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The Response

In response to my query about the pro-life credentials of Kathy Saile, the new Director of Domestic Policy for the USCCB, Kimberly Baker of the USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat referred me to this news story.

Saile, 42, said her work in Washington has brought her into contact with an "interesting, diverse coalition" whose members did not always agree on every issue. One of those contacts was Women's Information Network, or WIN, a group that promotes the involvement in politics of Democratic women who believe a woman has a right to choose abortion.

"It's not always easy being a pro-life woman in D.C.," she said. "But one of the things I challenged them on was the Democrats' litmus test on abortion. ... I think the Democrats are hurting themselves by having this litmus test for candidates."

One Catholic media outlet reported after Saile's appointment was announced that she "was a 2006 dinner-party speaker" for WIN, "a group dedicated to empowering pro-choice women."

The dinner in question, she told Catholic News Service Sept. 18, involved about seven women at a private home for a discussion of faith and politics.

"The issue of abortion was raised," Saile said, "and I challenged people that it was not mutually exclusive to be socially progressive on issues like health care, poverty and housing and to be pro-life."

Well, the WIN web site description of this evening does not give any indication that there was a pro-life viewpoint. On the contrary, it definitely indicates the evening was dedicated to exploring how WIN ideals, including its pro-abortion stance, is compatible with people of faith. This is an organization dedicated to electing pro-abortion candidates. Considering this is the cornerstone of WIN’s mission statement, I cannot imagine how a pro-life Catholic could see this organization as an ally. It seems to me that she put her partisan allegiance as a Democrat above any Catholic pro-life commitment.

I will be watching closely to see if Ms. Saile’s leadership is consistent with Catholic teaching or if is merely a parroting of the Democratic party platform. Actions speak louder than words.


pl said…
So does this letter state in a weird way that Ms Saile is a "member of WIN"? Is she or isn't she?

Also, as other famous Catholic Democrats have taught us unenlightened Catholics, that "pro-life" does note equate to not supporting "pro-choice".

So is she a "I'm pro-life, but pro-choice" progressive?

While on the subject of "progressive", I read their 2006 platform today. Does Saile understand herself to be a "Progressive Democrat"? If so, then what is her stand on the progressive's platform on gay rights? How does that square w/her Catholicism?

Sigh ... so many questions ....
Lisa said…
I received a response from each of the USCCB addresses given, both the one you posted and the pro-life address. My response from the pro-life dept. arrived first, and was perhaps identical to the one you posted, stating a pro-life postition but with some questions left unanswered. However, today I received a second response that was unequivocable in its defense of Kathy Saile and her commitment to the Catholic position of pro-llife. Here is part of that response:
Here are some of the relevant facts:

n Kathy was asked by a friend to participate in an informal, small dinner discussion on faith and politics.

n The dinner was one several of dozen similar dinners that evening on a wide range of topics and less than ten people attended this particular dinner.

n Kathy used the occasion to make the case that the Democratic Party’s embrace of abortion and its pro-choice litmus is wrong both morally and politically. She further insisted that many people who share progressive convictions are fully committed to the defense of unborn children. While these views were not warmly received by all the participants, most of the discussion focused on how her faith shapes Kathy’s work for the poor and vulnerable.

n Far from endorsing the group’s pro-choice agenda, Kathy challenged it and made the case that progressives can and should be pro-life and that the Democratic Party should welcome pro-life candidates and positions.

The new Director of Domestic Social Development is not an advocate of abortion, but rather used this particular occasion to make the pro-life case as part of a broader discussion. Please be assured that commitment to the Catholic Church and its teaching are a central consideration in recruiting, interviewing and selecting candidates for key USCCB positions. I hope these facts address your concerns and reassure you about the positions and actions of Kathy Saile and the USCCB. As time goes on Kathy will fully demonstrate she is a faithful and effective advocate of policies which protect the life and dignity of every person.

Catholic Mom, this Traditional Catholic Mom is satisfied. I am reminded of how our Holy Father Pope John Paul II sought to build bridges, before our present and beloved Holy Father Pope Benedict XI declared our faith the One True Church. Perhaps in Ms. Saile's judgement, that meeting was a time to stand firm but build other bridges. One cannot reach someone that has already been treated as the enemy... The above email describes her standing by her Faith and standing for the unborn. I think it is time to stand by her, and let us see....
Catholic Mom said…
I will give Ms. Saile my whole-hearted support as she pursues an agenda consistent with Catholic teaching. She was involved in highly partisan political activities and I guess I am used to such political actors touting their "faith" yet compromising on the practice--think Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy. I do hope Ms. Saile does not carry her highly partisan politics into her new job. It is not the job of the USCCB to be endorsing one party over another. Instead, the USCCB should be putting forth principles on which prudential judgment should be based.
lisa said…
Now, maybe some reading these posts will not be open to the assurances of the USCCB. Maybe I will seem pollyanna to some. I am not trying to debate that. But In the end, neither you nor I have enough information to judge the character or even the full political beliefs of Ms. Saile. In the world of faithful Catholics, comparing someone to Pelosi or Kerry or Kennedy is a strong, even slanderous insult. It is a judgement against someone's character. It is not the Christian way we are called to.

What I am saying, clumsily, is that we ourselves, Catholic women and moms striving to learn and explore the world and our Faith, need to be careful in our search for truth. We have grown cynical of the world; it is too tempting to pass judgment on Catholics who don't make the choices we think they should. Only Our Lord can rightly judge the heart. We are presumptuous when we try to do the same, based only on what we see, or hear, or read. I got caught, in my "activist fervor", and participated in what must have been a barrage of mail opposing this woman. She may not have deserved it, to my shame...
Anonymous said…
Pro life means to respect the dignity of human life. And as the Catholic CHurch upholds the natural law and thus speaks the fullness of truth on the dignity of human life, it means to ascent to the truth on contraconception as well. Pro-life does not mean to be just anti-abortion. I'm wondering is Kathy Saile ascents to the fullness of the truth on contraconception? How about embryonic stem cell research, cloning, terminal sedation, etc.?
Catholic Mom said…

I did not mean to directly compare Ms. Saile to Pelosi, et al. Rather, I meant to say that I have become quite conditioned to those involved in highly partisan politics declaring their Catholicism while ignoring non-negotiable tenets of the faith, such as pro-life issues.

The USCCB has the responsibility to keep affordable housing,poverty, health care, etc. on the national radar. However, it is a matter of prudential judgment on how best to address these issues. There is room for disagreement and discussion on the best course of action. It is not the place of the USCCB to tell the government how to do its job on these matters.

In the matters of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, care of those in a vegetative state, euthanasia, etc, there is no wiggle room. As Catholics we can only support policies that recognize the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

I have no regrets about raising questions about Ms. Saile's appointment. I think the public record of her association with WIN was very worrisome. I am sorry she did not choose to clarify this information before it created doubts. It certainly does have her starting her new job under a cloud of suspicion.

As I said, she has provided answers to the questions. I will let her actions speak for themselves. I truly hope she is able to perform her job as a Catholic and not as a political partisan.

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