The Catholic League: Making The Latest Mommy War Worse

By now most people have heard about Hilary Rosen’s terrible choice of words in reference to Ann Romney on CNN Wednesday night. Rosen is a White House adviser and a PR consultant which makes her choice of words all the more impactful.

If you didn’t, here’s the clip.

CNN has a complete transcript here.

When discussing Romney’s campaign and how/whether it’s reaching women, Rosen said,

What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.

Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why do we worry about their future?

The statement was pretty bad, though she may indeed have not meant to come across the way that she did. But many people understood her to be attacking Ann Romney’s decision to be a stay at home mom and suggesting that is wasn’t real work. On the contrary, raising five children is more work than many many people are willing to do, as evidenced by widespread intentionally low birthrates.

Add to this that Ann Romney comes across as a lovely person and that she’s battled cancer and MS and you’ve got a major PR crisis.

But it gets better. (Depends of course on what you mean by “better.”) The Catholic League responded with the following tweet:

Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.

Ouch. Not only is this not Catholic in any way, shape, or form. It’s simply unnecessary. With whom Rosen chooses to share her bed has nothing to do with her statement on Ann Romney and her experience with economics. Additionally, are we now suggesting that there’s something unCatholic about adoption? If so, then we’re going to have to revisit the core of our theology which is divine filiation…which is to say a type of adoption.

The Catholic League has done a good job defending the Catholic Church on many issues. But the type of response exemplified in the above tweet makes the same fundamental communications error that Rosen made. It’s completely off message and ad hominem (ad mulierem, to be precise).

It also sounds hateful/spiteful, not unlike Rosen’s comments. And that’s another sign of bad communications strategy. When you start spewing negative emotion, any constructive (even if critical) message is lost.

To a casual observer, the takeaway from CL’s tweet is that the Catholic Church doesn’t like people who are attracted to the same sex. And that the Catholic Church doesn’t support adoption. Neither of these conclusions are true. Meanwhile, any commentary on Rosen’s remarks about Ann Romney is completely lost.

Some other thoughts on Rosen’s remarks:

1. Why does she assume that someone without professional experience can’t have valid opinions about economics? Plenty of women who are not economists and financial advisers do a fine job of managing family finances. And plenty of professionals (economists and others) have been terribly wrong about the economy.

2. I continue to meet interesting people who have a depth of knowledge beyond their professional or day-to-day occupations. Some of the smartest people I’ve known never went to college. It’s the height of just about every -ism to judge someone’s intellectual understanding based on a few outward assumptions about them.

3. As I wrote/tweeted yesterday, “Will someone with 5 small children at home please offer Hilary Rosen the opportunity to babysit for 24 hours? And let her pay your bills etc.”



  • joeyjoejoe

    I would describe myself as a very orthodox Catholic. But Bill Donohue is just an embarassment. It’s not like I ever disagree with the principles he says, but the way he goes around defending the faith is always pathetic really. The Catholic faith is a rich 2000 year old tradition that is the fullness of Truth. But Bill never conveys that. I also find it strange the people who have said basically the same thing as me have been negatively viewed. The Catholic League did something stupid, and bashed adoption. Which is counter to Catholic belief. People should be as outraged as when some democrat “catholic” misconstrues the faith.

  • Jennifer

    It’s worth pointing out to readers that the offensive Tweet did not come from Bill Donohue. Seeing his picture in the article gives that impression. Yes, he is the “face” of Catholic League, but he is not the author of that stupid Tweet.

  • Marsha

    Just a quick note. Going through pregnancy and bringing a child into the world doesn’t make any woman a good mother. And those women who choose to bring many children into the world doesn’t make them an even better mother. Every female creature on earth has the ability to bring children into the world. Almost all female human beings can do that. It’s pretty much a no brainer. Being a good mother involves having excellent skills as a mother and then utilizing those skills. Believe it or not, there are many lesbian mothers who are better mothers than many non-lesbian mothers.

  • Mary

    Sadly, Pia, I think you are unique among the community in your open-mindedness and truly Christ-like non-judgementalism.

  • Tim

    Yes heis comments were off topic and uncharitable. But I believe still something he brings up is salient. If Rosen didn’t actually birth the children she calls her own, then she has even less maternal experience than she claims. Lesbians whom adopt do so out of purely selfish means. (sure, so do some straight people also). Some may have a fit of apoplexy at these remarks but it is true. Do onus said things the wrong way, but it’s important to realize how out of mainstream Rosen is. Of course if she did have the kids or pulled a mccreevey or something like that, then my point is moot.



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