Bishop Brandt Blocks Expansion Efforts of Nuns who Supported Health Bill

The Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pennsylvania opposed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by supporting the Health Care Reform Bill. Now Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg has withdrawn his diocese’s support for their community by prohibiting the use of any diocesan media or parishes in their recruitment efforts.

“He has the right to disapprove a request from a religious community that wants to host a recruitment event when that community has taken a public stance in opposition to the Church’s teaching on human life,” said diocesan spokesman Jerry Zufelt.

“Furthermore an environment of dissent and public opposition to the positions of the U.S. Catholic bishops does not provide an appropriate seedbed for vocations.”

The Sisters of St. Joseph had signed a letter written by NETWORK, a Catholic “social justice” lobbying group, which urged members of Congress “to cast a life affirming ‘yes’ vote” to the Senate Health Care Reform Bill.  The USCCB as well as countless pro-life organizations had opposed the bill as seriously flawed and as opening the floodgates to federal funding of abortion.

Afterwards, the Sisters of St. Joseph requested promotional support from Greensburg parishes for a vocations awareness program called “Explore,” which was meant to show teenage girls what it was like to be a sister.  They were refused because of their signing of the letter.

Msgr. Lawrence T. Persico, the Greensburg diocese’s vicar general, wrote a letter on April 8 to diocesan priests stating that no diocesan office, the diocesan newspaper, or any parish or event would “would promote a vocation awareness program of any religious community that has taken a stance against the United States bishops by being a signatory of the Network document.”

Sister Mary Pellegrino, moderator of the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, claimed that “based on our prayerful discernment and careful research” there would be no public funding of abortion caused by the bill.

“It would not violate the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church,” she said.  Her community has requested that the diocese reverse its decision.

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  • I say Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg is doing the right thing standing up for the Church’s teaching. These nuns like so many other nuns in the Church today have forgotten and have rejected their vows of “obedience”. They have joined the ranks of the Protestants in rejecting the teaching authority of the Church. They should not call themselves Catholics because they do not believe the truth in the teachings of the Church. They are no different than the Episcopalians who want women priest, gay marriage and divorce and remarriage and such. If we go down this road we will cease to be the Catholic Church established by God Himself.

  • Joe DeVet

    Hooray for another bishop who is willing to take concrete actions, which are so much more compelling than mere words, when it comes from teaching the faith.

    Only problem is he couched it in terms of obedience to the USCCB. I think that’s a mistake. The USCCB often errs when it tries to apply Catholic teaching to political questions (though not in this particular instance.) But it would be better, more principled, and more intelligible to criticize the nuns’ actions as sins against God, or at least betrayals of their duty to the UNIVERSAL Church.

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  • robertlifelongcatholic

    This is a no brainer. The nuns who supported the healthcare bill were only concerned about government funding of their Catholic hospitals and closed their minds and eyes to the reality of liberalism,socialism and this adminitration. They are best left to the secularism they have adapted to. Tell them to put their trust in Father Pfleger.

  • MarkF

    I don’t want to seem like a grouch, but does anyone think that any young woman is going to devote her life to this order when it has switched the Gospel for left-wing politics? Why would they? You can be a community organizer and still have a husband, kids and a lot of money. In other words, they could have had their silly recruitment event with no bad effects because no one would join them anyway.

    On the other hand – and this is what is so dangerous – these radical groups do present a danger in that while no one is joining their ranks as sisters, they can still spread their secularized message to the laity. Their recruits are often innocent, will intentioned people who, thanks to poor catechesis, don’t have a strongly developed faith.

    I wonder what they would think if we created a social justice group that advocated for lower taxes, less government, small businesses and entrepreneurship? Sound strange? It shouldn’t. Socialism spreads poverty. It always has and always will. The free market and limited government creates wealth and freedom. If this sounds strange to you, then think of how much you have been brainwashed to think that the gospel = socialism, and that “social justice” is a left wing concern. Ask yourself this. Where did YOUR money come from? From socialism or from the free market? Why should it be any different for poor people.

    We need to expose the condescending hypocrisy of the limousine left. They want capitalism for themselves because it gives them a middle-class lifestyle but they want the poor to be dependent of government bureaucratic programs.

  • anniec

    This is a good thing, indeed. I grew up in Pittsburgh and attended a high school where the Sisters of St Joseph taught. My religion teacher taught us Teilhard de Chardin in 9th grade and that contraception was ok as long as you still were open to having children in the future. I felt badly for the kids who did not receive the truth at home and accepted what the sisters taught. Please remember to pray for them and for all those that have been led astray.