Despite the fact that scripture clearly delegates acts of charity to the individual, the family, and the church – NOT the state – many Catholic bishops in the US promote – and still defend – government-controlled healthcare.
Even today, though they are united in speaking out against Obama’s clear violation of 1st Amendment rights, many stop short of condemning Obamacare itself.
By approving a government takeover of the industry in the name of “universal healthcare,” they have surrendered unconstitutional and unscriptural powers to the state. Now they are surprised to see such powers used against them. Those of us all too familiar with the tragic results of Socialism are not. Power is a corruptive force, and men are fallen. They can never be trusted with such powers over their fellow men.
I hope that the liberal Bishops will soon recognize that the Biblical responsibility of providing health care for the truly destitute is a role that should NEVER be ceded to the state, and reverse their support for Obamacare.
Dr. Frank S Rosenbloom reflects at the Oregon Catalyst:
I would like to begin by noting that I am Catholic and I hold beliefs in concordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, I am not commenting in this article primarily as a Catholic nor as a pro-life advocate (which I am), but as a supporter of religious freedom and of all of the freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution. Additionally, as a member of Docs 4 Patient Care, a secular organization of doctors dedicated to patient advocacy, I support the healthcare reforms advocated by that group. I will endeavor herein to explain the inconsistencies in the actions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and to show that their support for the majority of the legislation in Obamacare led to their current dilemma. [...]
[T]he liberal left has redefined the meaning of rights. Our Constitution defines rights as those principles inherent to the dignity of the human person that cannot be denied. Rights under the Constitution are fairly simple and well defined and none of these rights require large government bureaucracies and billions or trillions of tax dollars to provide them. There is in fact no positive action that the government must take in order to provide for any of our First Amendment rights. There are no bureaucracies, such as “Free Speechicare or Freespeechicaid” to ensure the provision of free speech. Freedom of speech is “priceless” but it does not really cost us anything to provide it. Of course, we do have a Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of investigation that are supposed to make sure that we are not prevented from exercising our rights, but there is no agency responsible for providing them. The FBI, the federal law enforcement agency that is charged with preventing the infringement of our rights, had a budget for fiscal year 2011 that was only $8 billion. In fact, the budget of the entire Department of Justice for 2011 was only about $28 billion, and this includes the budget for the FBI. Contrast this with the entire US budget of nearly $3.8 trillion for 2011, out of which well over $1.5 trillion (and the Obamacare budget is not yet added in) were spent on services that are now considered to be rights that must be provided, such as healthcare, education, housing (HUD) and now, contraception. The point here is that the prevention of the infringement of rights is much less expensive than the cost of providing commodities and services that are now considered to be rights.
So, how does this all tie in with the current situation regarding contraception and the Catholic Church? The US conference of Catholic Bishops came out with a pastoral letter in 1981 affirming that all persons have the “right to adequate healthcare.” This was reaffirmed again in an October 2009 letter by the United States Congress of Catholic bishops to members of Congress expressing disappointment that progress had not been made in excluding mandated coverage for abortion, promoting rights of conscience and, at the same time to “improve people’s health care.” The concept of and the implementation of “universal healthcare” was promoted by the bishops while at the same time they opposed aspects of the president’s health plan that interfered with religious freedom or promoted taxpayer-funded actions that were considered to be unacceptable to the Catholic Church. Herein lies the catch. The Catholic bishops fully understood that president Obama was making every possible attempt to exclude conscience protection, yet they were willing to go along with his healthcare plan without receiving assurances that this would change. Therefore, the bishops were advocating unprecedented control over the lives of the citizens of this country by a president who is the most ardent supporter of actions antithetical to the Catholic Church who has ever held the office of president. In fact, they advocated that the fox watch over the henhouse while at the same time they attempted to convince the fox that his natural disposition toward eating hens should be curtailed. Given Mr. Obama’s record and his stated positions, how could the bishops have expected anything other than the current impasse? The fact is that they couldn’t have.
I had the occasion to talk with Archbishop John G Vlazny during the January 2009 Roe v. Wade Memorial Rally in Portland, Oregon. I tried to explain then that the president’s healthcare bill was not really about healthcare, but about government control and that the healthcare plan that Mr. Obama was advocating forced the majority of Americans to pay for a program they did not want. This was a direct infringement, I explained, on the personal liberty of the supposedly free people who would be forced to pay for this expensive new program. I tried to explain that there were free-market solutions that would accomplish the stated goals of the president’s healthcare plan much less expensively and more efficiently. Most importantly, I went on to explain that once the government wrested control of our healthcare from us, we would lose religious freedom irrevocably. The Archbishop’s response, and I am paraphrasing, was that Mr. Obama’s control of healthcare would never infringe on religious freedom or force Catholics to act against their consciences. The Archbishop, as recent evidence proves, was wrongand unfortunately, the bishops have simply ventured into an area in which they have no expertise and about which they were poorly advised.
The only way they can recapture the moral high ground is to admit that government control of health care, even if it could work, which it cannot, usurps the freedom, including the freedom of religion, of the majority of Americans and promotes a morality dictated by the government and paid for by the taxpayer. The bishops must understand that as long as they advocate government control and movement toward Socialism they have lost their moral authority as far as religious freedom or any human freedom is concerned.