Tuesday, November 17, 2009

U.S. Cardinal: Church must join health debate

From The Baltimore Sun-

In an apparent response to criticism of Catholic lobbying for tougher restrictions on abortion in the healthcare overhaul, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said church leaders have an obligation to raise their concerns in the debate.

The bishops opened their fall general assembly Monday at the Waterfront Marriott Hotel in Baltimore a week after lobbying successfully for an amendment to the healthcare bill approved by the House last week. The Stupak-Pitts amendment, named for the lawmakers who introduced it, would block federal subsidies for insurance policies that cover abortion. At least one Senate Democrat has said he would consider a similar measure as the upper body takes up the issue.

The amendment came as the result of a furious lobbying effort by the bishops’ conference, which has long called for universal health coverage but opposes abortion. The bishops’ role has drawn criticism from abortion rights supporters; Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat, suggested last week that the IRS might investigate the bishops’ tax-exempt status.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, the president of the bishops’ conference, said "issues that are moral questions before they become political remain moral questions when they become political."

George said it was the job of the bishops to be public without being "co-opted" by any political agenda and serve as "leaven for the world's transformation" in policy debates, the Associated Press reports.

"We are most grateful to those in either political party who share these common moral concerns and govern our country in accordance with them," George said.

On the agenda for the semiannual meeting are several items related to marriage and reproduction. On Monday, the bishops heard a presentation on “Love and Life in the Divine Plan, a pastoral letter that the conference describes as presenting “the essential points of Catholic teaching on marriage that are foundational for understanding the nature and purposes of marriage, for living it faithfully, and for preserving and defending it as a necessary and unique social institution.”

More here-


No comments: