100 Catholic Sisters to Koch Brother Billionaires: Stop Opposing Life-saving Healthcare for Ohioans

November 19, 2013, 3:32 pm | Posted by

Nuns Applaud Lawmakers for Rejecting Immoral Priorities of Corporate Outsiders

Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” released a statement today denouncing the Koch Brothers deep-pocketed campaign to oppose Medicaid expansion that will help the state’s poor and most vulnerable populations. The Koch Brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity, has launched attack ads against Rep. Barbara Sears and other lawmakers across the state who endorse Medicaid expansion that will improve the lives of pregnant women, the disabled and elderly in nursing homes. Similar obstruction campaigns are being waged by the Koch Brothers in Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

More than 100 hundred Catholic nuns in Ohio are telling Americans for Prosperity to stand down.

“It is shameful that billionaires who can access the best medical care in the world oppose basic health care for the poor,” the Catholic sisters write. “We urge these corporate leaders to search their souls, consider the pain of so many families and stop this reckless campaign.” 

“In communities across our state, Catholic sisters see firsthand the urgent need for Medicaid expansion,” said Sr. Geraldine Nowak, OSF of Toledo. “Lawmakers like Rep. Sears should be applauded, not demonized, for standing up for commonsense reform that will provide vital healthcare coverage to an additional 275,000 uninsured Ohioans, including 26,000 veterans.”

Today’s statement follows last year’s Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” tour with Nuns traveling across the state highlighting the values at the center of their faith — solidarity, justice and the common good. Ohio “Nuns on the Bus” toured the state and stood with fellow people of faith to highlight dangerous federal budget cuts and to call on Democrats and Republicans to support a faithful budget that affirms the life of all of God’s children – not just the wealthiest few. Today, Catholic sisters are continuing their pursuit of justice by shining a light on outside corporate interests who are bullying their way around Ohio politics.

“As a mental health professional, I see far too many lives shortened and diminished due to a lack of access to basic healthcare, said Dr. Sr. Fran Repka, RSM of Cincinnati. “We applaud Ohio’s Controlling Board for their approval of Medicaid Expansion and urge the Koch Brothers to leave Ohio policymaking up to the people of Ohio.”

The Catholic sisters applaud Governor John Kasich’s support of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and are committed to working with lawmakers to ensure the full implementation of this life-saving reform. 

The full statement with signatories is below.

 As Catholic sisters with Nuns on the Bus, we stand with the Catholic Conference of Ohio and leaders of Catholic hospitals in support of Medicaid expansion. Providing quality medical care to the most vulnerable is central to our pro-life commitment and consistent with our faith tradition’s concern for the common good. We know from our ministry to those living on the margins that a lack of health care is a constant burden that unnecessarily weighs on families. Medicaid expansion will provide immediate relief. 

Sadly, wealthy activists are organizing in Ohio and across the country to deny health care coverage to pregnant women, the disabled and elderly in nursing homes by undermining Medicaid expansion. Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has made this a top priority. This is unconscionable. It is shameful that billionaires who can access the best medical care in the world oppose basic health care for the poor. We urge these corporate leaders to search their souls, consider the pain of so many families and stop this reckless campaign. 

The Koch brothers are targeting lawmakers, including Republican state Rep. Barbara Sears, who support Medicaid expansion. Fear and bullying will not win out over courage and hope. We are grateful for her moral leadership and other elected officials who are putting family values and human dignity before narrow ideological agendas. We pray that other lawmakers do the same.

In faith,

Sr. Mary Barbara Agnew, Sister of the Most Precious Blood

Sr. Mary Averbeck, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Sandy Bates, Ursulines of Brown County

Sr. Joyce Bates, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Patmarie Bernard, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Marlene Berthelot, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Dorothy Blatnica, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mary Bodde, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mary Bookser, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Nancy Bramlage, College of Mount St. Joseph

Sr. Carol Brenner, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Carolyn Brink, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Rose Marie Burns, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Ruth Casper, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Marie Andree Chorzempa, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Jeanne Conrad, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Juliana D’Amato, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Theresa Darga, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Julia Deiters, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Shirley Dix, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Jacquelyn Doepker, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Gemma Doll, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Ellen Dunn, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Dorothy Englert, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Nancy Ferguson, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Virginia Froehle, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Mary Gallagher, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Patricia Gardner, Sisters of St Francis

Sr. Mary Faith Geelan, Dominican Sisters of Peace

Sr. Alice Gerdeman, Sisters of Divine Providence

Sr. Dorothy Gerhardstein, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Rosemarie Gerrety, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Joan Groff, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Sharon Havelak, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Kathleen Hebbeler, Dominican Sister of Hope

Sr. Mary Alice Henkel, Ursuline Sisters

Sr. Carren Herring, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Maureen Heverin, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Louise Huitink, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Mary Humbert, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Ruth Hunt, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Rebecca Hurr, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Florence Izzo, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Leanne Jablonski, Marianist Sisters (Daughters of Mary Immaculate)

Sr. Pamela Jones, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Joyce Kahle, Sisters of the Precious Blood

Sr. Tracy Kemme, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Phyllis Kemper, Ursuline Sisters

Sr. Dorothy J. Krupp, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Kuhlman, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Teresas Laengle, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Rebecca LaPoint, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Olivia Latiano, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Elizabeth Lavelle, Congregation of St. Joseph

Sr. Louise Lears, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Laura Leming, Marianist Sisters

Sr. Nancy Linenkugel, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Sandra LoPorto, Sisters of St. Joseph

Sr. Patricia McClain, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Dolores McDonald, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Monica McGloin, Dominican Sisters of Hope

Sr. Martha Meyer, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Jean Miller, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mary Alan Miller, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Rose Morand, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Virginia Morgan, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Geraldine Nowak, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Maria Pacelli, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Annette Paveglio, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Mariellen Phelps, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Marguerite Polcyn, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Christine Pratt, Ursulines of Brown County

Sr. Letetia Rawles, Sister of the Most Precious Blood

Sr. Fran Repka, Sister of Mercy

Sr. Therese Ruffing, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Patricia Ann Sabourin, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Sr. Mary Schiller, Sisters of the Precious Blood

Sr. Janet Schlichting, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Greta Schmidlin, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Shannon Schrein, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Anita Schugart, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Julie Sheatzley, Sisters of St. Joseph

Sr. Sally Sherman, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Sandra Sherman, Ursuline Convent

Sr. Delia Sizler, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Wanda Smith, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Janet Snyder, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Carol Ann Spencer, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Jeanette Stang, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Donna Steffen, Sisters of charity

Sr. Joan Supel, Dominican Sister of Peace

Sr. Judy Tensing, Sisters of Notre Dame

Sr. Patricia Theriault, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Therese Thorman, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Sarah Sherman, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Jean Vogelsang, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Nancy Vollman, Ursulines of Brown County

Sr. Martha Walsh, Sisters of Charity

Sr. Cabrini Warpeha, Sisters of St. Francis

Sr. Mary Wendeln, Sister of the Most Precious Blood

Sr. Carol Ann Wenning, Sisters of Mercy

Sr. Barbara Wheeler, Dominican Sisters of Hope

Sr. Donna Wilhelm, Sisters of St. Joseph, Third Order of St Francis

 

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Activists to fast on Capitol Hill until Congress passes immigration reform

November 12, 2013, 11:16 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life helped to lead communications and media outreach efforts for the fast. 

As an icy wind whipped the sides of a packed tent, five activists committed themselves Tuesday (Nov. 12) to fast from food and drink and to camp in front of the U.S. Capitol until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform.“I know that there are going to be difficult days ahead of me,” said Eliseo Medina from the Service Employees International Union. “I know that going without food will not be easy and I know that I will suffer physical hunger.

“But there is a deeper hunger within me, a hunger for an end to a system that creates such misery among those who come here to escape poverty and violence in search of the American dream.”Religious and labor leaders joined immigration activists at the launch of the “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship.” Many will participate as “solidarity fasters,” fasting for a shorter time.

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47 Catholic leaders urge bishops to support CCHD’s anti-poverty work

November 11, 2013, 11:13 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life helped to organize the letter to the Bishops. 

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development deserves the full support of the U.S. bishops because of its success in fighting poverty, said a group of Catholics on the eve of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly Nov. 11-14 in Baltimore. In a letter addressed to all of the bishops, 47 Catholic leaders, including three retired bishops and former USCCB staff members, urged the prelates to “redouble your commitment to social ministries that lift people out of poverty,” especially CCHD.

It was prompted by continuing criticisms of CCHD, the bishops’ domestic anti-poverty arm, from a small number of organizations that claim local anti-poverty agencies funded by the program have worked in coalitions that include members that do not share church teaching on issues, such as its opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. The letter was the result of a joint effort among the letter writers and Faith in Public Life, which bills itself as “a strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good.” In June, Faith in Public Life issued a report charging CCHD’s opponents with undertaking a “witch hunt.” It accused groups such as the American Life League and the Reform CCHD Now Coalition of “creating a culture of fear around community organizing,” based on interviews with community development experts, nonprofit directors and national philanthropic leaders.

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U.S. bishops to select leaders as Pope urges new focus

November 10, 2013, 11:16 am | Posted by

Faith in Public Life Catholic Program Director John Gehring was interviewed about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual meeting. 

“Bishops have been stuck in a bunker fighting the culture war,” said John Gehring, who was once in the conference’s communications office and is now Catholic program director for Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group. “Pope Francis has said we can’t just be known by what we oppose.

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Catholic Leaders Urge Bishops to Strengthen Anti-Poverty Campaign, Resist Attacks from Right-Wing Pressure Groups

November 8, 2013, 12:42 pm | Posted by

Washington, DC — More than 50 prominent Catholic leaders – including former ambassadors to the Vatican, retired bishops and past executive directors of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national anti-poverty campaign – are urging Catholic bishops to redouble their commitment to economic justice initiatives.

In an open letter that will be published on Nov. 11 in the Baltimore Sun as members of the Catholic hierarchy convene for a national meeting to elect a new president of their conference, the leaders challenge the bishops to take inspiration from Pope Francis and stand strong in the face of well-funded pro-life groups that “relentlessly attack” their Catholic Campaign for Human Development. (CCHD).

The bishops’ anti-poverty campaign, which funds community based organizations that focus on building economic and social justice in low-income areas, has long been a target of religious and political conservatives. But a recent 23-page report from Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group in Washington, found an aggressive network led by the American Life League has ramped up efforts to sway bishops to defund anti-poverty organizations if they are part of broader coalitions in which an organization or individual supports same-sex marriage. In recent years, Catholic bishops in several dioceses have pulled funding from these groups and tightened regulations for grant making.

“Serving the common good sometimes requires Catholic-funded organizations to work with others who are not in agreement with Church teaching on every issue,” the leaders write. “In fact, CCHD advances the Church’s mission to defend human dignity precisely by building diverse coalitions that have led to living wages for workers, quality health care, better schools and stronger communities.”

“Well-funded groups relentlessly attack CCHD and pressure you to withdraw from these effective coalitions,” they continue. “We urge you to resist this pressure and redouble your commitment to social justice ministries that lift people out of poverty. We can affirm the Catholic identity of CCHD without backing away from essential partnerships.”

The push from Catholic leaders comes on the heels of Pope Francis’ remarks that the Church needs to find a “new balance” and not only be defined by opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. In a widely read essay in America magazine, a Catholic publication edited by Jesuit priests, Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco argues that the Church’s advocacy for economic justice has waned in recent years. The Catholic Church, he writes, “must elevate the issue of poverty to the very top of its political agenda, establishing poverty alongside abortion as pre-eminent moral issues the Catholic community pursues at this moment in our nation’s history.”

Signers of the letter include: Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, the retired bishop of Las Cruces, NM; two past executive directors of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development; Thomas P. Melady, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See in the first Bush administration; Miguel Diaz, a theologian at the University of Dayton and past U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; the presidents of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas as well as the Justice and Peace Director for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

The full letter with signatories is below.

Faith in Public Life’s report can be found here: http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FPL-CCHD-report.pdf 

———————

Poverty is a Moral Scandal

Support the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

1 in 6 Americans live in poverty * 1 in 5 Children live in poverty *
1 in 7 Americans are “food insecure”

Dear Bishops,

As you gather for your first General Assembly in the pontificate of Pope Francis, please be assured of our interest, support and prayers. Pope Francis has inspired so many both inside and outside the Church with his spirit of humility, and his demanding challenge to embrace Christian mission in courage and hope.

“Whenever Christians are enclosed in their groups, parishes, movements, they take ill. If a Christian goes to the streets, or to the outskirts, he or she may risk the same thing that can happen to anyone out there: an accident. How often have we seen accidents on the road! But I am telling you: I would prefer a thousand times over a bruised Church than an ill Church!”

In particular, we write to support an indispensable ministry of the Church “in the streets” that has suffered unjust attacks from those who seek to limit the Catholic prophetic voice to a narrow agenda. Your Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the country, has a proud history of supporting community organizing to empower low-income citizens. This is essential to addressing what Blessed John Paul II described as “the causes of poverty and not merely the evil effects of injustice.”

Serving the common good sometimes requires Catholic-funded organizations to work with others who are not in agreement with Church teaching on every issue. In fact, CCHD advances the Church’s mission to defend human dignity precisely by building diverse coalitions that have led to living wages for workers, quality health care, better schools and stronger communities.

Well-funded groups relentlessly attack CCHD and pressure you to withdraw from these effective coalitions. We urge you to resist this pressure and redouble your commitment to social justice ministries that lift people out of poverty. We can affirm the Catholic identity of CCHD without backing away from essential partnerships.

Critics of CCHD misuse the Catholic principle of moral cooperation by distorting it into a blanket rejection of working for the common good with those with whom we disagree on other issues. In contrast, Pope Francis challenges us to the difficult fidelity that does not seek the purity of isolation, but risks working in the world – “in the streets” – to advance the Gospel.

“The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drives us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?”

As you meet to elect a new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and reflect on the Church’s mission in the coming years, we support you with our prayers. May we all by guided by the Holy Spirit. In the words of Pope Francis, let us have the courage to “take to the streets” and become a “poor church for the poor.”

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, CSB
Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces, NM

Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan (retired)
Monterey, CA

Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton (retired)
Archdiocese of Detroit

G. Richard Fowler
Staff to Bishop Blaire
Diocese of Stockton, CA

Sabrina Burton Schultz
Director of Life Ministry
Diocese of St. Petersburg

Kent Ferris, OFS
Director of Social Action and Director of Catholic Charities
Diocese of Davenport

Timothy Collins
Executive Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development (retired)
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Marvin A. Mottet
Executive Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development (retired)
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Francis X. Doyle
Associate General Secretary (retired)
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J.
President
University of San Francisco

Patricia McGuire
President
Trinity Washington University

Miguel Diaz
University Professor of Faith and Culture
University of Dayton
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired)

Thomas P. Melady
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (retired)
President Emeritus, Sacred Heart University

Stephen Schneck
Director
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Former Director, Office of International Justice and Peace
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Rev. Charles Currie, S.J.
Former President
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

Rev. Clete Kiley
Senior Fellow
Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America
Director for Immigration Policy, UNITE HERE

Rev. Anthony J. Pogorelc
Fellow
Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Sr. Carol Zinn, SSJ
President
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Sister Pat McDermott, RSM
President
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Kim Bobo
Executive Director
Interfaith Worker Justice

Kerry Robinson
Executive Director
National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management

Eli S. McCarthy
Justice and Peace Director
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Rev. Frederick Thelen
Pastor, Cristo Rey Church
Cristo Rey Community Center
Chair, Action of Greater Lansing
Lansing, MI

Vincent J. Miller
Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture
University of Dayton

Nicholas P. Cafardi, JD. JCD
Dean Emeritus
Duquesne University School of Law

Patrick Carolan
Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network

Sister Margaret Magee OFS
President Board of Directors
Franciscan Action Network

Marie Dennis, Co President
Pax Christi International

Bishop Kevin Dowling
Co-President, Pax Christi International

Fred Rotondaro
Chairman
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Thomas Allio, Jr.
Diocesan Social Action Director (retired)
Diocese of Cleveland

Nicole Mosher
Executive Director
Companeros: Four Corners
Immigrant Resource Center
Pueblo, CO

Mary Wright
Former Education Coordinator
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Dorothy Valerian
Former CCHD Advisory Board Member
Diocese of Cleveland

Steve Callahan
Former Economic Development Program Coordinator
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Christine A. W. (Cris) Doby
Former Diocesan Social Action Director/CCHD Diocesan Director

Walt Grazer
Former Policy Advisor for International Religious Freedom and Human Rights
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Thomas Shellabarger
Former Policy Advisor for Urban, Economic Issues
Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Thomas Chabolla
Former Associate Director of Programs
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. John A. Coleman, S.J.
Associate Pastor, St. Ignatius Church
Professor, Loyola Marymount University (retired)

Francis J. Butler
Founder
Drexel Philanthropic Advisors

David O’Brien
Professor Emeritus
College of the Holy Cross

Christopher G. Kerr
Executive Director
Ignatian Solidarity Network

John Gehring
Catholic Program Director
Faith in Public Life

Michael Duffy
Executive Director
Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought
University of San Francisco

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