Catholics United Defends Its Performance in Obama/Notre Dame Controversy

Progressive Catholic group denies being slow to respond and taking on the Catholic hierarchy.


By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Catholics United Executive Director Chris Korzen E-mails to defend his group's performance in the controversy over President Obama's forthcoming appearance Notre Dame. Yesterday, I wrote that his group seemed to be slow in responding to the flap—after it had been out front in defending Roman Catholic HHS nominee Kathleen Sebelius—and that it appeared as though Catholics United was lumping a Catholic bishop in with the "partisan operatives" it accused of fomenting anti-Obama-at-Notre Dame outrage.

Here's Korzen's note:

We launched a far-reaching campaign to support Gov. Sebelius because her nomination as Health and Human Services Secretary has profound implications for health care policy in our country. Our support of the University of Notre Dame, on the other hand, is a necessary response to the media's unfortunate elevation of extreme groups who do not represent the voices of mainstream Catholics.

We do not include Bishop [John M.] D'Arcy among those who we believe are misusing the Catholic faith to advance a partisan agenda. While Bishop D'Arcy's decision not to attend the commencement is unfortunate, we commend him for expressing his opinion in a civil and respectful manner and for not adding his voice to the shrill chorus attacking Notre Dame and President Obama.

As partisans like Mr. [Newt] Gingrich and the Cardinal Newman Society engage in a frivolous campaign against civility and open discourse, millions of American Catholics continue to lose their jobs, go without health care, and wonder how they will pay for their children's higher education. This is what Catholics are truly concerned about, and this is the real outrage.

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