A news brief on Catholic Culture highlights a recent article by Mark Zimmerman for Catholic News Service, the editorially and financially independent news media division of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The article in question – which will be running in diocesan newspapers all over the country in time for Labor Day – is a puff piece on US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis that focuses on her parents’ inspiring faith and tireless work ethic, as well as how Solis’ Catholic faith “motivates” her.
We get a description of the crucifix and statue of Mary Solis keeps in her office, and are told that she “sometimes attends Masses at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in downtown Washington.” There is also a detailed account of Solis’ many efforts on behalf of the poor, especially migrant workers, during her tenure as a congresswoman from California and then as labor secretary. Solis was the first woman to receive the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, “for her work on environmental justice issues,” the article states.
However, this glowing account of a Catholic public servant fails to mention a couple facts about her time in office, including her 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America (and a corresponding 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee).
A quick gander at Hilda Solis’ record on life issues at OnTheIssues.org makes it clear that this is not someone CNS should be holding up as a Catholic in public life to be emulated. She has voted “yes” on allowing and expanding embryonic stem cell research; “no” on the federal partial-birth abortion ban; and “no” on restricting interstate transportation of minors for abortions. She also has an extensive record of voting to use federal funds for contraception, both at home in the US and abroad.
Nary a mention of any of these facts is to be found in the Catholic News Service profile of Solis, which is clearly intended to depict the labor secretary as a positive example of a Catholic political leader.
What a pity that of the many faithful Catholic public servants working tirelessly to promote authentic human flourishing in our country, CNS decided to highlight one who has demonstrated such a lack of concern for the most vulnerable among us, especially as we head into the Labor Day weekend.