You are cordially invited to join the board, staff, writers and friends of InsideCatholic in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, September 16, for our 15th Annual Partnership Dinner & Dance. This year, we’ll be honoring Bishop Robert F. Vasa, D.D., of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon.
In an era of lukewarm, go-along-to-get-along prelates, Bishop Vasa stands out. In April 2004, he issued “Giving Testimony to the Truth,” a document addressed to the lay ministers of the Baker diocese that included an oath of fidelity. Reminding those who serve the diocese that it is the bishops who commission them to exercise these works, Bishop Vasa made the oath a requirement for employment, because the Church “teaches that anyone commissioned to a lay apostolate in the Church should be fully accepting of all Catholic teachings.”
The following year, Bishop Vasa may have ruffled a few feathers when he rejected the USCCB’s imposition of the “Talking About Touching” program as a response to priest sexual abuse. Preferring to create his own “safe environment program,” Bishop Vasa argued that “Talking About Touching” left too many unanswered and troubling questions.
In 2006, Bishop Vasa weighed in again on a controversial subject, what he called the “heresy” of pro-abortion Catholic politicians:
There is a point at which passive “tolerance” allows misleading teachings to be spread and propagated, thus confusing or even misleading the faithful about the truths of the Church. . . . There is a very strong word, which still exists in our Church, which most of us are too “gentle” to use. The word is “heresy.”
Interviewed by LifeSiteNews at the Catholic Leadership Conference in 2008, Bishop Vasa stated that abortion support “disqualified” a Catholic for political office. The USCCB’s controversial “Faithful Citizenship” document of 2007, according to Bishop Vasa, contained the same view. He rejected the spin on “Faithful Citizenship” that a Catholic could vote for a pro-abortion candidate for “proportionate reasons” when facing a politician who supported capital punishment and the Iraq War:
When we have someone who has that stand on a disqualifying issue, then the other issues, in many ways, do not matter because they are already wrong on that absolutely fundamental issue.
Bishop Vasa’s interest in health care is longstanding and informed, as he created self-funded medical insurance for his former diocese of Lincoln as well as Baker. He also serves on the board of the Catholic Medical Association, which described him as having “visionary wisdom.” In February 2010, explaining that the St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, “gradually moved away” from Church ethical and religious standards, Bishop Vasa announced it can no longer be “called Catholic.” St. Charles was performing sterilizations in the form of tubal ligations.
A month later, Bishop Vasa described the health-care bill — which was supported by Catholic politicians like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden — as “positively evil.” He rejected the arguments used by Catholic supporters that it was necessary to pass in spite of its flaws:
The demand that such a provision [i.e., abortion] be eliminated is not a demand for ‘perfection.’ Such a demand, in this case, is not the enemy of the good, it is standing in the face of evil.
In all these actions, Bishop Vasa shows himself to be a leader who expresses, without hesitation, the common sense of the Catholic Faith. That’s why we’re so pleased to honor him with our Partnership Award, and we’d love for you to join us in honoring him as well.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Hamilton Crowne Plaza
14th and K Streets NW, Washington, D.C.
4:00PM — The evening begins with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Vasa at St. Patrick’s Church, 619 10th Street NW
6:00PM — Awards Ceremony, with an address by Bishop Vasa
7:00PM — Wine reception
7:30PM — Dinner, followed by dancing to the oldies-style music of Joker’s Wild. As per our yearly tradition, we’ll also be featuring the magnificent sacred icons of Romanian iconographer Sister Eliseea Papocioc