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 CNS Story:

SAILE Sep-19-2007 (520 words) With photo. xxxn

Lutheran Services staffer named USCCB domestic social policy director

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Kathy Saile, who begins work in mid-October as director of domestic policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the thing that "sold me on the position" was the USCCB's commitment to integrate more closely the work of the pro-life, social policy and Catholic Campaign for Human Development offices.

Catholic social ministry "is not piecemeal work," said Saile, who has been associate director of public policy for Lutheran Services in America in Washington since August 2004.

She previously worked as director of the Office of Peace and Justice for Catholic Social Service of Central and Northern Arizona and CCHD director for the Phoenix Diocese, 2001-2004; coordinator of social justice and outreach ministries at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., 1997-2001; and as a loaned executive to Catholic Charities USA, May-July 2003.

Msgr. David Malloy, USCCB general secretary, announced the appointment Sept. 13.

"Kathy Saile brings to this important position strong commitment to the Catholic Church and its social teaching, impressive knowledge of key domestic issues and extensive policy and advocacy experience," he said in a statement.

"Her service in diocesan social ministry and here in the nation's capital will be great assets in helping the bishops articulate and advance the church's principles and policies seeking economic and social justice in our nation," he said.

Saile, 42, said her work in Washington has brought her into contact with an "interesting, diverse coalition" whose members did not always agree on every issue. One of those contacts was Women's Information Network, or WIN, a group that promotes the involvement in politics of Democratic women who believe a woman has a right to choose abortion.

"It's not always easy being a pro-life woman in D.C.," she said. "But one of the things I challenged them on was the Democrats' litmus test on abortion. ... I think the Democrats are hurting themselves by having this litmus test for candidates."

One Catholic media outlet reported after Saile's appointment was announced that she "was a 2006 dinner-party speaker" for WIN, "a group dedicated to empowering pro-choice women."

The dinner in question, she told Catholic News Service Sept. 18, involved about seven women at a private home for a discussion of faith and politics.

"The issue of abortion was raised," Saile said, "and I challenged people that it was not mutually exclusive to be socially progressive on issues like health care, poverty and housing and to be pro-life."

Saile holds a master's degree in social work from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in organizational communication from Ohio University.

In a statement at the time of her USCCB appointment, she expressed thanks for "this opportunity to integrate my commitment to social justice and my faith in my professional life."

As director of domestic policy, she will be the staff leader of USCCB efforts on poverty in the U.S., health care, hunger, housing, work, agriculture, the death penalty and other national issues, working with the bishops' new Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

END


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