Yesterday the Associated Press and Newsweek latched onto a pro-ObamaCare letter circulated by a left-wing group and signed by 59 nuns. Today, liberal Washington Post columnist and practicing Catholic E.J. Dionne took to the op-ed page to encourage House Democrats to "listen to the nuns."
Dionne ably expressed the sentiments of perhaps many a liberal journalist giddy over the news:
House members voting on health care will be representing primarily their positions as Americans and as agents of their constituents, though many will also be influenced by their faith. Those with a special affection for the Roman Catholic Church have an extra reason for voting in favor of the health bill.
By passing it, they would save the bishops from the moral opprobrium that would rightly fall upon them if they succeeded in killing the best chance we have to extend health coverage to 30 million Americans. I suspect that many bishops would be quietly grateful. In their hearts, they know the nuns are right.
But today, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez noted another group of nuns that probably won't get as much, if any, media coverage precisely because they stand with the nation's Catholic bishops with their concerns about inadequate protection for the unborn in the legislation before Congress.
Lopez noted that the Council of Major Superiors of Religious Women represents "over 100 religious congregations" that are faithful to traditional church teaching and "known to have waiting lists of young women attracted to their traditional form of religious life."
In other words, these sisters are serious about Church teaching on the sanctity of life.
Below is the letter signed by Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan, R.S.M. "on behalf of the Membership of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious" explaining the position of her organization:
March 18, 2010
In a March 15th statement, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on behalf of the United States Bishops in opposition to the Senate's version of the health care legislation under consideration because of its expansion of abortion funding and its lack of adequate provision for conscience protection. Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Church's position on critical issues of health care reform.
The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the second conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, finds the provision of the bill to include expansion of abortion funding and fails to include conscience protection. We believe the bill needs to include the Hyde Amendment as passed by the House in November.
Protection of life and freedom of conscience are central to morally responsible judgment. We join the bishops in seeking ethically sound legislation.