “hush money.” “The diocese does not buy silence in St. Petersburg,” said attorney DiVito. He explained that the money came from parishioners, bequeaths, investments and unrestricted accounts. “No funds earmarked for the ministry were used,” DiVito said.
When contacted by the press for a statement, Urbanski said the public revelation had caught him by surprise and he was not prepared to discuss it at this time.
Later, Bishop Lynch admitted that he may have crossed the line between friendship and work. He made a vague reference to getting some “counseling.”
In addition to reporting on the Lynch-Urbanski story, the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune were looking into rumors of Bishop Lynch’s intimate relationship with bachelor David Herman, a contractor who had moved from Fort Lauderdale to St. Petersburg with Lynch when he was installed as bishop. The two men had vacationed together in Hawaii, San Francisco, Key West, Bermuda, Israel and Rome, sometimes accompanied by Urbanski.
Herman had several things in common with Urbanski, one of them being that both men were triathletes. In March 2000, all three men, that is Herman, Urbanski and Lynch went to West Palm Beach for a weekend. Urbanski said the bishop pressured him to go. When they got to their hotel, Urbanski said that Lynch made him take a steam bath together. Herman, who joined the two men said that Urbanski clearly did not want to be there.
Urbanski said that when Lynch began to make sexual overtures towards him, he tried to avoid the bishop as much as possible. “I tried to avoid him as the years progressed, without him getting mad at me. I couldn’t have him mad at me. It was a tough day at work if he was mad at me, yet I couldn’t leave. He went as far as to tell me how to wear my hair. If I got my hair cut, he would say, ‘Oh, Bill. You need to grow your hair back. It’s not a flattering haircut for you.’” He said that when he and Bishop Lynch traveled together the bishop always insisted on sharing rooms, and sometimes appeared naked from the shower.
In April 2002, Urbanski gave a lengthy interview to Brad Smith of the Tampa Tribune in which he elaborated on his four and a half-year relationship with Bishop Lynch. He said that Lynch was a lavish spender who always traveled first class and that he (Urbanski) was frequently the recipient of the bishop’s largesse – watches, designer clothing and other expensive items. Urbanski said at first he was grateful, until he realized that the gifts came at a price – more time, attention, and ultimately sexual favors for the bishop.
It is interesting to note that reporters following the case appeared to be unfazed by the homosexual overtones of the Lynch-Herman relationship or Lynch taking sexual familiarities with Urbanski, a married man with two small children baptized by the bishop. They were upset, however, by the accusation that Lynch, as Corporation Sole of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, had awarded Herman highly inflated new construction contracts totaling $30.3 million on a non-competitive bid basis even though diocesan regulations mandate open bidding for church construction work.
It appears that Bishop Lynch has successfully managed his own sexual misconduct crisis, thanks in no small part to a major distraction provided by the resignation in March 2002 of Bishop Anthony O’Connell of the Diocese of Palm Beach for – you guessed it – sexual molestation.
*www.newengelpublishing.com
JORDAN: With regard to your statement that The hateful theses are “words spoken by people about this bishop only show the growth of Satan’s power in our world”. Hateful works by those commenting or hateful acions by those entrusted as Shepards of their flocks? His actions do not remove any love from my heart. What is difficult sometimes for people to understand is that love and Truth are always, and categorically, inseperable.



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Your Name

posted March 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Wrapping your hatred of Obama in your faith makes you as evil as those who don’t believe at all.



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BronxLady

posted March 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm


It’s been hard for me to see how the bishops can be 100% certain this bill expands abortion rights when so many thoughtful, honest Catholics are not so sure. I appreciate Bishop Lynch’s more nuanced thinking on the issue; we need more bishops like him in our Church.



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Maria

posted March 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm


“we need more bishops like him in our Church”.
We do? We need more homosexual priests who sexually harrass their subordinates? Really??



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Mike L

posted March 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm


I agree with BronzLady. I have not always agreed with Bishop Lynch, but I have generally found him thoughtful and honest in his comments. And never have I heard him deliberately set out to destroy someones reputation in such a nasty way as Maria has. This alone, for me gives Bishop Lynch’s words far more power than Maria’s. As far as I can tell, she never addressed Bishop Lynch’s words, only tried to discredit him, which is called an “ad hominem” attack and is usually looked down on.
There are many wonderful stories about spreading gossip and the impossibility of correcting the damage. Perhaps Maria would be wise to look some of them up.



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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted March 20, 2010 at 10:43 am


The Deacon’s Bench is a very intelligent blog, but I am greatly disheartened by the quality of the commenters. It is really sad and not at all reflective of the author’s effort and skill.
Hear the Gospel this weekend, none of us are without sin. Hear the Gospel this weekend, none of us are without the chance for mercy. Hear the Gospel always, God is always awaiting our response, so that we might all be transformed.
Is such vitriol necessary in the meantime? God have mercy on us all.



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Emelie

posted March 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm


“It’s been hard for me to see how the bishops can be 100% certain this bill expands abortion rights when so many thoughtful, honest Catholics are not so sure.”
Both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice support this bill and oppose Congressman Stupak’s efforts to insert explicit Hyde Amendment language in the bill.
What more proof do you need that the American bishops (USCCB) know what is really going on with this pro-abortion Obamacare bill?



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Maria

posted March 20, 2010 at 11:01 pm


MikeL–Bishop Lynch , not i, destroyed his reputation.
Fran–You do not understand that Bishop Lynch, and others of his ilk, are enemies of the Church who seek Her destruction. Save your sadness for the his victims.



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Gold Coins

posted March 22, 2010 at 12:13 am


Thanks for posting that article, it feeds the mind and eases the eagerness of the reader… Compassion to give such these information and things made a great contribution in the world of the website, for the one who sees it and need it like me…



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annie

posted March 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm


Maria is right on the money folks. I live in Bishop Lynch’s Diocese ..He is my bishop and I can tell you he is the source of great pain to may of the faithful here. It’s made worse by his seemingly peaceful front..Let me tell you …he is all about a liberal agenda ..Seen it with my own eyes…know people who have suffered in their service under him..Please spare me the hate speech nonsense..A tree is known by it’s fruit..It’s been falling rotten off the trees down here for years.



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Truly concerned for our Church

posted January 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm


Those of us in the DOSP who know Robert Lynch know him to be no courageous ally of the Magesterium, the pope or the Catholic Church–albeit he’s made his career in it. He is a flagrant “Second Vatican Council” type of priest–by his own words–which is code language for shedding tradition and focusing on propagation of the “Kumbaya Culture” that has all but decimated our Church until recently, when the Holy Spirit began calling the faithful home again. His position on this legislation does not surprise me, and now that it’s passed and everyone knows how dishonest it was I hope he’s pleased with himself. Any cleric (or Catholic for that matter) who supported this is either a fool or driven by a spirit not that of Christ–and Robert is no fool. Obamacare does fund abortions and any fool could see the politics. And it is NOT CHARITY for the poor and unfortunate. Charity is what I give freely. Forced subsidation by government coercion is tyranny and antichrist. Thus, Obamacare and its supporters violate two of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not kill, and the proscription against coveting thy neighbor’s property. And as far as Robert’s call for us to revisit the confessional–I’d love to, but the one in my parish is only open to the public for 45 minutes per week! I’m afraid that’s the norm in our diocese. Maybe he should get his priests to sit in them and pray more so the faithful could access that vital sacrament. He certainly seems to be able to coerce them into other types of behavior, such as suppressing chant in spite of papal direction. I pray for change.



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