At Mass this morning, our priest read a letter from the US bishops, commenting on the proposed health care bill, which was voted on late last night by the US House of Representatives.
One of the bishops' objections, our pastor pointed out, had been addressed by last night's vote. The Stupak Amendment rejected federal funding for abortions. However, there are still many objectionable elements in the current health care bill. One of these is the lack of a conscience clause for Catholics and other health care workers who object to participating in actions which are opposed to their personal beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
President Barack Obama promised America, in his commencement speech to Notre Dame, that his administration would promote a rigorous conscience clause for health care workers. There is nothing in the current bill which would allow health care workers to recuse themselves from medical procedures which violate their consciences. The consensus of the current political climate seems to be: no objection allowed.
The US bishops have declared that access to health care is now a human "right." What happened to it being a "work of mercy"? It is now a basic human right. The popular culture has long declared contraception to be "health care." Does this mean that Catholic taxpayers will be required to fund contraceptive drugs and devices, many which act as abortifacients? How have we slouched this far to Gomorrah that we now view contraception as a "basic human right?"
The US bishops have also declared that all "immigrants" are entitled to comprehensive health care. By using the term "immigrants," do the bishops really mean "illegal immigrants"? I can only assume they do, since many American citizens are immigrants, but no one would question their right to anything granted to citizens by birth.
Rather than guilt-trip American Catholic taxpayers into funding health care for illegals, why don't the bishops start a Catholic welfare organization which would fund health care for all persons, regardless of immigration status? It is the work of the Church to help the poor, but it is not necessarily the work of the state to do that.
Furthermore, why promote benefits for illegal immigrants who have already violated US law? Why not instead promote easing of the restrictions for US citizenship, so that more people would have access to the benefits of legal citizenship?