American Papist: Obama an Enemy to Catholic Unity
Thomas Peters writes on the President's efforts to strengthen the hand of the "alternative Catholic magisterium" at the expense of the Bishops and Catholic unity:
When I heard that President Obama had sent a personal video message to the Catholic Health Association and to Sr. Carol Keehan at their annual meeting this Monday, thanking them for their work in helping pass the Democrat health care plan, I wasn’t surprised.(emphasis added)
But after thinking about this move, shouldn’t I be surprised? After all, when you follow the day-to-day of politics you can miss the big picture. So let’s step back a moment and try to see what shape the forest has taken, and how Obama has been pruning the Catholic faithful back.
The first point to understand is that Obama knows about the debate Catholics are having over him.
That’s why he usually talks only to Catholics who share his agenda. He has been careful to ensure that the terms of his debate with Catholics have always been on his terms. He sends CHA a video and gives Sr. Keehan a pen because he knows that these individuals chose to follow him instead of the bishops. So he makes a place at his table for them and rewards what he sees as their loyalty.
Obama is also keenly aware of his critics, and keeps careful watch over who is opposing his efforts. Obama knew by the end of the healthcare debate, that the bishops were an obstacle to passage of the bill, perhaps even the main obstacle, and he knew this as well. Yet he does not reach out to them. He simply, determinedly, strips them of their institutional allies. He supports those who dissent from them publicly. He gives the politicians who they criticize places of power in his administration. It’s all rather like a German prince in the middle ages who picks his side between the Lutherans and Roman Catholics, not for doctrinal reasons, but because he wants peace in his kingdom – at the cost of the other side.
More to the point in this message, he speaks of the “courage” of those in CHA who lobbied for his health care bill (courage against what? why the opposition of the bishops, of course!). He calls the passage of the bill a “major victory … for the most vulnerable among us” (this coming from the most pro-abortion President in history). This is a particularly stinging line to critics of the health care bill, such as the bishops – who opposed a bill that they were prone to accept otherwise, precisely because they believed (as I do) that it will end up harming the “most vulnerable” unborn (and elderly) among us.
Finally, he says to Sr. Keehan and the CHA, that in passing his bill, they “did so in a way that protects your long-standing beliefs.” In other words, he supports their claim that being Catholic doesn’t mean you have to be obedient to the authority of the bishops or avoid publicly scandalizing the faithful. Obama, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say, thinks he can interpret what it means to be Catholic better than the bishops when they draw upon two thousand years of tradition.
[Read the whole thing]
Tom Peters hits the nail squarely on the head. As I've argued previously (see links below), Obama's entire so-called "Catholic strategy" from the very beginning has been one of divide and conquer in an effort to create an impression that those Catholics who dissent from their Bishops are speaking in an alternative yet nonetheless equally "authentic" Catholic voice.
Dare we call it an effort to promote a "new voice" of Catholicism?
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
The Catholic Health Association and the Future of Catholic Unity
Sister Carol Keehan Misrepresents Her Support of the Health Care Bill
The Bishops Strike Back Against Dissenting Women Religious [UPDATED]
Bishop Tells Pro-Life Democrat: Nuns Can’t Absolve ObamaCare Vote
Bishop Morlino: “Speaker Pelosi is Not Called by Jesus Christ to Lead the Catholic Faithful”
Sister Carol Disinvited from D.C.-Based John Carroll Society Speaking Gig
Establishing the "Alternative Magisterium"
The Smear, Part 2: Stupak Attacks Catholic Bishops
Archbishop Chaput: A Bad Bill and How We Got It
Archbishop Chaput: Those Confusing the Catholic Stance on Health Care Will Bear the Blame for Anti-Life Effects of Heath Care Bill
Catholic Obama Supporters More Interested in Providing Cover Than Holding Obama's Feet to the Fire
Catholic Nuns Urge Passage of Obama's Health Bill
Obama's Catholic Strategy: Divide and Conquer
Newsweek: Obama More Catholic Than the Pope
Pope Hope I (a.k.a. "The Great")
Pope Greets "Hope"?
Of "Neo-Caths" and "Sharia Catholicism"
Notre Dame's President Jenkins: "We Are Tremendously Proud" to be Acting in Defiance of the US Catholic Bishops