7-September-2012 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Catholic lobby director praises Obama, ignores some life issues

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the social justice lobby Network, applauded Democratic economic policies as being "pro-life" and aligned with Catholic values.

In a Sept. 5 address to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., she advocated "faith, family and fairness" and criticized a Republican budget proposal that "does not reflect our nation's values."

Sr. Campbell recently headed up the multi-state "Nuns on the Bus" tour to protest the federal budget proposal unveiled by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan as a Wisconsin congressman last spring.

The tour was supported by Faith in Public Life, a "strategy center" aimed at promoting "progressive and moderate" people of faith and helping to "shift the values debate" during key political moments.

In June, Faith in Public Life was revealed to be orchestrating a quiet media campaign to undermine the U.S. bishops' opposition to the controversial insurance mandate that requires employers to offer health care plans covering contraception, sterilization and early-abortion drugs.

A leaked e-mail from the organization encouraged journalists to "ask critical questions" challenging the funding of the bishops' efforts to protest the mandate and whether they are politicizing the issue by speaking out on the matter during an election year.

Describing the bishops' concerns as "fiction" and "irresponsible rhetoric," it also recommended left-leaning sources for interviews on the subject.

In her DNC address, Sr. Campbell pointed to a critique of Ryan's budget by Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif. in his capacity as the head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Blaire raised concerns that proposed spending cuts in programs for the poor would harm the most vulnerable.

Several other bishops have since spoken up in defense of Ryan's reputation as a serious Catholic, and Ryan has responded to criticism by asserting that the poor are harmed most by extreme federal debt and that his ideas will boost the economy and help reduce poverty.

Republican leaders argue that their plan will not harm the poor but will instead put the states in charge of programs such as Medicaid, resulting in greater efficiency and less fraud.

Sr. Campbell said she believes "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are correct when they say that each individual should be responsible."

"But their budget goes astray in not acknowledging that we are responsible not only for ourselves and our immediate families," she continued. "Rather, our faith strongly affirms that we are all responsible for one another."

"I am my brother's keeper," she insisted, arguing that this obligation must be carried out via the federal government.

Americans "all share responsibility" in ensuring that the economy is healthy, the Affordable Care Act is implemented and all U.S. governors expand Medicaid coverage, Sr. Campbell asserted.

"This is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do," she said.

Absent from Sr. Campbell's discussion of her "pro-life stance" was any reference to abortion, which the Democratic Party endorsed earlier in the week in its official 2012 platform.

In opposing any attempt to limit or restrict the "right" to abortion, the party rejected an attempt by the Democrats for Life of America to expand the platform in order to acknowledge pro-life party members as well as those who support abortion.

Also absent from Sr. Campbell's comments was any mention of the controversial HHS mandate, which has drawn criticism not only from the Catholic bishops but from a variety of faith leaders who warned that it threatens the religious liberty of faith-filled employers who object to the required coverage.

Critics of the mandate have warned that because the Obama administration has chosen not to extend an exemption from the mandate to the vast majority of religious institutions, charitable organizations such as food banks, religious hospitals and Catholics Charities could be forced to shut down.

Sr. Campbell did not discuss the threat posed by the mandate, choosing instead to argue that the work of Catholic sisters "to alleviate suffering would be seriously harmed by the Romney-Ryan budget."

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=6110#ixzz25nS1ksYy

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