Catholics Warned to Resist Senate Health Bill

Prelate Sees Problems With Abortion, Conscience, Immigrants

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DENVER, Colorado, MARCH 15, 2010 ( U.S. Catholic bishops are not supporting the Senate version of health care reform and all people of good will should follow their lead, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver says.

In a column for the Denver Catholic Register to be published Wednesday, the archbishop points to three problem areas in the bill, saying it is a «bad bill that will result in a bad law.»

«It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops of our country,» Archbishop Chaput said. «Nor does the American public want it.»

The Denver prelate said the measure «does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants.»

The archbishop lamented those who describe themselves as pro-life or Catholic and endorse the Senate bill. He said they «are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church» and creating confusion, as well as providing «the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation.»

Simple facts

Archbishop Chaput pointed his faithful to some «simple facts» in the national debate.

First, he recalled, the bishops have been pressing for health care reform for more than 50 years, not just since «either political party or the public media found it convenient.»

«That commitment hasn’t changed,» he affirmed. «Nor will it.»

Secondly, the archbishop said, the bishops have been trying to work with elected officials to reach reform that «would serve all Americans in a manner respecting minimum moral standards.»

The failure of this effort has one source, Archbishop Chaput contended: «It comes entirely from the stubbornness and evasions of certain key congressional leaders, and the unwillingness of the White House to honor promises made by the president last September.»

Finally, the Denver prelate said, the health care debate is not about party politics.

He noted Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak and other Democrats who have «shown extraordinary character in pushing for good health care reform while resisting attempts to poison it with abortion-related entitlements and other bad ideas that have nothing to do with real ‘health care.'»

«Many Republicans share the goal of decent health care reform, even if their solutions would differ dramatically,» he added.


But as the health care debate seems to be entering its final stages, Archbishop Chaput offered a word of caution: «Do not be misled.

«The Senate version of health care reform currently being pushed ahead by congressional leaders and the White House — despite public resistance and numerous moral concerns — is bad law; and not simply bad, but dangerous.

«It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community. […] Catholics and other persons of good will concerned about the foundations of human dignity should oppose it.»

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