US Roman Catholic Bishops Urge Bipartisanship in Health Care Debate

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"It is time to set aside partisan divisions and special interest pressures to find ways to enact genuine reform. We encourage the administration and Congress to work in a bipartisan manner marked by political courage, vision and leadership," the bishops said [in a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week].

"As pastors and teachers," the letter continued, "we believe genuine health care reform must protect human life and dignity from conception to natural death, not threaten them, especially for the voiceless and vulnerable. We believe health care legislation must respect the consciences of providers, taxpayers, purchasers of insurance and others, not violate them.

"We believe universal coverage should be truly universal and should not be denied to those in need because of their condition, age, where they come from or when they arrive here. Providing affordable and accessible health care that clearly reflects these fundamental principles is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority."

"We hope and pray," the letter added, "that the Congress and the country will come together around genuine health care reform that protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

10 Comments
Posted February 26, 2010 at 12:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. justinmartyr wrote:

This article illustrates why I cannot submit my God-given reason to the idiocy of the Roman or Anglican churches. When my church advocates the theft of Peter’s money to pay for Paul’s healthcare, and then holds it up as moral—as these Bishops do, and as Pope Pius once did—then I must stand contra ecclesia.

February 26, 2:55 pm | [comment link]
2. JustOneVoice wrote:

“We believe universal coverage should be truly universal and should not be denied to those in need because of their condition, age, where they come from or when they arrive here. Providing affordable and accessible health care that clearly reflects these fundamental principles is a public good, moral imperative and urgent national priority.”

I believe this is a good goal for the church and for individual Christians.

I do not think it is what the government should force on the people (and be in charge of managing).

February 26, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
3. deaconmark wrote:

I see the Roman Bishops are prophets as well.  Ironic that they call for bipartisanship when it’s their insistance that the entire country follow their religious beliefs on a number of issues that have, in part, brought the country to the divisions that currently exist.  An image comes to my mind of the Roman Catholic Bishops insisting for decades that no divorced man could be President and then applauding Reagan because he promised money for Catholic schools.  We’ll see how the bipartisanship plays out.

February 26, 4:13 pm | [comment link]
4. Chris Molter wrote:

#1, uhh.. don’t our taxes already do that?  (oh, and Catholics can disagree with the USCCB on HOW health care is provided.  Our Vatican Mind Control Implant overpowers the weaker USCCB one)

February 26, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
5. JustOneVoice wrote:

I may be wrong, but I don’t recall the Roman Catholic Bishops applauding Reagan for being divorced.  If someone is divorced and becomes President, the Roman Catholic Bishops should not applaud anything he does?  It just might be possible and consistent to applaud someone for the positions they take, that are good, even if the person is not perfect.  Some might call that a Christian thing to do.

February 26, 4:24 pm | [comment link]
6. phil swain wrote:

The Catholic bishops have never insisted that the country follow the bishops’ religious beliefs.  They have on a number of occasions brought moral arguments to the public square.  BTW, if you think the USCCB coddled up to Reagan, you need to review all those pastoral letters from the USCCB during the eigthties.

February 26, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
7. Dan Crawford wrote:

I’m so delighted that the Catholic Bishops have aroused the Know Nothing - Do Nothing Right from its restless slumber. It’s a consolation to know that apparently the elves do allow vituperation in the comments.

February 26, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
8. Vatican Watcher wrote:

“No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist.” —Pius XI, Quad. Anno, 1931

Unfortunately, the USCCB has ignored this point for many years.  Despite its slow progression back towards orthodoxy in certain areas, as the article linked to above illustrates, the US Catholic bishops are more than willing to use socialist code words.

February 26, 5:24 pm | [comment link]
9. Katherine wrote:

The whole question is what “genuine reform” means.  On this, sincere believing Christians can differ.

February 26, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
10. Trad Catholic wrote:

The bishops ought not be endorsing specific legislative agendas.  They are supposed to teach the principles and it remains the ministry of informed and conscientious laypeople to craft legislation.  Calls for bi-partisanship are prudential matters: in some instances, bipartisanship might be good, in others, bad.  But in the end, bipartisan/partisan is a matter of political activity, of choices made as pat of the process of accomplishing legislation.  The bishops ought to stay out of that.

The bishops failed to carry out what was their proper responsibility (disciplining abusive priests properly when it would have mattered, though in part their error arose from trusting “experts,” which is the same error that led to the awful liturgical mistakes, now being corrected by Benedict XVI) and have for decades, crossed the line into direct political activism.

They should abolish the whole USCCB and return to being evangelical bishops, stewards of the mysteries of Christ, teachers, sanctifiers.  If they did that well, there’d be a body of Catholic laypeople capable of managing quite well to bring Christ to the corridors of power.  Instead, they end up doing neither kind of work well.

I think some of the younger bishops get it—coming up through the “farm system” in small midwestern dioceses, with some alumni now reaching major sees (Carlson in St. Louis, for example).

February 26, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): CEN—Australians are first to take up Pope’s offer:

Previous entry (below): Bishop of Swindon Lee Rayfield—Let’s not take the path of assisted dying

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)