Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bishops: We were "Misrepresented, misunderstood, and misused" on Obamacare

On Friday, the United States Conference of Catholic released a very clear statement on the passage of Obamacare. Here are two paragraphs from the statement (emphasis added):

"Since final passage of the legislation, we have been disturbed and disappointed by reactions inside and outside the Church that have sought to marginalize or dismiss legitimate concerns that were presented in a serious manner by us. Our clear and consistent position has been misrepresented, misunderstood and misused for political and other purposes. Our right to speak in the public forum has been questioned. Our teaching role within the Catholic Church and even our responsibility to lead the Church have come under criticism. All of us must be open to different points of view and recognize the legitimacy of serious criticism. However, whether from within or without the Catholic community, very often these critics lacked an understanding of these particular issues or of the moral framework that motivated our positions. Others did grasp the seriousness of the issues we were attempting to address. Yet other priorities, in our judgment, led them to accept an inaccurate reading of the proposed legislation. They gave credence to analyses by those who were likewise dedicated to minimizing important concerns so as to pass the legislation."

In other words, lying about what the legislation is. Sister Keehan, for instance, not only gave (and continues to give) credence to the fallacious analysis, she promoted (and continues to promote) it. At the recent "Washington Briefing" conference sponsored by the National Catholic Reporter, Keehan said "There is no justification for abortion and we would not ever have supported this bill if we thought it funded abortion.” That statement is susceptible of two interpretations: is she still claiming the bill does not fund abortion, or is she already attempting to create an out for herself--saying that she was duped? Neither are true.

Back to the paragraph from the Bishops' statement:

"In the end, they made a judgment that the moral problems in the new law – for example, the fact that the federal government, for the first time in decades, will now force Americans to pay for other people’s elective abortions – simply are not serious enough to oppose a particular health care reform bill."

In other words, a willingness to accept the publicly funded killing of the unborn as the necessary price to be paid for the passage of the bill.

We regret that this approach carried the day, as some overlooked the clear evidence or dismissed careful analysis and teaching on the morality of these matters. But making such moral judgments, and providing guidance to Catholics on whether an action by government is moral or immoral, is first of all the task of the bishops, not of any other group or individual. As Bishops, we disagree that the divergence between the Catholic Conference and Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association, represents merely a difference of analysis or strategy (Catholic Health World, April 15, 2010, “Now That Reform Has Passed”). Rather, for whatever good will was intended, it represented a fundamental disagreement, not just with our staff as some maintain, but with the Bishops themselves. As such it has resulted in confusion and a wound to Catholic unity."

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