Health care reform flap at Oak Park parish

The Archdiocese of Chicago intervened in a planned “health care reform forum” at Oak Park’s Ascension Parish after learning the event was being co-sponsored by two groups affiliated with the Democratic Party. The “respect life coordinator” at a neighboring church in the near west suburb filed a complaint with the archdiocese in advance of the Sept. 20 forum, expressing concern that a partisan function was going to be held on Catholic Church property. The event — featuring several prominent Rush University Medical Center doctors, including President Obama’s former physician — was co-sponsored by the Democratic Party of Oak Park and the pro-Obama Organizing for America. Archdiocesan officials consulted with the pastor, the Rev. Larry McNally, and the decision was made to yank the two groups — because archdiocesan policy indeed does bar political activity at churches. What’s more, politicians were barred from speaking at the event.