Links updated 3/13/2012.
NETWORK’s director Sister Simone Campbell gets in trouble for supporting Obama’s pro-abortion health care reform bill.
Network’s public letter of support for the Catholic Health Association provided additional political cover for the bill’s defenders, who argued that it preserved the status quo on federal funding of abortion.
A month later, the U.S. bishops and conference officials are still angry.
“In the past, we have worked with Network on immigration reform, and they attend some meetings of our coalition,” said Kevin Appleby, director of Migration Policy and Public Affairs at the bishops’ conference. “But working in a coalition requires trust. Network can’t have it both ways: It can’t benefit from the bishops’ advocacy and then undercut them at a strategic moment.”
Appleby’s sense of betrayal was echoed by Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., who recently wrote Sister Carol Keehan, the Catholic Health Association president, to request that the CHA drop a Catholic hospital in his diocese from membership. Any “association with CHA is now embarrassing,” he said.