Kickback: President Obama appoints dissenting nun who helped pass Obamacare to Faith-Based Council

“If you want to gain favor from President Obama, be a bad catholic.”

That personal observation gained even more credibility last week when President Obama announced the new makeup of his Council for Faith-Based Partnerships (ph/t: Badger Catholic).

The only Catholic he appointed to this council is Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Chairperson of the Catholic Health Association’s Sponsorship/Canon Law Committee.

Fr. Z introduces Sister Marlene by showcasing a picture that says volumes:

Fr. Z writes: "They were 'farewelling' her. No. Really."

But why did Sister Marlene merit an appointment to the President’s council? What makes her so special, besides her obvious flair for liturgical innovation? Why does the President think she is the Catholic best-suited to represent the Catholic perspective on national policy issues?

Quite simply, because she played for Obama’s team during the health care debate. She was the acting president of LCWR when they came out in support of Obamacare. In fact, she signed the document announcing this endorsement not once, but twice.

The media helped blow her letter out of proportion, up to the point that the USCCB had to release an official statement clarifying that her letter did not in fact represent the views of all 59,000 American religious sisters.

But you didn’t see Sister Marlene trying to correct the record, instead you saw her representatives breathlessly sending the letter to wavering pro-life Congressman (seriously, watch the YouTube), most of whom took the bait.

Sister Marlene and Sister Keehan, through the Catholic Health Association, worked tirelessly to promote Obama’s health care agenda before and after the final bill passed.

Public records show that Sister Keehan has visited the White House fifteen times since Obama became president, seven times visiting the President personally. This is an unprecedented level of access. At a recent CHA meeting (pictured at right), Sister Keehan proudly waved the pen President Obama gave her as a gift for the critical help she and her organization gave him.

Now Sister Marlene has her “pen” … she is the sole “Catholic” voice on the President’s Faith-Based council, (ostensibly) tasked with such goals as lowering the abortion rate.

This is a smart move by President Obama. On the one hand, he can claim that Catholics are technically represented on this faith-based council. He can also rest assured that he will never encounter opposition from Sister Marlene, because she has fallen over herself in the past to promote his signature policy initiative.

At one point I started a list of dissenting Catholics who occupy high positions in the Obama administration. It’s long. And today, it just got longer. I still cannot find a single faithful Catholic who has been given any sort of significant responsibility in this administration.

This is the sort of common ground that Obama offers Catholics: give up your principles and follow me. Obama continuously welcomes dissenting Catholics into positions of authority, and shuns those who stand by their Catholic principles to oppose him.

Objective observers of this administration should recognize this, and those of us who do care about Catholic identity and principles being maintained should take note as well.


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  • Dan Arendt

    In re those implying Socialism or any other collectivist form of government or society is God’s Will.

    As if the fiction of “Liberal historic Jesus” weren’t enough, another point of attack on historical Christ is vested in a certain opinion on eschatology.

    The certain opinion relied on to erase historical Jesus is a mere reaction to Christ’s eschatological teachings, some of which weren’t even uttered by Him (in the ‘Jesus over audiences’ heads vein): there will be a final judgment, and the re-making of many societies into a new earth leaves all righteous people in sustainable quarters without work, everybody else filthy outcasts as part of God’s judgment upon them…this Judgment being automatic with no second appearance of Christ.

    There are huge errors in such opinion. First, an automatic Judgment sans Christ is an ancient Gnostic (e.g., Sophist) concept, even if carried into Seventh Day Adventist or any other doctrine…it’s originally mere Gnostic speculation.

    Second, look at relevant Gospels and Revelation. A new earth happens only first after a cataclysmic end to all earth, with a new earth not being part of any Judgment or end-time prior to a cataclysmic end. That is, God’s Judgment on souls is Scripturally more important than the phenomena of final days, which have no relation to the soul or any form (if any) it may have post-cataclysm.

    Thus, to claim any culture is a Judgment of God or Holy New Earth, and then proclaim it “Sola Scriptura”, is pure non-Scriptural subjective opinion and repression of simple Scripture itself…not to mention purely humanly-elective naming of “goats” and “sheep”, for the pleasure of other than God.

    It definitely takes more than the affirmation of a government office and “say-so God-breathed intuition” of anyone to uproot 2,000 years of anything…one thing Benedict XVI isn’t shy about is scientific, intellectual, and prayerful developed conversation on matters of faith…something Obama’s Communicants are not.

  • Dave

    I don’t think she has given her life to the Church. She has only given the part of her life to the Church that she agrees with. Anything else that she finds difficult to understand, she jettisons. If she truly had given her life to the Church as you say, then she would not have supported a health care (sic) bill that the bishops opposed. It is pretty cut and dried

  • Steve

    it’s clear these “Nuns” don’t wear a pectoral cross any longer. That’s defining

  • deacondog

    To Thomas Peters,

    With all the issues in the world today, you take umbrage with a religious who has given her life to the church. At least in her understanding. You have the temerity to disrespect her because she is a, “Bad Catholic.”

    You have hit the head on what is wrong with the church. We have met the enemy, and it is ourselves !

    • Shannon Swenson

      Excuse me, but isn’t the author also giving his life to the church? At least in his understanding? You have the temerity to criticize him when he criticizes another who criticizes the church?

      So now what?

      • TrueCatholic

        Shannon, would you kindly explain how the author (I presume you mean young Mr. Peters) is giving his life to the Church.

    • Shannon Swenson

      @TrueCatholic, Through his prolific publications in support and in defense of the magesterium. I’ll grant the distinction between the laity’s devotion and permanent vows taken by religious and clerical, but he’s using his talents in the service of the church, “in his understanding.”



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