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The Descent of Ascension to Partisan Politics

Thomas F. Roeser 29 October 2009 7 Comments

The Chicago (Catholic) Way.

Ah, yes. Children, the lastest is that Chicago’s archdiocesan leadership sanctions and shuts its eyes to the conversion of Oak Park’s Ascension parish to a pro-Obama forum on health care…this news from the Blithe Spirit blog written by Jim Bowman who took it from a report by Susan Jordan on CatholicCitizens.org, the website of Catholic Citizens of Illinois. Jordan is a resident of Oak Park.

Ascension is a good word for this flaccid, evasive, continuingly parsing archdiocesan leadership notably soft on local, state and national Democrats. It will shortly ascend to the presidency of the USCCB, the bishops’ forum that meets in its contributor-paid-for marble temple in Washington, D. C. similar to the UN General Assembly, each bishop with a microphone of his own.

We’re All Good Fellows When We Democrats Get Together.

Here’s the story of the pro-Obama Democratic follies at Ascension as told by Jordan-follies that come close to the theatrics performed by Pfleger who turns Saint Sabina’s into a raucous lefty rally every Sunday:

Late last summer Ascension parish advertised a forum on health care to be held at the parish Sept. 20 called “Under the Doctors’ Microscope.” The meeting was scheduled to take place at Ascension’s parish hall. The initial flyer put out by the parish was blatantly partisan…listing on the flier the following sponsors: the Democratic Party of Oak Park.. and the group “Organizing for America” (Obama’s grassroots advocacy group that’s working feverishly to get his socialist program passed).

Jordan couldn’t believe her eyes. She initiated contact with the archdiocesan “Respect Life” office and then via an intermediary to Ascension’s pastor who goes by Fr. Larry McNally-not Lawrence– (like most liberals he probably wants to be known as “Good Old Larry the regular guy”). Every time you hear priests going by nicknames, watch out: most times you’ve got a genuine vestigial throwback to the good old `60s of “hiya, fellas, I’m Father Chuck…but just call me Chuck!”

Jordan said Father Larry McNally (an Irishman, natch…a real fit for the pro-abort Daleys, Madigans, Quinns and Cullertons)… said it was a mistake and “we want the event to be nonpartisan.” Sure-sure, Larry-a procedure in line with the fundraiser last year for Mercy Home for Girls and Boys that featured pro-abort Sen. Hillary Clinton, then a presidential candidate sent out by Fr. Scott Donohue. Gee whiz, everybody formed a circle and pointed at everybody else like in the Thomas Nast cartoon from the 19th century that showed accused pols playing ring-around-the-rosie about responsibility for Boss Tweed. First Donohue said the speaker pick was done by a lay committee with which he wasn’t involved. But he must have known the pick, right? Well, yes, but he checked it with the archdiocese. Up and up in the hierarchal pyramid at the Chancery office it went, everybody pointing to everybody else until the buck stopped with the one who parses-parses-parses-and, of course, he parsed again…so tediously that responsibility was blurred, the blame shuttling back downstairs.

Well, let’s see if Fr. Larry was as good as his word.

Dems Paid for the Fliers.

Surprise: he wasn’t. The next issue of the flier came out a week before the event and guess what? The same list of sponsors-the Democratic Party of Oak Park and Obama’s lobbying group, “Organizing for America,” were still listed. But no surprise there: almost 1,000 of the Dem fliers were paid for by the Oak Park Democratic party. What’s fair is fair.

With the heat on, another flier appeared a bare two days before the Forum omitting the sponsors names.

Then Good old Fr. Larry promised he would straighten everything out at the outset by telling the archdiocese’s Respect Life that he would “clearly address the pro-life issues” in his opening remarks at the blatant political-lobbying fest. But of course, strategically he wimped out, saying that on a table in the back of the hall was a stack of USCCB (U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’) statement on health care. Period. End of equal time.

Oh, yes, Good Old Fr. Larry wasn’t as inactive as it seems. Earlier he had contacted the chancery and warned that one Susan Jordan was planning to disrupt the meeting. And the usual strategy straight out of Saul Alinsky’s handbook (which he had dedicated, charmingly, to the devil-in-chief Lucifer) that good old Fr, Larry had received “hate mail.” That’s what old Alinsky himself once told me was his approved tactic. I interviewed him at the Industrial Areas foundation (I got there through his assistant Ed Chambers who because we were classmates Saint John’s believed I was in the Trotsky mould and Msgr. Jack Egan who tried to convert me to believe, as did he, that the old atheist-Commie was the reincarnation of Tom Paine.)

“We always spread the word that is hatred, hatred. And there may be violence at rallies,” said Alinsky. “That way a cop shows up and the media too which strengthens our hand substantially.” Sure enough, a cop showed up at Fr. Larry’s pro-Obama rally. (This is written just to tell Saul as he revolves on the eternal spit that his strategy was followed meticulously at Ascension parish in Oak Park which stifled all talk about abortion…and pass that to Lucifer when you see him next: maybe he’ll turn down the heat.)

Two hundred fifty attended the Obamacare pep rally conducted on church property, its tax status protected by exemption because it is purportedly nonpartisan. The panel consisted of physicians, topped off by Dr. David Scheiner, touted as “President Obama’s personal physician for 21 years!” Audience: Yayyyyy!

Maybe the other doctors on the panel had divergent views but Jordan reports one couldn’t tell as the only remedy for the nation’s health care “crisis” was single-payer universal health care. Good old Fr. Larry was there, of course and so was Fr. Richard Hynes from the archdiocese’s Office of Evangelization-both mum.

The rules: nobody could ask a question verbally from the floor-but had to write them on white cards. A key question went to Dr. Scheiner, Obama’s personal doc. And it was fitting for a Catholic to ask. It was a question that asked about taxpayer funding of abortion that was contained in the bill. You wanna know Scheiner’s answer?

“Abortion is an issue that has been debated for decades. It really should not be part of the conversation on healthcare reform.” That was that. And the audience, responding loyally on cue yelled Yayyyyyyyyyy! All the while good old Fr. Larry and good old Fr. Hynes representing the Church that has crusaded against abortion for almost 2,000 years, superbly non-judgmental, sat on their hands, saying nothing.

But that’s not all. Believe it or not, after their rally the Obamacare loyalists protested that they couldn’t pass out literature. And pro-abort Democratic Congressman Danny Davis-he of the foghorn basso profundo voice who will be running for president of the Cook county board at the primary next February-told the very compliant left of center blog Chicago Catholic News he was told at the last minute he couldn’t speak because he is a politician. I don’t blame him for being shocked because he had spoken at Ascension earlier…and damnit he’s used to Catholics bouncing off the walls as he intones ala Paul Robson. That’s what happens at Sabina’s! But he’s assuage because Good old Fr. Larry said he’d write Davis a letter of apology in behalf of the parish.

Chicago “Catholic” News religiously (pun intended) reported that the Democratic Party of Oak Park and Organizing for America that they were offended that they couldn’t distribute their literature. Dear-dear. The things you have to put up with after you plunk down the dough to hype a Democratic rally at a Catholic parish hall!

Now let me predict: When this story gains even more currency, the answer from the archdiocese will be superbly parsed. Who’s responsible? Not you, not me but that guy there behind the tree! On one hand…then the other hand…back to the one hand…then to the other. And the supine mainstream print media will agonize that free speech was partially throttled when the Dems couldn’t pass out their literature telling folk who to call in the Congress to lobby Obama’s program through. But Good Old Fr. Larry will apologize and say these evil conservatives like me have changed their meeting into a caricature.

That’s the Catholic Church Militant: Chicago style. Or rather from the people to whom principles and IRS rules are discarded, it’s another variant of The Squid: Its Chicago (Catholic) Way.

Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer


  • Oak Park Resident said:

    Being an Oak Park resident, I read this article but I guess you have to be an insider to understand what the heck Mr. Roeser is talking about. When one’s writing drips with sarcasm, one risks being incomprehensible.

  • Comverse Unveils Comverse One Billing and Active Customer … | Management Business Wisdom (author) said:

    […] The Descent of Ascension to Partisan Politics | Chicago Daily Observer […]

  • Ex Catholic Mike said:

    I understand that you are upset. Got it. Is there a point? I mean besides “liberals bad”.

  • John Maynard Krebs said:

    Hmm..I also read it as mixing partisan politics and religion is not healthy.

  • Ex Catholic Mike said:

    You are so right. It’s a good thing that the consevative movement doesn’t allow partisan politics and religion to mix.

  • Ttc said:

    Well read the article mike. Roeser is obviously conservative and takes a stance against left politicking in church. It would be very rare that there is right wing politicking in a chicago catholic church

  • Ex Catholic Mike said:

    I think my difficulty is in seperating the “Chicago Catholic Church” from the “Catholic Church”. Rome is the church. Ascension, and the Catholics of Oak Park, want to be Catholic but not follow the dictates of Rome. Sorry guys, you can’t say I’m a pro-choice Catholic. The two are mutually exclusive. You can’t support gay marriage and be a Catholic. I talk to friends that attend Ascension and everyone would fall into the liberal camp. They say nonsensical things about the Pope not representing the views of Ascension, that they are free to pick and choose what parts of the Dogma they will support. To my way of thinking they are living in fantasyland. By proclaiming yourself a Catholic you are signung up to support the church in Rome, not Oak Park. The jowls of Tom Roeser should going after Ascension for not following the lead of the Pope. He should root out the pro gay, pro choice, cafeteria Catholics that make up Ascension and seek to have them excommunicated. In fact the Catholic church should enforce the laws of Rome across the board. The only problem with that would be that the collection plate would be a might empty.

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