Vatican paper: US bishops speak for Catholic Church on health care reform


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Vatican City, Mar 16, 2010 / 02:40 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a story written by reporter Marco Bellizzi, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) points out that the American Catholic Bishops speak for the Catholic Church when they criticize the current health care bill.

"No support in the dark for health reform," the LOR subtitles its story, which explains that "the health care bill approved by the US Senate is not acceptable." "It cannot be supported and the moral objections raised by the project cannot be postponed for a later moment."

"While the (US) congress, pressed by President Obama, is at a crucial moment for the destiny of the reform, in which the White House has invested lots of energy and lots of political credibility, the bishops of the US clarify again the position of the Catholic Church, repeatedly explained with frequent messages addressed to the senators and the congressmen, as well as to Obama himself."

According to the Vatican newspaper, Cardinal Francis George's Monday statement, "clears the field of some misconceptions springing from the position taken by the Catholic Health Association (CHA,) which, by the words of Sr. Carol Keehan, had called for support of the Senate version, postponing for later the changes related to the most controversial issue ... the federal funding of abortion."

"The CHA's position," LOR explains, "does not reflect in any way the convictions of the United States Bishops Conference."

The Vatican newspaper also details why the USCCB supports the House version of the bill, which includes the Stupak Amendment, whose language prevents the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.

LOR asserts that "it is not acceptable to wait for the approval of the project, given the multiple moral objections," and quotes Cardinal George's Midwest expression: "it would be like buying ‘a pig in a poke.' The fear, obviously, is to later find out that it is a cat," the article says in explanation of the saying.

Vatican's paper also mentions the different "forms of pressure to convince US pro-lifers" to support the health care bill, in particular the attack on the USCCB from an expert in health legislation, Professor Timothy Stolfzfus Jost, from the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

"Nevertheless, God, like the devil, is in the details," writes L'Osservatore, quoting the latest column of Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput. OFM Cap.

The Vatican daily also quotes Archbishop Chaput on how "long, unpleasant and too often dishonest the national health-care debate is now in its last days. Its most painful feature has been those ‘Catholic' groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law."

"The Senate's bill, according to Archbishop Chaput, fails because it does not prevent the (federal) funding of abortion, does not provide an adequate protection to conscientious objection and is not sufficiently inclusive regarding the immigrants," the Vatican newspaper reports.

The article concludes by quoting the Archbishop of Denver, who recently reminded people that "groups, trade associations and publications describing themselves as ‘Catholic' or ‘prolife' that endorse the Senate version - whatever their intentions - are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church, undermining the witness of the Catholic community."