Kirsten Andersen

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Despite HHS mandate, Catholic voters narrowly favor Obama over Romney

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen

Co-authored with John Jalsevac

Washington, D.C., November 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite the Obama administration’s attacks on freedom of religion, and Obama’s support for abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gay “marriage,” the president still took home exactly half of the Catholic vote, slightly ahead of Romney’s 48%.

According to CNN exit polling, self-professed Catholics made up 25% of those voting in Tuesday’s election, 50% of whom voted for President Barack Obama. This was a 5% decrease compared to 2008, but not enough to hand challenger Mitt Romney the critical Catholic vote.  Romney earned the votes of only 48% of Catholics, while two percent voted for third party or write-in candidates.

The CNN poll did not distinguish between practicing and lapsed Catholics. However, a FOX News exit poll did, finding that Catholics who attended mass weekly favored Romney over Obama 57 to 42 percent.

Catholic Church leaders were unusually vocal in this year’s election, in light of the HHS birth control mandate, which has been described as an unprecedented attack on freedom of religion, particularly that of Catholics.  Some spoke out against same-sex “marriage” initiatives, which were on ballots in four states Tuesday.  A few bishops warned their flocks that voting for candidates who favor legalized abortion or other immoral policies could place their souls in jeopardy.

But according to Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, this wasn’t enough. “The collision course of the Obama Administration with the Catholic Church could have been averted yesterday, but now it is assured instead,” Pavone said.

“Many in Church leadership failed to connect the dots between personnel and policy. They prayed and preached against the HHS mandate, but then were silent about the election, and called the police to remove citizens who leafleted the Church parking lot trying to inform voters about where the candidates stood on this issue.”

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Deal Hudson, President of the Pennsylvania Catholics’ Network, agreed that more needs to be done. Obama won Pennsylvania with 52% of the vote.

“We needed a bigger shift of Catholic voters,” said Hudson in an e-mail to supporters. “We do not yet have the breakdown of religiously-active Catholic voters, but you can be sure it was close to 60% for Romney.”

Hudson partially blamed changing demographics on Obama’s strong overall performance among Catholics, specifically the continuing increase in the number of Latino Catholics, who represented 10% of the overall vote this year.  Latino voters went 69% for Obama and only 30% for Romney.

Hudson also had criticism for Catholic leaders whose activism he felt may have been too little, too late. “We … could have used louder voices among our clergy and our bishops—fewer alphabetical voter guides and more insistence on the civilizational issues at stake,” he wrote.

He said he hoped the election would be a “wake-up call” to faithful Catholics who may have sat on the sidelines as their fellow Catholics took up the fight for religious freedom.  He said he hoped that “those who need to lead, start leading, until those who feared joining the fight, join.”

Notably, a number of vocal Catholic dissenters from Church teaching were elected or re-elected on Tuesday.  Vice President Joe Biden, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senator-elect Tim Kaine (D-VA) are some of the high-profile Catholic dissenters who won their races.  All are ardent supporters of legalized abortion and favor federal funding of the procedure, in direct conflict with the teachings of their faith.

Obama has actively courted the support of dissenting Catholics, particularly through his Catholics for Obama group. He has also named a number of public Catholic dissenters to prominent positions in his administration. One of these is Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary who issued and continues to defend the controversial birth control mandate.

Canon law states that such public dissenters should not be given Communion, a position that Pope Benedict XI, in his prior role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reiterated when another prominent Catholic pro-abort, John Kerry, ran for president in 2004. Nonetheless, many bishops have been reluctant to comply with the law, citing their concern that refusal to offer Communion to a politician could be seen as political activism. 

Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Catholic Church’s highest court, calls their concern “nonsense” and says that the opposite is true. He argues that dissenting Catholic politicians who make sure they are seen receiving Holy Communion are using their reception as a political tool to confuse Catholic voters. 

In a 2009 interview with LifeSiteNews, the then-Archbishop pointed to the several occasions when Senator Kerry was pictured in Time magazine receiving Communion from Papal representatives at various public events. Burke said it was obvious Kerry was using his reception of Holy Communion to send a message.

“He wants to not only receive Holy Communion from a bishop but from the papal representative,” Burke told LSN. “I think that’s what his point was. Get it in Time magazine, so people read it and say to themselves, ‘He must be in good standing’.”

“What are they doing? They’re using the Eucharist as a political tool.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

The Editors
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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