Potty War: Massachusetts Declares War on Reality

Friday, June 3, AD 2016

gender-neutral_restroom

 

 

Courtesy of the second most Catholic state in the Union:

 

Though opponents chanted “No” outside their doors earlier in the day, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass a transgender public accommodations bill on Wednesday

The 116-36 vote was announced just before 6 p.m. to resounding applause inside the House chamber, following a long day of debate and attempts to amend the bill.

Like a similar bill passed by the state Senate earlier this month, the legislation would offer transgender people protections from discrimination at public accommodations like restaurants and malls, and allows people to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity.

Continue reading...

27 Responses to Potty War: Massachusetts Declares War on Reality

  • You are worse than Hitler if you don’t agree.
    .
    It’s an Orwellian world. They have buried the putrid corpse of Reality/Truth.
    .
    I bet Massachusetts’ state finances are on the brink of bankruptcy. So, they must toot whatever horn the idiot drones (academia, media, idiotic liberals – I repeat myself) buzz at and avoid addressing the imminent, unsolvable disasters they have wrought.

    Emotions/feelings/bu!!$#I! matter. The Biology, Truth, Reality only matter when they support the agenda, which is to destroy the two main obstacles to complete state control: faith and family.

  • I bet a bunch of idiots (liberals) will think this is a good thing. Re: destroying the family, a news story revealed a five-year-old child calling 9-1-1 to turn in his father for running a red light. Brainwash them early.

  • The state in which I was born – Taxachusetts – home of Ted I did not kill that woman at Chappaquiddick Kennedy and Cardinal Sean I am so loving O’Malley. As far as I am concerned, the liberal northeast and the left coast Californicators should be cut off and set adrift from the United States.

  • The 116 to 36 vote..? Honestly?
    Not even close.

    Daughters, wives, grandmother’s, aunt’s and girlfriend’s. What have you to say in Massachusetts?

    Perverts get special treatment.
    The unborn……death penalty.

  • “Of course that would take precious time away from pressing matters…”
    Does anyone else think that Ol’ Scratch knows this and likes it this way, for reasons most of us cannot event fathom right now?
    Cue up the music! Life is a cabaret old chum, life is a cabaret…

  • My son is off to college in the fall. We wonder if/when some girl who thinks she is a guy will demand to room with him, or some other fellow. Or some guy who insists he is a she will demand a female room-mate.
    .
    Will Note Dame or Fordham be the first to allow that kind of thing?

  • DJH.

    Why not?
    ND is Catholic in name only.
    Sorry true blue alumni but keep it up with top Medal honor’s to Uncle Joe and Pro-abort Presidents….why the hell not?
    They might be the first university to support beast/ human relationships… after all they are open minded.

  • I like making trouble, so perhaps a letter to the editor suggesting this is warranted? One of those “modest proposal” kind of things. But then, I wonder if that would be sinful to suggest. You know it is only a matter of time.

  • All of this crap comes from the Eastern Seaboard, the West Coast and Chicago. Of course our council of Catholic bishops is a joke, and a bad one.

  • Brains have been flowing down through necks, and taking hearts along for the journey for years, to this end, where plumbers will be called to follow new regulations. Numbskull is a helpful word for thoughts on such diversions developing to eliminate common sense, and especially God’s Law.
    btw – looks like Boston archdiocese will be getting two new Auxiliary Bishops for the dwindling census totals and for what purpose remains to be seen.

  • Why is it that where there are lots of Catholics there are lots of liberals?

  • Second Timothy 4 1-8
    Today’s First reading is Perfect for this thread!
    I’m sorry, but I can’t reproduce the text right now… running late for a shift at the N. Home.

  • “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. ”
    I guess that the liars – communists and the Masons didn’t try to pass as Baptist preachers and in Assemblies. Devils own pride may have caused that. He identified more easily with the pseudo intellectual crowd in the Ivy League.
    But those red state conservative allies in the culture wars and in dogged faith are a blessing to us now.

  • “…proclaim the word;
    be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient;
    convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
    For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine
    but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity,
    will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth
    and will be diverted to myths….”

  • Anzlyne.

    Thank you!?

  • I am thinking about the practical aspects of this. Christians will no longer be able to hold many government jobs including in the K-12 state run government schools in the state of Massachusetts. How can they if, as part of their daily job duties, they are required to present & reinforce such lies to innocent children. This means there should be many Christians teachers leaving the public schools. This means there will be many teachers available to teach in private schools and/or provide services to homeschoolers.

    I am hoping that Christian teachers file an mass lawsuit against policies that would require them to lose their jobs when they are unable to help brain wash children with lies. Literally it is discrimination against Christians based on their religious faith.

  • “Emotions/feelings/bu!!$#I! matter. The Biology, Truth, Reality only matter when they support the agenda, which is to destroy the two main obstacles to complete state control: faith and family.”

    Tyrannical govt control at the most intimate levels of our lives & moral responsibilities are indeed the purpose behind these things being pushed.

  • Obama may indeed be insane but what of his numerous supporters?

  • William P. Walsh

    The Cult of personality is a funny thing.

    As long as the kings subjects are “feeling” a sense of belonging, the actions of the King don’t matter much. Not until the King/queen tells them to “eat cake,” as they starve in the street.

    Coming to a nation near you.

  • The current King says, “Let them eat statistics”. He touts 4% unemployment with over 90 million out of the workforce. Thus Trump.

  • He is not insane, he is Communist.

  • Plausibly so. But perhaps communists are insane. Communism is insanity in action.

  • Barak Hussein has a reprobate mind. A reprobate mind (Romans 1) is unable to take 1+1 and get it equal 2 according to God’s law. When a reprobate mind calculates 1+1, they can get it to equal less than 2 or more than 2, but never 2.

  • Reading the First Chapter of Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans verses 18 through 32 is like reviewing a collage of current events taken from the evening news.

  • William P. Walsh.

    So true.
    Many claim to be wise today yet are completely foolish. They “invent ways of doing evil.”. Good call Mr. Walsh. The dirty laundry list mentioned is fitting perfectly for our time. The next chapter is interesting as well. Chpt. 2:13;”For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

    We must try by our lives to plant seeds in the hearts of those who know not God, nor His commands. We must keep our hands on the plow and never look back, knowing that the sod is tough and rocky, but the one who cultivates, fertilizers, warms and rains on the seed will see to it that the harvest is plentiful.
    Doing our share is a glory for God and neighbor. How trying the times, but how glorious the reward.

  • The progressive elites and their idiotic minions, e.g. MA Legisl. and Bruce Springsberg, execrate the truth and spit on the beliefs of (estimated) 230 million unliberalized Americans.
    .
    This insanity is the latest in a long list of liberal outrages against which the establishment GOP (we elected) responded with cowardly silence.
    .
    The dastards are going in for the kill of our faith, our families and our way of life. Kiss goodbye to all of it.
    .
    They are winning because people don’t speak or act. And, because they won’t be persecuted if they keep their mouths shut.
    .

Our Most Cherished Freedom

Friday, April 13, AD 2012

Judging from this statement on religious liberty issued yesterday, the Bishops understand that the stakes are very high indeed this year:

 

A Statement on Religious Liberty

 

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together.   Freedom is not only for Americans, but we think of it as something of our special inheritance, fought for at a great price, and a heritage to be guarded now. We are stewards of this gift, not only for ourselves but for all nations and peoples who yearn to be free. Catholics in America have discharged this duty of guarding freedom admirably for many generations.   In 1887, when the archbishop of Baltimore, James Gibbons, was made the second American cardinal, he defended the American heritage of religious liberty during his visit to Rome to receive the red hat. Speaking of the great progress the Catholic Church had made in the United States, he attributed it to the “civil liberty we enjoy in our enlightened republic.” Indeed, he made a bolder claim, namely that “in the genial atmosphere of liberty [the Church] blossoms like a rose.”1   From well before Cardinal Gibbons, Catholics in America have been advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American experience. It is among the proudest boasts of the Church on these shores. We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today.   We need, therefore, to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened. Now is such a time. As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.   This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the “most cherished of American freedoms”—and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops:  

Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.  

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Our Most Cherished Freedom

George Will: This Is What Liberalism Looks Like

Tuesday, February 14, AD 2012

George Will on ABC’s This Week last Sunday made three points in regard to the HHS Mandate “compromise” that are undeniably true:

 

 

Three points.

As Paul Ryan said to you, this is an accounting gimmick that they’ve done that in no way ends the complicity of Catholic institutions and individuals in delivering services they consider morally abhorrent.
Second. You asked the question, ‘How did this come about?’ George, this is what liberalism looks like. This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.
Third. The Catholic Bishops, it serves them right. They’re the ones who were really hot for Obamacare, with a few exceptions. But they were all in favor of this. And this is what it looks like when the government decides it’s going to make your healthcare choices for you.

Continue reading...

11 Responses to George Will: This Is What Liberalism Looks Like

  • I hope the Bishops have learned a lesson now about the dangers of the Church getting into bed with the Welfare State, but I doubt it….What the Obama administration has done in regard to contraceptives and abortifacients was as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

    C’mon, Donald. Thomas E. Dewey did not institute this policy. Edmund Muskie did not institute this policy. Jimmy Carter did not institute this policy. It is a decision local to the current cohorts of soi-disant social reformers. We have had federally financed medical care for 46 years and had a network of municipal and veterans’ hospitals for decades prior to that. The sort of arrogance incorporated into the Administrations latest crime is not a structural feature of common provision of medical services.

  • C’mon Art. Modern liberalism, since the 1990’s, as feminists and gay rights advocates became increasingly influential, has had a hostility to Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that was not overtly present in earlier manifestations of that creed. What the Obama administration did was not only predictable, but inevitable. Increase the power of the State, and the Church is always at peril that individuals who bear the Church undying animosity will eventually control that power.

  • Yes. I’m glad Will called the bishops on their support for “universal health care.” I suppose I should admire their lack of guile, but honestly. Why would anyone think that any state which sets itself up as the sole proprietor of your healthcare would do otherwise? The land of nice, Canada, prohibits people from paying for their own healthcare. Why would the U.S. do differently, if given the chance? I sincerely hope the bishops have learned that freedom is best preserved in smaller, more local institutions.

  • What the Obama administration did was not only predictable, but inevitable.

    No, it was not. It was a clear policy choice and a bad one.

    Modern liberalism, since the 1990?s, as feminists and gay rights advocates became increasingly influential, has had a hostility to Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that was not overtly present in earlier manifestations of that creed.

    True, but that is a cultural factor, not a structural one.

  • A mythic committee set out to improve on the race horse. They invented a camel.

    You can’t have a committee deciding on objective truth. What you get are loose interpretations and inconsistent applications.

    The USBBC (conference/committee) set out to improve health care. The salvation of souls is so yesterday. They invented Obamacare and abortion/birth control mandates.

    That is why we have the Pope.

    If in 2008 the majority of US bishops (supposed to be our shepherds) had preached the Pope’s “Four Non-negotiables”, they might not be in their current embarrassing fix.

    Will is right. When the shepherds gave the state the corporal works of mercy, they ceded their moral authority in that area.

    They subordinated the salvation of souls to peace, justice, and aiding and abetting cynical political posturing.

  • “No, it was not. It was a clear policy choice and a bad one. ”

    And a policy choice that was inevitable Art given those who were going to make it. Obama didn’t put Sebelius in charge of HHS by accident.

  • Like I said before, until the bishops take responsibility for their part in bringing this about all their cassock ruffling over teh HHS mandate is not going to have the crtedibility it needs to have.

  • The principle of Subsidiarity is too easily abandonned.
    That’s what western societies have been doing for the past 100 years or so – of course secularists will grasp the opportunity to impose more and more control over the people.

    Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

  • The Bishops forgot this:
    “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    Here’s another article on this very subject:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/02/well-heres-another-nice-mess-youve-gotten-me-into/

  • Let’s talk about the root of the problem: “Faithful Citizenship” from the USCCB which
    listed multiple issues worthy of consideration.

    It did say that a person could not vote for a pro-abort IF they were doing so to promote
    abortion. It should have said a Catholic could NOT vote for a pro-abort/choice candidate
    period – St. Louis Bishop Robert Hermann told Catholics to vote pro-life and after the
    2008 election wrote that if one made the mistake of voting for a pro-abort they should go to Confession. “FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP” needs to withdrawn yesterday. Bishops should tell priests and laity to vote pro-life in the Primaries. Their silence is deafening!

Is The USCCB Responsible for ObamaCare?

Friday, July 16, AD 2010

The American Life League (ALL) is making a strong case of placing most of the blame for passage of ObamaCare squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

What the ALL is alleging is that the USCCB was very desperate to push for universal health coverage that they compromised on some key principles.  One of which was that of abortion where instead of fighting against abortion they decided to stick their heads in the ground and use “abortion neutral” language.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Is The USCCB Responsible for ObamaCare?

  • It was imprudent for the USCCB to advocate for universal health care. While it is important and appropriate for the USCCB to explain the moral rules of engagement regarding access to health care, how a society can best satisfy those moral imperatives is outside its competency. Its opinions are no more or less instructive or insightful than mine, yours, etc. One of the most important moral rules of engagement regarding health care is that abortion is unacceptable.

  • I agree with Mike, but this is BS. The bishops (who certainly favor HC reform of some sort and in many or most cases prefer a government based system) were one of the loudest and most influential voices against abortion and the lack of conscience provisions. If it weren’t for them and other pro-life orgs like NRTL Obamacare would have steamrolled through with generous abortion provisions. In large part it was their influence with “pro-life” Dems that resulted in making the matter an obstacle to be overcome by Dem leadership and gaining what little protections there are.

  • There = their. Illiterate or something.

  • RL,

    Got it fixed for you buddy.

    Cardinal George personally telephoned pro-life GOPers to push for the pro-life amendment when it was in the House.

    He didn’t do any such thing when Bart Stupak and his Benedict Arnold’s reversed course and put the death sentence on innocent unborn children.

  • I’m with RL. The USCCB was one of the loudest opponents of ObamaCare. To say that they are somehow responsible for it passing is bizarre.

  • Thanks Tito.

    The bishops spoke to anyone and everyone who would listen. They made it clear to Stupak too. The bishops were rightfully disappointed in the “pro-life” Dems that changed their vote, and outraged at the shenanigans and betrayal of the CHA. I use the owrd outraged because that is pretty much what it would take for them to speak so disapprovingly publicly.

  • Why is it that anyone continues to think that our bishops are men of honor? Which of them would accept martyrdom in support of Church? Why was it necessary for the Vatican to issue rules about the protection of children?

    Blind mouths, as Milton called them.

    Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
    A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least That to the faithful herdman’s art belongs!
    What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
    And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
    Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw:
    The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
    But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw
    Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
    Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
    Daily devours apace, and nothing said:

  • Gabriel,
    I think you paint with an exceedingly broad and uncharitable brush. And to answer your insulting rhetorical question, I bet quite a few would accept martyrdom if it came to that — but like STM have no interest in initiating or accelerating the process.

  • Politics are a problem for the USCCB. There are many so called “Catholics” who continue their support of todays culture and relativisms in Congress. The only fault of these Bishops , for most of them , is their inability in their teaching of the Church’s tenets to really enforced these teachings on those politicians after meetings and consultations with these so called “catholics” who continue to support the culture of death. A good example is the record of Nancy Pelosi and yet the extreme measure of excomunication is not used. These leaves many of the laity to wonder why they also can not pick and choose what tenets they may or may not follow, or disagree with, or why if these politicians are are able to cotinue their ” standing ” in the Church why then can’t they.

  • Mike Petrik said Friday, July 16, 2010 A.D.
    “Gabriel,
    I think you paint with an exceedingly broad and uncharitable brush. And to answer your insulting rhetorical question, I bet quite a few would accept martyrdom if it came to that — but like STM have no interest in initiating or accelerating the process”.

    My point is quite simple: our bishops are failing in their duty. Compare ours with the bishops in China, Vietnam, Africa.
    A.N.Whitehead described religion in our time as “decoration for comfortable lives”. Our bishops are afraid; they congregate behind the chancery walls and the bureaucratic pomposities of the USCCB.

    Consider but the inanities of Fr. McBrien, published in so many diocesan papers. Uncharitable is permitting his misleading notions to be published under episcopal authority. {One among many examples: Fr. McBrien believes that ensoulment of the fetus happens three months after conception – which is to say that an abortion before the 3rd month is not murder].

    Bishops like hanging around politicians. They are not unlike the Arian bishops who delighted in being received at the court in Constantinople. Plus ca change…

Cardinal McCarrick and Sister Carol Keehan

Friday, June 25, AD 2010

The ever exceptional Catholic blogger Diogenes couldn’t help himself as he commented on “Sister” Carol Keehan’s reading at a Mass for retired Archbishop Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.

“Sister” Carol Keehan, who is the president of the Catholic Health Association, endorsed ObamaCare.  Thus declaring themselves in contradiction with Francis Cardinal George and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who opposed ObamaCare.

Here is Diogenes’s brilliant column:

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who has devoted so much of his episcopal career to the effort to make everyone comfortable, is approaching his 80th birthday, and already the celebrations have begun.

(No, I don’t mean the celebrations of the fact that as of July 7, “Uncle Teddy” will be ineligible to vote in a papal conclave—although that’s definitely reason enough to chill the champagne.)

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Cardinal McCarrick and Sister Carol Keehan

  • More likely—and we’re talking dollars-to-donuts here—she was chosen as a signal that in the benign view of Cardinal Ted, we’re all still friends, despite our little disagreements on subjects such as whether or not babies should be dismembered in the womb.

    So, basically, Diogenes lied, and Tito reinforces the slander. Got it. Tito will probably next say “you slander me.” I am used to it. It’s his response when people call him out.

    CHA and Sister Keehan do not think babies should be dismembered in the womb. As long as you continue with this misrepresentation, all you get is proof of your own ill will.

  • Henry K.,

    You wonder why you are placed on moderation?

    It’s because of your unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks on many of the columnists here at TAC.

    “Sister” Keehan is clearly going against Church teaching as she gleefully accepts a pen from President Obama in celebrating the murders of millions more innocent children.

  • Tito,

    Not only is she a sister, she didn’t celebrate the murders of millions… nor did Obama. And you talk about “unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks…”

  • Henry K.,

    She pushed hard, using the Catholic Health Association, to help pass ObamaCare.

    ObamaCare will fund millions of abortions.

    Your comments are bizarre and without basis.

  • She pushed hard to get health care reform. She believed that the reform bill will not fund more abortions. Therefore, she is not celebrating the death of more children.

    Now show us where it funds abortions which were not already being funded by the government.

  • Henry K.,

    She has reached the age of reason.

    She has received a fine education in Church teachings prior to accepting final vows.

    She has purposely and consciously decided to oppose Church teaching by supporting and pushing for the death of millions of innocent unborn children.

    She was gleeful in her acceptance of one of the pens that President Obama gave her that he used to sign ObamaCare with.

    Now show us where it funds abortions which were not already being funded by the government.

    Are you trying to be funny?

  • Guys,

    Anyone who supports Obama supports a man who believes in the “right to chose”.

    Anyone who supports Obamacare supports the “right to chose”.

    Now people can use all the obfuscation and sophistry they want, but one cannot in good conscience support either Obama or Obamacare.

    I wish people would pay attention to the daily Old Testament readings this week from 2nd Kings. The people of Judah were deported to Babylon because they sacrificed their own children to Baal, Asherah, Molech and the other Canaanite gods. How different is that from Obamacare which provides health insurance coverage to murder babies in the womb?

    Yes, God IS merciful and loving, and He is about to show Obama, Sister Keehan and every other liberal democrat how merciful and loving He is towards the unborn.

  • “So, basically, Diogenes lied, and Tito reinforces the slander. Got it. Tito will probably next say “you slander me.” I am used to it. It’s his response when people call him out.”

    Mr. Karlson,

    Back it up. You made the accusation. Provide proof. Otherwise you have nothing to offer except ad hominem.

  • Excellent, Mr. Primavera; and, of course, Mr. Edwards.

    Ancient fertility cults sacrificed first born sons (sometimes daughters, less valued) to appease the (river, rain, sun, etc.) gods and reap good harvests.

    Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of lentils. Sister Carol, Henry Karlson, et al have aided and abetted the sacrifices of 47,000,000 (and counting) unborn babies for a chimera: social justice.

    And, THEIR trump card was commented on by F. A. Hayek: “ . . . ‘social justice’ is not, as most people probably feel, an innocent expression of good will towards the less fortunate, but that it has become a dishonest insinuation that one ought to agree to a demand of some special interest which can give no real reason for it. …I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term ‘social justice.’”

    Repent, confess, do penance, amend lives and (through personal good works) glorify God.

  • Our Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is a “Catholic”, is virulently pro-abortion,( she supported and was friends with Tiller the baby killer so IMO that says it all)and that gives one great concern when considering that she is the person who has the authority over the decision-making for the funding of the Community Health Centers.

    Here are the Bishops’ concerns:

    In the Senate bill, there is the provision that only one of the proposed multi-state plans will not cover elective abortions – all other plans (including other multi-state plans) can do so, and receive federal tax credits. This means that individuals or families in complex medical circumstances will likely be forced to choose and contribute to an insurance plan that funds abortions in order to meet their particular health needs.

    Further, the Senate bill authorizes and appropriates billions of dollars in new funding outside the scope of the appropriations bills covered by the Hyde amendment and similar provisions. As the bill is written, the new funds it appropriates over the next five years, for Community Health Centers for example (Sec. 10503), will be available by statute for elective abortions, even though the present regulations do conform to the Hyde amendment. Regulations, however, can be changed at will, unless they are governed by statute.

    Additionally, no provision in the Senate bill incorporates the longstanding and widely supported protection for conscience regarding abortion as found in the Hyde/Weldon amendment. Moreover, neither the House nor Senate bill contains meaningful conscience protection outside the abortion context. Any final bill, to be fair to all, must retain the accommodation of the full range of religious and moral objections in the provision of health insurance and services that are contained in current law, for both individuals and institutions.

  • Those Catholics who support Obama and Obamacare have their reasons. I think they are much weaker then finding justification for the Iraq War or even the folloy of equating such support with support for changing the rules of engagement in Afghanistan.

    But they will hold onto whatever straw they need.

Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

Saturday, June 19, AD 2010

In this spring’s debate over the healthcare bill, one of the disagreements that raised eyebrows most in Catholic circles was that between the US bishops conference and the Catholic Healthcare Association and other similar groups. The bishops claimed that the healthcare bill would lead to federal funding of abortions, while CHA et al. concluded that it would not.

In my opinion and that of numerous observers (including most of my fellow contributors here at TAC), the bishops were correct and CHA was horribly, terribly wrong.

There is another question, though… was CHA disobedient? That is, were they obliged as Catholics to accept the conclusions of the bishops conference? Was the activity of the bishops conference an act of their teaching charism which American Catholics were obliged to give their assent to?

Continue reading...

34 Responses to Healthcare Reform & the Magisterium

  • Thank you for raising this important question, Chris.

    I do not think the Catholic Health Association was “disobedient” for not taking the same position as the Bishops. I do think it was a bad political decision and I am not sure if the official stance reflected the views of every member of the CHA. The responses in the media and the internal “church war” did little to serve the visible unity of the Church. I think it could have been a more tactful disagreement — a suggestion, perhaps, that the Bishops’ reading of the legislation might need a second analysis. But it was a very pronounced disagreement that was unfortunately hijacked by the political operatives and partisan Catholics more than ready to paint the USCCB in bed with the Republicans — and we’ve surely gotten portraits of the opposite, that is, of the USCCB having succumbed to liberal politics. I’d like to think that both sides seriously needs to rethink their Catholicism before trying to translate their faith into contrived, acceptable political platforms rooted in secular schools of thought.

    I do thinks the Bishops were right in their basic analysis, but I do think some of the criticisms of their conclusions were actually very legitimate. I think there more at stake in the health care debate — something deeper than — than health care policy, or even the right-to-life issues.

    There was a lot of misinformation, single-word slogans, and rhetoric and willful partisan fighting to simply win. This was most unfortunate.

    I do not think the Senate compromise on the abortion language was necessarily immoral. Politically, it was not what we would desire first, but I don’t think it was a riot. It surely wasn’t the Capps’ language that required in explicit terms abortion funding. I thought that claims that the language was absolutely unacceptable were terribly exaggerated. I believe the scare over CHC’s were a bit naive.

    The serious overriding issue was that the legislation did not say explicitly, leaving room for no ambiguity that no provision in the Act would allow funds to be used to subsidize abortion. The Act did not say that abortion could be funded rather it remained silent. The problem is — to my understanding — is that abortion jurisprudence in the last few decades has a clear tradition of allowing abortion funding when Congress does not explicitly exclude it when it calls for, say, “comprehensive services.” The logic obviously being that abortion is a legal medical procedure and if it is not singled out, then it should be included amongst “comprehensive” and/or “preventative” services.

    There was a Colloquy (a pre-scripted dialogue that goes on the record to clarify and illuminate Congressional intent on certain provisions of a bill) before the House vote on the health care bill that clearly stated that the legislation would be subject to the spirit of Hyde as is all other federal programs.

    Such a colloquy could be cited in Court as evidence to clarify the intention of Congress (when debating whether Congress intended to allow abortion to be funded). An Executive Order obviously would be overturned if it contradicted an explicit statutory law. The problem is that President Obama’s EO does not contradict statutory law and therefore is not absolutely guaranteed to be overturned by a court. But that doesn’t mean that it would hold up in Court either. It could, but then again, it could not.

    Therefore the security of the pro-life provisions are undesirably weak. I think this would be reason enough — even though there were plenty of other reasons — to hold out for amendments to statutory law to ensure that there would no insecurity and no ambiguity over the fate of the pro-life provisions of the bill.

    This is obviously a prudential assessment of the situation and it is clear that I, with a few disagreements, came to agree with the Bishops.

    However, anyone who sincerely and honestly disagreed may not be “disobedient” or a dissident Catholic. Obviously they could be. But I’m not really talking about party operatives or Catholics who are pro-choice or for whom abortion was never really an issue.

    Someone may come to a different conclusion and I’m sure they would present the case for the EO and the final abortion language quite differently. I don’t think they would be correct but I’m not ready to claim that they are a “disobedient” Catholic.

    This brings us back to your fundamental question: was the Bishops’ position on health care an act of the Magisterium? No. I think the approach was very political and pragmatic. The Bishops mostly focused on abortion, conscience clauses for health care professionals, and access for legal immigrants. But there was so many other concerns — voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, government and private-sector rationing of medical care, abuses regarding organ donation (particularly those resulting in euthanasia) mostly because of the dubious concept of “brain death,” not to mention, financial sustainability and the overall structure of the health care system itself. The moral principles are all there but there be an array of policy perspectives from those who fundamentally agree. So I’m not sure sharing the conclusion of the Bishops (as long as one was agreeing morally) was necessary to remain a Catholic in good standing. I’d say it is probably wise not to tread too far from the Shepherds for they have a vast resource pool from which to draw to form very informed and moral conclusions.

    But if the Bishops’ analysis of legislation is an act of the Magisterium then their endorsement or opposition to any legislation whether it’s health care, immigration, or any such thing, no Catholic could disagree. And I’m pretty sure a number of Catholics, particularly in conservative circles, don’t share the USCCB’s position on immigration and therefore I’d suspect that wouldn’t go so far as to say we must always agree with the Bishops’ prudential policy judgments.

  • Can one be disobedient and not violate the Magisterium? If so, I think that happened here.

    I don’t think there was anything close to dogmatic in the bishops’ evaluation of the bill (other than abortion funding is wrong). That said, even in non-dogmatic matters deference is owed to the bishops. If one disagrees with them, one must do so after prudential consideration. Furthermore, I think one ought not to be actively campaigning against them.

    So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.

    Nothing the left did shows any support or obedience to the bishops, even if dogma did not require them to agree with them.

  • “So while the CHA could disagree with the bishops, I don’t think they cared one hoot about what the bishops thought. Indeed, many of the liberal Catholics started painting this picture of the bishops as silly old buffoons easily misled by the NLRC and other Republican groups masquerading as pro-lifers. Worse, the CHA and others went out of their way to show their Catholicism in support of the bill, clearly frustrating the bishops message.”

    Bingo! The magisterium that they are loyal to has little to do with the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

  • The misnamed Catholic Health Association was in bed with the Obama administration from the beginning on ObamaCare:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/dec/08121805.html

    Abortion simply was not a priority for them in comparison to passing ObamaCare.

  • It seems to me that Sr. Keehan, the CHA et al. went out of their way to snub the Bishops, ignored the Bishops prudential judgment, and were indebted to helping the liberal establishment in passing any type of socialist or national health care regardless of what the consequences are going to be for unborn babies, elderly, and the rest of the most vulnerable human beings. They did not feel any obligation to follow the Magisterium and avoid scandal or a scandalous perception.

  • Obviously the bishop’s position on the health care bill was not a magisterial teaching. Lay Catholics take no vow of obedience to their bishops.

    I am one who thought Capps-Stupak would’ve been great but not absolutely necessary for me to support the bill. I ultimately opposed the bill on the grounds that the bishops told me to and, considering the politics, there was more to be lost in opposing the voice of the Church in America than opposing the bill.

  • Every time I see “the bishops” presented as some kind of Magisterial body I nearly want to go postal. The USCCB and “the bishops” in NO WAY have any teaching authority.

    Cardinal Ratzinger addressed this in “The Ratzinger Report” where on page 60 it says;

    “No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission; its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops.”

    http://www.ignatius.com/Products/RR-P/the-ratzinger-report.aspx

    In other words the USCCB is not an “American Magesterium” – despite the efforts of the bureaucrats who manipulate “the bishops” efforts to pose as such.

    There is an old saying that there are two things you never want to see being made – sausage and the law. I would add a third, a document from the USCCB.

    Their watered down “documents” more often than not muddy crystal clear church teaching after laborious twisting and contorting aimed at preventing anyone form being “offended”. If you don’t believe me – watch the TV coverage of the next USCCB Conference where endless debates over every punctuation mark will bring you to tears. Our “Shepherds” have become congressmen.

    Call the USCCB what it is – an administrative body stuffed with career bureaucrats that speaks out on politics – mostly with liberal positions. The entire mess should be shut down.

  • It could be their hospitals’ solvency was the main motive. Yet that is not supportable, unless . . .

    Else, the “nuns-in-pants-suits'” prudential judgement is that “free lunch/something for nothing” always overshadows liberalisms’ insidious aspects – exterminating 47,000,000 more unborn persons, class envy/hatred, ESCR, gay privileges, immoral public school brainwashing of youth, etc.

    Their priorities seem to lie with secular, humanist progressives. For the secularist, man is the end all and be all and the greatest good is not saving souls but making life better for the convict, drug addict, drunk, felon, fornicator, illegal invader, murderer, rapist, thief, et al: all at the expense of the evil, racist, rich unjust American taxpayer.

    The COMMON GOOD???? Likely (my opinion), every (except the rulers in DC) American will be reduced to an equal level of health care misery and desperation.

  • It is a moral teaching and directive – not to support a law that promotes or supports abortion.

    It has Magisterial binding power coming from each individual bishop who concurred with that. And the pols under the bishop’s authority is obliged to obey as the Lord is to be obeyed. “He who listens to you, listens to me.”

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the Bishops per se…it is a matter of being obedient or disobedient to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Lawyers studied the bill and I have read part of it where the bill gives Kathleen Sebelius major authority down the line to distribute federal funds as she sees fit and we know that ‘Catholic’ Kathleen Sebelius is rabidly proabortion, was a friend and colleague of George Tiller who terminated viable babies in the womb…abortion is a grave evil and anyone participating in any way is cooperating with this evil…Sr. Keehan and her group can disagree or not with the Bishops but – they have defied the teachings of the Church which teaches that abortion is the killing of a human in the womb…Canon Law states clearly that anyone publicly promoting such evil cannot receive the Eucharist…our Bishops do not enforce this which is, I believe, why these ‘Catholics’ are becoming more and more defiant and arrogant in their advocacy for abortion. I was told that Joe Biden went to Africa to convince them to legalize abortion in order to receive aid…the Africans don’t want to kill their babies!!! Pelosi preaches about how ‘the Word’ is so important to her…the word was made flesh…where does she think the word became flesh???? In the womb of Mary the mother…would Pelosi have fought so ferociously to exterminate the baby in the womb of Mary? I don’t think we are obliged to follow the advice of Bishops but we surely are not meant to publicly defy them…I think it’s time for the Vatican, for Pope Benedict,to speak into this issue just as he did in his letter to the Irish Bishops – he spoke strongly and forcefully against the abuse of children in Ireland…well, we are talking here about the extermination of human babies in the wombs of their mothers…millions and millions of them!!!!! It must be stopped…please God the Bishops will have the courage to tell Pelosi and Biden and others who advocate for abortion that they are not Catholics in good standing and that until and unless the publicly reject their pro abortion stand they cannot receive the Eucharist…until they do, the slaughter will go on…and on and on…

  • Samwise,

    I completely agree!

    But, I would like to point out that the Pope just recently talked to the priests about using the “rod” against heresy.

    “The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod,” he said, “the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray.”

    “Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.”

    This is a step in the right direction.

  • The Health Care Bill put together with the USCCB and CHA equals a headache. But I’m glad that you’ve narrowed down the discussion with your last paragraph: “Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    As previous commentators have said already very thoroughly, the USCCB has no teaching authority. They do serve as a guide for how to apply real Church teachings to real life for Catholics but this does not mean everything they say or suggest is infallible and in fact is sometimes quite the contrary.
    Faithful Catholics ought to listen respectfully and try and understand what the USCCB stands for and may be trying to teach us. I think though, that if one does disagree with some or all of a statement or a posistion of the USSCB they do have a duty to disagree tastefully and respectfully. If love is not part of the motivator behind the disagreement then there’s a problem.

  • Does the authority of the Magisterium extend to this sort of legislative analysis? If it does not, then how ought faithful Catholics respond to this sort of activity on the part of bishops?

    It does not. The bishops do not, as bishops, have the authority to interpret the meaning and consequences of civil legislation. If the bishops had this authority and competency, they would be able to provide an official Catholic interpretation of other documents, such as the U.S. Constitution. But, of course, we don’t look to the bishops for whether we ought to interpret the Constitution as a “living document” or as its writers intended. Such questions reside outside their domain.

    On the other hand, I understand the frustration the bishops feel at the very public disagreement with them made by the CHA and others. They have sought to understand the legislation as best they can, have judged it to be morally problematic, and have, because of their concerns about the potential immoral consequences of the legislation, spoken out against it. Then they see other public Catholics disagree with their conclusions about it. A messy situation, to say the least, but then, the moral life is messy.

    In the case of “Obamacare,” at least, we will soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.

  • Kyle,
    I agree that the Bishops don’t have the authority to make it obligatory for Catholics to either support or oppose specific pieces of legislation when it comes to the Bishops’ prudential judgments. But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    I would rather be safe than sorry, and be absolutely sure that this piece of legislation does not have federal funding for abortions on demand or taxpayer funded abortions then find out later that Obamacare does fund abortions.

  • But, if after researching a particular piece of legslation the Bishops oppose that piece of legislation because of coming to a conclusion that that particular piece of legislation will indeed cover abortions or fund abortions, wouldn’t that fall under the Magisterium’s authority since abortion is an intrinsic evil?

    Nope. The question here isn’t whether or not abortion is evil or whether or not funding abortion is evil – questions Catholics believe the bishops have authority to speak on. The question here is whether or not this legislation will fund abortion, which isn’t a question of faith and morals, but of legal meaning and consequence.

  • Kyle,
    Then one could draw a similar consclusion when referring to legislation related to border security or immigration, and matters of national security.

  • If the question is “Will immigration legislation do X?” or “Will national security legislation do Y?”, then sure.

  • “…we will know soon know who was right. Either it will fund abortions or it won’t.”

    Though on the question of conscience I think it may take longer.

    Are there any protections for health care workers or hospitals that are Hyde Ammendment-like. That is, will Catholic health care workers and hospitals be able to refuse medical treatments that violate medical ethics? Can the state say to them that if contraception or abortion, etc. is not provided, then they can be denied health care dollars?

  • I would also say that Bishop conferences can teach with magisterial authority but that this is limited to a doctrinal matter and seems to require a unanimous vote (see Apostolos Suos). When it comes to prudential application of doctrinal principles, a Catholic may licitly disagree.

    Thus the arguments that some (not all) in CHA and others offer are licit though I think wrong especially beyond questions regarding abortion. When others disagree with immigration policies or even the general thrust of a document such as Faithful Citizenship, they are also free to do so.

  • Here is an example of why we need to heed our Bishops words, and why our perceptions as to what constitutes “prudential” judgement may not merely fall under the umbrella of prudential judgment in the case of health care reform.

    “Federal funds in the Act can be used for elective abortions. For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers. These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment (as they are not appropriated through the Labor/HHS appropriations bill governed by that amendment), or by the Act’s own abortion limitation in Sec. 1303 (as that provision relates only to tax credits or cost-sharing reductions for qualified health plans, and does not govern all funds in the bill). So the funds can be used directly for elective abortions.
    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions. Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions. This violates the policy of current federal laws on abortion funding, including the Hyde amendment, which forbid use of federal funds for any part of a health benefits package that covers elective abortions. By
    subsidizing plans that cover abortion, the federal government will expand abortion coverage and make abortions more accessible.
    The Act uses federal power to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions even if they are morally opposed.
    The Act mandates that insurance companies deciding to cover elective abortions in a health plan “shall… collect from each enrollee in the plan (without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex, or family status) a separate payment” for such abortions. While the Act says that one plan in each exchange will not cover elective abortions, every other plan may cover them — and everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions. No accommodation is permitted for people morally opposed to abortion. This creates a more overt threat to
    conscience than insurers engage in now, because in many plans receiving federal subsidies everyone will have to make separate payments solely and specifically for other people’s abortions. Saying that this payment is not a “tax dollar” is no help if it is required by government.”

    I found this here: http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/Abortion-Funding-in-Health-Care-Law-4-12-10.pdf

  • Teresa,
    First, I agree that disagreement with the USCCB is not in and of itself disobedience in any proper sense. So I have no quarrel with the CHS if its interpretation of the law differs.
    That said, the explanation you quote is pretty compelling. Has the CHA ever responded with similar clarity? As an attorney, I am well aware that reasonable people can in good faith interpret a law differently. I am prepared to believe that is what is happening here, but given the USCCB’s general affection for liberal causes its opposition to the health care legislation does seem credible.

  • For example, the Act authorizes and appropriates $7 billion over five years (increased to $9.5 billion by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) for services at Community Health Centers.

    CHAs haven’t performed abortions. Many if not all of them would have to change charters in order to do so.

    These funds are not covered by the Hyde amendment
    This is a point of dispute.

    The Act uses federal funds to subsidize health plans that cover abortions.
    It is presently legal for health plans to offer an abortion benefit. Federal highway dollars cover roads driven on by drunk drivers too. More anon.

    Sec. 1303 limits only the direct use of a
    federal tax credit specifically to fund abortion coverage; it tries to segregate funds within health plans, to keep federal funds distinct from funds directly used for abortions. But the credits are still used to pay overall premiums for health plans covering elective abortions.

    There is no moral requirement to limit indirect funding. Federal housing dollars do not discriminate between women that have and have not had abortions. The tax code does not distinguish deductibility of premiums between plans that offer abortion and those that don’t. Further, there is no substantive difference between this and the USCCB’s endorsed Stupak compromise of requiring a rider be offered to the policies. With an executed abortion rider, a subsidy would still be offered to plans that “cover abortion.”

    everyone purchasing those plans, because they best meet his or her family’s needs, will be required by federal law to fund abortions.

    And this is really no different than today. As a consequence of where one works, one may be forced to subscribe to a plan that covers abortion. However, the idea that the plan that will “best meet his of her family’s needs” will be the one that covers abortion is malarkey and product of closing one’s ears to what insurance company’s have been saying. Insurance professionals have been claiming that they hard pressed to offer a plan with abortion due to the additional costs involved. Due to the additional costs, insurers believe they will have difficulty capturing subscribers on plans that offer abortion benefits.

  • Any thoughts on conscience protections?

  • I’m not sure Phillip. Do you (or anyone) happen to know what is current law regarding conscience protections?

    What are the laws on the books and are they being properly enforced? I think this question is getting regularly overlooked and new laws are being crafted unnecessarily when we could simply enforce or clarify existing law.

    But that is all contingent on whether existing law is sufficiently pro-life.

  • A primer:

    http://usccb.org/conscienceprotection/q_and_a.shtml

    Don’t know what it will all mean with the new Health Care legislation.

  • Finally, how something like this might play in to the discussion:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/aug/09081005.html

  • Thank you Phillip for doing a bit of research.

    The next time there is a Republican Congress, the Hyde amendment needs to cease being an budgetary amendment attached to appropriation bills and voted on year-after-year and rather introduced as federal-wide legislation governing any and all monies. This could in effect end domestic subsidizing abortion and act as a permanent “Mexico City Policy” that prohibits funding of abortion on the international stage.

    The other thing is with such widespread abuse on conscience rights as the Bishops note (which I’m assuming didn’t just start happening post-November 2008), current conscience laws should be updated and clarified.

    I’m not sure how this has just now become an issue. We most certainly have dropped the ball on the first item.

    I think the latter story involving the Catholic college could be solved with contracts and this is a solution from a perspective of subsidiarity. But all employers of Catholic institutions should sign a contract stating in clear terms that all medical care and benefits offered to employers, spouses, children, etc will be in line with the clear and consistent teachings of the Catholic Church and no comprehensive plans or benefits will include abortion or birth control.

    The obvious point is that such things if people were to choose those things — unfortunate as it is — they would have to use their own funds.

    There really shouldn’t have to be a need to resort to such protective measures, but it has become increasingly necessary.

  • I think the conscience clause became an issue in Jan/Feb 2009 when the Obama administration stated it was rescinding Bush era protections. Before this it was undoubtedly a problem at local levels which prompted Bush era efforts. Prior to Bush I think most organizations/states accepted that health care professionals could refuse certain procedures that violated their conscience. I know as a medical student and resident I refused to take part in abortions, sterilizations and prescribing birth control. No one gave me grief over this (this was in the 80’s after all.)

    In the new millenium this started to change when organizations such as the American College of OB/GYN insisted that residents be trained in abortion procedures and some states supported this. See here:
    http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/ethics/co385.pdf

    This may have been further made urgent by the Benitez case:

    http://www.cmda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Right_of_Conscience&CONTENTID=17179&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    Thus the prompting of the Bush efforts. It seems to have taken on import with the USCCB with the Obama administration efforts noted above.

    A brief history that may require more unearthing and likely has more parts.

  • The position from the USCCB that points out the need to conscience protections. The threats seem to originate as I noted in the new millenium. Thus the Bush protections and the threat to such protections from Obama administration efforts:

    http://www.usccb.org/ogc/pl-hhs-conscience2.pdf

  • “…because the issue here is the competence of the Magisterium to determine the consequences of a particular legislative bill.”

    I suspect that the National Bishop’s council is a different entity than the “magesterium” and as such has “no hierarchal authority.”

    I still await their justification of failing to engage the Catholic issue of solidarity and their earlier approval of “the Welfare state”(Obamacare without abortion) so excoriated by JPII – not to mention their silence on the “death panels” government intrusion into end of life moral decisions by free citizens.

    I wonder why the eccleasial construction of the three bishops who wrote the final turnaround letter after the Stupak fiasco blew up in their faces was labeled the “migrant” bishop? Could that be that socialized Obamacare was really about immigration which the Catechism says is the business of the laity?

    Do they yet have any outside objective investigation ongoing or in the pipeline to find out how they jeopardized charity for the poor itself, by funneling all those millions to ACORN (long known to be of questionable character) to help elect the most pro- abortion pro-infanticide president in history. (thy still haven’t written a pastoral letter of protested about Obama”s installation of the principle of intent allowing the slaughter of a baby outside the womb because the mother intend to abort or simply asked -how long Obama, does such intent last?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the national bishop’s council to blindly follow what appears to be their politics, as opposed to their obligation to lead souls to salvation.

    I also think the question of the “smoke of Satan in the tabernacle” finally raised by the late Pope Paul continues to require some housecleaning and serious redirection of the American Chiurch at its highest levels. Notre Dame honoring Obama (the first openly infanticide president in history)and the public silence of more than two thirds of our shepherds in the face of that scandal ought to have been the clue that more than healthcare needs to be reformed.

  • These nuns think they can speak for the Church. So, they offer an alternate teaching. And the media whores quickly pick up on the scandal that they’re causing. They’re applying American principles of independence and feminism in places where those do not apply. The community of faith is not a democracy even if they want to make it such and have themselves voted into power. The community of believers are not independent from their traditional and historical origins and an American revolution will not change that nature. But deluded with their degrees and having too much time in their hands plus the limelight of a secular press, these women forge on and wound the very people that they pretend to serve.

  • Pingback: Elephants in the room of the Catholic debate on health
  • Pingback: Last Weeks Top-Ten Catholic Posts « The American Catholic

Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

Wednesday, March 31, AD 2010

Pertinent to recent discussions of Stupak and the role of the USCCB in advancing the health care bill, Edward Feser offers his reflections on Bart Stupak, the USCCB and the Catholic principle of subsidiarity:

… before the health care bill vote, the USCCB urged Congress either to alter the bill to prevent federal funding of abortion or to vote the bill down. (The USCCB also objected to the bill’s failure to extend coverage to illegal immigrants.) But the letter in which this request was made also emphasized that “for decades, the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care,” that “the Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity,” and that it is only “with deep regret” that the bishops must oppose passage of the bill “unless these fundamental flaws are remedied” (emphasis added).

Needless to say, the impression these words leave the reader with – whether the bishops intended this or not – is that, were abortion (and coverage of illegal immigrants) not at issue, the moral teaching of the Catholic Church would require the passage of the health care bill in question, or something like it. In fact the teaching of the Church requires no such thing. Indeed, I would argue (see below) that while the Church’s teaching does not rule out in principle a significant federal role in providing health care, a bill like the one that has just passed would be very hard to justify in light of Catholic doctrine, even aside from the abortion question. Nevertheless, as I say, the bishops’ language would surely leave the average reader with the opposite impression. And as the bishops themselves remind us, they have “supported universal health care” for “decades,” in statements that also would leave the unwary average reader with the impression that Catholic moral teaching strictly requires as a matter of justice the passage some sort of federal health care legislation. On the day Obama signed the bill into law, Cardinal Francis George, a bishop with a reputation for orthodoxy, urged vigilance on the matter of abortion while declaring that “we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.”

Read the rest!

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

  • I thought I was a voice in the wilderness. Very well written. Much better than I–a simpleton could have written.

    I often wonder, when I pray for my Bishop, Do I ask God to give me the strength to be obedient or do I pray, “Lord save me from my Bishop when he basically flaunts his own personal views as Catholic teaching.”

  • “The government must also see to the provision of insurance facilities, to obviate any likelihood of a citizen’s being unable to maintain a decent standard of living in the event of some misfortune, or greatly increased family responsibilities.” Pacem in Terris 64.

    Federal health care reform ensuring universal coverage was necessary. I too am disappointed with the implementation but I’m still not convinced it necessarily violates subsidiarity (though I personally believe it does in some relatively minor ways).

    The “overreach” may be justified as consumer protection measures which prevent anticipated problems. Few people would consider government health inspections a violation of subsidiarity. It would be possible to write a law that allows individuals to personally inspect sausage factories but that’s impractical. Likewise, some of the supposedly overreaching regulations of ObamaCare restrain individual choice but for a good reason: government is better positioned to make those choices.

    I think maybe a good test of whether something violates subsidiarity is whether it actually harms communities of a lower order. Like I said, I believe ObamaCare does though in relatively minor ways.

    A second question is whether minor infractions against subsidiarity render the entire bill immoral. For example, I think the cap on HSA contributions is too low. It actually harms those who use HSA’s. Would that alone warrant opposition to an otherwise good (for sake of argument) bill?

  • Likewise, some of the supposedly overreaching regulations of ObamaCare restrain individual choice but for a good reason: government is better positioned to make those choices.

    That *could* possibly be the case, but I would argue that a government that considers abortion to be health care, a right, and a HC cost savings measure is patently disqualified to make those choices. Ditto for considering the intentional killing of the disabled as a “family matter”.

  • I wouldn’t consider the government disqualified to make decisions on all matters just because it makes the wrong decision on one matter. Besides, except for when voters want to kill non-voters (abortion and euthanasia), government has a bias in favor of providing more, not less. I find it odd that those who claim the government loves spending too much money also believe the government would like to kill grandma to save money.

  • A wrong decision is one thing, a wrong decision(s) on fundamental matters are another. When most people talk about the government loving to spend money, I think they’re referring to spending as a means of acquiring power and building dependencies to maintain power, coupled with the typical inefficiency and bureaucracies that accompany it.

    As far as killing people or allowing people to be killed to save money. Why not? It gives them power over lives, and as you pointed out, we’re talking about non-voters. Pelosi said abortion coverage would be a cost savings to Obamacare, and I just saw this:

    http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2010/03/krugman-death-panels-will-save-money.html

  • There’s nothing odd about it. Few claim that the government likes to spend money arbitrarily. It spends too much on things it shouldn’t and not enough on things it should, because of its distorted and often perverse hierarchy of values.

  • The thing is that Pelosi and Krugman and the rest of these guys are right. Like I brought up in my column, if you make healthcare the responsibility of the government, then you make a thousand other things the responsibility of the government as well.

  • Interesting that Cardinal George is applauding the expansion of health care to all but the unborn.

    But that’s what happens when you put your Democratic Party loyalties before your faith.

  • The precedent is very bad, very bad.

The Myth of Tolerance by Our Intellectual Superiors

Tuesday, March 30, AD 2010

With the vilification that the political left has done to the right, we Catholics also suffer from the same abuse.  Take point in fact that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson Sister Mary Ann Walsh demonized Pro-Life Catholics by regurgitating uncorroborated reports of racism against ObamaCare proponents and attributed them to Pro-Life Catholics with her blog entry.

Such blatant disregard for facts in order to advance your personal agenda has become the norm in the mainstream media as well.  The Media Research Center has provided the following synopsis to clarify this point:

Update I (4:12pm CST): Prominent Republican Gets Actual Death Threat, NYT Suddenly Drops Concern Over Threatening.  To read the entire story by Clay Waters of NewsBusters click here.

Update II (4:21pm CST): A video was tracked down showing Representative John Lewis of Georgia, whom Sister Mary Ann Walsh referenced in her blog post showing absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any racial epithets being thrown around.  Again, the uncorroborated evidence that Sister Mary Ann Walsh referenced is a fabricated lie and she willfully used this to smear Pro-Lifers in her less than charitable blog posting.

The video is here:

Update III (6:26pm CST): Representative John Lewis of Georgia, the very man who lied that there were racist remarks yelled at him at the Tea Party protests is known to be very hyperbolic himself.  Jeff Poor of NewsBusters recounts the time back in 1995 how Representaive Lewis defamed Republicans by painting them as ‘Nazis‘.

Representative Lewis has shown himself to be nothing more than a political hack that lashes out when he doesn’t get his way.

Continue reading...

30 Responses to The Myth of Tolerance by Our Intellectual Superiors

  • Take point in fact that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson Sister Mary Ann Walsh demonized Pro-Life Catholics by regurgitating uncorroborated reports of racism against ObamaCare proponents and attributed them to Pro-Life Catholics with her blog entry.

    –How is the “regurgitating uncorrobarated reports”? She says that “Anonymous messages are being left on voicemails – I even got one from a nun, for goodness sake.”

  • Jim,

    She connected the alleged racism at the Tea Party protests to Pro-Life Catholics and went into the whole melodrama of Rep. Lewis experiencing the same verbal abuse during the civil rights era.

  • Here’s what she wrote in the first four paragraphs, Tito. She doesn’t even mention “Pro-Life Catholics” anywhere in her post. Yes, she is referring to opponents of the legislation, but surely there are people out there who opposed the legislation for other reasons. Am I missing something?

    The heat in the aftermath of passage of health care reform reveals the depth of feeling among those for and against the landmark bill that affects all Americans. Such heat, however, cannot justify the verbal and physical violence that has ensued.

    If we needed health care because of the crisis affecting the sick, especially the weakest among us, we need even more a move toward civility, if not for our own betterment then at least for the betterment of our children.

    Politics has become a kind of blood sport. News junkies over the weekend heard reports of crowds shouting racist remarks and individuals spitting at African American lawmakers, including John Lewis, who suffered violence years ago when he marched for Civil Rights. Surely he – and all of us – has a right to expect that that chapter of despicable, racist violence long over.

    We’ve seen reports of homes and offices of lawmakers vandalized and heard of death threats. Anonymous messages are being left on voicemails – I even got one from a nun, for goodness sake. If that isn’t proof that we’ve gone astray I don’t know what is.

  • Jim,

    Yes, she is referring to opponents of the legislation [ie, Pro-Life Catholics], but surely there are people out there who opposed the legislation for other reasons. Am I missing something?

    Yes there are other people who oppose health care for other reasons, but the number one issue was abortion, which in even in the end the USCCB came down against ObamaCare because of this issue.

    The heat you are referring to is the anger out there that ObamaCare passed without the people’s consent nor with any bipartisanship.

    Though it is exactly the racism that Sister Walsh is referring to, which there is no proof hence the ‘uncorroborated’ remark, which she paints Pro-Life Catholics with.

  • She refers to “reports”. She does not say that those things happened. And go to other websites. Many–probably most–of the people who oppose ObamaCare do so because of things not connected to abortion.

    I, for one, am still not convinced that ObamaCare does fund abortion–except for allowing for the possibility of abortion at Indian reservations and community health care centers, which are minor matters in my view. Can you or Don prove that Obama does fund abortions beyond those?

  • Jim,

    I don’t doubt that such voicemails are occurring, what I am pointing out is the example that Sister Walsh specifically uses to drive her point of demonizing pro-life Catholics by painting them with the same brush as a ‘racists’.

    As to your point about abortion being paid for by ObamaCare, that is for another thread, not this one which you are hijacking.

    I will delete anymore of your comments that do not deal with Sister Walsh’s demonizing of Pro-Life Catholics.

  • And Tito, I sincerely doubt that what she did technically qualifies as “demonizing” anyone by mentioning “reports”. I also sincerely doubt that the majority of the opposition was because of the abortion issue, if you read some of the polls. Please link to a poll which shows that the majority of the opposition was because of that issue.

    I’ll wait for you and Don to start a post on the issue of what ObamaCare does and doesn’t cover.

  • I find it HI-larious that these establishment liberals, Catholic or secular, are now eminently concerned with the disposition of the protesters.

    Oh how far we have fallen from the teach-ins, smoke-outs, and campus occupations of the 1960s. Then it was all legitimate, it was all just, it was the young people making their voices heard.

    This sister is not the first left-leaning Catholic I have heard denouncing the internet as a medium of communication, invoking “anonymity”, and obviously desiring a return to the more easily controlled, less free, and less accountable print media.

    Wherever freedom thrives in communication as opposed to government control, conservative points of view also thrive – the vast majority of them NOT steeped in “racism”, but in firm if not always charitable rejections of the leftist agenda.

    Of course, these people believe it is more uncharitable to call them names than it is to force people to buy private health insurance at gun point.

  • Jim,

    People opposed this bill for many different reasons. But the majority of Catholic opposition was primarily about abortion and the vast majority of heat any Catholic supporters of the health care bill are taking is b/c of their unwillingness to put life first. I’m disturbed by your statement that you believe a billion taxpayer dollars (for starters) being funnelled into CHC’s w/out any Hyde Amendment protections is a “minor” issue. The vast majority of Americans, pro-choice and pro-life alike, do not believe taxpayers should be subsidizing or funding abortion in any way. This is a dramatic increase right now and it sets up a restriction free tool for federally funded abortions in the future. That is not a minor change in federal policy. Catholics who deny this or treat it as a non-issue need to seriously revisit the teachings of the Church on the primacy of protecting human life. It’s not something that can be put aside let alone hindered in accomplishing something else you happen to like.

    I’m sorry – I know this is further getting off topic. Feel free to delete.

  • That was the most selective reading and least charitable interpretation of Sister Mary Ann’s post possible.

  • Of course the good Sister’s claim that some members of Congress may have been spit on may also be an uncharitable claim.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/28/congressman-spit-on-by-te_n_516300.html

  • RR,

    As your “selective” reading into Church teaching that forces others against their free will to pay for health insurance.

  • Jim,

    If she was sincere she wouldn’t haven’t chosen the uncorroborated racist reports for her straw man.

  • Yeah, I heard Sister Mary Ann smokes ganja in the sacristy before Mass. I heard it. I heard it I did.

  • As Catholics, real Catholics and not liberals playing catholics, we are not to engage in gossip and hearsay. On those grounds alone, she’s off.

    As for the ‘racism’, I was there and I didn’t see anyone spit, attack or yell any racist slurs. Although one Senior Citizen did call Barney Frank a gay commie – however, I don’t know why anyone would denounce that – it is true and Barney appears to be proud of it.

    The pro-Constitution anti THIS health care reform bill group outside the Capitol on that dark day was multi-ethnic and included black Americans. In fact one black man running for Congress led all of us in prayer and the funding of baby killing was the overwhelming objection along with fiscal soundness, because we can’t afford this mess. KILL THE BILL was chanted and so was BABY KILLERS during the meeting of the rules (or lack thereof) committee.

    For her to address racism with no evidence and spread it as truth, even if it is merely implied, is unCatholic, wrong and typical of all of those poor, misguided people who are progressives before they are Catholic. Before you go yelling that the rest of us are conservative before we are Catholic – be aware that those are the same things. To be Catholic is to be conservative in the strictest sense and that does not mean Right Wing or Republican. It means one who sticks to the old ways of right reason, natural law and morality and our ancient Faith.

    To be a progressive Catholic is to insist that revelation did not end with the death of the last Apostle and that the Church needs to get more hip instead of sticking to what Christ taught us 2,000 years ago and still teaches those of us who ask Him and not some excommunicated religious or government bureaucrat.

    The Sister may be well-intentioned, she may be confused, she may be working for Satan – either way – she’s wrong.

  • Oh for crying out loud. Just last week pro-lifers were praising Sr. Mary Ann Walsh to the skies for her succinct explanation of how Obamacare funds abortion and why this was not acceptable. She stepped up to the plate at precisely the moment when other “nuns” were trying to sow confusion.

    Now all of a sudden, she’s a tool of Satan because she repeated second hand reports from “news junkies”?

    It’s one thing to be “intolerant” of blatantly pro-abortion “Catholics” like the Lying Worthless Political Hack, who never met an abortion she didn’t like, or of the “nuns” who went out of their way to defy the bishops on the very question of abortion funding. But please, give Sr. Mary Ann SOME credit for calling out the real “tools of Satan” who were hard at work last week.

  • Elaine,

    I only stated she is demonizing Pro-Lifers, not that she is a tool of Satan.

    I’m sure Satan would disagree with you here.

  • I used that hyperbole in a series of descriptions and I stated that I don’t know which one (implying, ‘if any’) apply to her, but that no matter the outcome of her disposition – she is wrong – no racism occurred, no evidence of racism has been presented, taken as a whole Tea Party supporters are not racist. She was engaged in either gossip or hearsay – neither sin befits a Catholic, clergy, lay or religious.

    I am not casting stones, I am merely stating that on this issue she is wrong. My post was also directed at progressive Catholics who may or may not have posted in this thread, who desire to disparage Catholics of a more conservative stripe like St. Paul or Pope Benedict XVI.

    I also never said ‘tool’ – I said ‘working for’ – which is probably true of all us at one time or another, on one issue or another, in one aspect or another – thank God for the Sacrament of Penance.

  • Elaine,

    I think the biggest problem with Sister Mary Ann is that she passes on things that have been “heard” as fact. It seems these things are false. As such she is passing on what are in essence lies. Sister Mary Ann was brave in pointing out the flaws of the nuns sowing confusion about health care. Now she is sowing confusion.

    Its okay to critque her.

  • I read Sr. Walsh’s post and was so crushed by it that I responded back with 2 comments. So far, she has not posted them yet. My guess is she is selective in posting comments from readers.

    It is a shame that USCCB treats us like children who don’t know how to read legislative language or who do not understand inferred language or double speak.

    Plus, the claims she made about racism are unsubstantiated. One can only assume she came to that end by watching MSNBC or CNN. These two channels have been pushing that story. Yet, nobody mentions that Rep. Jackson and his father, Rev. Jackson had a video camera and were recording every step along the way. There were also TV crews all over recording the historic event. Where–pray tell, is the evidence of somebody being spat on or being denigrated in any other way?

    We are being forced into buying a “good” or a “commodity” that we don’t want and an insensible group of people are saying that we should focus on civility. Was the process of the administration and their congress civil in any respect?

    Good minded Catholics fell into that trap in 2008 because they thought it would be a nice thing to vote Obama into office because he held such promise and we just couldn’t possibly rule him out because a fringe group says he’s Socialist. Let’s be civil and give the man a chance. Well, here we are 2 years later and our Bishops are applauding the bill silently and hoping that the language that includes abortion can be taken out. Really? Tell that to the very people who’ve been risking their jobs and livelihood to fight against Roe V Wade for almost 40 years.

    The problem with the subsidiarity ideal is not that it has been tried & found wanting but that it has not yet been tried.

  • oh..and there was a black gentleman who was left hospitalized after an attack by SEIU thugs who were bused in to a townhall meeting. Nobody covered that…Sr. Walsh didn’t write a blog post on that…but yet, it was recorded on video and is floating around on youtube!

  • I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that *SOME* opponents of the health care bill / tea party folks have dabbled in racism. Yesterday I was invited to join a Facebook group opposing Obamacare, and their photo section included:

    An image of the president in front of the White House with a comment, “Hey, who’s the monkey on our porch?”

    A photoshopped image of the presidential limo with huge rims added.

    A sign reading “Welcome to Kenya, Birthplace of Barack Hussein Obama.”

    If this kind of crap is online, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has also cropped up at Tea Party rallies.

  • JohnH,

    So you have evidence of any racial epithets throw Representative John Lewis’ way during the ObamaCare vote?

    Or you’re just “sharing”.

  • But was the Congressman spit on?

  • I didn’t see anyone spit at him, but to be fair, it is difficult to tell by the grainy video.

  • True enough. Hard to tell but does not look like it.

    Also some on the racism of the Obama Administration:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_obama_administrations_ramp.html

  • Tito: I’m just saying that based on my own experience with some of the extreme elements on the fringes of the anti-Obamacare movement, accusations of racist epithets do not seem unlikely.

    And, BTW, I am not trying to say that only the right-wing can get ugly at political rallies. I have personally been spat on and physically assaulted at a pro-life march before, and it wasn’t by Tea Partiers.

  • How is welcoming people to Kenya racist? Maybe he was born in Kenya. His ancestors on his father’s side do come from Kenya. Being from Kenya may be a fact, it my be incorrect, it may just merely be conjecture – but pointing it out isn’t racist. The president is half African, that is a fact – nothing racist about pointing out that his father was in fact an African, just as his mother was in fact a white American. Where’s the racism?

    The monkey on the porch statement could be racist; however, it could just as easily be a reference to Darwinism. Don’t Progressives, like the president, assert that human beings are just talking monkeys. I think they are wrong, but who am I to judge.

    Again, to be clear, sure there are racists in American and they are all idiots. Most belong on the left side of the equation, even when they are allegedly from the right. The simple fact is that liberals/progressives/fascists/collectivists are inherently racist because they seek to divide people into groups. Traditionalists/conservatives prefer to see everyone as a unique, unrepeatable individual and we Christians are called to respect the dignity of each of God’s children because each one is infinitely valuable in His eyes.

    Furthermore, being against Obama because he is half-black is utterly stupid – he should be despised because he is all red – Commie red – that is an ideology and being against it and those who practice and promote Communism, is not racist – it is just prudent.

    I saw and met no racists, no spitting and heard no racial slurs. Could that have occurred? Sure it could have. But to bring it up, as conjecture or fact, with absolutely no evidence or indication of it, is simply a smear tactic right out of Alinsky’s playbook (you know the one he dedicated to the first revolutionary – Lucifer).

  • The monkey on the porch statement could be racist; however, it could just as easily be a reference to Darwinism. Don’t Progressives, like the president, assert that human beings are just talking monkeys. I think they are wrong, but who am I to judge.

    Wow. You’ve either got to be joking or willfully obtuse.

  • JohnH,

    Perhaps sarcasm doesn’t translate well on the Internet. I was merely trying to point out the ridiculous mindset of Progressives Darwinists and for that matter racists too.

U.S. Catholic Bishops' statement on the Health Care Bill: "Profoundly flawed"

Tuesday, March 23, AD 2010

USCCB Statement on the recently-passed health care legislation (March 23, 2010):

For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for reform of our health care system so that all may have access to the care that recognizes and affirms their human dignity. Christian discipleship means, “working to ensure that all people have access to what makes them fully human and fosters their human dignity” (United States Catechism for Adults, page 454). Included among those elements is the provision of necessary and appropriate health care.

For too long, this question has gone unaddressed in our country. Often, while many had access to excellent medical treatment, millions of others including expectant mothers, struggling families or those with serious medical or physical problems were left unable to afford the care they needed. As Catholic bishops, we have expressed our support for efforts to address this national and societal shortcoming. We have spoken for the poorest and most defenseless among us. Many elements of the health care reform measure signed into law by the President address these concerns and so help to fulfill the duty that we have to each other for the common good. We are bishops, and therefore pastors and teachers. In that role, we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.

Nevertheless, for whatever good this law achieves or intends, we as Catholic bishops have opposed its passage because there is compelling evidence that it would expand the role of the federal government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion. The statute appropriates billions of dollars in new funding without explicitly prohibiting the use of these funds for abortion, and it provides federal subsidies for health plans covering elective abortions. Its failure to preserve the legal status quo that has regulated the government’s relation to abortion, as did the original bill adopted by the House of Representatives last November, could undermine what has been the law of our land for decades and threatens the consensus of the majority of Americans: that federal funds not be used for abortions or plans that cover abortions. Stranger still, the statute forces all those who choose federally subsidized plans that cover abortion to pay for other peoples’ abortions with their own funds. If this new law is intended to prevent people from being complicit in the abortions of others, it is at war with itself.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to U.S. Catholic Bishops' statement on the Health Care Bill: "Profoundly flawed"

  • “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” — John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 48

  • “. Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility. Subsidiarity respects personal dignity by recognizing in the person a subject who is always capable of giving something to others. By considering reciprocity as the heart of what it is to be a human being, subsidiarity is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state.” — Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

  • “In order for the principle of subsidiarity to be put into practice there is a corresponding need for: respect and effective promotion of the human person and the family; ever greater appreciation of associations and intermediate organizations in their fundamental choices and in those that cannot be delegated to or exercised by others; the encouragement of private initiative so that every social entity remains at the service of the common good, each with its own distinctive characteristics; the presence of pluralism in society and due representation of its vital components; safeguarding human rights and the rights of minorities; bringing about bureaucratic and administrative decentralization” – CSDC, 187

    “As an instrument of the State, public administration at any level — national, regional, community — is oriented towards the service of citizens: “Being at the service of its citizens, the State is the steward of the people’s resources, which it must administer with a view to the common good”.[844] Excessive bureaucratization is contrary to this vision and arises when “institutions become complex in their organization and pretend to manage every area at hand. In the end they lose their effectiveness as a result of an impersonal functionalism, an overgrown bureaucracy, unjust private interests and an all-too-easy and generalized disengagement from a sense of duty” CDSC 412

    Where we ought to be looking, as opposed to the federal government and its bureaucracy:

    ” Meaningful testimonies and examples of self-organization can be found in the numerous initiatives, business and social, characterized by forms of participation, cooperation and self-management that manifest the joining of energies in solidarity. These are offered to the market as a multifaceted sector of work activity whose mark of distinction is the special attention given to the relational components of the goods produced and of the services rendered in many areas: instruction, health care, basic social services and culture. The initiatives of this so-called “third sector” represent an ever more important opportunity for the development of labour and the economy.” CSDC 293

  • In other words, I profoundly disagree with the idea that abortion is the only problem with this otherwise supposedly fine and upstanding bill.

  • For the record, I’m right there with you Joe. Funding for abortion is a crucial issue but not the sole evil in this bill.

  • Looks like Mr. Stupak’s defense may be to go on the offense against the Bishops. I’m not familiar with the source, but it appears he is charging the Bishops with hypocrisy and trying to use the abortion issue as a ploy to bring down health care reform. What alternate universe is this guy from?

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/03/23/stupak-says-catholic-bishops-pro-life-groups-tried-to-use-abortion-to-defeat-health-bill/

  • He is either delusional or a liar. I suspect the latter.

Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made a determined effort for universal health coverage, without abortion, in the run-up to the vote on ObamaCare.  In the end, due to the abortion language in this bill, they condemned it in its entirety.

Now I believe that our bishops had the best intentions of wanting universal health coverage, but this violates the principle of subsidiarity.

The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

In 1891 Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which said that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function.

Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans, with an overwhelming 93% saying they are satisfied with their coverage.

And those that are uninsured, can get readily available treatment for a serious illness.  Including illegal aliens.

So why the bishops haste and aggressive posturing in pushing for something everybody already has and are satisfied with?

Continue reading...

89 Responses to Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

  • Tito,

    I think you’re absolutely right.

  • I have yet to find a bishop that can explain why they have been pushing for universal health coverage for these many years.

  • I really have to take issue with this. The FACT is that there are people who cannot afford adequate health care.

  • Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans

    I think the number is more like 68% (you’re forgetting the people covered under government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) In terms of funding it’s more like 50/50 government/nongovernment.

  • RR,

    There will always be people that cannot afford adequate health care.

    It also depends on what you mean by adequate.

    Pope Leo XIII states, “preferential option for the poor”, in Rerum Novarum, but doesn’t say “universal” option for the poor.

    Besides, the poor are covered under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act(EMTALA) and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act(COBRA).

    The EMTALA states that It requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. As a result of the act, patients needing emergency treatment can be discharged only under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment..

  • BA,

    It depends on what statistics you are looking at.

    The 93% I am quoting shows studies “that most Americans are overwhelmingly happy with their own health care”.

  • Neither did Pope Leo XIII say “preferential option for some of the poor.”

    The poor aren’t “covered.” They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?

    I was planning on writing about this very topic over the weekend. Hopefully, I can get to it tonight. Bottom line is I think you’re wrong and the bishops are right.

  • Why does a massive government takeover of health care have to be the only way to help the poor?

    There were other measures proposed that would have helped lower the cost of health care, which is abysmally high in the US – allowing people to buy insurance across state lines would have been a start.

    And, I have no problem if individual states want to go the Massachusetts way.

    But this federal monster could end up bankrupting dozens of states, causing the loss of millions of more jobs, and further crippling the country with massive debt. How does any of that help the poor? It hurts them.

  • “They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?”

    There’s no Catholic mandate to create a socialist utopia in which poverty becomes impossible. Sorry.

  • RR,

    Option does not mean absolutely necessary.

    You can’t change the meaning of the word option.

    I was quoting Pope Leo XIII.

    You are making stuff up, like many liberals do. So stop reading into Rerum Novarum what isn’t there, ie, forcing people to pay. This violates the Principle of Subsidiarity, not to mention you can’t force people against their will.

    Maybe you would learn this concept if you lived in the old Soviet Union.

    Over there you’ll learn really fast.

  • Absofreakinlutely right it violates the principle of subsidiarity. If only the USCCB would start talking about this aspect of the matter. But to expect them to do that is wishful thinking I know.

  • Long time reader, first time commenter.

    All EMTALA does is prevent emergency departments from refusing treatment to patients who cannot pay, and keeps EDs from transferring them to other institutions (AKA “dumping”)on the basis of their ability to pay. It does not preclude them from billing the patient for services rendered, which can be considerable. It also does not cover the cost of any prescriptions given as a result of the ED visit, nor does it have anything to do with maintenance care, which can help prevent the need for ED care in the first place.

    I’m not saying I am a proponent of the bill passed yeaterday, nor am I commenting on whether or not the bill passed violates subsidiarity. But EMTALA does not provide for anything more than immedate, acute care- it does not address most of the health care needs of people without insurance.

  • Because subsidiarity does not deny the need for solidarity nor that there are needs for structures to deal with needs which are not met at the local level, this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity. The fact that on the local level, the needs are not met, are not being met, and being left to as they are, people are dying, this demonstrates the need for action beyond the local level. And having an overarching structure also does not deny the local access: indeed, the bill is about _getting insurance_ and making sure insurance _doesn’t act like a ponzi scheme_. Oh well.

  • This post conveys a flawed understanding of subsidiarity. Worse, it violates the principle that all Catholic teaching, including social teaching, must be read as a whole. Subsidiarity does not exist without solidarity, preferential option for the poor, etc.

    Secondly, the post misrepresents the facts. Subsidiarity and solidarity obligate the higher level to step in when the lower order cannot provide. There is plenty of evidence that that situation exists. Also, there is, in some respects, more subsidiarity in the health care bill in that it provides more choices in payers than the present system. In some states, there is no competition in the insurance market and only large, dehumanizing insurers exists – which is itself contrary to the principle of subsidiarity.

  • For Catholic supporters of this bill, make your argument. I do not question your motives. But neither should those, such as myself, that hoped this bill would go down in flames have their motives questioned.

    I admire and adhere to (from the abstract plain of my disicpline, public affairs/political philosophy) the Catholic notion of subsidiarity. This bill is a violation, in my view, of both that of solidarity. I don’t particularly care to argue this point, but the Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking is much better: private catastrophic insurance for young and old, some public subsidies but no government control, and finally a more controlled spending curve.

    Our entitlements are about to eat us alive (and yes that includes Wilsonian adventures). Our “culture wars” are about to get a lot worse (“why should I subsidize that sort of lifestyle”?)

    This bill deserved to fail. Now we live with consequences. I hope that its supporters in the Catholic blogosphere respond charitably, and keep their moral preening and motive questioning in check.

  • It’s disingenuous to claim that needs were not being met at the local level when options that might have addressed local problems were never given a chance.

    This was nothing but a power grab, plain and simple.

    The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity? They’ll make their voices heard in the months to come, that’s to be sure, as this bill is nullified by state legislatures and voters, or possibly overturned by the courts.

  • Henry K & Charles,

    this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity.

    Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    Typical liberal strategies.

  • Tito, as others have pointed out, we aren’t making anything up. You are simply misunderstanding the principle of subsidiarity.

    jonathonjones, I would love to have seen what you call the “Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking.” But some here are arguing that even that would violate subsidiarity. They mistakenly believe that any federal meddling is unCatholic.

  • Ever More Out-of-Balance

    The correct balance between subsidiarity and solidarity would, of course, fall somewhere in the middle between “every man for himself” and “universal nationally-regulated health insurance system.” And prudential concerns would indicate the need for incremental adjustments.

    But Democrats opted to start from scratch and envision a plan which would transform the existing system into their ideal vision. That was unattainable, so they instead moved as sharply in the direction of that centralized, uniform, and mandatory system as they could possibly go given the political climate.

    Thus we have moved from somewhere in the middle between the extremes, to a spot hugely in the direction of one extreme. It requires only a cursory examination to realize that we’ve both neglected prudence and moved farther away from the balance-point between subsidiarity and solidarity than we started out.

    That’s reason enough to pray for repeal.

    Upheaval In Pursuit Of The Anointed Vision

    But if Democrats, in typical progressive fashion, decided to throw caution to the winds and envision their ideal system, how I do wish they’d have envisioned something compatible with not only the narrow “social justice” concerns of the Church, but more broadly with reality in general as the Church, pillar and bulwark of truth, recognizes it.

    For just as she is not ignorant of science, and so does not ask for impossible physics and medicine merely because social justice champions are prone to wishful thinking; so too she is not ignorant of the frictions which make human social systems imperfect, and so she does not ask for impossible economics and bass-ackward systems of incentives when social justice champions put more stress on the noble motives of their “reforms” than the outcomes likely to occur.

    Thomas Sowell correctly dissects this progressive habit of mind in his classic The Vision Of The Annointed. The plans Obama and Company originally pursued showed all the usual hubris of this group; the plan enacted was less so only because it wasn’t all they originally wanted.

    If they couldn’t resist the unwise urge for grandiosity, why oh why couldn’t it have been something wisely designed around the correct priorities and the need for helpful, rather than perverse, incentives?

    The Right Kind of Incentives

    In envisioning a health care system, we should always have had in mind the system of incentives we wished to create.

    First and foremost, human dignity obligates us to incentivize whatever self-provision the bulk of responsible adults can manage: Thus the Medical Savings Account should be the chief electronic wallet from which health care is purchased. This also puts the major emphasis where subsidiarity suggests it should go, at the individual level.

    Second, we want to get the most out of the pricing system generated by the free market: Thus medical care should be purchased directly by the consumer, directly from the provider, without middlemen (governments, HMOs) serving as pre-paid arbitrageurs who both distort prices by preventing consumer decisions from being transmitted as price-signals.

    Third, we want to provide an escape valve for those who encounter surprise catastrophic health care costs for which it was impossible that they could adequately save, even over a lifetime. Thus catastrophic care insurance — not pre-pay, but “if it happens” insurance — should be a part of the plan. The threshold for “catastrophic,” however, should be sufficiently high as to disincentivize risk-taking lifestyles from promiscuous sex to drunk driving to chain-smoking to radical obesity: It is a feature, not a bug, when a health care system makes such behaviors progressively impoverishing.

    Fourth, we want the poor to have assistance in building up their Health Savings. Vouchers and government-matching inversely proportional to income should keep them saving into their accounts and thus building up a “rainy day” fund.

    Fifth, we want children to be assisted outright. Health care costs for children could be reimbursed by the government at very high percentage rates for very young children, gradually tapering down to 0% by the time the child turns eighteen. Here, incentives are a lesser matter because children are not responsible for paying their own way.

    Sixth, we want voluntary almsgiving at the individual, community, state, and national levels to be incentivized, not displaced (as is usually the case in welfare state systems). A system which reports health care needs similar to the “Modest Needs” website could serve this function.

    The Right Balance of Subsidiarity and Solidarity

    In addition to envisioning the right kinds of incentives, we should also have had a vision in mind for how a system which recognized the complimentary (not always competing) claims of subsidiarity and solidarity would look.

    It’s primary mode of provision would be based on private purchase; its secondary mode of provision would be based on voluntary charity; its tertiary mode of provision would be through government compulsion via taxation.

    Its primary decision-making and governance would be on the level of individuals as they made purchase choices in the health care market; secondary on the level of communities, tertiary on the level of states, and last of all on the federal level.

    Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

    That’s what we ought to have gone for, once we decided to do something grandiose.

    Instead, we have this dog’s breakfast — or will have, for as long as it takes to shove it back inside the dog, God willing.

  • RR,

    You’ve made no points yet you use Henry’s and Charle’s infantile attacks on me as a “reason”.

    Don’t be a slacker and do your own thinking for once instead of getting your marching orders from the Democratic Party.

  • R.C.,

    Well thought out points on balancing solidarity and subsidiarity.

    Sadly Henry K. and Charles weren’t arguing that, they were only mudslinging to smear me. Not debate the substance.

  • Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    You are the one who attacked the poster with the typical liberal comment. Because I pointed out the problem of your use of subsidiarity. In ecclesiology, it would mean the Pope shouldn’t be able do anything with any canon laws, if one followed your lead.

  • Now you’re offended for being a liberal?

    😉

  • Federal “meddling” may or may not violate subsidiarity – I won’t say that it does in every single case.

    But we also have a Constitution. Why don’t we just get rid of that, so that Obama can single-handedly legislate us into a utopia. And we can print another 50 trillion dollars without any economic consequences to pay for it. Or we can shift all of the burden onto the states, almost all of which are facing severe budget crises. Or we can beg the Chinese and Japanese to keep buying our securities. The US is the greatest debtor nation in the world, but hey, lets not let that stop us from establishing programs with a price tag only a little short of the entire GDP.

    Catholic social teaching isn’t magic, and the Papacy has never insisted on this Fantasia style of government, where the executive waves a magic wand and creates resources ex nihilo for unlimited consumption. To suggest that solidarity or subsidiarity are bankruptcy pacts, or that they allow any politician at any time to ride roughshod over the laws of a particular nation, is a falsification of Catholic social thought, as immoral as it is absurd.

  • I agree with Joe that there is a role for the Federal government, with respect to Restrained Radical, Henry K., and Charles, but like Mr. Hargrave says, not in every single case.

    Where is the line drawn?

  • I have always said, Tito, I am not a liberal. It is wrong to claim I am. It is also an ad homimen.

  • You still don’t know what an ad hominem is. It isn’t a synonym for insult. If Tito were to argue, “because (I think) you are a liberal, your argument is wrong”, THAT would be an ad hominem.

    Identifying an argument one doesn’t like with a label one doesn’t like isn’t the same as rejecting an argument simply because of a label attached to the person making it. I’ll let Tito decide which one of these he’s doing.

  • Henry K.,

    Must have escaped me when you said it in the past.

    I won’t do it again buddy.

    And I was being cute, not nasty.

    (Thanks Joe)

  • The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity?

    They were. Nobody was stopping them. That’s why Massachusetts was able to do it. Without this federal bill, a handful of other states would’ve followed suit. But too many states would not have. The federal government had to step in.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion of the issues here. I agree with jonathan, Henry, Charles, and RC. We are all saying that the federal government CAN bypass the state and impose health care reform. Tito believes that violates subsidiarity.

  • RR,

    When you say bypass, are speaking in the context of a Catholic or as a U.S. citizen.

    As a Catholic the federal government can step in, if local governments and/or non-governmental organizations are unable to fill that gap.

    And only if it is done in solidarity (since that wasn’t my argument, but I’m throwing it in there to avoid getting this thread hijacked

    From the perspective of a U.S. citizen, I’m all for representative republic, but not at the expense of the minorities, ie, such as the minority party in congress, the GOP. But that’s for another thread, not this thread.

  • Joe

    I very much know what an ad homimen is. You are right, it is not to insult. But it is to use some aspect of the person making the message (claiming they are liberal) to dismiss their argument. He didn’t respond to the argument. He just said “liberals” as if that answered it all. Classical ad homimen. But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.

  • Henry,

    It wasn’t an ad hominem.

    Though it’s quite telling that you take it as such.

  • “But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.”

    By your standards, THAT’S an ad hominem. Run along now, you’ve failed to make any impression or change anyone’s mind for the 50th time here.

  • As a Scalian, I think the bill is unconstitutional, as is the federal partial birth abortion ban. But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds. I’m speaking as a Catholic.

    Most of us here seem to believe that the federal government could impose some form of universal health care without violating subsidiarity, even though we may disagree with this particular bill.

  • RR,

    We agree in theory.

    I think most, if not all of us here, agree with your statement.

    What’s a “Scalian”?

    As in Antonin Scalia and skepticism in the 6th Amendment?

    As for…

    But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds.

    We aren’t Ba’al worshipers if that is your point.

  • The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

    You are free to think that “Obamacare” violates the principle of subsidiarity. That is a matter of debate. But this definition of subsidiarity is simply incorrect. Subsidiarity means the handling of affairs at the lowest appropriate level. Consider, for example, why putting “national defense” at the level of city government might be a problem. Something tells me that you would not be in favor of that. I point this out as someone who definitely agrees with the impulse to keep things as local as possible.

  • I used “Scalian” as an admittedly imprecise shorthand for a Meaning Originalist (as opposed to an Intent Originalist).

    I think there are too many Americans who think man should serve the Constitution, not the other way around.

  • Tito,

    “Universal” is not a synonym for “socialized” or “federally managed.” There is no contradiction between a goal of universal health coverage and a goal of subsidiarity.

    R.C.’s description is one approach to universal health care. It’s probably not the only one, but it does show that subsidiarity and solidarity work together to promote the common (which can be taken to mean “universal” among other things) good.

    I would only add that subsidiarity is not simply The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government, as you put it. Subsidiarity is the ordering of appropriate functions to appropriate aspects of society. For example, some decisions appear to affect only an individual, but are best made by a family.

  • To clarify, the health care bill may indeed violate subsidiarity, but it does not do so simply because it seeks universal availability of health care. (I don’t know the details of the bill well enough to critique it on that basis; but most federal legislation seems to violate subsidiarity in at least minor ways.)

    Nor are the bishops hypocrites for seeking universal access to health care. That’s all.

  • Most of the time, I find that those who say that the principle of subsidiarity is not violated by the recent health care bill have simply defined the object as “universal health care.” Therefore, since no state can provide universal health care for the United States, or even for all the poor in the United States, subsidiarity is not violated by federal action.

    However, aside from my guess as to how the proponents of such a massive bill excuse its existence, there are the following points from Rerum to consider:

    “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

    This indicates that reform of the costliness plus programs to remedy the state of the poor who cannot otherwise afford it are to be desired here. The “Obamacare” bill then violates subsidiarity insofar as it goes beyond these measures. And indeed, though in a different context, we find in RN the statement, “But every precaution should be taken not to violate the rights of individuals and not to impose unreasonable regulations under pretense of public benefit.”

    But, then, I think it is also worthwhile to turn to Quadragesimo Anno, which states that although “[w]hen we speak of the reform of institutions, the State comes chiefly to mind,” still:

    “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.”

    Mutual health organizations, currently heavily regulated, could do such things, and indeed have been proposed. Under this legislation, they are absorbed. Moreover, “Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them: directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands.” Necessity did not demand that the government replace the present system with something much different – it likely demanded reform of the present system and care of the most poor – which was clearly violated.

    Turning also to Mater et Magistra, we see that although “[t]he present advance in scientific knowledge and productive technology clearly puts it within the power of the public authority to a much greater degree than ever before to reduce imbalances which may exist between different branches of the economy,” still and yet, “it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man’s right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family.”

    I do not think that “Obamacare” leaves the latter to the man. I think it, in fact, does far more than is necessary, and eradicates part of the primary responsibility of the man. Part of the problem of this is that “experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order—those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.”

    And indeed, the importance and role of the state is reiterated as reinforcing groups and associations, not in replacing them: “As these mutual ties binding the men of our age one to the other grow and develop, governments will the more easily achieve a right order the more they succeed in striking a balance between the autonomous and active collaboration of individuals and groups, and the timely coordination and encouragement by the State of these private undertakings.”

    In many other places in Magister, the Pope discusses the dangers and the need of safeguards against the concentration of power in too few people. Those who see in Obamacare a great good for many people will also find support in that encyclical (as in others), but if they do not find a heavy warning and desire for temperance of state power (which does not exist in Obamacare), then they do not read carefully.

    Finally, turning to Centesimus Annus, we again find the same idea of subsidiarity as a limitation on state power:

    “The State must contribute to the achievement of these goals both directly and indirectly. Indirectly and according to the principle of subsidiarity, by creating favorable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity, which will lead to abundant opportunities for employment and sources of wealth. Directly and according to the principle of solidarity, by defending the weakest, by placing certain limits on the autonomy of the parties who determine working conditions, and by ensuring in every case the necessary minimum support for the unemployed worker.”

    The phrase “necessary minimum support for the unemployed worked” aligns very nicely with the idea of a minimum provision bill combined with a careful reform of existing institutions. It does not align with Obamacare.

    And again:

    “Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

    And in fact, “One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.”

    Obamacare may indeed appear to assist, or even actually assist, with some overarching goals of Catholic social justice. But it is well to remember that the Church is concerned not only with ends, but with means, and with motivations. Making common cause with those who would uphold this sort of legisation as supportable in a Catholic sense would be as dangerous as allying with those who would deny any state actor any role at all in regulation of health care.

  • Michael I,

    You’ve finally made a post around here that I don’t find objectionable in the slightest.

    If I had champagne on hand, I’d drink a toast.

  • 10th amendment period.

  • I think someone misunderstood me, if they interpreted my words to mean that I think this Federal bill, or even one which implemented my perfect plan purely through Federal authority, would be Constitutional.

    The Tenth Amendment clearly states the relevant principles:

    1. The Federal government has just authority only because it is a group of employees hired by (a.) the states, to exercise partially a specific subset of state authority (which the states only have because it was delegated to them by the people); and, (b.) the people, to exercise partially a specific subset of the just authority of individuals (which the people only have because it is delegated to them by God, or to say the same thing another way, because it is intrinsic to their God-given dignity as human beings);

    2. Any authority not delegated to the Federal government by its employers (the states and the people), it does not have;

    3. The Constitution is a sort of employment contract or job description for the Federal government, inasmuch as it is the sole vehicle for specifying the particular enumerated powers delegated to the Federal government by the states and/or the people.

    I’m more prone to verbosity than the Founding Fathers, so their text sums up the above quite succinctly: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    Now as a matter of fact, the Federal government has no just authority to enact this health insurance bill. I can say this with utter confidence, because the relevant authority was never delegated to them. In fact, in many (perhaps most? I haven’t read enough of their constitutions to say) states, the relevant authority does not even reside in the states, from a textual standpoint. And there’s some question whether, as a matter of Natural Law, parts of the relevant authority resides in individuals at all.

    If individuals lack the relevant authority, they cannot delegate it to their employees, the states; even if they have the authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it unless they actually did so by mutual consent in their adopted constitutions; if the states and the people happen to have the relevant authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it to the federal government unless they actually did so by mutual consent in the Constitution adopted and ratified by the several states; and the relevant authority is, in absolute fact, not listed. It is not among the enumerated powers of the Federal government.

    And this all goes without saying for anyone who has studied the text and the opinions of the Founding Fathers about the meaning of what they wrote. Someone who argues that a national health insurance bill of this type, adopted through procedures of this type, fell within the intended authority granted to Congress by the Constitution as the framers intended, is utterly ignorant of the topic. It is a ridiculous anachronism easily refuted by all commentary on the Constitution, from the Federalist papers to the personal correspondence of the Founding Fathers. It is like saying that, when the Apostle John referred to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” in his gospel, he intended to convey that he and Our Lord were gay lovers. It is jackassery of the first degree.

    BUT…

    The plain fact is that from the court-packing scheme of FDR onward, where the path of Supreme Court jurisprudence was, through outright extortion, ripped away from anything approaching respect for the text, our Constitutional jurisprudence is chock-full of first-degree jackassery.

    It is also plain fact that Congress doesn’t much give a frog’s fat fanny any more whether they have just authority under the Constitution or not to do, well, much of anything. Since the Senators became directly elected by the people, the state legislatures lost their voice in national governance and the states no longer have any obvious voice by which to prevent federal usurpation of their powers.

    And the people? They watch American Idol, or Jerry Springer, or whatever; it’s hard to keep up.

    So it is in the context of our execrable situation, which is unlikely to change soon, that I am willing to countenance Federal legislation which I hope will be helpful, even though I believe it utterly unconstitutional and would gladly see the constitutional (and subsidiarist) balance restored in the U.S. if it could be.

    I could stick to my principles and say nothing but “Hell, no” to any bill which I thought unconstitutional according to Framer’s Intent; and I would do just that were I in Congress. But as a voter, I know that this message, once uttered, is drowned almost instantaneously in the far louder debate about the merits of the bill, legality be damned.

    And so I wrote the post above, dealing with the lack of merit of the bill, and envisioning what would be the attributes of a truly meritorious bill, if one were ever to be introduced…and if it were wise to jump to a radically revamped system in one fell swoop, which it absolutely isn’t…and if the Federal government had just authority to enact it all by it’s lonesome, which I think it doesn’t and shouldn’t.

    I hope that clarifies my position.

  • To Michael Iafrate (and Joe Hargrave):

    You can count me in with Joe, Michael, about agreeing with what you said in defining subsidiarity. It was precisely correct: an apple of gold in a silver setting.

    So, champagne all around. (Since it’s not like we’re likely to have anything else to celebrate in the near future…!)

  • Bookmarking this page for Jonathan’s comment. It raises a question about when it’s acceptable to support an imperfect bill. Is overreach a nonnegotiable evil? What if ObamaCare also outlawed abortion (ignore the constitutionality for argument’s sake)?

  • R.C. nice post. All except the BUT.

    I posted, “10th amendment, period.”

    Compromise, despite how far we may have fallen is unacceptable.

    When you commit a venial sin do you have an excuse to commit a mortal sin, or an obligation to resist the downward pull and repent?

    If we are to truly live the Catholic faith, we are to be uncompromising. The 10th amendment is right and just and despite the fact that it has been trodden under foot, it it still law.

  • RC,

    It clarifies it, I suppose, but I don’t understand the point.

    We can say “hell no” — we can try and nullify this thing. Legal challenges are already being issued, invoking the interstate commerce clause.

    Here’s the issue for me, at least with regard to this discussion: the Constitution is the law of the land in the US. Now I happen to think that the Constitution, faithfully interpreted, is a subsidiarist document.

    But lets say this healthcare bill was truly subsidiarist – I don’t think it is but for the sake of argument. In that case I still don’t think we have any moral obligation to support it, as some left Catholics appear to be insisting.

    As I said before – fidelity to subsidiarity was never intended by the Papacy to be a bankruptcy pact. I am not going to argue that deficit spending is always and inherently immoral; but I do believe it can become so given the circumstances and the consequences.

    In these circumstances and with the likely economic consequences, not only do I think opposing this bill is NOT immoral or somehow out of step with Catholic teaching; I think promoting it with the full knowledge that it will cost nearly 1 trillion dollars that we don’t have, after Obama bailed out Wall Street, passed a stimulus bill that has failed to create jobs, and expanded the American empire – and with the knowledge that it will place a crushing financial burden on states that are teetering on the edge of fiscal meltdown – could very well be morally questionable.

    There is no mandate in CST to spend money you don’t have, whether you are an individual or a government. You can’t ram the concept of “solidarity” as an abstract ideal down the throat of a real society and body politic that can’t digest it.

    I do believe in solidarity. But I believe in real local solutions – distributism, worker and community ownership of businesses, common good banking, and other means of raising capital to fund the projects and programs that will embody our values as Christians and Catholics.

    This federal program is a nightmare. In my opinion, as a student of Catholic social teaching and the many Papal encyclicals on these questions, I say no Catholic is obliged to support it.

  • Deficit spending of money borrowed from one single entity that makes the money out of thin air at usurious rates is always and everywhere immoral, wrong, stupid and dangerous.

    I agree that no Catholic is obliged to support this debacle; however, we are obligated to oppose it. I am not condemning any one’s soul because some people are ignorant – ignorance may reduce murder to man slaughter, but an innocent is still dead and you did it – I know you didn’t mean to, but they are still dead and you are still guilty, only slightly less so.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    I am still paying bills, still have poor credit, and am now a janitor working full time, but forced to live with my in-laws and forgo health care for my young son and wife.

    God will judge this nation, I promise you.

  • No doubt Nate, and I think He will find immense good as well as bad. Sounds like you are a bit sour about your present situation. The remedy is in your hands as it is with all able bodied people with no mental handicap. As the father of an autistic young man who will never have the opportunity to make his way in the world unaided, assistance his mother and I happily give him, I have limited patience for people who have sound minds and bodies and then gripe about lack of opportunity. Opportunities for honest employment and advancement are endless in this society for those willing to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

  • Nate,

    I’m not exactly driving around in a Cadillac myself.

    Like I said before: if we didn’t have trillion dollar banker bailouts, failed stimulus packages, and imperial wars, it would be different.

    In fact, I think it would be cheaper for the government to simply pay the tab of anyone with a treatable life-threatening illness than it would be for this monstrosity.

    There is no doubt that we live in a broken society worthy of judgment and possibly condemnation. The federal takeover of healthcare is not going to change that – that, I can promise you.

  • This is the boldest claim to this end on the conundrum with our Catholic principle of Subsidiarity and the USCCB supporting the bill save for the absence of the abortion language.

    If this bill had passed with the Stupak Language, it still would have done a lot of damage to the dignity and sanctity of life.

    People wrongly say that Rerum Novarum does not address Health Care, but it does!

    An excerpt-parenthesis are mine:

    “To cure this evil (of injustice), the Socialists, exciting the envy of the poor toward the rich, contend that it is necessary to do away with private possession of goods (my paycheck and yours) and in its place to make the goods of individuals (through redistribution of monies) common to all, and that the men who preside over a municipality or who direct the entire State should act as administrators of these goods. They hold that, by such a transfer of private goods from private individuals to the community, they can cure the present evil through dividing wealth and benefits equally among the citizens. But their program is so unsuited for terminating the conflict that it actually injures the workers themselves. Moreover, it is highly unjust, because it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion.”

  • RN doesn’t condemn taxation. Some people have to think through their condemnations more thoroughly.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t such a person be eligible for Medicaid already?

  • RN absolutely DOES condemn what Leo called excessive taxation. Summarizing his list of the positive benefits of worker ownership of productive property, Leo concludes:

    “These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

    Now what constitutes “excessive” or “more than [what] is fair” might be open for debate, but Phillipus’ quote is not limited to taxation.

    It has to do with the FUNCTION of government as well.

    “it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion”

    Sounds like an accurate description of Obamacare to me.

  • Not entirely OT, from Chicago Breaking News:

    While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

    Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

    The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

    But of course, nothing like this could ever happen under the Obama healthcare plan. These liberal pols, who care so much about the poor, would never use their power and influence to jump ahead on government waiting lists for transplants or expensive treatment. Only heartless conservatives would do such things…

  • Well, I don’t condemn taxation; government has legitimate functions that must be funded. How the tax burden should be shared is mostly a question of prudence, though certainly it would be immoral to tax families at the expense of true necessities. I disagree with the proposition that CST somehow endorses low taxes and small government any more than it endorses high taxes and large government. I prefer the former for all manner of prudential reasons, including some grounded in my own life experiences; but many smart good Catholics prefer the latter. It is very difficult to secure confident truths about public policy options because it is so hard to sort out why people do what they do.

    The UCCB is wrong to weigh in in support of this health care bill because it is beyond its charism, which is to speak out against intrinsically immoral things, such as government funding of abortion. They would be wrong to oppose it as well.

    Reminds me of the time the managing partner of my law firm wrote an op-ed piece in favor of gay marriage. He is free to do this of course, but many of us took great umbrage at his being introduced as our managing partner. That office carries with it no special wisdom on the issue, and he should have been more careful to avoid any suggestion that he was speaking on behalf of our firm or that his opinion somehow carries greater weight because of the office we gave him.

  • Donna, isn’t that news report just filthy Chicago political corruption all over? News flash for everyone who doesn’t live in Illinois: this is exactly the political atmosphere in which Obama learned the trade of a politician. Chicago politics have been a sewer forever, as accurately portrayed in this clip from the Untouchables.

    Ness was brought in because Chicago law enforcement was just as corrupt as portrayed in the film.

  • Mike,

    I think the extent to which our Constitution does not conflict with CST is the extent to which we ought to follow it.

    I’m not bringing this up because I think you claimed it, but throwing it out there as relevant to the topic:

    I’ve never seen a Papal document insisting that Americans scrap their Constitution and replace it with the Compendium of the social teaching, or a European-style welfare state. In fact, JP II condemned welfare bureaucracies in Centesimus Annus.

    “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (48)

    I think this is precisely why so many people opposed Obamacare, and why Catholics are well within the boundaries of CST if they oppose it.

  • Joe, I agree completely on all counts. Surprisingly (perhaps) I do not at all take issue with those Catholics who support ObamaCare (assuming the abortion issue has been satisfactorily addressed — its own issue of course). I give Catholics a wide berth. That said, I do believe it is arrogant for the bishops to weigh in (as bishops) on something they really don’t know any more than you, me or any other AC commentator.

  • Yeah, I agree Mike… its not “unCatholic” necessarily to support it, though I would remind everyone of those warnings about the welfare state from JP II.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the Catholics who DO support it are insisting that you’re basically an anti-Christ who hates poor people if you don’t support it.

    On a final note, I don’t mind the bishops “weighing in”, in theory: in practice, they only listen to left-leaning researchers. I never hear them talk about fiscal responsibility. Why is that out of the realm of moral teaching? Why is it OK to propose and enact grandiose schemes that could bankrupt a society?

    On a related note:

    People who think this is “consequentialism” are – to put it mildly – incredibly naive (or dishonestly abusing rhetoric, as some people who drop in here from time to time enjoy doing). It is perfectly legitimate and I would argue morally obligatory to consider the consequences of ANY action or policy.

    “Consequentialism” is only when one proposes doing evil to achieve a good end – not taking into account the great evils that could occur from the pursuit of good intentions.

  • Again, Joe, agreed. I pay no mind to those who claim that a Catholic must support ObamaCare for the simple reason that the assertion is stupid and I’m far too busy to deal with such nonsense. I also agree that it is possible for bishops to exercise a prudential opinion as bishops but only if the prudential component is not subject to reasonable debate (one can at least argue that the Iraq War satisfied this standard — though such an argument is not air tight). ObamaCare does not come close. Hence, my accusation of arrogance.

  • Joe:

    Well, of course I want the bill nullified, in the court system or by nearly any other means short of violence.

    You say you don’t understand the point of my second post. I think, from your reaction and “American Knight’s” reaction, that I used the wrong word when I said I would “countenance” a bill despite being opposed to it because it was unconstitutional. A better phrasing would have been to say that, while I would still vote against it and work for its defeat, I was willing to debate its merits, measured against the standards of Catholic teaching, apart from the question of constitutionality.

    Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles. (And, as I indicated, I fear the mere fact of something being unconstitutional often doesn’t prevent it being enacted these days.)

    With Obamacare, obviously the abortion thing made it not a good fit with Catholic principles. But I thought there were other things, as well, which made it not a good fit. It seemed to me that when a correct balance of subsidiarity and solidarity was taken into account, the result would be nothing like this bill.

    So I laid out what I thought were the relevant guidelines for a bill which would follow Catholic principles and showed how Obamacare didn’t fit. In the process of doing so, I gave a hypothetical example of an approach which would match Catholic principles far more closely.

    That was all in my first post.

    Sometime thereafter, RestrainedRadical came in and, referring to my hypothetical example, said that I thought federal programs like this were constitutional.

    Since that wasn’t what I meant at all, I wrote my second post to make it clear that I didn’t. The sole purpose of my hypothetical example was to show by comparison how much more Catholic (and generally wise) a bill could be, compared to the Obamacare bill. I would not want even my hypothetical example to be implemented by the kind of federal overreach used for the Obamacare bill.

    I hope that helps make sense of what I was saying.

    On another, but related, topic: Joe, can you help me out on something?

    In discussing the government-provided health insurance issue in another forum, I recently had occasion to quote St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3, the “if a man refuses to work, he ought not eat” bit.

    I took St. Paul to mean, reasonably enough I think, that Christians are under no moral obligation to subsidize a moocher who is entirely able to pay his own way but chooses to remain dependent on others despite having no disability or hardship to prevent him from gainful employment. I did not apply the verse to folk who’re in need through no fault of their own.

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    I don’t mean to talk behind the fellow’s back; and indeed if he sees this note and chooses to reply, that’s fine.

    But I thought that you, Joe, could perhaps give me insight into this point-of-view. To me it seemed pretty wacky but I’m trying not to dismiss the possibility that there’s some logic to it. Any ideas?

  • RC,

    “Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles.”

    Same here. I should have read your first post more carefully.

    Now, as for your questions:

    “Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher?”

    Unfortunately, yes.

    This passage is easy, however to misinterpret, if it is meant to apply to public policy. The CCC, 2427, states:

    “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another.Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.”

    So there is your passage, right there in the Catechism. Work is a duty. However, I would add the following considerations:

    Jesus does say that we are to give freely to all who ask (Matthew 5:42). In my view, this means the following: if a person on the street asks for money, we don’t make a federal case out of it, we don’t attempt to do an impromptu background check and grill them with a bunch of questions, and we don’t assume that they’ll spend the money on booze or drugs if they say they’re using it for food or gas.

    I’ve parted with the money in my wallet with a suspicion that the money might not be used well, but without knowing for certain, I erred on the side of charity. I believe this is what we are called to do as Christians.

    However, if we are talking about a situation in which a known liar and moocher asks for money or something else, then I believe we are fully within our rights to deny them, or, if we can, place conditions on our assistance. We will help them, in other words, on the condition that they make a serious effort to improve their position, to the best of their ability.

    In none of these scenarios do we find prescription for public policy. The Gospels are very thin on political theory, probably for a good reason: virtue is only meaningful if it is the result of a free choice. Jesus says “render unto Caesar”, and Paul says to obey the lawful authorities. The Apostles say to obey them only insofar as they do not conflict with God’s laws.

    Of course, Caesar Obama is not authorized by the Constitution to force us to buy health insurance, or to plunder the treasury to finance universal health care, so in resisting Obamacare we aren’t violating any Christian teaching that I know of.

    “Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?”

    Absolutely not. The encyclicals do not contradict the Catechism. When they speak of economic issues, the presuppose a desire to work for a living on the part of the poor, as well as various problems that prevent full employment.

    The Church teaches that societies are obligated to find ways to provide employment for all. But the obligation to actually do the work rests upon us as individuals.

    John Paul II condemned the “Social Assistance State”, which at its absolute worst subsidizes idleness and laziness. So I would say Catholics have no grounds for insisting that the state do any such thing.

  • Donald and Joe – I don’t have much of a position on this health care debate. In the face of reality, it all seems like smoke.

  • This so-called health care reform bill and the Bishop’s position on the bill praising the increase access for the poor has caused me to research the Church’s positon on Social Justice. I wasn’t aware what a leftest organization that the US Catholic Bishops are.

    Social Justice is in many ways is a less offensive word for Socialism / Marxism.

    Subsidiarity is lost in current Catholic teachings.

    It is not charity when one is forced by the threat of imprisonment to pay for anothers’s health care through taxes.

    I use to feel good about charity to the Church. I’m less inclined to support the Bishop’s from this point forward.

  • Dan,

    That makes two of us.

    I’m less inclined to support the bishops in anything they push in “our” name.

  • We are obligated to be obedient to our bishops – they are the successors of the Apostles. Of course, that obligation is limited to their authority as Apostles – primarily in matters of faith and morals.

    The Bishops financial charity is not an obligation. I strongly suggest that we do it; however, I have been struggling with this all through Lent. Not because of the bishop – I actually have an excellent, faithful son of the Church, pro-life, loving shepherd as my bishop. I assisted at a Mass he celebrated yesterday and had a chance to speak to his excellency during dinner after. He is a wonderful and loving man and a good bishop. He also told me his schedule is already booked for two years. It is not easy being a bishop, especially these days when administration and litigation takes up so much of his time.

    The Enemy is using our twisted culture to force our bishops to be so busy with ancillary things that they are fatigued when it comes to their apostolic mission. We must pray for them.

    The problem with the bishops’ financial charity is that it is administered by bureaucrats and they are overwhelmingly leftists and barely qualify as Catholic, if at all.

    I fear that my money ends up being used to support the enemies of the Church. I am strongly considering directing those funds to our seminary in the name of my pastor and my bishop, rather than to the diocese. This is a difficult choice. Prayer is helping, but I am such a sinner that I haven’t been inspired one way or the other yet. It is so much easier to make decisions as a secularist – they all lead to hell so it doesn’t really matter.

    I am also considering what to do about being a Knight of Columbus, since I just found out that Bart Stupak is too!

    Pray much my friends our government is quickly working to become the enemy of the Church. We must be prepared, like St. Thomas More, I am my country’s servant, but God’s first.

    Pray also for the poor Catholics who chose to seek (not achieve) good ends by the means of the enemy. Socialism, big government, collectivism are never compatible with our beliefs. We may have to live under tyranny, but we cannot cooperate with it. I know I will be chided for equating tyranny with this so-called health care reform bill – but the facts are the facts – this bill is merely one step toward total government (perhaps global) and marginalization of the Church and then out right persecution. It has happened before, it can happen again. Of course, Judgment could come any time before it happens too.

    Engage all the mental gymnastics you want – this law is not only illicit because it does not subordinate itself to the law of the land – the Constitution, but it also opposes our beliefs while couching itself in the tenets of our faith. The devil is smarter than we are. Don’t be fooled by him – we are children of God and heirs of His Kingdom.

  • Dan, then why don’t you take Glenn Beck’s advice and join another church since you’re obviously taking your cues from him?

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    R.C. – In our conversation I said nothing about having an obligation “to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher.” Those were not the terms of the discussion at all. In fact that way of framing it is so incredibly vague that it’s unhelpful. We were talking specifically about health care. When it comes to health care, the church insists that health care is a human right. Yes, “moochers,” even known “moochers,” deserve health care. Whether or not you should flip a quarter to a person you “know” to be a “moocher” is probably up for debate. Sorry, but health care is not. People that you, based on republican assumptions, deem to be the “undeserving poor” still possess basic human rights whether you like it or not.

  • Michael is correct – the right to life includes the right to adequate care of their health. This is true regardless of what human being we are talking about. Jesus demonstrated that when he healed the ear of the sinner who came to arrest him.

  • Don’t forget about the 10th commandment, Thou Shalt Not Steal.

    By taking money away from people against their will is not Catholic social teaching.

  • ‘But whom do I treat unjustly,’ you say, ‘by keeping what is my own?’ Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From what did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.

  • Henry, individuals and households do manage to produce salable goods and services. We are not all just drawing from some endowment left to us.

  • Oh, and when you say you have a ‘need’, you have an implicit purpose in mind.

  • Tito, my friend,

    I believe “thou shalt not steal” is the 7th commandment… 8th if you read a heretic Bible 🙂

    Nate, my other friend,

    The right to health care does not = the right to federally subsidized health care. I agree that the government has a duty to take some action to make health care accessible – it could do so in any number of ways short of this monstrous and unconstitutional power grab.

    I maintain that Catholics are well within the bounds of Church teaching in rejecting Obamacare, and reitirate John Paul II’s and the Compendium’s condemnation of the expansion of bloated welfare bureaucracies, Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of excessive and unfair taxation, the principle of subsidiarity, AND the fact that CST does NOT require us to dismantle the rule of law in this country – which is the Constitution – in pursuit of utopian ideals we cannot afford.

  • Joe,

    You are correct.

    I had two commandments in mind, but only one came out.

    The 10th is Though Shalt Not Covet.

    Darn N.A.B. Bible. I need to stop reading USCCB propaganda.

    😉

  • Who are the greedy. Those who are not satisfied with what suffices for their own needs. Who are the robbers? Those who take for themselves what rightfully belong to everyone. And you, are you not greedy? Are you not a robber? The things you received in trust as stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? IS not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward man as you might have aided, and did not

  • The redistribution of wealth can never be condoned by breaking 1/5th of the Commandments.

  • Therefore let us use our goods sparingly, as belong to others, so that they may become our own. How shall we use them sparingly, as belonging to others? When we do not spend them beyond our needs, and do not spend them for our needs only, but give equal shares into the hands of the poor. If you are affluent, but spend more than you need, you will give an account of the funds which were entrusted to you.

  • Henry, get to the big “reveal” already.

  • Henry is quoting St. Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church. I suppose he’s putting chunks up slowly hoping that someone will protest against something so that he can then pounce with an “Aha!”

  • John:

    Yeah, I knew he was quoting someone, and engaged in some kind of point-scoring exercise. I had just reached my “Monty Python chorus” moment: “GET ON WITH IT!”

  • Tito is right again.

    St. Basil is absolutely right to condemn selfish people as robbers and thieves. We should give freely and generously – freely being the operative word.

    What exactly does St. Basil have to say about the role of the state? Oh wait… nothing. At least that I know of. If he did say something, I would be interested in seeing it.

    In any case, we have the political philosophy of the Catholic Church to guide us. And what it says is clear.

  • Listen and groan, all of you who overlook your suffering brethren, or rather, Christ’s brethren, and do not give the poor a share of your abundant food, shelter, clothing and care as appropriate, nor offer your surplus to meet their need.

  • ::wonders if sanctimonious lecturing ever changed anyone’s mind on anything, ever::

  • I dunno, Joe. Maybe you could go post “Liber Gomorrhianus” by St. Peter Damien in its entirety in the gay marriage thread over at Vox Nova and see how long it stays.

  • Health care is certainly a right when the means to provide it are available to a degree – there are circumstances that render it untenable some are natural, we don’t know how to cure cancer, a cure for HIV-AIDS is also elusive. Others are our responsibility. Saddling physicians with so much regulation, litigation and insurance costs not to mention the ridiculous cost of their education is dwindling the numbers of physicians we have. Additionally you cannot secure a right for everyone by destroying the means and the capacity to provide that same to anyone.

    Does Jesus want us to take care of the sick? Of course, to the best of our capacity; however, His primary task is for us to pray for the health of their souls and not simply their bodies. The healing miracles Jesus performed where visible signs of his healing message – primarily healing our souls. Furthermore, most of the sick need comfort more than they need medical treatment. Some of us have chronic illnesses, it sucks, but that is just another cross to bear – frankly, I’d rather bear the cross of diabetes than vanity by seeking to be the one who forces others to ‘charitable’. Judas always comes to mind – he always championed the plight of the poor, while he was pilfering the purse.

    I won’t judge anyone’s interior intentions, not my place, but all y’all who are constantly whining about the poor are usually liars and self-seeking vain, prideful ones at that. Charity must be love, it cannot be force, government cannot love. Government does have a responsibility to ensure that the natural free market, the charitable intent of her citizens and the settlement of disputes are not hampered so as to provide access to medical care, when it is possible. Medical care, for acute physical ailments – not health care per se.

    Health care is broader than medical care it includes food, shelter, exercise, education, etc. government cannot provide that, the only ones that come close to even promising that are socialist at best and totalitarian ultimately. As Catholics, we cannot support that kind of a state.

    Furthermore, what kind of contortion do you have to do in order to categorize killing babies and elderly, giving sexual stimulants to perverts, sex changes to poor twisted souls, etc. as health care and then consider that a right according to CST? Y’all who propose and support this twisted logic should get on your knees and thank God for His Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance.

    Again, I will make the bold statement that Catholics not only cannot support this ‘law’, we must oppose it. It is anti-life, anti-Christian and anti-American. We are commanded to be pro-life, pro-Christ and patriotic.

  • In a free society many people do not understand the differnece between a human right a a human need.

    Health care and food are essential to life and are human needs. But needs do not give one a right to property of others. If I’m hungry I do not have the right to steal from you.

    Charity is when you freely give to someone in need. Non-voluntary redistribution of wealth is not charity, but theivery.

    I’ve encounter the moocher that Micheal talked about and have given him money for food. The moocher turned around and told me he was buying beer with the money I gave.

    I’ve not stopped giving to street people, but now walk the person to the nearest store and buy a sandwich. Sometimes the person looses interst and this weeds out people looking for beer.

    I’m afraid this health care reform bill with it’s affordablity credits will discourgage people from doing what they can do for themselves. With a big goverment program there is no opportunity to weed out the moochers and give to the people with true needs. Moochers will multiply without close managment of resources. If the resources are not mananged correctly there will not be enough for those with true needs. This health care bill will certainly provide more beer for the moochers.

    In a society that is not free, there are no human rights, and plenty of unmet human needs. If we continue down the road to socialism, our rights like freedom of speech and religion will be in jeopordy.

  • Dan,

    Freedom of religion will not be curtailed in the USA. All will be free to practice all manner of religion, well, except those pesky Catholics with all that doctrine and dogma – we can’t have that.

    I refrain from giving money to beggars because I will not enable them in doing harm to themselves, but I will always buy them food and drink (not alcohol) or even a blanket or a jacket. I know they can turn around and sell it for drugs, but I can only exercise the prudence that is possible with the charity that is required.

    Social welfare programs invite a self-perpetuating bureaucracy and like any other system it needs clients. Helping poor people improve their situation will render them no longer poor and so you’ve lost a client. It is far better to waste wealth to increase the quantity of poor. Notice how many more poor people (if you can truly call the poor in America poor compared to the poor elsewhere) since the Great Society.

    Is it really justice to incentivize and perpetuate the less fortunate in a state of dependency while increasing the numbers of those who are dependent?

    I don’t think that is quite what Christ or Holy Mother Church means.

    I think He taught something about not giving a man a fish, but teaching him how to fish.

    Me thinks leftists of all stripes confuse true Charity (Love) with mere sentimentalism.

Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

Sunday, March 21, AD 2010
    US Catholic Bishops: Executive Order Deal A Non-Starter:

    We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order. We know Members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill. We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:

    “One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

    Richard Doerflinger
    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • In deal with Stupak, White House announces executive order on abortion (Washington Post):

    Resolving an impasse with anti-abortion Democrats over the health-care reform legislation, President Obama announced Sunday that he will be issuing an executive order after the bill is passed “that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” according to a statement from the White House.

    “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said at a news conference announcing the deal.

  • “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat” – Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review).

Further analysis of the text of the order:

Continue reading...

56 Responses to Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

  • Lopez is correct.

  • Stupak is either an idiot which I doubt or completely mendacious which I suspect is closer to the case. In any event, he has destroyed his credibility as a pro-lifer.

  • It’s all so tragic I can only laugh.

    Something big in this country is on the horizon, and its not going to be good for anyone with a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to their name. There is a horrendous reality that this country will be drastically and negatively different by 2020.

  • What a disappointment he turned out to be. I really admired his courage and conviction.

    That he would trade away his convictions for this handful of magic beans is really just depressing.

    Time to get started on nullification.

  • The Susan B. Anthony List on this fake deal:

    “An executive order on abortion funding would do nothing to fix the problems presented by the current health care reform legislation that the House is considering today. The very idea is a slap in the face to the pro-life movement and should be offensive to all pro-life Members of Congress. An executive order can be rescinded at any time at the President’s whim. The courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders.

    “If this was a sincere attempt to meet pro-life concerns then you would hear the cry of pro-choice Members and groups. Rather Rep. Diana Degette, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus told The Huffington Post on Saturday that ‘If there was an executive order saying they weren’t going to use federal funds in the bill to pay for abortions that would be fine with me, because we’ve stipulated to that even though we don’t like it, That’s the compromise we came to way back in July.’

    “In the end, no pro-life Member of Congress could, in good conscience, play politics with the lives of hundreds of unborn children. If they do, there will be a quick downhill slide to defeat on Election Day.”

  • Linda Goldthorpe is Stupak’s likely opponent in the Fall. Assuming she wins the primary I’ll be sending her a hundred bucks.

    http://www.lindaforcongress.com/issues/right-to-life

  • I agree with Donald, the concept/idea of a pro-life Democrat is gone. Finished.

    Stupak got his bag of silver.

  • Tito,
    Just figuring that out now, huh?

  • Stupak said the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7. If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.

  • Daledog,

    Someone as dense as I am figure things out eventually.

    I am still much a like a child, I believe a man’s word at face value.

    I’d make a terrible politician.

  • RR,

    For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

    –Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:26

  • “If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.”

    Nothing is rarely a good deal for the recipient restrainedradical and the is what Stupak got. An Executive Order cannot contradict a law passed by Congress. If Stupak believes that he got anything from this charade other than the lasting enmity of the vast majority of all pro-lifers, than he is an utter fool, which I doubt.

  • To be fair — elected officials are hardly ever as strident, passionate, and committed to any issue as are those fighting in the trenches. That said, there is very few members of Congress who are as pro-life as non-elected pro-life Americans. Given the fact that someone fails to live up to their own principles and standards, that is a moral failing, but that hardly negates the validity of their political philosophy.

    In fact, for the number of pro-life Democrats in this country and the two I’ve talked to in the last hour troubled by the latest news hardly means in my view that being a pro-life Democrat is now an oxymoron. If it is, then I am an oxymoron and I am a counter-cultural warrior — to hell with the status quo.

  • K-Lo says:
    “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat”

    There seems to be a never-ending shortage of dopey Catholics who will fall for the next pro-life democrat. Republicans are icky and mean, you see.

  • Seriously, there are still pro-life Democrats voting against the legislation and are not convinced of the current strategy that Stupak and a few other Democrats have co-signed themselves onto.

    I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

  • Christopher, let us look at the discussion on executive decisions a bit:

    Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year.

    So, let’s see, Hyde was seen as good enough in a previous time, when the question of “Hyde could be over-ruled and rejected in the future” remained. In other words, we see here an argument can be built upon acceptance of Hyde itself — it has been used to justify all kinds of things under Bush’s rule, for example. Hyde was protecting everything, so Bush’s budgets didn’t get such a serious questioning — even when he gave an increase of funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. So, it seems that Hyde was good enough for many of the voices now speaking out against it’s application now. Seems clear that something is wrong here.

    Now, let us look further. We will begin to see it is an issue of advice given to the bishops. There is no charism given to bishops in selecting the best advisers nor any given to the advisers as to what is best (look to the child abuse scandal for proof of this). The fact that we are being told they reject such a move is from advisers indicates the kind of authority by which this decision is made: it is one which is open to debate and question and disagreement. Hence we read:

    The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence.

    So it is not a top-down proof that executive decisions are not appropriate. Indeed, without giving full details about who all these advisers are and what they all have said and why they said what they said, we are going on a very low level of teaching authority based upon an interpretation of matters outside of competence of bishops.

    —-

    “When the hierarchy is faced by a conflict of opinions in the church, it does not always succeed in achieving a perfectly adequate response. Broadly speaking, two kinds of mistake are possible – excessive permissiveness and excessive rigidity. It is hard to know which of the two errors has done more harm.”

    “We must recognize, therefore, that there can be such a thing in the church as mutable or reformable teaching. The element of mutability comes from the fact that such teaching seeks to mediate between the abiding truth of the gospel and the socio-cultural situation at a given time and place.”

    “Did Vatican II teach the legitimacy of dissent from non-infallible teaching? It did so implicitly by its action, we may say, but not explicitly by its words. The theological commission responsible for paragraph 25 of the Constitution of the Church refused to make any statement, one way or the other, about dissent.”

    “A step beyond the council was taken by the German bishops in a pastoral letter of September 22, 1967, which has been quoted on several occasions by Karl Rahner. This letter recognized that in its effort to apply the gospel to the changing situations of life, the church is obliged to give instructions that have a certain provisionality about them. These instructions, though binding to a certain degree, are subject to error. According to the bishops, dissent may be legitimate provided that three conditions are observed. (1) One must have striven seriously to attach positive value to the teaching in question and to appropriate it personally. (2) One must seriously ponder whether one has the theological expertise to disagree responsibly with ecclesiastical authority. (3) One must examine one’s conscience for possible conceit, presumptuousness, or selfishness. Similar principles for conscientious dissent had already been laid down by John Henry Newman in the splendid chapter on Conscience in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1874).”

    “There is always a temptation for church authorities to try to use their power to stamp out dissent. The effort is rarely successful, because dissent simply seeks another forum, where it may become even more virulent. To the extent that the suppression is successful, it may also do harm. It inhibits good theology from performing its critical task, and it is detrimental to the atmosphere of freedom in the church. The acceptance of true doctrine should not be a matter of blind conformity, as though truth could be imposed by decree. The church, as a society that respects the freedom of the human conscience, must avoid procedures that savor of intellectual tyranny.

    Where dissent is kept within the bounds I have indicated, it is not fatal to the church as a community of faith and witness. If it does occur, it will be limited, reluctant, and respectful.”

    Avery Dulles http://www.vatican2voice.org/8conscience/dulles.htm

  • K-Lo talking about being pro-life: hilarious.

  • Karlson taking about being pro-life: barf worthy.

  • If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.

  • “If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.”

    Appearing to be an utter fool restrainedradical saves no any face. By definition any one trusting in this exectutive order from the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history is an utter fool.

  • Seems to me that if the bill had enough votes w/out the Stupak 7, then no executive order would have been proffered.

  • I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

    They can catch the heat for what they did not do to repair the financial system while they were needlessly chuffering about medical insurance and what they did do to make our public finances resemble those of Greece.

  • I wonder if the U.S. bishops should be held partially responsible for the passage of this bill? They did lobby VERY hard to get it to this point, not knowing if they would get the wording they wanted.

  • Tito,
    They ought to be held responsible. These fools have been playing footsie with liberal politics for much too long. One day is too long as far as I am concerned. It seems to me that their plate is full with their own problems.

  • No Tito, the bishops lobbied for something to address the medical needs of those who can ill afford proper care. That is a legitimate concern and there are many ways to work toward it. The problem is that what the current congress and president offers as a solution. A solution that many believe will cause more harm than good, plus has all the unpleasantness of what that party stands for like considering the killing of the unborn to be health care. It’s not really within the competence of the bishops to speak to whether any given policy is unworkable or will bust the nation economically, but they’re well within their competence to discuss the morality of certain policies – to define what they are lobbying for when they say appropriate health care for all (they’re including the unborn, the elderly, and the infirm).

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

  • Oh stop hiding behind the poor.

    This monstrous bill will ensure that many thousands of poor children would would have otherwise been born because their mother’s can’t afford abortions will now be sliced and diced in the womb. It’s poor children that suffer the most from government funded abortion.

  • Restrained,
    How silly. You care about the poor, huh? Give more. Work extra hours so that you can give more. Encourage others to give more. No need to lobby Caesar. Gifts from Caesar always have strings attached. Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

  • I think the bishops should be held somewhat responsible.

    Let’s see if they work equally as hard to get this “law” revoked.

    I doubt that resolve will be as diligent.

  • Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period. You maybe can be a Republican. It’s bets however to be a member of the Constitution Part because their platform is closest to the teaching of Holy Mother Church though they won’t be USCCB approved because they don’t believe in all this social justice, common good nonsense and free health care for illegal immigrants. Personal responsibility goes with person liberty and that’s a lesson lost on most Catholics for the past 50 years. Pelosi, Biden, Leahy and all the rest of the Catholic apostates will continue to receive Holy Communion and nothing the USCCB says or does means a damn.

    Every single liberal politician has got to be publicly excommunicated and the false gospel of social justice and peace at any price has got to be jettisoned. Until that happens, the Church in America is a worthless collection of dirty old gay men at 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 playing at religion.

  • You guys simply don’t like the truth. Moderate away. God will have to sweep the liberals aside in His wrath. That’s the only way you’ll learn. The only way.

  • The Executive Order is already null and void:

    1. As an executive order, it is secondary in power to any law of the land as interpreted by the courts — unless the legislative and judicial branches have just ceded its power to the executive, and we are in a dictatorship.

    2. As an executive order, it is binding only on the activity of the executive branch, not on the private providers who would provide abortions.

    3. Roe v. Wade obliges any legislation offering medical benefits to cover abortion unless some section in that legislation, such as the Hyde amendment, specifically excludes abortion. This legislation lacks the Hyde exclusion; therefore, this legislation falls under the Roe requirement. The Executive Order, even if it were not null and void, is written not to match the Hyde Amendment language, but rather to match the Senate legislation language which, as we all know, falls short of Hyde.

    As such, the order offers no prevention of federally funded abortion even if it bore any authority.

    4. And of course, Obama will deep-six the executive order whenever he might find it convenient. If somehow it is not a nullity, he will do so: He has never claimed to be pro-life. And if it is not a nullity, he will not need to vacate it, for it will have accomplished its intended goal without costing him the support of NARAL.

    Of course, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, none of this would be a problem.

    But we all know, don’t we, that it’s foolish for pro-lifers to harp so much on the need to overturn that decision.

    It’s counterproductive. It uses up resources that could be more profitably spent courting centrist Democrats and exploring our common ground.

    We know that, this late in the day, it is no longer time for concern about Supreme Court justices and the presidents who select them; it is time to focus on new tactics involving engagement with pro-life Democrats.

    That’s the lesson we learned, back during the 2008 election cycle.

    Everyone remember that?

    Let’s also keep in mind another lesson we learned that year: “Signing statements” are a tyrannical overreach of executive power in which George W. Bush altered the meaning of Congressional legislation at signing, a risky proposition and bad precedent which clearly indicated the need to switch parties in the White House for awhile, lest the occupant of the People’s House start to think his authority trumped that of the legislative branch.

    Must remember that. That was one of those timeless truths for the ages.

    I’ll lay aside my trowel, now: Whatever Babylonian tower we’re building in this country is already in danger of collapse from the sheer weight of the irony.

  • Good post R.C.

    We do need to overturn Roe and we do need to reject signing statements. If I didn’t understand it before, I sure as heck understand it now.

    I think the next step is nullification at the state level.

  • “Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period.”

    I beg to differ.

  • We need you in Congress, Eric. =)

  • Paul,

    You will only be moderated if your comment violates our rules for comments.

  • Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

    Yes.

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

    Yeah, the poor will do real well after a sovereign default.

  • He never planned on fighting. Rep. Bart Stupak speaking in Cheboygan, MI

  • The bishops must take a large amount of blame for this monstrous piece of legislation for several reasons:

    1. Failure to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians and force them to choose between their pro-abortion positions and their desire to receive the sacraments. (This has been going on for four decades)

    2. The Bishops’ push for “universal health care.”

    The big question is: why did the bishops stay on board with this legislation as long as they did?

    The only answer that makes sense is that the bishops favor socialism… big government programs as solutions to their “social justice” aims.

    If this means invasive government intrusion into our lives, so be it. If it means massive tax increases, so be it. If it means wealth redistribution, so be it.

    When it was obvious to many of us that the bill was unacceptable on so many fronts, one could only wonder why the bishops continued to push for it so hard, as long as they got their three concessions (abortion, conscience, immigrants).

    I am saddened, disgusted, and disheartened by the bishops’ push for socialized medicine. How can I have respect for them? Happily, my faith is firmly in Jesus Christ, no matter what the American church’s hierarchy says or does.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Indeed. Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.” If a majority of people in this country think in those terms, democracy is doomed. But I don’t think they do (thank God) and I don’t believe we are doomed yet. There will be a reckoning in November. Those of us who attended tea parties, called our Congressmen, and donated to those who opposed this monstrosity of a bill are not going away and we will not forget the open contempt the Democratic Party has shown toward us. I have sometimes voted Democrat in local elections – never again.

  • Obama has now done something I didn’t think would ever be possible: make me more ashamed to be an Illinois resident than Governor Hairdo ever did. (Speaking of The Hair, did Trump fire him from “Celebrity Apprentice” yet?) If it hadn’t been for our crooked Chicago machine and pathetic, desperate joke of a GOP organization, he might never have been elected Senator and none of this would have happened.

  • Well, Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves. In a bizarre way that puts him in a better place than the G.O.P. who are still somehow convinced that their thefts are not as terrible because they simply love America more, or some nonsense.

    For anyone who is appalled at what is happening right now: Don’t worry. Economics will win. We should just pray that people aren’t hurt when that terrible day comes.

  • Donald: Stupak’s likely GOP opponent in the November is a conservative pro-life physician named Dan Benishek. His Facebook page is growing by the minute.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=share&gid=287806148754

    His site has an address. I never heard of the man until about 20 minutes ago. I’m writing him a check tonight.

    As for Stupak, well, he got his 30 pieces of silver:

    “U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.”

    Betraying your conscience for Wales is one thing, but for three airports in the UP? Now there’s a cheap date.

  • Democrats for Death is more apropos.

    It’s “Game On” for me and the bishops.

    The USCCB is in for some heavy fire coming my way.

    The deaths of many innocent unborn children will be on their hands.

  • Tito, why would you want to pit yourself against the vicars of Christ? It doesn’t seem like a terribly wise idea. Besides, they did not vote for this legislation, nor did they support it. They were one of the few voices saying it was unacceptable, and reminding people that while trying to ensure everyone gets medical care whether they can afford it or not is a a good, that it can’t come at the expense of the most vulnerable.

    The behavior of Catholics who put the Democratic agenda above concerns for life is upsetting, but that wasn’t the bishops – the bishops took a pounding from them!

  • RL,

    I agree with what you are saying.

    Though too many times is seems that the USCCB is just another wing of the Democratic Party rather than vicars of Christ.

    With Democratic Pro-Abort operatives infesting the USCCB along with atheists that endorse anti-Catholic films, and our donations going to abortion facilities and gay marriage advocates (do I need to continue?, there’s more…)

  • I’m not blind to some of the dysfunction within the organization. But let’s be clear, those issues are usually caused by the bureaucrats within. Yeah, some aspects of the USCCB need to be looked at and overhauled, but the bishops themselves got involved in this one – and in real time – and offered solid and informed guidance, holding principles of justice and moderation above their own desires to see some sort of reform. We can and should be very proud of the prophetic witness they gave throughout this process. This ain’t the 1975 NCCB anymore!

  • RL & CB,

    Unlike abortion, we can disagree with our bishops on universal health care.

    They are violating the principle of subsidiarity.

    If they would be this adamant about ending abortion in America, I could agree with their aggressive nature towards universal health coverage, but they don’t.

    The USCCB is not the magisterium, not a teaching authority, and are an invention by Democratic leaning bishops.

    It needs to be absolved. If not, then completely overhauled.

    Until that happens, I will expose them for what they are, a wing of the Democratic party and participants in promoting the Culture of Death.

  • Ever hear of the phrase “throw out the baby with the bathwater”?

  • The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

    – Saint John Chrysostom.

    CB,

    In all seriousness I know what you’re getting at so an overhaul is reasonable since my idea of eliminating the USCCB won’t fly… yet.

  • Pingback: November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare « The American Catholic
  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.”

    Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves.

    I don’t think God disapproves of taxation.