This week's announcement of the State Department's placing the Vatican on a money laundering "Watch List" raised many questions about this Administration and what appears to be an ongoing battle with the Catholic Church.
Is this a new fight? Not really. The Democrats let Conservative Catholics know where they stood back in 2008.
As the political party was preparing to gather in Denver in order to formalize the nomination of Barack Obama, Democrats chose not to invite the Catholic leader of the host city. Archbishop Charles Chaput (a staunch defender of the unborn and now presiding over the Philadelphia diocese) was not on the list of Catholics who would be leading prayers before and during the convention. There were some prominent, liberal Catholic names on the schedule: Sister Helen Prejean of "Dead Man Walking" fame and Social Justice lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton got an invite.
Archbishop Chaput was eventually offered a couple of tickets to watch the convention from the cheap seats. According to news reports, the Archbishop did not attend the convention's opening night and the Democrats reported he chose to reject their ticket offer. The reality: instead of sitting in the bleachers and watching Liberal Catholics from outside of his diocese deliver the invocation, Chaput and Dr. Alveda King led a pro-life prayer vigil at Martin Luther King Park in Denver.
But the snubbing didn't end there. Catholic faith leaders were also absent from the president's inauguration -- they were not invited. Not a single member of the Catholic clergy was asked to be part of the swearing-in ceremonies. There were some faith leaders that were part of Obama's inauguration to be sure. The Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren (who since has supported Catholics over the Obamacare / HHS Mandate), gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson, and Protestant minister Joseph Lowery from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were all part of the historic moment. Dr. Lowery delivered the emotional (if not very unique) invocation:
There was faith diversity on the podium at the Inauguration -- just no Catholics.
Why were no conservative Catholics invited to the Democratic convention in Denver and not a single Catholic faith leader included in the President's inauguration?
The reasons may go back to the summer of 2007 when then-Senator (and candidate) Barack Obama made a pledge to Planned Parenthood concerning his first act as President:
Obama pledged his allegiance to Planned Parenthood: "I'm absolutely convinced that we're not just gonna win an election, but more importantly, we're gonna transform this nation."
Fast-forward to April 29th of 2009 when the President was forced to address his unfulfilled promise to Planned Parenthood, stating that passing the Freedom of Choice Act was not the "highest legislative priority." It is also worth noting that Senator Obama was a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.
Rewind to 2008 and the Denver snub. After securing enough delegates to win his party's nomination, Obama and the Democrats proceeded to build their platform for the coming election. In August of 2008, they were adding some teeth to their platform planks, especially in the pro-choice arena. According to a report by Austin Ruse of TheCatholicThing.org:
The new plank talks about supporting Roe in addition to supporting a distinct and potentially broader "woman's right to choose safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay."
Mr. Ruse continues:
"it also calls for the adoption of the Freedom of Choice Act, a scurrilous measure co-sponsored by Senator Obama which may escape the notice of those who do not know its details. In it, you will find things like the requirement that government not “discriminate” against abortion in the “provision of benefits” or “information.” Remember Rust v. Sullivan? That was the case affirming the government’s right to favor childbirth over abortion in its funding decisions. The Democrat plank would overturn Rust and require that even programs for adoption and parenting promote abortion."
With the major planks of the Obama election platform including aggressive pro-abortion language, it is doubtful that the Democrats would invite a staunch pro-lifer like Archbishop Chaput to speak or pray at their convention. Dems certainly wanted to avoid a situation like the one that happened in 2000 when their convention was held in Los Angeles. It was in L.A. that Catholic Cardinal Mahony was invited to address the Democrats and he delivered the following invocation:
“O God, we trust that you will keep us ever committed to protect the life and well-being of all people but especially unborn children, the sick and the elderly, those on skid row and those on death row.”
It would seem that the current squabbles between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church are not something born after the passage of the "Affordable Care Act." Just last week The Blaze reported on Cardinal Dolan's letter that revealed the administration's lectures to Catholic Bishops instructing them to listen to "enlightened" voices of accommodation. However, the roots of this fight go back at least five years to 2007 and they are ongoing. The big question is how much longer will it continue?
A hat tip to Michael Voris of "The Vortex." Three years ago, he noted that President Obama has a history of fighting against the more conservative wing of the Roman Catholic Church.