September 19, 2008

Be Our Guest / Angela Hayes

Religious sister’s support for candidate, newspaper’s publishing of story is troubling to reader

I am writing about an article that appeared in the Sept. 5 issue of The Criterion.

The story was from Catholic News Service and featured the headline “Obama invokes American spirit, echoes ‘Faithful Citizenship’ themes.”

In the article, Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service who is executive director of Network, a Washington-based Catholic social justice lobby, is quoted extensively supporting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama because he plans to fund health care programs allowing women to carry their babies full term, thereby reducing the need for abortion.

She contends that many women turn to abortion because they lack access to prenatal care and economic means to support a child.

Sister Simone did not mention Obama’s voting history regarding life issues, nor the many programs and crisis centers all over the U.S. to help a woman with her pregnancy and support for her children.

When I first read this, I thought surely a Catholic nun cannot be taking this position. It appears that Sister Simone is indeed a Catholic nun.

If a Catholic is looking for an excuse to support Obama in this election, he or she could justify it based upon the opinion of this Catholic nun.

I think Catholic priests and religious need to be very careful about what they say to avoid scandal and misrepresenting Catholic teachings.

Even though an increase in health care funding to the poor sounds good, it does not come close to the weight of the moral travesty of abortion.

Nothing can supersede the importance of abolishing a law that allows and even encourages the murder of innocent victims.

I think Sister Simone has been wooed by the deceptive charm of the Democratic National Convention and blinded by the trees in the forest.

My next concern is that Catholic News Service and a Catholic archdiocesan newspaper would print this article with such veracity. Sister Simone’s opinion is not in alignment with the spirit of the teachings of the Church.

“Faithful Citizenship” does not mean disregard the most crucial issues in an election to support a potentially good secondary issue.

“Faithful Citizenship” requires that we look at the integrity and consistency of performance of any candidate in order to make judgments about his or her future performances. It’s called good common sense.

(Angela Hayes is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany.)

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