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The US Catholic Bishops and Health Care Reform: A Failure of Imagination
Vivificat: From Contemplation to Action ^ | 23 December 2009 | TDJ

Posted on 12/23/2009 6:52:05 AM PST by Te骹ilo

Sadly, the bishops have misunderstood the entire process, and now we will all pay

Folks, according to Catholic World News:

Denouncing current Senate health care legislation as deficient because it provides federal funding for abortions and leaves Catholic hospitals and physicians bereft of conscience protection, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops emphasized in a December 22 letter that “until these fundamental flaws are remedied the bill should be opposed.”

The three coauthors of the letter-- Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City-- noted that the legislation

violates the longstanding federal policy against the use of federal funds for elective abortions and health plans that include such abortions -- a policy upheld in all health programs covered by the Hyde Amendment as well as in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program -- and now in the House-passed “Affordable Health Care for America Act.” We believe legislation that fails to comply with this policy and precedent is not true health care reform and should be opposed until this fundamental problem is remedied.

Despite claims to the contrary, the House-passed provision on abortion keeps in place the longstanding and widely supported federal policy against government funding of elective abortions and plans that include elective abortions. It does not restrict abortion, or prevent people from buying insurance covering abortion with their own funds. It simply ensures that where federal funds are involved, people are not required to pay for other people’s abortions. The public consensus on this point is borne out by many opinion surveys, including the new Quinnipiac University survey of December 22 showing 72 percent opposed to public funding of abortion in health care reform legislation.

The abortion provisions in the Manager’s Amendment to the Senate bill do not maintain this commitment to the legal status quo on abortion funding. Federal funds will help subsidize, and in some cases a federal agency will facilitate and promote, health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions in a very direct and explicit way, through a separate premium payment designed solely to pay for abortion. There is no provision for individuals to opt out of this abortion payment in federally subsidized plans, so people will be required by law to pay for other people’s abortions. States may opt out of this system only by passing legislation to prohibit abortion coverage. In this way the longstanding and current federal policy universally reflected in all federal health programs, including the program for providing health coverage to Senators and other federal employees, will be reversed. That policy will only prevail in states that take the initiative of passing their own legislation to maintain it.

Please continue reading here.

Commentary. I think that the bishops attempted to negotiate with the devil to no avail. They thought they could influence our lawmakers to provide us a "clean" government takeover of the nation's health care system, "clean" in the sense they hoped this "reform" would include strong conscience protections while defunding abortion, without objecting to the basic premise of unprecendent governmet growth.

With all due respect to our pastors, our bishops have been wrong all along for advocating a government takeover of the US health care sector in the name of "social justice." Frankly, they haven't argued convincingly how an expansion of the free market would have hurt, rather than helped those who are most in need, making the public option necessary. In the words of the Venerable Pope John Paul the Great in his masterful encyclical, Centesimus Annus:

34. It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are "solvent", insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are "marketable", insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied, and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish. It is also necessary to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources. Even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to man because he is man, by reason of his lofty dignity. Inseparable from that required "something" is the possibility to survive and, at the same time, to make an active contribution to the common good of humanity.
The Pope clearly established a balance between not allowing fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied, and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish and the necessity to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources. I'm still waiting for our pastors to apply these words to our current situation and to assist us laypeople to enact a healthy, balanced public policy more in line with the whole of Catholic Social Teaching. My scorecard for them is an "F".

Our bishops, still convinced of the desirability of the welfare state, have unwittingly painted themselves into a corner. If they had opposed this attempt at socialism from the viewpoint of the very Catholic notion of subsidiarity, and had supported instead the initiative of a humanist free market as John Paul envisioned, their critique would have been a more honest, coherent, moral, and intellectual one. But by accepting the premise that government ought to grow to cover this human need, they became more accomplices than shapers of what Congress has wrought. Because they bought into the "big government" idea, just differing on how big and in which direction government ought to grow, we find ourselves in this mess.

I want to state for the record that I think that those who cannot, in the words of John Paull II, acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources should be protected and provided for. The Bible is clear about who they are: the widow, the orphan, the elderly, the infirm and yes, the alien. A partnership of public and private initiatives will always be needed to care for these biblical "protected classes." Although our bishops are in tune with the needs of those unable to learn, work, and compete, they say little or nothing about our duty towards those who are able: we need to create the conditions and opportunities for them to join "the circle of exchange." This bill doesn't do that and our bishops seem to be oblivious of that basic fact.

For all these reasons, in my lay opinion, and from my reading of Catholic Social Teaching, this "health care reform" about to befall us is all wrong. Our bishops have never challenged the underlying, flawed premises. Rather, they got entangled in it, and now we're all going to pay for a large, unwieldly system that is designed to fail in the long wrong anyway in order to justify later a larger, irresistible complete government takeover of the health care sector. Read my lips, when that happens, there wwill be little or no consideration given to conscience protections or the defense of the right to life in anyway.

I hope and pray that our bishops learn from this mistake and give us better guidance next time. Their has been a failure of imagination of vast proportions. Hear us, O Lord, for the time to come.


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS:
Typos. Blunders. Mine. I hereby renew my obedience to the episcopal magisterium of the bishops of the United States, whether individually or in concert. However, when it comes to HCR, their guidance has been weak and incoherent, IMHO. If I'm wrong, then please correct me.
1 posted on 12/23/2009 6:52:05 AM PST by Te骹ilo
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To: NYer; Salvation

PING


2 posted on 12/23/2009 6:52:31 AM PST by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

While the Bishops guidance on the Health Care Bill has been severely lacking, they are not our representatives in the House and the Senate who should, as a requirement of their jobs and being responsible servants of the citizenry, should never have let this garbage out of committee.


3 posted on 12/23/2009 7:12:57 AM PST by frogjerk
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To: Te贸filo

When man is placed before God the final outcome is always in question but when God is in charge the final outcome is guaranteed.

Health care at its best is trust in man. At its worst is evil control over others by a few. I shall put my faith in God.


4 posted on 12/23/2009 7:13:35 AM PST by jafojeffsurf (Return to the Constitution.)
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To: frogjerk; jafojeffsurf

I wrote what I did with mixed feelings, but I call them the way I see them. Thank you kindly for your comments and Merry Christmas.

-Theo


5 posted on 12/23/2009 7:23:17 AM PST by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

Bishops at best haven’t had the courage of their own convictions.
Neither have they had the Backbone to challenge the evil they are aware of.
They suffer from the same illness as our Congress, protection of their own offices, everything else is secondary.


6 posted on 12/23/2009 7:24:55 AM PST by chatham
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To: Te贸filo; all the best
Our bishops, still convinced of the desirability of the welfare state, have unwittingly painted themselves into a corner. If they had opposed this attempt at socialism from the viewpoint of the very Catholic notion of subsidiarity, and had supported instead the initiative of a humanist free market as John Paul envisioned, their critique would have been a more honest, coherent, moral, and intellectual one. But by accepting the premise that government ought to grow to cover this human need, they became more accomplices than shapers of what Congress has wrought. Because they bought into the "big government" idea, just differing on how big and in which direction government ought to grow, we find ourselves in this mess.

I want to state for the record that I think that those who cannot, in the words of John Paull II, acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources should be protected and provided for. The Bible is clear about who they are: the widow, the orphan, the elderly, the infirm and yes, the alien. A partnership of public and private initiatives will always be needed to care for these biblical "protected classes." Although our bishops are in tune with the needs of those unable to learn, work, and compete, they say little or nothing about our duty towards those who are able: we need to create the conditions and opportunities for them to join "the circle of exchange." This bill doesn't do that and our bishops seem to be oblivious of that basic fact.

For all these reasons, in my lay opinion, and from my reading of Catholic Social Teaching, this "health care reform" about to befall us is all wrong. Our bishops have never challenged the underlying, flawed premises. Rather, they got entangled in it, and now we're all going to pay for a large, unwieldly system that is designed to fail in the long wrong anyway in order to justify later a larger, irresistible complete government takeover of the health care sector. Read my lips, when that happens, there wwill be little or no consideration given to conscience protections or the defense of the right to life in anyway.

Excellent piece of writing, Teófilo!

"Show me just one Catholic bishop who will speak up against coveting your neighbors’ goods. That is why Catholics ignored the Bishops on abortion. They know abortion is wrong but overlooked the Dems on that point because those same politicians pandered to their covetousness. Same for protestants and evangelical pastors, leaders and activists. American politics and government at all levels is driven by government-mediated coveting. Until the Church takes a stand against this we can expect to sink deeper and deeper into socialism and, oh yeah, abortion."
FReeper all the best, November 5, 2008.

7 posted on 12/23/2009 7:30:33 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Te贸filo
Dear Teofilo,

I think that different bishops think different things about the government takeover of health care. I think some think that this is prudentially a bad idea. A few are even opposed in principle. I've actually read essays by a few bishops who think that government-controlled health care is wrong. But other bishops aren't offended by the concept, and still others likely prefer it.

My guess is that probably a majority are either okay with government-controlled health care, or even favor it. But my guess is that those who are against it are not an insignificant group.

Only a few points of consensus arose from the bishops conference:

o Life must be respected, no matter how society provides for health care;

o Health care should be universally available (accessible?) and affordable for all;

o The precise forms of the provision of health care, whether through private insurance, whether through government plans, etc., are beyond the purview of the Church and Her hierarchy.

It isn't the job of the bishops to say how, in detail, a society should make provision for health care. If a society chooses solutions that make use of markets more, that's properly within the realm of the laity to decide. Similarly if the choices tend toward government control and socialism.

I think that the bishops have been silent on the underlying premise of government takeover of health care because they believe, as a group, that it is properly a temporal issue, and beyond the competence of the Church hierarchy.

But their silence on the underlying premise has been interpreted as approval.

Myself, I think that government-run health care violates important Catholic principles, not the least of which is subsidiarity. But bishops in the United States are part of a much larger, more international fraternity than just the bishops of the United States. They belong to the universal college of bishops of the entire Church, and many of their brother bishops live in countries with government-controlled health care. So, many of our bishops may not see government control of health care as innately bad.


sitetest

8 posted on 12/23/2009 7:38:15 AM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: Te贸filo

I have come to the conclusion that the Conference of Catholic Biships is an instrument of evil at worst and an excuse at best. Everytime some Bishop wants to cite to an authority for some action by the Bishop, he cites to the USCCB. The USCCB has no recognized authority in the Church as I understand it, yet there is this constant reference to the USCCB as setting out the standard of morality and the faith. The Bishops for the most part are gutless. I forget who said the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops but I think he was thinking of the USCCB.


9 posted on 12/23/2009 7:38:59 AM PST by dominic flandry
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To: dominic flandry
Synodal forms of consultation, government, administration, and pastorate are as old as the Church itself. In the 19th and 20th centuries, periodic meetings of US bishops in "synods" were a fairly common occurence, and not exclusive to the United States.

The Second Vatican Council called for these national synods of bishops to become these "national conferences" of which the USCCB is our local expression, as follows:

Wherefore, this sacred synod decrees the following concerning episcopal conferences:

38. 1.) An episcopal conference is, as it were, a council in which the bishops of a given nation or territory jointly exercise their pastoral office to promote the greater good which the Church offers mankind, especially through the forms and methods of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of the age.

2. ) Members of the episcopal conference are all local Ordinaries of every rite-excluding vicar generals-and coadjutors, auxiliaries and other titular bishops who perform a special work entrusted to them by the Apostolic See or the episcopal conferences. Other titular bishops, legates of the Roman pontiff, because of their exceptional office in the territory are not de iure members of the conferences. Local Ordinaries and coadjutors hold a deliberative vote. Auxiliaries and other bishops who have a right to attend the conference will hold either a deliberative or a consultative vote, as the statutes of the conference determine.

3.) Each episcopal conference is to draft its own statutes for recognition by the Apostolic See. In these statutes, among other things, offices should be established which will aid in achieving its purpose more efficaciously, for example, a permanent board of bishops, episcopal commissions and a general secretariat.

4.) Decisions of the episcopal conference, provided they have been approved legitimately and by the votes of at least two-thirds of the prelates who have a deliberative vote in the conference, and have been recognized by the Apostolic See, are to have juridically binding force only in those cases prescribed by the common law or determined by a special mandate of the Apostolic See, given either spontaneously or in response to a petition of the conference itself.

5.) Wherever special circumstances require and with the approbation of the Apostolic See, bishops of many nations can establish a single conference.

Communications between episcopal conferences of different nations should be especially encouraged in order to promote and safeguard the common good.

6.) It is highly recommended that the prelates of the Oriental Churches, promoting the discipline of their own churches in synods and efficaciously fostering works for the good of religion, should take into account also the common good of the whole territory where many churches of different rites exist. They should exchange views at inter-ritual meetings in keeping with norms to be given by the competent authority.

Chapter IV of the 1983 Code of Canon Law further regularized their existence, duties, and operations within the Church.

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit inspired the Council Fathers to act this way. The National Conferences are here to stay. We owe them both our respect, and our constructive criticism. So please forgive me if I disagree with some of what you say.

Merry Christmas,
-Theo

10 posted on 12/23/2009 7:58:21 AM PST by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo
"the circle of exchange."

I don't have all the answers on how to get everyone healthcare and it's a moral scandal that in the U.S. they don't.

For the record, hamburger flippers, dishwashers, ditch-diggers cleaning ladies, gas-pumpers etc., etc. are part of the "the circle of exchange". I look and pray for the day when our country can proudly say, along with its many other achievements, that we take care of all of the above.

11 posted on 12/23/2009 8:19:52 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: Te贸filo
Where are the other religious leaders in the United States to speak out AGAINST this healthcare/obamacare monstrosity? At least the U. S. Catholic BishopsM have spoken out against it!!

The US Catholic Bishops and Health Care Reform: A Failure of Imagination
US Bishops' Biggest Hope: Life-Affirming Care for All
Abortion Debate Shows the Catholic Bishops' Growing Influence
The Catholic case against health-care reform
Pro-Life Leaders Launch Opposition to Senate Health Bill Following Nelson Amendment Demise

With pro-life amendment's defeat, US bishops urgently call for changes in Senate health bill
More Proof that the US Catholic Bishops are Leading the Charge in Abortion Battle
Bishops Urge Senators to Support [Abortion]Amendment on Health Care; Urge Constituents to Back It
Bishops urged to be tough on pols who would pay for abortion
Health reform still full of thorny problems for Catholics (Vasa comes out for subsidiarity)

Healthcare and Catholics: True and False Arguments

Meddling Bishops Interfere in Political Process

How the Stupak-Pitts Amendment May Change Our Politics
Health Care and the Power of the Bishops' Conference
US Bishops: Abortion Isn't Health Care
Denver Archbishop Chaput says promises were broken on abortion
Catholic Bishops: Health Care Bill ... ‘Money-Laundering System’ for Funding Abortion

Catholic Caucus: The Bishops Go On Offense
US bishops conference mounts late drive against 'unacceptable' health-care reform
Catholic Bishops Urge Members to Oppose Abortion Funding in Health Care Plan [Catholic Uprising!]
Bishops Announce Unprecedented Massive Catholic Opposition to Obamacare
Bishops Call for Massive Catholic Opposition to Abortion in Current Health Care Reform

Archbishop Charles Chaput on the Current Struggle Between Catholics and "Caesar"
The Bishop's Ax Falls on Obama. And on the Vatican Curia (bombshell article)
US Bishops: Heath Package Still Funding Abortions (Urge Congress to Keep Working)
Catholic Bishops Declare They Will ‘Vigorously’ Oppose Health Care Bill as It Now Stands
Bishops Restate Vow vs. Obamacare's Abortion

Important: US Bishops taking the gloves off on health care reform
BREAKING: Catholic Bishops On Health Care - Change Bills Or Else
U.S. bishops warn of vigorous opposition if Congress fails to fix health care bills
List: *41* Bishops against Obamacare (and counting!)
Bishop Murphy Issues Video Statement on Health Care Reform [Diocese of Rockville Centre]

Health Care Principles [Bishop Samuel Aquila, Fargo, ND]
Florida Bishop [Thomas Wenski] Weighs in on Health Care Reform
ObamaCare and Catholic social teaching [Bishop Neckless]
Some Catholic bishops question gov't health care
Boston’s Roman Catholic Cardinal Says He Confronted Obama about Abortion in Health Care Plan....

Iowa Bishop: Don’t Be Railroaded into the Current...Health Care Proposals
in a message issued by the Diocese of Sioux City (The Church on Universal Healthcare)
Nazi Health Care A Catholic Bishop Speaks Out Against "End of Life Care" (Germany, 1941)
Bishop Nickless: "No Health Care Reform is Better than the Wrong Health Care Reform"
Cardinal Rigali, Abp. Chaput Intensify Warnings Against Obamacare's Abortion Expansion

12 posted on 12/23/2009 8:34:19 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: GonzoII
I don't have all the answers on how to get everyone healthcare and it's a moral scandal that in the U.S. they don't.

You are confusing health care with health insurance.

13 posted on 12/23/2009 10:21:42 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (:: The government will do for health care what it did for real estate. ::)
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To: Jeff Chandler
You are confusing health care with health insurance.

So are the bishops.

[Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities]: We see the right to basic health care as a corollary of the right to life, as Pope John XXIII said in his encyclical "Pacem in Terris." It is a scandal that the wealthiest nation in the world still has tens of millions of people with no health coverage at all....
-- from the thread US Bishops' Biggest Hope: Life-Affirming Care for All

14 posted on 12/23/2009 10:34:44 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: GonzoII
For the record, hamburger flippers, dishwashers, ditch-diggers cleaning ladies, gas-pumpers etc., etc. are part of the "the circle of exchange". I look and pray for the day when our country can proudly say, along with its many other achievements, that we take care of all of the above.

Absolutely. The question is how to make it without placing the health care economy under government control.

Here's a thought: if most of us were willing to do with less, perhaps others would have more. Not that I'm advocating a "zero-sum" approach, not at all. But if we didn't have absurd judgments in lawsuits and therefore have some tort reform; if a college education was cheaper so to avoid graduates being burdned with huge debts, forcing them to specialize in more lucrative fields so that they can service their loans; if insurance company were allowed to form interstate pools; if we had separate catastrophic health insurance and health care accounts for sundry medical expenses, if it were easy for faith-based associations to offer these kinds of insurance for little or no cost the minimum-salary-earners, if if if...

It looks like we will never know what could've been if civil society and not government had been empowered to service these critical needs.

-Theo

15 posted on 12/23/2009 10:49:34 AM PST by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Health insurance is what I meant.


16 posted on 12/23/2009 12:44:45 PM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

Health insurance is not the same as health care. Many of the uninsured are either illegal immigrants, young citizens who choose not to purchase health insurance, or citizens with the means to pay cash for health care.

Tell me how it is a moral scandal that those individuals do not have health insurance?


17 posted on 12/23/2009 1:06:03 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (:: The government will do for health care what it did for real estate. ::)
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To: Te贸filo

The USCCB reflects the larger issue in this country—that is, that American education is not training people to think, to analyze, and unfortunately, some of those Americans are also bishops.


18 posted on 12/23/2009 1:10:18 PM PST by browniexyz
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To: GonzoII

Not having health insurance is not the same as not having health care. In every city, every town, every county in this nation, we have community health centers where excellent doctors provide care. Yes. Care. For Free. Health insurance? Not required, not necessary.


19 posted on 12/23/2009 1:12:08 PM PST by browniexyz
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To: Jeff Chandler

“Tell me how it is a moral scandal that those individuals do not have health insurance?”

I’d like to stick to my dishwashers etc.., why can’t they afford health insurance if they want it? Is it above their social status?


20 posted on 12/23/2009 3:00:04 PM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII
I’d like to stick to my dishwashers etc.., why can’t they afford health insurance if they want it? Is it above their social status?

Dishwashing is the kind of job intended for people entering the work force-teenagers or very young adults who are either eligible to be on their parents' insurance or are indeed able to afford the surprisingly low insurance rates available to young people. A nineteen-year-old can obtain insurance for less than he spends on fast food. It's not my fault if he doesn't like to brown bag it.

21 posted on 12/23/2009 4:19:04 PM PST by Jeff Chandler (:: The government will do for health care what it did for real estate. ::)
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To: Salvation
The bishops have been pushing socialized medicine for decades, and they were instrumental in getting the current health care reform bill as far as it is now:

Blame the Bishops


AIM Column  |  By Cliff Kincaid  |  December 23, 2009


The only real chance of defeating the health care legislation came when the bill was lacking a majority of votes for passage in the House.

A lot is being said and written about why national health care legislation is becoming a reality. The simple fact, available for all to see, is that the U.S. Catholic Bishops ensured passage of the bill in the House, enabling the Senate to move forward with its version.

Like "progressive" strategist Robert B. Creamer, the Bishops believe that health care is a right to be guaranteed by government. This position has driven the debate and has rarely been challenged by Republicans. The debate over abortion has been mostly a diversion. Perhaps it has been planned that way

As we were the first to disclose, Creamer, an ex-con and husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, emphasized using "the faith community" to mobilize support for universal health care by highlighting the morality of providing medical care to people in need. His book, Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win, emphasized that "We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right."

Now compare this to what the Bishops have said.

"Our approach to health care is shaped by a simple but fundamental principle: 'Every person has a right to adequate health care,'" they say. They go on, "For three quarters of a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for national action to assure decent health care for all Americans. We seek to bring a moral perspective in an intensely political debate; we offer an ethical framework in an arena dominated by powerful economic interests."

Reform, the Bishops said, would "require concerted action by federal and other levels of government and by the diverse providers and consumers of health care. We believe government, an instrument of our common purpose called to pursue the common good, has an essential role to play in assuring that the rights of all people to adequate health care are respected."

Also this: "For three quarters of a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for national action to assure decent health care for all Americans."

The only real chance of defeating the health care legislation came when the bill was lacking a majority of votes for passage in the House. That's when the first deal was made. This was the deal that made all other deals possible. Acting at the behest of Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Catholic Bishops, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to a vote on the pro-life amendment introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak. It passed and then the bill itself was approved.

But why did Republicans vote for the Stupak amendment if they opposed the basic premise of the bill? House Republican Leader Rep. John Boehner got his marching orders as well. He was told by Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that the Republicans shouldn't scuttle the Stupak amendment.

The Senate then proceeded to pass its own version of the legislation, without the Stupak language. Predictably, Stupak is complaining about that. But he-and the Democrats and Republicans who voted for his amendment-only have themselves to blame. At least five lobbyists for the Bishops worked with Pelosi and Stupak on the deal that is now also predictably falling apart. Clearly, the pro-life deal was a ploy designed to keep the legislation alive.

It has become apparent to some observers that the Bishops want the legislation to pass, with or without abortion language, because of its perceived impact on 600 Catholic hospitals. As they say in their own document, "Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools, agencies, and hospitals are major purchasers of insurance and health care. The rapidly escalating costs of coverage are impacting almost every diocese, agency, parish, and school."

In other words, the Bishops see national health care legislation as a way to reduce their own costs. In addition, by expanding federally-subsidized health care to as many as 30 million people, many of whom might normally depend on Catholic hospitals for inexpensive or free care, the Catholic Bishops could save even more money.

Andrew P. Napolitano, the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel, has written a very revealing article about what has been missing in the debate over health care. He writes, "In the continually harsh public discourse over the President's proposals for federally-managed healthcare, the Big Government progressives in both the Democratic and the Republican parties have been trying to trick us. These folks, who really want the government to care for us from cradle to grave, have been promoting the idea that health care is a right. In promoting that false premise, they have succeeded in moving the debate from WHETHER the feds should micro-manage health care to HOW the feds should micro-manage health care. This is a false premise, and we should reject it. Health care is not a right; it is a good, like food, like shelter, and like clothing."

Rights come from God, not government, Napolitano points out.

It would have been nice if it had been pointed out on Fox News and elsewhere that the Catholic Bishops who claim to be offering a "moral perspective" on this controversy have bought into the false premise. But they didn't believe it to be false, and that is the critical point.

In short, the Catholic Bishops have emerged as a major "progressive" force in the United States, determined to saddle the country with a socialized medicine scheme. The disagreements over abortion among the "Big Government progressives" should not distract our attention from this basic fact. The Bishops also favor "climate change" legislation and amnesty for illegal aliens.

In addition to the lobbyists who were working on Capitol Hill, the bishops have a staff of 350 in Washington, D.C. and operate on a budget that was estimated back in 2002 at $131 million a year. By contrast, the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress operates on about $48 million a year.   

Ironically, we have also discovered that Soros, an atheist, is putting big money into various Catholic organizations, such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Not surprisingly, it is backing the health care legislation. 

"Sadly, the bishops have misunderstood the entire process, and now we will all pay," one conservative Catholic blogger points out. "They thought they could influence our lawmakers to provide us a 'clean' government takeover of the nation's health care system, 'clean' in the sense they hoped this 'reform' would include strong conscience protections while defunding abortion, without objecting to the basic premise of unprecedented government growth."

It is interesting and newsworthy that, as the nation prepares to celebrate Christmas, we are witnesses to the passage of legislation promoted in part by elements of the "faith community" who have put most of their faith in the federal government and its mammon.


Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of the AIM Report and can be reached at cliff.kincaid@aim.org

22 posted on 12/23/2009 7:43:47 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

I believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well in His Church today.


23 posted on 12/23/2009 10:40:58 PM PST by FourtySeven (47)
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To: FourtySeven
I agree.

Unfortunately, "Hanlon's Razor" applies to the USCCB in spades:

"Never ascribe to malice that which can best be explained by incompetence."

24 posted on 12/24/2009 8:36:05 AM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

I enjoy Cliff Kincaid’s writings and he’s always on target. This time though he’s confusing the Bishops with the bunch of CINO’s they have lobbying for us on pro-life. Raymond Arroyo challenged these CINO’s a couple of times on EWTN. The Bishops are too gullible and trusting - they also trusted those CINO’s who were in charge of grants which is why we ended up in the ACORN mess. They learned their lesson the hard way with ACORN and methinks they’ll do the same with this debacle.

PS: Not all the Bishops are so gullible though some are...


25 posted on 12/24/2009 11:24:15 PM PST by bronxville
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

The Catholic Church teaches that the only socialism humankind can ever bring about is atheistic socialism which lies, and denies, the truth of the dignity of the human person:
http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_le13rn.htm


26 posted on 12/24/2009 11:42:58 PM PST by bronxville
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