Why Are the Bishops Forcing the Issue of Health Care?

If ever there were a time when Catholics should not trust the United States government, it is now. The president, his administration, and the congressional leadership are removing all the abortion restrictions put in place since Roe v. Wade. And yet, the bishops are backing a proposal to give the federal government complete control over the healthcare of every American citizen.
Abortion is not the only reason Catholics should have deep misgivings about giving the government even more control over their lives. The healthcare bill itself provides evidence of how “reform” will extend that control in ways contrary to the basic tenets of faith.

In addition to abortion coverage, which the bishops have publicly opposed, there is the “end-of-life” coverage, a nice euphemism for potential euthanasia counseling, and the voluntary “Home Visitation Programs for Families with Young Children and Families Expecting Children” in section 440.
This federal program is another version of the Education Begins at Home Act, which was introduced in 2008 and 2009 by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO). It provides “parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains… modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices; [and] skills to interact with their child….”
The idea of encouraging government to teach us “parenting skills” is abhorrent. The Church emphasizes the primacy of parents in raising their children. In Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II wrote:
The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life…. It is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others….
Anyone who thinks programs like home visitation are benign should note what Phyllis Schlafly points out: One of the stated purposes of home visitation is “increasing birth intervals between pregnancies,” which “reminds us of China’s policies to reduce childbirth by married couples.” It also addresses “child abuse, neglect, and injury,” thus “giving more authority to the already too powerful Child Protective Services.”
The healthcare takeover is the perfect vehicle for extending government control of the lives of individuals and families. It took the healthcare debate to wake people up. Only then did the public react to the sudden surge in government control that began with the takeover of many banks.
The boisterous town hall meetings around the country are not only about healthcare per se; they are a resurgence of the long-held American fear of governmental power and control. This fear is integral to Catholic social teaching as well, and articulated by its core principle of subsidiarity. In Centesimus Annus, John Paul II argued that the government 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.”
It appears that members of Congress are now listening to these protesting voices, but are the Catholic bishops? As a friend wrote to me, “The good bishops have also ignored the mounting discontent in the streets with Catholic hierarchy pushing this most unpopular federal takeover of healthcare.” There is increasing evidence on the Internet and in the media that Catholics are feeling the same sense of frustration and anger we are witnessing at the town hall events.
Many Catholics are asking, “Why are the Catholic bishops trying to force this issue?”

Deal W. Hudson


Deal W. Hudson is ​publisher and editor of The Christian Review and the host of "Church and Culture," a weekly two-hour radio show on the Ave Maria Radio Network.​ Formerly publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine for ten years, his articles and comments have been published widely in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. He has also appeared on TV and radio news shows such as the O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, NBC News, and All Things Considered on National Public Radio. Hudson worked with Karl Rove in coordinating then-Gov. George W. Bush's outreach to Catholic voters in 2000 and 2004. In October 2003, President Bush appointed him a member of the official delegation from the United States to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of John Paul II's papacy. Hudson, a former professor of philosophy for 15 years, is the editor and author of eight books. He tells the story of his conversion from Southern Baptist to Catholic in An American Conversion (Crossroad, 2003), and his latest, Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States, was published in March 2008. He is married to Theresa Carver Hudson, also a Baptist convert, and they have two children, Hannah and Cyprian who was adopted from Romania in 2001.

  • Analyst

    Maybe the bishops know lobbyist-incited (and financed) astroturf, clownish distortions of fact, goofy comparisons with socialized medicine, shameless fearmongering and proxies of racism when they see them.

  • John Zmirak

    Any health care program initiated by this regime–this secular regime with its activist courts and utilitarian ideology, under either political party–would force citizens to fund the following intrinsic evils:



    Sex reassignment operations.

    Further, even if such a system were enacted by pro-life Democrats, or compassionate conservatives, it would with a future election fall into the hands of men who WOULD enact such evils.

    For these reasons, supporting such a system constitutes material participation in mortal sin. Bishops who support it deserve no more credence than they did (2/3 of them anyway, according to the Dallas Morning News) when they made excuses for and shuffled pedophiles.

    Not until there has been a massive turnover of bishops–and perhaps not even then–do these men deserve our trust on any issue which is not dogmatically defined.

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    Remember the ruckus about the Kerry bumperstickers in the employees’ parking lots at the USCCB? They took care of that problem. Photographing bumperstickers in the USCCB parking lot is not prohibited.

    Since its inception, as a platform for Cardinal Gibbons to snuggle up to Woodrow Wilson and defy the Pope on the draft and the war, the USCCB has had a revolving-door policy with the Democratic Party in Washington. The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young was composed primarily of very prominent pro-abortion Democrats. How sick!

    What do you do when you need to staff a Catholic agency, and the only kind of people you know hate the Church?

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    Maybe the bishops know lobbyist-incited (and financed) astroturf, clownish distortions of fact, goofy comparisons with socialized medicine, shameless fearmongering and proxies of racism when they see them.

    Name one individual or company that has provided money and/or training and/or logistics and/or signage to people who are opposed to National Socialist Healthcare.

    Just name one.

    BTW: What is it about being governed by baby-murderers that you find so irresistible?

  • Mother of Two Sons

    The Bishops can’t afford to pay for Healthcare and can’t get their flock to pay their “tithe” of 10% no matter how many times they pass the collection plate/basket/long armed/short armed and when you are going down financially, you do a lot of things that don’t make any sense.

    If you really step back and look, what is missing in the marketplace is Christian enterprises… our pews because of our long-held beliefs of dependency models… Unions, Welfare, Grocery collections,Catholic Charities,Jobs instead of Income-generation…. are filled with barely getting by folks…. who can’t afford a 10% tithe…… a dependency model convinces individuals over time that they can’t without outside assistance succeed/survive/thrive. Unions say you need us because “the smart ones, the powerful ones” won’t listen to you peons!
    Have we had our focus on the wrong things…. just use our marriage vows….. instead of focus on how meritorious it is that the grumpy Catholics are faithfully attending Mass… how about faithfully healthy, generously wealthy, making Joyous Good times happen including in the bedroom (the statistics are high on sexless Catholic marriages) instead of turning into pitiful, don’t over burden them, they have it rough, martyrs….
    Why haven’t we, for example, led the campaign on Washington for our share of the tax dollars to freely educate our children in our Catholic schools (vouchers) instead of falling in line for a Parish discount or selling donuts, for God’s sake, or turning our Parishes into smoking BINGO halls…. Why have we allowed ourselves to let the Public Schools where our youth have to carry knives to protect themselves, where God is essentially not allowed, take hold and take control over what used to be our strongest WORK?
    It wreaks to me of a systematic exposure to a dependency model WORD…. and that word is not of GOD…. You cannot in this day and age leave your brain and mostly your soul at the door…. Our God is a God of prosperity…. abundance….. infinite possibilities….. creative ideas should flood the lives of Catholics because of the God we consume in Eucharist… We don’t need the Government to pay for our Healthcare, Education, Retirement…. not if we get up, pick up our dependency mat of excuses and beliefs, and walk in full stature!
    We used to lead, but we have taken our cue, fallen into a “follower” disciple role….. we need to step up and into our Disciple role…just changing one letter from small caps to large caps could usher in a dramatic quality difference into America… if we would hear and see…..HIM who calls us to wake from our sleep/deafness/blindness….. awake and Make Music, Make Films, Make Beauty, Make Love smilies/smiley.gif, Make Harmony, Make Goodness…..as you choose, a focus and a reality!

  • Chris

    I am reminded of the last time an anglo government did something this big to undermine a Church. Then, it certainly wasn’t bishops lining up to climb Henry VIII’s scaffold. It was a layman. And afterward, it wasn’t bishops going to Elizabeth I’s rack. It was priests.

    Ignatius Cardinal Kung (http://tinyurl.com/qm463w), pray for us.

  • Austin

    Obama has bamboozled the Bishops, but perhaps they want to be bamboozled?

  • Phil Atley

    I was always taught that bishops’ and priests’ responsibility was to teach the principles of moral theology (and dogmatic theology etc.) but that the application of those principles to concrete situations was the realm of the laity.

    Bishops should not be endorsing specific policies on healthcare, immigration, guns, war, taxation etc.

    They do have a responsibility before God to pass judgment when specific policies or actions by governments violate the law of nature and the law of God.

    If they had done well what did fall under their purview: Catholic schools, universities, parishes they might have Catholicly educated laypeople representing them and their flock in Congress.

    But they did not do their proper job properly and they meddled in what was not proper to them (policy making) for decades.

    And so we are come to this pass. When the persecution begins in earnest, perhaps we can hope that a handful of the bishops will join us lay people in the “sensitivity centers” (which otherwise would be known as reeducation camps or concentration camps, except that those innocuous words have been rendered noxious by previous Truth-hating regimes). But most of them will actually enable the persecutors.

    Thus it has been in the past, when the Arian bishops enabled the emperors’ persecution of the Nicenes, when the English bishops enabled the persecution of the London Carthusians, Thomas More and others.

    And thus it will be in our future. Let us “stand to our tackle” and act like men, “if we have the spittle for’t.”

  • unRuptured

    They want taxpayer money for social justice programs and projects.

  • Ted Moren

    Sadly, the Bishops are easily persuaded by Big Government control programs anytime they are cloaked in the guise of aiding the poor. No consideration is given to collateral damage to liberty, to the financial sustainability of the nation, to the quality of medical care. It’s as if the Bishops can’t see that Obamacare is doomed to bankruptcy and bad medicine same as Medicare and Medicaid. It’s the thought that counts, right???

    Sadly again, Bishops are easily led by the tired meme that private industries are “greedy,” even though they are the ones that have conceived of and given the world advanced modern medicine, health care, longer life spans, and a higher quality of life. Sheesh.

    As Catholic laymen, we must begin recasting businesses and businessmen as the real altruists of society who are looking out for the welfare and well-being of the masses, and likewise recast Big Government as little more than a bully and a thief. Then maybe the Bishops will promote the people who actually create medicine and health care technology and refuse bloated government bureaucracies and bureaucrats that create nothing but only confiscate the work and money of others.

  • Aaron

    Many of the bishops (like other elites in this country) are socialists. I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. They’ve always been for socialized health care; this is just the first chance they’ve had to get it since 1993, and they don’t want to wait another 16 years. They believe that big government is a net force for good which can make life better for everyone if given enough power.

    It probably shouldn’t surprise us that the leaders of large “corporate” entities, whether they be CEOs or city mayors or bishops, tend to put much faith in the biggest corporate entity of all, the federal government. A bishop who truly preaches subsidiarity and says things like “power corrupts” is limiting his own power and influence.

  • Deacon Ed

    thing…corporate entities possess no conscience. The Federal government does not, can not, will never possess a conscience.

    Individuals are endowed by our Creator with a conscience. We cannot and should never turn over to a government control over our lives that requires the exercise of conscience – whether it is in the raising of children, the education of our children, the provision of health care – you name it. Where conscience needs to be exercised, government can never do it. What we can expect is amoralty at best, more likely immorality, when we turn over to any government entity decisions pertaining to matters of life and death.

  • TonyC

    Could it be that our Bishops are leading us down the same path that the European and Canadian Bishops led their flocks in the name of social justice? It is amazing to me how easily they have cast behind them the issues of life, liberty, and personal freedom. I guess if it is good enough for the Europeans it will be good enough for us. We all know how that has turned out!

  • Ted

    “It probably shouldn’t surprise us that the leaders of large “corporate” entities, whether they be CEOs or city mayors or bishops, tend to put much faith in the biggest corporate entity of all, the federal government.”

    CEOs have no choice but to bow the knee to Big Government. They have seen over the decades that the government can bully them and confiscate their earnings at will through lawsuits, regulations, and antitrust shams. CEOs have no recourse against federal power, which is the premier most unstoppable power on the planet. What chance does a Pfizer or Microsoft have against any Federal Government. None. They’ll lose every time, since government has the power to destroy any private entity or citizen.

    This kind of federal power was supposed to be kept on a short leash in the U.S.A, but alas it has broken all restraints and is now taking over the private sector. The only hope is to vote out the Democrats in 2010 and launch a reform of the U.S. Government, to force it back into its constitutional cage.

  • Rick

    When you lay down with dogs, you should be surprised when you get fleas.

    Remember, many of these men are the same bishops who handled the pedophile crisis with such “charm.” I cannot believe that they think they have any credibility left. Perhaps, however, this is the way they think that they will regain credibility from the left — support anything the President does.

  • Carlist

    I have a question for the author of post #1

    On what specific facts do you base your “analysis”?

    Have you read the proposed legislation?

    From what I’ve gleaned of your post, there is quite a bit of vitriol but little “analysis”!

  • Beehive

    Collectively, our bishops are socialist and clueless. Beyond the obvious affronts to Catholic teaching and the culture of life, why would anyone want the government MORE involved in health care than it already is? Government is the reason health care is so messed up!

  • Michael

    Who was it who said that the walls of hell are lined with the skulls of bishops?

  • Michael

    Christian social justice enthusiasts have, for a long time, been willing to partner with secular materialists who are soldiers for the culture of death. I’m reading ‘The Naked Public Square” by Richard John Neuhaus – God rest his soul. I was only 15 when the book was published but it is just as relevant today as when it was written.

  • Mother of Two Sons

    When a Government gets so large, as our founding fathers’ warned, then it will invariably infringe on personal liberties…. we have tolerated for so long sin and licentiousness even within the Church and abandoned the sweet, loving and powerfully creative Presence of God I fear we are at a serious tipping point as a Nation. You can’t see solutions when you let your eyes/heart/mind be filled with sin…… It does matter that we do what we can to stop this Healthcare initiative… it is our opportunity as a people to push Government back hard!

    Obama is a highly competitive person and has a lot at stake in this decision. It would be worth assuring him that we agree with his vision of a need to reform Healthcare but this discussion needs to be thrown out altogether and they need to come up with chunk bills….. breaking down the identified areas of improvement zones and creating smaller transparent bills clear and discernible to everyone who can read in America.

  • Ann

    Deal Hudson writes, “And yet, the bishops are backing a proposal to give the federal government complete control over the healthcare of every American citizen.”

    This is untrue and misrepresents the proposed legislation, which offers a government-run alternative to private insurance. Those who choose to do so may keep their private insurance. Health care will not be nationalized. Most doctors will continue to work for themselves or for private hospitals.

    The bishops are right to support extending health care to the very large percentage of people currently not insured. It is unconscionable that, in a wealthy nation such as ours, there are thousands of people dying annually due to lack of health insurance. Every other first world nation provides every one of its citizens with health care, does it for half per capita as much as we pay, and does better on almost every health care metric (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.)

  • Michael

    This is untrue and misrepresents the proposed legislation, which offers a government-run alternative to private insurance. Those who choose to do so may keep their private insurance. Health care will not be nationalized. Most doctors will continue to work for themselves or for private hospitals.

    Not True,

    Please read the house bill that is on line. It seems clear to me that the plan is setup to drive private insurance out of business. Do you trust the secular materialists that push the culture of death with your health care?


  • Ted

    We are here not because of rampant sin, but rather because:

    (1) Liberal progressives had a generation-long plan to teach liberalism using public education, news media, and Hollywood

    (2) Conservative Catholics and other Christians have NOT had any kind of organized plan or effort in play to compete against or overcome the Liberal force

    The solution is that Conservative Catholics and other Christians must immediately draft and implement a generational plan to educate the masses on morals, on citizenship, on activism, on liberty, on the benefits of business and industry, on restricted federal powers, and on the Christianization of every aspect of society.

    Catholic laypersons must immediately set up robust special teaching curriculum that makes use of computers, social media, etc. to roll out proper citizenship to all Christians everywhere in the U.S, regardless of denomination.

    Frankly, the liberals started their re-education effort decades ago, but it’s not too late for Catholics to win the battle for the future.

  • Ted

    “The bishops are right to support extending health care to the very large percentage of people currently not insured.”

    Not if money doesn’t grow on trees, Ann. The private sector alone is capable of inventing and delivering cutting edge health care and other useful products and services. Governments don’t create products and services and are mostly incompetent in such matters.

    “It is unconscionable that, in a wealthy nation such as ours, there are thousands of people dying annually due to lack of health insurance.”

    Wrong, Ann. Our nation and the rest of the world has health care at all because American private industries found a ***financially sustainable way*** to create and deliver health products and services. Government can’t devise any similar products or services, nor can it do anything in a financially sustainable way—which is why Medicare is nearly bankrupted, along with the rest of the Federal Government. Private industries alone have the capacity to create and deliver health care goods and services.

    “Every other first world nation provides every one of its citizens with health care, does it for half per capita as much as we pay, and does better”

    Absolutely false. Government run systems are inefficient and produce lower quality everything (mail delivery, medical care, you name it). Government organizations are nothing more than inefficient bureaucracies that waste other people’s money on service pledges they can’t deliver.

  • R.C.


    Please read my replies to your earlier post, saying essentially the same thing, in the last health-care related thread.

    The expressed intent (expressed by Obama and his team, just not recently!) of this plan is to introduce a government-subsidized plan as a “competitor” in the marketplace…with the knowledge that no private firm can compete in the long run in the same market as a government firm. For, of course, the private firms don’t get taxpayer subsidies, and the government firm does.

    Therefore, they must either abandon that market, or go out of business.

    Initially Obama’s plan will feel like an alternative. But that alternative will put private alternatives out of business. After that, it is no longer an “alternative,” but a sole option.

    Read my posts in the other thread if you want more detail.

  • Gerry
  • Gerry

    for those who still don’t think ObamaCare includes abortion:

  • Bob G

    Deal Hudson appears to be the only Catholic “public intellectual” willing to criticize the bishops on this matter. And look at the overwhelming reaction he provoked here! He has touched a nerve.

    Supporters of the health-care bill say it does not promote euthanasia, only counseling in the last days. But the last year of life accounts for a huge percentage (over 25%) of Medicare’s total costs. If the Democrats want to reduce costs, why are they introducing this “new benefit” against the grain? Only one reason I can see: to get the plug pulled on as many “hopeless cases” as possible.

    Like Deal I see this bill as an opening wedge for a totalitarian State controlling the most vital aspects of our lives. When the State gets that control, all these “rights” we’re assured we have will evaporate. “Oh, those were the delusions of a benighted time.”

  • Bob G

    The bishops lost their credibility in the sex-abuse scandal and hope to recover it by pushing what they see as a highly popular measure, especially on the left where the bishops prefer to be. If that means muting the abortion and euthanasia elements in this bill, so be it. The test of the bishops’ credibility and orthodoxy is their willingness to go public on those two aspects of the bill.

    I sympathize with those, like Ann, who see the lack of health-care for some 50 million people as a terrible thing. But the price this bill makes us pay for including them is too high. and the bill probably will reduce health-care for everyone, even those poor. The poor are seldom really helped by Gummint, only enslaved. They will have to pay for their minimal health-care with their votes.

  • Phil Atley

    I sympathize with those, like Ann, who see the lack of health-care for some 50 million people as a terrible thing.

    Fifty million people do not lack health-care. No one lacks health care. Some lack good health care, some lack efficient health care. Everyone pays too much for health care.

    It is claimed that 46 or 47 (and now it’s up to 50) million Americans lack health insurance.

    Even that number is a lie; it has been debunked repeatedly, yet people mindlessly repeat it.

    I cannot respect anyone’s arguments when they begin with careless statements of fact.

  • Michael

    “Fifty million people do not lack health-care. No one lacks health care. Some lack good health care, some lack efficient health care. Everyone pays too much for health care.”

    No one is turned away from any hospital for any needed critical care. All people in the USA get the best critical care in the world. If a patient can’t pay for it they are labeled a indigent and given the care anyway. This can drive a family in to bankruptcy.

    What many people do not have is health insurance which is a financial instrument that protects ones financial health against the possibility of hugh medical bills.

    Health insurance reform is about money. The current health insurance systems and government regulations drive up the cost of basic health care which prices low income people out of the market for this care. They don’t get care until it becomes an emergency. Critical care is frequently more expensive then early preventive care.

    We need health care reform we do not need a government health insurance system that will make things worse.

  • Austin

    One thing that is not on the table in this proposed Health Care Reform Bill, is a reform of the malpractice mess. The Democrats are in the pocket of the tort lawyers and do not want any reform of the gross abuse of malpractice lawsuits, which raise the cost for everyone. Yes, there are legitimate cases of malpractice and those victims should be fairly compensated. However, that being said, if you turn on the TV, you see endless ads for ambulance chasers who want you to sue, sue, sue for anything and everything. Of course, the tort lawyers get a third to half of the settlement.

    What has this not been addressed? We are talking a lot of money here, money which should be used to provide care for patients, being used to enrich tort lawyers.

  • James

    If you think there will be anything other than a public option in a few years.

    I’m not a legislator, so I’m not 100% fluent in double-speak, but this seems to bear on the false idea that the government will be just one competitor amongst many in the field. That may be true on Day 1, but the deck is stacked against private insurers. In addition to the competitive advantage public subsidy conveys to the government, there are also the restrictions listed below.

    H.R. 3200


    (a) Grandfathered Health Insurance Coverage Defined- Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, for purposes of establishing acceptable coverage under this division, the term `grandfathered health insurance coverage’ means individual health insurance coverage that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of Y1 if the following conditions are met:


    (A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1. [Seems to preclude new participants]

    (B) DEPENDENT COVERAGE PERMITTED- Subparagraph (A) shall not affect the subsequent enrollment of a dependent of an individual who is covered as of such first day.

    (2) LIMITATION ON CHANGES IN TERMS OR CONDITIONS- Subject to paragraph (3) and except as required by law, the issuer does not change any of its terms or conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing, from those in effect as of the day before the first day of Y1. [Seriously handcuffs a private insurer who needs to adapt by changing benefits offered in order to better compete]

    (3) RESTRICTIONS ON PREMIUM INCREASES- The issuer cannot vary the percentage increase in the premium for a risk group of enrollees in specific grandfathered health insurance coverage without changing the premium for all enrollees in the same risk group at the same rate, as specified by the Commissioner.

  • Isaiah

    Why not just train more doctors? Flood the market with health care workeres and facilities, so that all care is cheap. Or will that back fire because people only become doctors to be rich, so that they will leave for countries like Somalia, where they will be in higher demand? Big business is not a magic wand that saves the world, Jesus IS. The very name of God calls even demons to fall on their faces in awe, but here we are criticizing those who have inherited the roles of His Apostles in favor of lay people following after an ideal of greed as the common human value. Stop acting like the Bishops of God’s Church are so awful, it’s getting almost Protestant.

  • Bill Sr.

    My, my, you would have thought by now even the Bush bashing misguided Catholics led by those pre canonized holy doctors of the faith in congress like Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry, Dodd, and Durbin who along with the MSM were mesmerized by Macho Chicago Obama

  • Rick

    Bill Sr.,
    That is an awesome post!

  • Martin W. Howser

    I wonder how many Bishops have actualy read the bill.

    How many bishops have read the Church’s social teachings (Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno) and Pope Pius XII,Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI encyclicals.

    The Church’s teaching on the principal of subsidiarty is very clear. The National Health Care Bill goes in the face of this principal.

    If it were not for the free enterprise system with men and women following Christian principals in public life there would never been a Catholic hospital system providing health care and I might ad some of the best care and inovations in care in the world. Most bishops do not understand this economic miracle that made all this possible. It was not government health care.

    Our bishops have long since lost there way and now much of their influence simply being ignored because for over 40 years most of them forgot their most important responcibility; defend the faith and proclaim it. If they had done so, we would not have this legislation, the Health (Death)Care act facing us today.

    Pray that the people of America wake up and stop this invasion into one of our most private parts of our being, our body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    In closing why don’t the bishops unite on tort reform and the huge cost of a medical education. Some say that reform in these two areas alone could save up to 500 billion dollars a year by getting rid of bad lawsuits and wasteful medical tests.

    God save the USA and our Church!

  • Susan

    Good article. And good suggestion that the onus is on conservative Catholics to propose a health care solution. What about a faith based option, that allowed Catholics to purchase Catholic health insurance, that would not pay for abortions, contraceptions, ivf, or euthanasia. And that limited payoffs for malpractice, to keep costs down. Like truly Catholic schools, such a system might be the type that would attract devout Catholic and religious providers to offer their services for lower pay, out of a sense of charity. When Catholics can trust their providers (as exemplified in this article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07….html?_r=2 ), they might also, in turn become more responsible consumers of health care, keeping costs down.

    But this would have to involve involvement of organizations like Catholic Medical Association, rather than the breathless Catholic Health Association, SVDP, etcetera who are in the tank for Obama care. And CMA knows the difference between *medical care* and *health care*, an important distinction ( http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32911 )

  • R.C.


    Why not just train more doctors? Flood the market with health care workers and facilities, so that all care is cheap….

    I don’t know if you’re being facetious, here, but if not: That doesn’t work economically. The training is expensive; train more docs and the money comes from somewhere even if doctors don’t charge higher prices. (That is, instead of going from patients to doctors, it goes to trainers from whomever pays the trainers.) If you could train more doctors for free it’d work. Otherwise, it’s another fraudulent perpetual-motion machine: Seeming to get something for nothing because it’s obscuring where the extra input (of energy, or of money) is coming from.

    Big business is not a magic wand that saves the world, Jesus IS….

    Amen, sir! I agree with 125% of my heart. And for those who don’t regard that statement to be sufficiently specific to the situation, there are always the specific teachings of Christ and His Church to help us apply the salvation of Christ to the particular conundrums of contemporary life.

    ….but here we are criticizing those who have inherited the roles of His Apostles in favor of lay people following after an ideal of greed as the common human value.

    Ahh, waitaminute; I’m afraid I must disagree with you there.

    It’s true some here (Deal) are being critical of certain bishops. But what is the nature of the criticism? Which bishops are being criticized?

    Do you really think that those who criticize some bishops’ near-endorsement of the Obama health plan are doing so motivated by greed? That would be a radical misunderstanding of what they’re saying! …unless you mistrust what they’re saying, and assume they’re liars.

    No, the critical persons are supporting — defending! — Catholic ideals, the Catholic understanding of human dignity, the Catholic respect for law, the Catholic reticence to initiate force or the threat thereof without adequate justification, and the Catholic understanding of alms and responsibility.

    In doing so they are criticizing certain bishops, not because those bishops are too Catholic, but because they aren’t Catholic enough in this matter.

    When a person is not careful to apply the Church’s teachings judiciously, or when he divorces himself from tradition and falls back on feel-good pablum and the zeitgeist, the result is such sloppy phrasing as “everyone has a right to healthcare” (a true statement using some definitions, and utterly false in others, and thus doubly muddled and misleading).

    Such announcements, sans careful and edifying explanation, are mere politician-talk: They make the listener feel good by glossing over the nitty gritty moral obligations of making policy. Absent clarity, they become mere slogans, comparable to phrases like “make love not war” and “visualize world peace.”

    The shepherds should not be leading the sheep so confusingly.

    But in the tradition of the Church we find greater clarity. Respect for the rule of law requires that we eschew unconstitutional usurpations and either role back the existing ones or amend the Constitution to permit them. Respect for property is not absolute, but the Church advocates systems of equal justice so that persons may give alms as prompted by God, not so that almsgiving may be utterly supplanted by compulsory redistribution (as in Europe). The taking of property from those with a disordered affection for it is limited to emergency situations (e.g. the person starving may take bread, but the person anticipating possible hunger in a year may not take money and put it away for a rainy day).

    Writ large, this ethical system would not recommend the Obama plan to us…not at all! It would recommend something more like traditional Christendom: Where (normatively) medical needs of persons were paid for by those persons, and to a lesser degree by their family, and a still lesser degree by their neighborhood and friends, and a still lesser degree by their community, and a still lesser degree by their town or city or county, and a still lesser degree by their state…and if any need remained after all that, the Federal Government might help least of all, wielding the least control of all. In each case, voluntary alms would be prominently encouraged, even incentivized, and the percentage of funds taken forcibly kept minimal. The recipient of assistance would experience grace and respond with gratitude, always understanding that his benefactors were his generous neighbors. The recipient would not be tempted to the sinful presumption that he was just “getting his due” from a faceless government with infinitely deep pockets.

    That, friend, is faithfulness to such notions as Subsidiarity, American Federalism (enshrined in Amendment X of the Constitution, by-the-by), community solidarity, individual responsibility, basic honesty, human dignity. The systems proposed by the political left in this country are, by comparison, such a crude caricature of Christian justice and mercy, they seem nearly to be a photographic negative.

    Everywhere we look we find that the sort of compulsory redistribution implicit in socialized medicine — including the stealth form in Obama’s plan — is a misreading of the intent of Catholic dogma, doctrine, and moral philosophy.

    One must respect the bishops. But one must correct them if they preach something other than the true faith. The proposed plan puts the kind of trust in politicians and their appointed regulators — in their goodness and their wisdom — that I myself would reserve for no one but God. I don’t have the faith in government that those who support Obama-care have.

    Hence the criticism. But it doesn’t come from a Protestant mentality. Quite the opposite.

  • Ted

    “Big business is not a magic wand that saves the world”

    There’s no such thing as magic. However, free enterprise (American business) PLUS catholic morality has given the world health care. Nothing else gave the world high-quality health care, and nothing else could have given the world this health care. Freedom of business is the engine that produces the high quality of life and standard of living we enjoy in the United States.

    Governments do not create anything, nor are they economically self-sustaining entities. Governments coercively take other peoples’ money to create ineffective and wasteful low-quality programs that are almost always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Repeat: governments are neither fiscally responsible nor economically sustainable.

    Health care must not be put in the hands of Big Government. To do so will destroy health care, and health care is an issue that affects our very survival. It is a core survival-level issue.

  • Laurie

    This trully concerns me. Sometimes I feel the lay person is all alone in defending the church and her teachings. For the life of me I can not understand why the bishops would ever support this kind of system. Even if we had the perfect bill, and the most moral of presidents- which of course is not true in either case, what about the next president or congress that comes in? Couldn’t they change the policies? Reform it more? Our government is secular, why on earth would Catholic bishops think the government could provide quality, loving, moral and especially affordable healthcare to anyone? What the final result on all of this is, is the continuing confusion to Catholics on what exactly being Catholic is all about. Prayers are definitely needed for clarity from our bishops.

  • John

    I am a Canadian and we have socialized medicine here. It would have been very difficult to raise our nine children without soc/med. However along with the good comes the bad and the ugly.

    When Canada adopted socialized medicine killing the unborn wasn

  • Ted


    Don’t get down on the Bishops on a matter of healthcare. They are correct in the sense that providing care for the sick is a Christian value. (No one really seems to disagree on this.)

    So the question is *how best to provide that care*. Some people like myself (and perhaps you) think the private sector is the best equipped to do this. However, the Bishops aren’t picky on which sector does it, so long as no specific moral Christian teaching is violated in the process.

    While many of us know that a government-based system is ineffective and ultimately doomed to bankruptcy from “providing health care to all,” Christianity doesn’t prescribe any particular way to go about this. So, the Bishops are just agreeing with a good Christian ideal while, sadly, accepting a doomed method for achieving the right ideal.

    The question of “what system to use to provide healthcare” is simply open to debate and is not a matter of the Faith. Our Bishops are jumping on the first bandwagon that sounds like a good college try. I can’t blame them, even if I am confident that the government will fail miserably with great consequences to all.

    Catholicism has existed within every government system known to man (monarchies, capitalist democracies, socialist dictatorships) and doesn’t really oppose governments if they appear to have a nice sounding Christian goal in mind.

  • Laurie

    Ted, I agree with pretty much everything you said except for the fact we live in a time where this kind of healthcare has been tried, just like John from Canada explained. The bishops already know that. They can examine for themselves the health care systems in Canada, France, United Kingdom and where ever else and see how abortion, rationed health care and end of life decisions must be considered for the betterment of the society as a whole. The eagerness to commit to healthcare for all without really looking at the consequences say in five years down the road is not really responsible. It seems the bishops will take a very slow and thoughtful course in decisions such as Notre Dame, or politicans who are pro-choice but they jump right into the dirty water on social issues. That is what bothers me. It leaves the average lay person confused and to be honest and little betrayed on what their faith really means.

  • John O’Donnell

    Perhaps the bishops are realizing that a Marxist dictatorship
    is coming to reality and that they had better get on board while there is still time to get the handouts (refer to the 100
    plus million dollar grant that was recently given to Catholic Charities USA by the Obama Administration).
    Presidential Election results November 4, 2008:
    Obama 53 %
    Catholic vote for Obama 54%
    Catholic Campaign for Human Development to alleviate poverty with millions of dollars,over the years,going to ACORN (a criminal enterprise). They have finally put a stop to that.
    The Faithful Citizenship document which gave many Catholics an opportunity to feel fully justified in voting for Obama.
    Nuff said.
    A disgusted Catholic !!!

  • Steve

    To Mr. Hudson, or anyone else on here:

    Can someone please point me to a specific webpage or document that indicates that the U.S. Bishops are “forcing” the issue of healthcare. Please cite the specific language as well.

    I’m trying very hard to find it, but I can’t.


  • Jim

    amen to the person who wrote comment #1 as follows:

    Maybe the bishops know lobbyist-incited (and financed) astroturf, clownish distortions of fact, goofy comparisons with socialized medicine, shameless fearmongering and proxies of racism when they see them.

    the proposed healthcare legislation will increase coverage for the poor and needy. catholics who support social justice should be behind that. and there is NOTHING in the legislation that supports euthanasia. shame on hudson for that sort of fearmongering.



  • Ted

    “The proposed healthcare legislation will increase coverage for the poor and needy. catholics who support social justice should be behind that”

    Government is the wrong player to attempt this. Government programs are the absolute worst at delivery of goods and services (think public schools, mail, Medicare, State of California), and government programs are always going bankrupt.

    So, it’s economically unsustainable and will ultimately destroy the the excellent progressive health care that the US private sector created and gave to the world.

    Then what, Jim?

  • Ted

    David, please stop shouting (using all caps). Be more civil.

  • Laurie

    I am so tired of Democrat vs. Republican arguments. Most people here are trying to decipher what is the best ideas for this country and still be faithful to their religion. Issues such as abortion and euthanasia both considerations in this healthcare reform, are these the “tools” of the democratic party? The bottom line is which is more important to you: your democratic affiliation or your Catholic faith? I know my party affiliation will never trump my faith. Make a sound religious argument for this healthcare bill and I for one will surely listen. But just like John in Canada I don’t want to have to pay my taxpayer dollars to kill babies or end a elderly person’s life prematurely because the system can’t afford it.

  • Ray

    Of course, you’re right Jim.

    The bishops know; and they guide the benighted hoi polloi away from evil fearmongers like Hudson.

    Bishops, like other elites, realize that democracy, mob rule, is immoral.

    In their generosity and wisdom they instruct us, the ignorant.

  • Arkyump

    I think the Bishops spoke too soon concerning the HR3200 bill. I have been trying to read it for two weeks and each time I read it I see little doors opening for FUTURE changes in the rule-writing that always is the next step once a bill is signed into law. For example, the “end of life” section does not explicitly encourage killing grandma, but the odd thing about the paragraph is that is even in the bill. There does not need to be a law stating that a doctor can speak to a family about options. Why have it in there except that having a paragraph in a bill does “open the door” for expansion of the “concept” of euthanasia in the future. Same with “family planning” paragraphs. Keeping the wording meanings general always allows for interpretation by the bureaucrats for their own end. There are too many of these “interpretations” that can be decided by the “Commissioner” and the “Secretary of HHS” for me in this bill. In fact, once the bill is passed, the Commissioner and the Secretary will be able to write all of the rules they want to fit the social proclivities of the administration. So watch out granny.

  • Bill Sr,

    Anyone, I say anyone who chooses to view this very important and sensitive issue of Health Care in America through the prism of politics i.e. Democrats vs Republican, is making a fatal mistake before he even starts. I would also contend that any Christian whether Catholic or Protestant who does not look at the issue from a perspective of a heart and mind filled with a Christian conscience is also at risk of being misguided.

    Setting aside our

  • Laurie

    Bill Sr.:
    Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I think you put into words what most of us would like to convey. I agree that prayer is needed by all to trully discern this healthcare issue. May God Bless You.

  • Ted

    Hey Bill Sr., if you’re still there…

    You said: “in an attempt to appeal to those Judo-Christian values we hold so fast. So accustom to reaching out to the needy of the world and

  • Bill Sr.

    Ted, my brother

    You are so entirely correct!

    The problem with too many