The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Nuns back health care reform bill

This appears to be a big break from what the USCCB is advising:

Catholic nuns, in an unusual split from the powerful Catholic bishops, came out in favor of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, offering potentially important political cover for antiabortion Democrats still on the fence.

Nearly 60 nuns from orders they say represent 59,000 Catholic sisters, signed on to a letter urging House-passage of the Senate health care bill and declaring, “the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.”


“The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all,” the nuns wrote.

The letter comes as even top White House officials concede the abortion issue remains the most vexing. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee oppose the Senate bill. They say the language on abortion is not stringent enough to ensure that federal funds would not subsidize private insurance plans that pay for abortions. That has put a dozen or more Democrats on the fence who had approved a House health care bill with tougher abortion restrictions.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

Comments read comments(23)
post a comment

posted March 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Getting more admiration for women in the RCC every minute!

report abuse


posted March 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Hmmmm. Who is the letter signed, in part, by? None other than–
Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA
LCWR President
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Joan Chittister, OSB
Co-Chair Global Peace Initiative of Women
Erie, PA
Are we surprised. Funny, I did not see any Carmelites or Poor Clares. Maybe they are too busy,in prayer, for the Church who has lost her way. Kyrie Elesion.

report abuse


posted March 17, 2010 at 6:39 pm

“Are we surprised. Funny, I did not see any Carmelites or Poor Clares. Maybe they are too busy,in prayer, for the Church who has lost her way. Kyrie Elesion.”
Yes, for those abusive Bishops and those who continue to cover for them.

report abuse


posted March 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm

These nuns are a bunch of abortionists and they should be defrocked

report abuse

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted March 18, 2010 at 10:55 am

At the end of our lives we are alone with our consciences before God. It is at that time that we make our final peace. If the sisters have acted with and in good conscience, then they have done the right thing.
I do not think any of this is easy and I do understand enough about Catholic Moral Theology… the ends never justify the means. That said, it is a challenge for us all to really read the bill and examine whether or not abortions would be funded, if Hyde is no longer standing. I myself do not find it so clear.
And there is something that must be considered when 9 million American children have no healthcare. It is something that must be considered when every 4 out of 10 cancer survivors are alive… but broke. And that 1 out of every 10 cancer survivors are homeless as a result of the financial ruin.
This is not to say that abortion is negotiable, but the constant ignoring of all other matters draws up these same ends versus means questions.
BTW, nuns cannot be defrocked. Sometimes the comments here are either so vitriolic or so uninformed, with all due respect, I do not even bother commenting much of the time.

report abuse


posted March 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

Fran: You are altogether correct. In the end will will be judged and we will be judged on wether and how we kept, or did not keep, the commandments. It is well to remember that the Devil was a murder and a liar from the beginning. It helps guide the conscience.

report abuse


posted March 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

Fran: You are altogether correct. In the end will will be judged and we will be judged on wether and how we kept, or did not keep, the commandments. It is well to remember that the Devil was a murderer and a liar from the beginning. It helps guide the conscience.

report abuse

Your Name

posted March 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

“These nuns are a bunch of abortionists and they should be defrocked.”
Ah yes, that famous Catholic ‘charity’ the Chuch has become known for.

report abuse

Grumpy Old Person

posted March 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

This is not surprising, women joining with the Catholic Hospitals to support a bill giving health care to some 30,000,000+ more Americans, among them the poorest in the nation.
Shame on the House of Bishops. Antedeluvian.

report abuse


posted March 18, 2010 at 2:22 pm

This is not to say that abortion is negotiable, but the constant ignoring of all other matters draws up these same ends versus means questions.
With all do respect, Fran, this appears to be a contradiction.  If abortion isn’t negotiable and public funding of abortion is in the bill as many of us contend, then it doesn’t matter whether or not the other issues are delved into or not even though there are plenty of other problems with the constantly metamorphosing health care proposal.

report abuse


posted March 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Oh gosh, looks like the veteran journalist running this blog fell for the oldest agit-prop trick in the book: rehashing “old news” as new news.
Deacon Greg’s NET-TV colleague (“The Anchoress”) has the real scoop behind this non-story. Check it out here:
In any event, who cares what this self-appointed group of so-called leaders think? They don’t represent the Bishops, the pro-life movement, most of the faithful laity and probably most of the nuns in this country.

report abuse


posted March 18, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Any “Catholic” group that supports the Obamacare SCAM is probably funded by George Soros, an enemy of Catholics and Christians in general, as well as en enemy of the U.S., who has invested billions to use, manipulate and confuse Catholics, Christians and Jews in order to destroy the U.S.
Soros invested billions to support Obama’s presidential campaign, funding and using “Catholic” groups, such as the Catholic Left, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics United, and Catholics for Choice (the pro-abortion group that has twice been condemned as a fraud by Catholic bishops).
Those organizations funded by Soros worked hard to make Obama seem almost pro-life on abortion and have been pushing the Marxist Obamacare SCAM as a “Christian” bill.
We Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Americans in general, need to unite to defend ourselves, our children and our values from destructive lies, manipulation and influences. We need to realize that U.S. enemies like Soros are advancing and promoting evil not only in the U.S. but all over the world.
The Obamacare SCAM is part of the evil pushed by U.S. enemies Soros and Obama.

report abuse


posted March 19, 2010 at 2:19 am

Here text from letter released by Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWER)who support the Bishops’ positon on health care.
“March 18, 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, finds the provision of the bill to include expansion of abortion funding and fails to include conscience protection. We believe the bill needs to include the Hyde Amendment as passed by
the House in November.
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”

report abuse


posted March 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Sad to see that those who are supposed to be supporters of Christ, need to align themselves to people who believe “the ends justify the means”. I wonder if they ever thought that was the same rationale the Pharasees gave when they gave sanction to crucify Christ? When people attach themselves more to a cause, and less than how one reaches the outcome, truth isnt being well served.

report abuse

Your Name

posted March 19, 2010 at 8:38 pm

I am sickened that you vicious, selfish me-first Catholics let your “Republican first” mindset get in the way of the truth == the bill does not fund abortions. Any Fox news report that claims as much is as paranoid as the these Bishops who live in grand houses while the nuns serve the sick, the children and those most in need. These nuns do NOT support abortion and you who spread the lies of the right wing are as evil as those you point a finger at for suggesting that they do. Shame on you.

report abuse


posted March 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I have been a doctor for 19 years. 4 years in the Army and 15 years in private practice. I belong to a doctor owned group of approx 350 doctors in a multi-specialty practice. We employ 4000 people. In addition to being touted as one of the very best clinics in the nation (Acclaim Award winners) we have donated over a million dollars to the local city in grants, scholarships and charity. Regularly voted as top places to work by our employees. US healthcare at its very best. I am very proud of what we do and we provide tremendous care and value to our patients.
We seek to maintain a 3-5% profit margin annually. We operate in the very precarious business model of enormous volume, low margin. As any business owner knows, this is high-risk-low-margin of error model. Consequently any small changes to cash flow vectors, mandates widespread internal policy and practice corrections. Tiny changes = massive consequences.
As many people may know, Medicare and Medicaid, the current government paid ‘insurer’ – pays approximately 70% of the cost of care. ie its more expensive for doctors to care for these patients than we get reimbursed for. Say you are a contractor. Imagine the government mandating a significant number of your jobs whereby your out of pocket costs are ~ 30% + greater than your income. That is Medicare and Medicaid. In perspective, our group alone, year 2008 lost ~$12 million caring for our government patients. This is despite taking over 1 1/2 years to help move our fee-for-service traditional Medicare patients over to Medicare Advantage plans, which are privatized versions of Medicare that reimburse better…still not covering costs…but lessen our losses significantly.
Many people ask, why do private health insurance premiums continue to escalate? The liberals want you to believe its a combination of profiteering and waste. When in fact its due mainly to two other processes. The first is obvious: every year it costs more to care for patients and premiums are trying to keep up with this rising cost. But secondly, and less often discussed, is that every year private delivery systems lose more and more money caring for our government patients. Someone has to make up for these losses in order for your hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmacies, group practices to remain solvent and profitable. Every year these delivery systems open their books to the private healthcare insurers – and the insurers must – they must in order for the entire system at large to stay functional, increase the amount they pay out to cover these losses. If they dont, both the delivery systems and the insurers die. So to keep the boat afloat, the payouts by private insurers MUST increase to subsidize the ever increasing losses doctors incur by taking care of our government patients. So, in a way, you could say that your increasing premiums are a tax that you are paying to cover the losses that are Medicare and Medicaid. It’s a clear and inarguable private subsidation of government cost. Enough said on that.
So to really feel the consequence and full impact of Obamacare, one must simply see the economic dominos. Most people can see how this bill will rapidly reduce private insurance plans and rapidly expand government plan patients. And take whatever number that is being reported, and multiply that by 3. That has been the experience in both Mass and Hawaii. Both government plans were overwhelmed with the enrollees as they significantly underestimated the government migration.
Ok, so now- how can anyone not see the obvious outcome? Government patients = significant loss of profitability. Initally the private insurers will do their best to continue to subsidize this loss, and there will be a huge escalation of premiums. But within a few months this will be unsustainable. Its a cycle that cannot be stopped. Higher premiums = higher recidivism to governmnet plans = higher premiums etc. Within months, every single hospital, every single doctor office, clinic, nursing home, pharmacy – every delivery system reliant on private insurers will no longer be profitable. ie they will go bankrupt. These will most certainly be the headlines to come: Hospital XYZ shockingly announces bankruptcy; Hospitals can no longer remain open; Clinics across the country file for bankruptcy; Loss of Pharmacy access shocks the Nation; Doctors going bankrupt en masse creating healthcare delivery and access to care crises; Where can you go to get care?; Loss of access reported Nationwide
Yes a crises. A crises of access due to widespread business failure. You will not be able to get care for as long as it takes for the government to devise their emergency bailout package and as long as it takes for those insufficient dollars to try and get those doors back open again. But it will be too late, and it will be too expensive. There is absolutely no way that our government can capitalize our entire healthcare system. Try as they might, only a percentage of what we have now will ultimately survive. And those that do survive will be a shell of what they once were. The conditions will be frightening, and the consequnces will be dire. The degree of disarray will be unimaginable and the underlap in access to care will be gaping.
I will not expand this discussion to predict what this means to our economy at large because I am not an economist. But anyone can be close to predicting what I am suggesting. Factors such as loss of work hours due to illnesses not treated, pressure on all the other private business models; let alone the out and out loss of enourmous capital via the bankruptcy of this entire healthcare industry can clearly be the death nail to our country and imo is a clear and present threat to our very sovereignty. This can make the housing collapse look like a speed bump. This will be massive and rapid and lethal and complete.
I am not certain why this very obvious outcome has not been openly discussed momre often – ie the rapid and massive bankruptcy of all of your health care providers and their delivery systems. But this is the inevitable outcome should this bill ever become law and inplemented.
Thanks for reading. Please ping, copy and email your friends and try and get this word out. I know it’s a very late hour – but I do think the implementation is not an inevitability as multiple lawsuits may keep it on hold for a while – so public opinion will still be vital for many more months to come.
Unbelievable times. Please do your part and email and make the phone calls. This plea comes an honest and heartfelt love of our country and its citizens, and an honest and heartfelt love of my profession, avocation and the welfare of my patients.

report abuse


posted March 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Elinor Dandrea

posted March 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

I truly dont believe most Americans are happy today.Why? because even if we get Healthcare past, the real health of our country is suffering. What we really hoped for by this President, he didnt deliver, and still doesnt. I suppose he fooled us all with his speech regarding “no blue state, no red state”.
A person cant be a President for all, while you snipe at the opposition, at every turn. He certainly did make a President before him, ever played the part of “sniper in charge”..Every president before him, had others do that for him. And because of this..he has separated our country even more…which for those of us who remember 9/11 and feeling like One..He certainly isnt the “one” everyone thought he would be.

report abuse


posted March 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

This is one American who is thrilled! I didn’t become an Obama supporter (I backed Hillary) until the Democratic National Convention. I think Obama is going to go down in history as the first great President of the 21st century. It also shows that it is possible to have a rational adult in the White House again. His brilliance in actually asking Congress to do its job, rather than trying to come up with his own plan and have it never get out of committee, as happened with Hillarycare, is why we have health care reform passed today. Well done, Mr. President.

report abuse


posted March 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Yes, it is an Good day indeed, Alicia.

report abuse


posted March 23, 2010 at 12:27 am

Once again it is proven you cannot be pro life and a democrat. The fig leaf exec order holds no power as quickly seen when interviews with pro abortion democrats detailed as they do not see that holding back funding for a single abortion. It is not law and can just as easily change by the same pen from the same person and will if it becomes an issue. What we now have in place according to these pro abortion democrats is the vehicle to move toward full funding of abortions which is a womans right.
The nuns who supported this are not catholic in any way as they are in open dissent on a number of issues which are Non negotiable in Catholic teaching such as marriage between one man and one woman, only male priesthood, and of course now abortion. At least Stupak sold his vote for some funds for jobs with airport construction in his district. I think the figure was about 30 pieces of silver for each dead infant that will result from his vote. The nuns sold out just to dissent from the bishops they hate and out of pride. Of course there were more nuns in support of the bishops than in dissent, but these were drowned out in the abortion loving media.

report abuse


posted March 23, 2010 at 6:39 am

Isn’t it interesting that the most decisive votes in getting “Obamadiaster” passed came from ‘pro lifers?’
First it was Ben Nelson of NE (Ben could have stoppped it from ever passing the Senate), and finally by Catholic Stupak in the grand finale.
I’d like to believe both started out with good and honest pro life intentions, but the Obama thuggary was simply too much.
I now look at it all and see more clearly than ever the great battle of Satan, realing more than ever that if any of us think we are going to beat this without sacarments, especially the Eucharist and confession, good luck!
Without questions, we are the one great spiritual battle, of which only a fool would participate “unarmed.”

report abuse


posted March 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

It bothers you that WOMEN in the RC used their brains, and didn’t act like robots by doing the bidding of the MEN who apparently outrank them? They are women (and I assume you are too, by your name) and realize that women should have control over their own bodies. Besides this bill DOESN’T have federal funds paying for abortions. That was made clear. Many however refuse to believe it. Even the RC hospital assn. was smart enough to realize that in order to help MORE people….an admirable Catholic tradition…they needed to back this bill. The bill is law….just as impressive as SS and Medicare. Change is really hard for some folks…but our country is finally entering the 21st century. We’ve been behind countries that have simular wealth in health care….and there was no excuse for it happening except the Republicans.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.