Mary Ann Walsh
Column: We await a moral conscience moment in the welcoming of children and others escaping the violence in such countries as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Commentary: Two smiling, confident and charismatic leaders will meet at the Vatican this week. What can come of the top superpower and top spiritual power coming together?
In his recent analysis, “Fact checked: The U.S. bishops on health care reform” (NCR, April 30), Jerry Filteau acknowledges important areas where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is right about abortion problems in the final legislation. However, he also gets some facts wrong, and presents some arguable predictions or assumptions as though they are facts.
Some things are minor details: While the language of the Hyde amendment did some changing back and forth in its early years, Henry Hyde’s reluctant decision to change it himself to allow funding for rape/incest abortions (a policy lasting to this day) was in 1993, not 1977; the final health care bill passed the House 219 to 212, not 220 to 211; law professor Timothy Jost, whom Filteau calls “a strong pro-life advocate,” criticized the Stupak amendment when it passed the House in November with the strong support of the pro-life community, publicly warning that the Catholic church’s influence on this issue risks making the United States into “another Iran.”
Recent talk about the Catholic church's role in politics reminds me of two great moments in church social teaching in the United States: the New Deal and the Civil Rights eras.
Both moments found the church embroiled in controversy, with strident cries that it did not belong in the public arena. The eventual rewards for the church's role were huge for society, but came at a cost for the church.
The same, unfortunately, remains true today.